Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
‡SKYBALD, n., adj. Also skaibald, skybalt, skeibult, skibbald; skybal(l), scyball, skyble, scybel(l), -il, skible, skibel, skeible, skebel; skypal, skypel, skyple, skeplet. [′skɑebəl(d), -əlt]
I. n. 1. A scamp, rascal, rogue, a worthless person, someone who is mean, contemptible or pitiable, a poor wretch (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 427, 498; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Hence deriv. v. ¶skybaleer, to rail against, abuse, vilify (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.).
Lth. 1718 News from Bathgate 5:
When Highlanders came here away, These naked Skaibalds boasted. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 122:
Poor Skybalds, curs'd with less of Wealth than Wit. Dmf. 1760 Session Papers, Reid v. Edgar (18 July) 23:
I would not list with such a Scyball as you. Per. 1774 Gentleman and Lady's Weekly Mag. (8 June) 235:
The skybald, by his ain ill conscience chas'd. Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
My very bluid began to rise at being chased by twa skebels. Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 353:
For sic outlandish skybalds now Ha'e ta'en the dicin' trade. Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gazette (20 Feb.):
Eh! ye skibbald ye, but just come back again, an' I'll meal-box ye. Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 19:
Whar is he noo, the skypal?
2. A ragged, unkempt or neglected person, a tatterdemalion, ragamuffin (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. Gl.; Rxb. 1970); one of uncouth or unpleasant manners or temper (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164).
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 43:
This skybal of late has been tied to his Kate. Arg. c.1850 L. MacInnes Dial. S. Kintyre (1936) 29:
Nor I a claty skybal, thus To sclaffer after thee. Uls. 1892 Ballymena Obs.:
You're a naked skibel. ne.Sc. 1909 G. Greig Folk-Song xii. 1:
An ill faurt skyple cam' fae Crimon', . . . A perfect scunner to the women. Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 20:
A schauchlin, husslin-shoodert skeibult wui a toozy, taaty heed.
3. A thin person (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1953 Traynor); a thin, worn-out or lazy animal, esp. a horse (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Traynor); a gelded goat (Rnf. 1825 Jam.).
4. Something worthless, useless or discarded, as thin poor soil (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1970); in pl., peeled branches when the bark was stripped for tanning (Dmf. a.1920). Cf. Skibbrie.
II. adj. 1. Rascally, worthless, disreputable; tattered, ragged (Cld. 1825 Jam.). Now arch.
Sc. p.1714 Jacob. Relics (Hogg 1819) 118:
A skeplet hat, and plaiden hose. Sc. 1784 Caled. Mercury (16 Oct.):
Britain's a muckle maun Balloon, Opprest wi' mony a scybell loun. Abd. a.1809 J. Skinner Amusements 43:
Gin I had here the skypel Kate, Sae weel's I shoud him bang! Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
Confined only to the riff-raff, to the street “skibel” fraternity. Sc. 1913 H.P. Cameron Imit. Christ III. vi.:
Awa tae the back-o'-beyont wi' ye, ye skypal whilly wha.
2. Of persons or circumstances: needy, not having a sufficiency, short, causing want or destitution; scrimp, stingy.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 164:
A'll be some scypal o' seed-corn. Abd. 1897 Trans. Bch. Field Club IV. 81:
“Skyple” wi yer wecht. Abd. 1955 :
This is skypal times — bare times, said when small boats could not get to sea.
III. v. To work carelessly (Ayr.4 1928).[O.Sc. schybald, = I. 1., a.1566, skybalde, = II. 1., a.1585. Orig. obscure.]
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Skybald n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Jan 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/skybald>
Try an Advanced Search