Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPRAUCHLE, v., n. Also sprauchel, spraughle, -el, sprawchle, sprachel, -il, -le, spraghil, -le, sprahal (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (15 Dec.)); sprochle, sproghal (Uls. c.1840 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924) 40); spraichle; sprackle, spraickle, sprockle; spraggle, spraagle (Ork.); and nonce reduced forms sprauch, spraick. [sprɑxl, sprxl]

I. v. To move or make one's way laboriously or in a hasty, clumsy manner, esp. in an upward direction, to scramble, clamber, flounder about, to struggle to extricate oneself from a restricted position, to sprawl, flail about with the limbs (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 435, sprawchle; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., spraughle; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Marw., spraagle; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also fig. Vbl.n. sprauchlin. Phr. to get spraugheled to, to reach after much exertion or difficulty. Ayr. 1786  Burns Meeting Lord Daer i.:
Sae far I sprackl'd up the brae. I dinner'd wi' a Lord.
Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick II. xiii.:
He sprawls and spraughles like a swine at the piggin'.
Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xxxi.:
Wad ye have naebody spraickle up the brae but yoursell, Geordie?
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 49:
Puir body! owr the bed-stock coupit . . . Exceptin' her (for she lay sprauchin').
Slg. 1869  St Andrews Gazette (3 April):
There'll be some teuch sprachlin' in St Stephen's aboot the English Kirk yont in Ireland.
s.Sc. 1871  H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. I. 3:
Ere he gat spraugheled to the brae.
Wgt. 1877  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 358:
He gied a great stacher and fell sprancheling [sic] on the floor.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 117:
He spraggled like a livan partan.
Abd. 1914  A. McS. The Bishop 15:
Fin't wis sprauchlin' to the tap.
Uls. c.1916  S. S. McCurry Ballads of Ballytumulty 113:
I upped an' sprachled on.
Dmf. 1941  Gallovidian 7:
We've sprachilt thro' fair an' foul weather.
Gsw. 1953  J. Lavin Compass of Youth i. x.:
Sprachle through the streets ye'll never see again, sprachlin' in the night because ye're feert what the sun will show.
Edb. 1964  Weekly Scotsman (19 March) 2:
Her sprauchlin feet deep-ruitit in ablow.

II. n. 1. A scramble, struggle, lit. and fig. Gen.Sc. Bwk. 1876  Minstrelsy of Merse (Crockett 1893) 223:
The warsle's ower wi' him, The spraichle an' the hoast are ower.
Ags. 1890  Arbroath Guide (22 Feb.) 4:
I let a sprachel to get up.
Lnk. 1893  T. Stewart Miners 76:
Hoo few e'er reached the tap, o' a' That dared the direfu' sprauchle.
Ork. 1956  C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 11:
Twa-t'ree meed a geud sprackle efter him.

2. Fig. a stunted, underdeveloped or feeble creature, a weakling (sm.Sc. 1971). Gall. 1921  :
A boy brought into the house a small frog and his mother said, “Throw it oot, it's not but a sprochle.”
Gall. 1927  Times (4 Oct.) 17:
The comment of an old shepherd upon an announcement that a friend of his had blossomed into print: — “Any sprockle can write a book, but it takes a man to herd the Merrick.”

[The earliest form is sprackle, the -ch being a later development. Orig. prob. Scand., cf. O.N. sprokla, spraukla, Faer. sprakla, to sprawl, kick about with the feet.]

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"Sprauchle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Feb 2019 <>



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