Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TARTLE, n.2, v.2 Also tirtle. [tɑrtl]

I. n. 1. A lock or tuft of hair or wool at an animal's tail which has become matted with excrement or mud (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) T. 110, tirtle; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 191; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Slg., wm.Sc., Gall. 1972). Dim. tartlock, id. (Dmb., Wgt. 1930). Arg. 1932  :
If ye clip the tartles aff that beast an wash her doon she'll tap the list.

2. By extension, in pl.: tatters, torn or trailinihng edges of clothing, tassels or fringes of ragged or dirty material (Uls. 1953 Traynor; wm.Sc. 1972). Gall. c.1867 3 :
“Your dress is a' tartles round the tail” was said to me when I came in very muddy.
Arg. 1882  Arg. Herald (3 June):
Aa your tartles an' trooshlach weenglan aboot your muckle spaagach sclaffran cluits.

II. v. To reduce (clothing) to ribbons or tatters. Rnf. 1877  J. M. Neilson Poems 94:
Tartled a' his tither pair [of trousers] Richt across the bum.

[Also found in met. form Trottle, Eng. dial. trattle, treddle, sheep-dung, Mid.Eng. tridil, tyrdyl, O.E. tyrdel, id., dim. of turd. Cf. Driddle.]

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"Tartle n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2018 <>



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