Show Search Results Show Browse

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Quhissil(l, n. Also: quhis(s)yll, -el, -eil, -all, -le; quhyssill; whissill, -all, vhissell, whisle; quissill, qwissel; quyschile; quhistle, whistle, wisle; quhessill; Quhossill. [ME and e.m.E. whistil (Rolle), whistle (Wyclif), qwistle (c1400), whisell (1607), OE hwistle. Cf. ON hvíslan fem. whistling, hvísl neut. and hvísla fem. whispering.]

1. A whistle, flute or pipe.Appar. part of the insignia of the office of Lord High Admiral, see Treas. Acc. III lxv and, e.g., quots. 1505 and 1506 under (1) below.Almany quhissil, a fife. Cf. 17th c. Eng. almain whistle id. (1670–71).(1) a1400 Leg. S. vi 60.
A quyschile
1501–2 Treas. Acc. II 134.
To Guilliam, taubronar, to by him quhissillis
1505 Ib. III 41.
Ane chenȝee of gold … to the kingis quhissil making
1506 Ib. 348.
The quhissill chenȝe
1513 Doug. iii x 11.
About hys hals a quhissil [Sm. quissill] hung had he
1533 Boece 185.
And menstralis playand apoun quhissillis
1540–1 Treas. Acc. VII 427.
For making of ane quhissill … of ane auld carkane of gold
1549 Compl. 65/25. 1575 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 334.
That the toun of Dumfries … brought a reader of their own with tabron and whisle, and caused him read the prayers
1575 Edinb. Test. III 384.
Barnis quhissillis
1596 Dalr. II 260/3.
Lamentable trumpetis, qwisselis of dule [L. lugubres fistulæ]
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 50/9.
Praise God … Uith uatry quhissiles schill
1597 Bk. Rates 9b.
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 332.
Whissillis for tabernaris the dozen, xx s. Whissilles for childrene the groce, xii s.
1611-57 Mure Dido & Æneas i 184.
And mariners … Their chearful whisles meryly do sownd
(2) 1488 Treas. Acc. I 81.
A quhissill of gold
1506 Ib. III 196.
For ane silvir quhissill to the king
1511 Ib. IV 196.
Rubanis to be ane string to the kingis quhissill of gold
1539 Ib. VII 173. 1566 Crail B. Ct. MS 28 May.
Thre cronis … to pay … for the syluar quhisall lybellit
1583 Edinb. Test. XII 286b.
Ane dosane pig quhissillis price iiij s.
1586 Ib. XVI 246b.
Ane quhissill of ane bair tuith garnesit with siluer
(3) 1513 Doug. ix x 65.
Quhar as the quhissill [Sm. quhissyll, L. tibia] rendris soundis seir [etc.]
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 219.
For thair playing on the trumpet and quhyssill
1559 Ib. III 57.
[To] William Thomsone, quhisler … for his laubouris in playing vpone the quhissall at the wache
1560 Ib. 63. 1566 Treas. Acc. XII 31.
To James Heroun, playar upoun the pipe and quhissill
1585 James VI Ess. 56.
Efter Pan had found the quhissill
1658 Sc. Ant. IX 50.
James Kirk who plaid on the quhistle to tham
(4) 1562 Reeves Sc. Prose bef. 1600 79.
Ane schip … hawand skipper with marinallis and gunnaris all reddy at the sound of his quhissill
c1575 Balfour Pract. 640.
The master sould have the master's quhissill and cheinȝie
1600-1610 Melvill 282.
The whissall of that auld inchantar
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlviii 135.
Our maister soon his lyttil vhissell cheir[d]; His mariners incontinent compeird
(5) 1532 Mill Mediæv. Plays 233.
To the man that playit one the almeny quhessill one the octo day
1574 Aberd. B. Rec. II 21 (see Almany n.). 1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI 167.
Ane brokin scotis quhissel
(6) ?15.. (1599) Burnett of Leys 332.
To play on quhissle

b. Attrib. and comb.Quhissill-pype, a whistle-pipe or decoy whistle [e.m.E. whistle-pipe (1587)].Whissill tabourier, ? a man playing on the tabor and pipe. Cf. 17th c. Eng. taberner id. (1688). c1475 Wall. (1570) viii 1423.
As quha suld dryfe the byrdis to ane snair With ane quhissill pype [MS with the small pype]
1599 Maxwell Mem. II 36.
He saw her [Queen Elizabeth of England] dance … the Spaines pavie to a whissill tabourier

2. ? The sound, or ? the act, of whistling. But perh. merely a further instance of 1 above. 1528 Lynd. Dreme 899.
The gude hird … To quhose quhissill all ar obedient

b. To be upon a whistle, ? to await a signal, ? to be ready to take action. 1690 Leven & Melv. P. 494.
Which … so encouraged the disaffected to joigne them that many of our shyre off the Mearnes have joigned them alreadie, and the rest are upon a whistle

3. A hollow tube; ? a tube-like container (of venom), a sting. a1447 Bower Chron. II 376.
Indisciplinata mulier … Facie blanda ut scorpio; … Quod est vulgariter dicere: The unlatit woman … Blyth … in the face lyk ane angell, Bot a wisle in the taill lyk a draconell
a1538 Abell 98b.
Thai put a twym quhissill at his cundit and … throw the quhissill thai put ane hait yrn

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Quhissil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: