Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TODDLE, v.1, n. Also toadle, todle; ¶toodle (Ags. 1905 A. N. Simpson Bobbie Guthrie 50). [tɔdl, todl]

I. v. 1. To walk with short, rocking, uncertain or unsteady steps: (1) of a young child or animal, or an old, infirm or drunk person, to totter. Gen.Sc. Adopted in Eng. in the 19th c. Ppl.adj. toddlin. Sc. 1726  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 161:
When round as a neep you come todlen hame.
Sc. 1783  Allison Gross in
Child Ballads No. 35. x.:
She's turned me into an ugly worm And gard me toddle about the tree.
Ayr. 1785  Burns Halloween v.:
The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 123:
Leadin a toddlin bairn in her hand.
Slg. 1841  R. M. Stupart Harp of Strila 18:
The auld guidwife soon comes toddlin ben.
Edb. 1866  J. Smith Merry Bridal 23:
Wee Joukydaidles, Toddlin' out an' in.
Knr. 1891  H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 67:
Late-born lambs are toddlin' i' the sun.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Tam took me, that was a toddlin' laddie, by the hand.

Agent n. toddler, as in Eng. Comb. todler tyke, the carder bee. Cf. foggie-toddler, id., s.v. Foggie, adj., 6. Ags. 1826  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 292:
The todler-tyke has a very gude byke.
Sc. 1846  Chambers's Jnl. (30 May) 349:
A light yellow bee, which Davie calls the Todler Tyke.

(2) more generally, to make one's way in an easy, jaunty, unhurried but somewhat ungainly manner, to jog, freq. of taking one's departure or setting out for home. Gen.Sc., also in n.Eng. dial. Rxb. 1815  J. Ruickbie Poems 49:
Lang about Ettrick may ye toddle.
Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xxxii.:
The King, to use a north country word, expressive of his mode of locomotion, toddled to his chair or throne.
Sc. 1831  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 223:
Now, gentlemen, we must be toddling.
Per. 1881  D. MacAra Crieff 21:
His habits of wandering about from house to house, or toddling, as he called it.
wm.Sc. 1934  T. Smellie Tea-Pairty 59:
We should jist be gettin' on oor haps an' toadlin' awa hame.
em.Sc. 1909  J. Black Melodies 100:
Sooth Blair an' Blairmains near the loch We'll scan while toddlin' on.

(3) tr., with cogn. accusative. Per. a.1843  J. Stewart Sketches (1857) 15:
'Mang a' the queer bodies that toddle the road.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 390:
He had joost tae toddle his wa's hame.

2. transf. of running water: to glide, purl, ripple. Ppl.adj. todlin. Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 39:
Todling burns that smoothly play O'er gowden bed.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Elegy Capt. Henderson iv.:
Ye burnies, wimplin down your glens, Wi' toddlin din.
Dmf. 1823  J. Kennedy Poems 98:
In simmer drought, the siller rill That todelt neath my pasture hill.
Bwk. 1873  A. Wanless Poems 165:
Down o'er the rocks the burnies fa', They toddle on, they rin sae pure.

II. n. 1. A leisurely walk or stroll. Gen.Sc. Now also in St. Eng. Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 60:
I'll tak' a bit toddle alang an' see him.

2. A toddling child, a small neat person (Ags. 1825 Jam.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Dim. todlich, a child beginning to walk (Fif. Ib.). Bnff. 1896  Banffshire Jnl. (21 April) 3:
Just see its toddles Wi' their breeks rowt oure their knees.

[O.Sc. todle, = I. 1., c.1500. Orig. prob. imit. of short, jerky movements. Cf. Doddle, v., Dod, v.1]

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"Toddle v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jan 2019 <>



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