Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TUIL, n. Also tule (Ayr. 1818 Kilmarnock Mirror 111), till (Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 2); teel (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxviii.; Bnff. 1931 Banffshire Jnl. (21 April) 5; Bwk. 1960 Scottish Studies IV. i. 117; ne.Sc. 1973), dim. teelie (Abd. 1904 Weekly Free Press (10 March)); tewl, tewel (Sh. 1825 Jam.), tyool (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (20 December)), tjuel (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. tool (Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 15; Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Confessional 183). See P.L.D. §§ 35, 121. [m.Sc. tøl, tyl, tɪl, ne.Sc., Bwk. til; Ags. tel; Gall. + tjul; Sh., Ork. tju(ə)l]

1. As in Eng., but freq. applied in a gen. sense, somewhat jocularly, to any implement, instrument or necessary piece of equipment for any purpose. Gall. a.1897  Rob Ringan's Plewman Cracks 37:
Ye'll be thinkin' aboot this tewl [a curling stone] i' the kirk the morn.
Abd. 1917  C. Murray Sough o' War 23:
I'll get the teels to mak' toddy o't.
Ork. 1929  Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 78:
Da tewals eused for da job waar a helter, a muffler, a ald weel wirn bridle bit, an' a puckle o' da Ald Kirk.
Abd. 1936  Huntly Express (1 May) 2:
Sae anglin' chiels, rink oot yer teels.
Bwk. 1960  Scottish Studies IV. i. 117:
Portable tools for rope making. The gear, referred to as “the teels.” . . .

Derivs.: †(1) tulie, for or pertaining to tools, in comb. tulie-budie, a straw-basket with different compartments for holding tools (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). See Buddie; (2) teelsome, of an implement: manageable, easily manipulated. (2) Abd. c.1870 15 :
He was a terrific scytheman, and he said to the local vricht, when ordering a new sned, “Mak her lichtsome and teelsome, an maist damnable strong.”

2. In Sh. sea-taboo usage: a boat (Sh. 1814 Abbotsford MS., tewel).

3. In a disparaging sense of a person: a poor mean weak person (Ork. 1973). Also in Eng. dial.; a sordid materialistic fellow (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Abd. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 35:
An honest heart an' conscience leal Will langer stan' the test, Than ony peevish near-gaun teal.
Abd. 1930  Abd. Univ. Review (March) 110:
Hiz 'at's aul' craeturs are peer teels fin it's a maitter o' life an' death.

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"Tuil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2018 <>



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