Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAUL, CAULD, Call, n.1 and v. [kɑ(:)l(d)]

1. n. A weir or dam on a river to divert the water into the mill-lade (Tweeddale 1935 (per Lnk.3), caut; Kcb.1 1938; Rxb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 III. 160, call). “Applied to a dam on the River Ardle in Perthshire at Kirkmichael” (Fif.1 1938). Bwk. 1839 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club I. 184:
The whole of the water was diverted into the mill-lead by means of a cauld or weir.
Gall. 1934 M. Warrick in Gallov. Annual 18:
Dark, deep, and strong the river ran beneath the high-peaked bridge; then with a sullen roar it dropped — a foaming line of snow-white fury — beneath a high-banked caul.
Dmf. 1705 in W. McDowall Hist. Dumfries (1867) xxxix. 544:
Ane sufficient miln . . . with a sufficient caul and other pertinents.
w.Dmf. 1899 J. Shaw Country Schoolmaster 339:
Point out a dam — they cry, oh, that's the “caul.”
Rxb. 1918 Jedburgh Gazette (25 Jan.) 2/4:
The break-up of the ice and the flooding of the river that followed the thaw did some damage to Hundalee Mill cauld, and also to the cauld at Mossburnford.

Comb.: cauld back, “a dam-head” (Rxb. 1770 J. Ainslie Plan of Jedburgh); “still in local use” (Rxb.3 1940).

2. v. (See first quot.) s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
To caul the bank of a river, is to lay a bed of loose stones from the channel of the river backwards, as far as may be necessary, for defending the land against the inroads of the water.
Slk. 1886 J. Russell Reminisc. Yarrow ix.:
The stones were handy for caulding the river.

[O.Sc. has caul(l), cauld, caal, n., as above, the examples coming entirely from Peebles records from 1556–1567 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Caul n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jul 2021 <>



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