Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPELL, n.1, v.1 Also speel (Bnff. 1871 Banffshire Jnl. (7 Feb.)). Sc. form and usages:

1. Spelling, spelling lesson (Bwk. 1971). Abd. 1867  A. Allardyce Goodwife xii.:
She'll read as clare's the Dominie. An's feerious at the spell.
Slk. 1897  D. W. Purdie Poems 74:
When oor spells we couldna say.
Bwk. 1912  J. Burleigh Ednam 125:
He makes them say their “spells.”

2. A spelling book. Sc. 1803  The Conductor Intro.:
The columns of Spelling which are generally interspersed in other Spells with the lessons of reading, in this Spell occupy a separate place.
Lnk. 1842  Children in Mines Report II. 366:
Had a little “spell” the other day in which he was learning his A.B.C.

3. Combs. (1) big spell, a spelling book printed in capitals (Lnk. 1840 T.S.D.C.); (2) large spelling book, id.; (3) muckle spell-buik, id.; (4) spell-book, a spelling book; (5) wee spell (-book), a spelling book in lower-case letters (Lnk. 1840 T.S.D.C.). (1) Dmb. 1894  D. MacLeod Past Worthies 119:
The wee spell, the big spell, the New Testament, the Bible, and the Collection, in rotation, comprised the whole literary equipment.
(2) Slg. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XV. 371:
They learn the sounds of the letters . . . then they receive the large spelling book.
(3) Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
He's i' the foort class an' complete maister o' the muckle spell-buik.
(4) Per. a.1843  J. Stewart Sketches (1857) 60:
Spell-book an' carritch syne to test Their skill in lear's in great request.
Gsw. 1865  J. Young Homely Pictures 137:
She's torn her spell-book into leaves.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (15 May):
Da lang nebbit wirds i' da saxpenny spell buik.
(5) Ayr. 1833  J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 253:
“The wee Spell! what kin' o' book is that?” “The second step up the ladder, sir,” answered the Dominie.
Sc. 1841  Tait's Mag. (June) 360:
He could hammer out some words in the “wee spell.”
Ayr. 1868  A. McKay Ingleside Lilts 166:
I toddled to the auld schule-house The wee spell-book to learn.

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"Spell n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Mar 2018 <>



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