Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
CANNLE, Cannel, Can'le, Cawnle, Caunle, n. Sc. forms of Eng. candle. Also used in various Eng. combs., e.g. cannle-licht, -maker, can'lestick, and in phrases, e.g. to haud a cannel tae, to licht the can'le at baith ends. The form candle is illustrated here only in Sc. usages and the spelling is deceptive. The Gen.Sc. pronunciation is [kɑ(:)nl] except in I.Sc. The examples with d are due mostly to literary, school or church influences. [kɑ(:)nl n.Sc., m.Sc., s.Sc., Ant., but n.Ayr., Lth., Edb. + k:nl and e.Per. kənl; kɑ:ndl Sh.]
1. A candle. Gen.Sc.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 12–13:
But the mystery o' life canna gang out like the pluff o' a cawnle. ne.Sc. a.1835 J. Grant Tales of the Glens (1836) 94:
M'Nab [said] to his wife; “ha'e ye sic a thing's a can'le, my thrifty hen?” Lnk. 1923 G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 50:
In cauld back-ends I've studden there, Beside the cannel's flickerin' flare. Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 28:
His faither keepit a bit shop, and sell't . . . caunles, spunks, and siclike.
‡2. Sing. form used instead of pl. or as a collective. Known to Abd.9 1938.
Sc.  J. Beattie Scoticisms (1787) 23:
A bunch of candle. Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary (1818) xxvi.:
In a grand chamber, a' hung wi' black, and lighted wi' wax cannle. Hdg. 1876 J. Teenan Song and Satire 23:
They voted seeven pund o' caun'le For the wundows o' the puir.
3. “A corpse light” (Mry.1 1925; Bnff.2 1938).
Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mountain Strains 95:
About a hundred years ago, When fairies wander't to an' fro, An' forgoes aft were seen an' heard, An' candles gaed to yon kirk-yard In blue lows blinkin'.
4. Combs.: (1) can'le-doup, candle-dowp, a candle-end; see Doup, n.1, 3 (2). Gen.Sc.; (2) candle-fir, “fir that has been buried in a morass, moss-fallen fir, split and used instead of candles” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2); known to Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9 1938; (3) can'le-futtle, -gullie, “a large knife for splitting up bogfir to make candles” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 22), see Futtle and Gullie; not known to our correspondents; (4) cannle-stick, “a boy who stands on the centre of a plank in see-saw, to control the alternate sway” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (5) candle-whittle = (3) (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); see Whittle.
(1) Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona xii.:
The goodman brought . . . a candle-dowp to eat it by, about eleeven. Fif. 1896 “G. Setoun” R. Urquhart iii.:
Mony a can'le-doup I've kent gutter an' gang out leavin' me to crawl into bed i' the dark. (2) Sc. 1760 Decisions Court of Session in Fife v. Farquharson:
Another destructive practice . . . was cutting out the hearts of the finest [fir] trees to serve for candle-fir. Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. vi.:
Thin “splits” of fir taken off logs that had been dug up in mosses and twisted into a sort of rope . . . were “sold ready made under the name of fir tethers”; and . . . “when no longer fit to be used as a tether, they are employed as candle fir.” (3) ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Echo of Olden Time 17:
There was a niche or bole in the wall on each side of the hearth — the one containing a tobacco-pipe or two, a tobacco box, a can'le-gullie, and perhaps a few books.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 367:
You will neither dance, nor hold the Candle — That is, you will neither do, nor let do.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Cannle n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/cannle>
Try an Advanced Search