Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BALE, Baal, Bail, Beal, Bele, n.1 [bel]

1. A large fire.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Bail. A flame, or blaze of whatever kind, or for what purpose soever.

2. A beacon-fire kindled on a height to give warning of the approach of an enemy.Sc. 1805 Scott Lay of the Last Minstrel iii. xxvii:
For, when they see the blazing bale, Elliots and Armstrongs never fail.

3. Comb.: bale-, baal-, beal-, bele-fire.

(1) A large fire, or funeral pyre.Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Gen. View Agric. of Ayr 154:
A large fire, whether it be in a house or in the fields, in Ayrshire, is still denominated a Bale- or Baal-fire.
Slk. 1813 J. Hogg Queen's Wake (1814) 83:
And they set ane bele-fire him about, To burn him skin and bone.

(2) A beacon fire.Sc. 1805 Scott Lay of the Last Minstrel iv. i.:
Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide, The glaring bale-fires blaze no more.
Sc. 1831 P. F. Tytler Hist. of Scot. IV. 138:
Watchmen were stationed, whose duty it was to light a bale-fire, or beacon, the moment they received word of the approach of an enemy.
Sc. 1852 D. M. Moir Poet. Works II. 7:
Stir the beal-fire, wave the banner, Bid the thundering cannon sound.
Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 223:
The custom of the “baal-fire” or “Tannel” is still observed on the last of July, St Margaret's Day.

[O.N. bal, O.E. bǣl, great fire, funeral pile, Gr. φαλος, shining bright. O.Sc. bale, bail (prob. from O.N.), bele, beil, beal (prob. from O.E.). Bail occurs first in Barbour's Brus (1375) and bale-fyre in Leg. of the Saints (1375–1400). Bale and bale-fire are mod. revivals of the 19th cent. The spelling baal is due to a fanciful connection with the pagan god, Baal.]

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

"Bale n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/bale_n1>

1618

snd

Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND:

    Loading...

Share: