Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHITTLE, n.2 Also whuttl(i)e; whitly. Reduced or altered forms of Eng. whitlow, an abscess round the finger-nail (Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 170, whuttlie; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai, whuttle; Uls. 1953 Traynor; m. and s.Sc. 1974). Also in Eng. dial. For ne.Sc. forms see Futley. [′ʍɪtl(e), ′ʍʌtl(e)] Sc. 1745  J. Maclaurin Arguments (1774) 94:
A distemper incident to the thumb, vulgarly called the whittle.
Sc. 1884  Scottish Reader (6 Sept.) 212:
The disease familiarly known as the whittle attacked the thumb of her right hand.
Rxb. 1895  J. B. Webber Rambles 50:
[I] had tae gang Awa' wi' whittle i' the thoom.
Arg. 1914  J. M. Hay Gillespie i. ix.:
She took the whittle in her thoom' an' couldna wash.

Combs.: 1. whittle-beal, -beil, -beel(ing), whuttle-bail(in), whitty-beal, id. (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 253; Ags. 1921 T.S.D.C. IV.; I.Sc., Cai., Ags., Fif., Ayr. 1974). See Beal, v., n.1; †2. whuttle-grass, the common melilot, Melilotus officinatis (Rxb. 1825 Jam.), formerly employed in poultices and fomentations. Eng. whitlow-grass is applied to other plants used for the same purpose. 1. Ags. 1895  Arbroath Guide (16 Nov.) 3:
[Her] man's been at hame for a fortnicht wi' the whittlebeil in's thoom.
Sh. 1953  New Shetlander No. 35. 8:
It turned oot ta be a whittle beeling.

[O.Sc. whittell, id., 1596.]

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



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