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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BULLET, Bullat, Boolad, Billet, n. and v. [′bʌlət, ′bɪlət, ′bɪ̢lət Sc.; ′buləd Cai.]

1. n. ‡(1) A game played with a round iron ball, like bowls.Sc. 1701–1731 R. Wodrow Analecta (Maitland Club 1842) I. 73:
The Marquise of Argyle . . . was playing at the bullets with some gentlemen of the country.
Clc. 1874 J. Crawford Memorials Alloa 121:
Game of "Bullets". As this game has long since become obsolete, it is necessary to state that in its performance a leathern strap was firmly buckled to the right wrist, and the loose part being wound over an iron ball, the projectile on escaping from the hand, gained a degree of velocity which often endangered the locomotives of biped or quadruped that it might encounter.
Gsw. 1927 D. Murray Old College of Glasgow 426:
Other outside games were Bowls, Quoits and the Bullet, in some places known as Knappar. This was an iron ball . . . hurled along a level surface, the contest being who would hurl it furthest. [Played in author's boyhood.]

(2) “A large stone” (Crm. 1911 J. Watson W.-L., bullat; 1913 D. Finlayson W.-L., billet); “any rounded boulder found in till or boulder clay” (Cai.7, boolad; Bnff.2, Arg.1 1937).Mearns 1809 G. Robertson Gen. View Agric. Kcd. 334:
But the stones there were little calculated for building, being all round, water-worn bullets.
Fif. 1992 Fife Advertiser (8 May)  2:
There were different names for types of stones on the shore, such as bullets (large, round smooth stones); ...

†Comb.: bulletstane, “a round stone” (Sc. 1808 Jam.), “used as a bullet for throwing along the highway in the game of Lang Bullet” (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang. 26).

(3) “A hail-stone” (Bnff.2 1937; Abd.13 1914). In pl.: “a shower of hail or frozen snow. Also called bullety rain” (Bch. 1914 T.S.D.C. I.).

(4) The fruit of a potato plant. Arran 1845 Trans. Highl. Soc. 489:
No potatoes immediately raised from the bullets, as the apples are called here, were planted in Arran last season.

2. v. To hail.Ayr.2 1914:
It's bulletin' on yet.

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"Bullet n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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