Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CHIELD, CHIEL, Cheil, Cheel, Sheeld, n. Also dims. chielie, chielag (Cai.7), chieldie, and double dim. chielachie. See also Chile and Cheelder. [tʃild, tʃil Sc.; ʃild Sh., Cai. For loss or retention of d, see P.L.D. §§ 64.1, 91, 93.5, 113, 124; and for sh for ch, see § 154]

1. A child; a boy or girl. “A little boy” (Rs.1 c.1911, chielachie). Known to Cai.7, Abd. and Fif. correspondents, Slg.3, Edb.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1939. Also in phr. wi' chiel, with child, pregnant. Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess Act II. Sc. ii.:
An honest ouman, that ye ken fu' well, Taul' me, for certain, that she is wi' chiel.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xiii.:
My son Benjie was . . . between four and five years old when — poor wee chieldie! — he took the chincough, and in more respects than one, was not in a good way.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) iv.:
He was an awfu' chiel for airtin' ither boys into scrapes and steerin' clear himsel'.

2. A man, a young man. Familiarly, a “fellow.” May be used contemptuously or affectionately. Known to Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.13, Slg.3, Arg.1 1939. Also fig. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 62:
Sometimes I'll act a Cheil that's dull, Look thoughtfu', grave, and wag my Scull.
Bnff. 1924 Burnie's Jeannie in Swatches o' Hamespun 23:
There's a young chiel comes in aboot wi' a motor at antrin times.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 90:
Baith soon an' well, my cheel, mat ye come back.
Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 16:
A chiel that ne'er will be respekit While he draws breath.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs 35:
I'm no' the first auld chield wha's gotten a slight.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Dream iv.:
But Facts are cheels that winna ding, An' downa be disputed.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck, etc. II. ii.:
Ye're an auld-farrant honest chiel!

3. A young woman; also used as a term of endearment (Fif.1 1939). Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 140:
For weel I wat wi' joy I grat Tae t'ink the lass wus mine; Sae there I wan the sauncy chield.
Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 23:
She laid her hand on Meggy's head; And said, my chiel I'm gaen to die.

4. Phrases: (1) chaumer chiel, see Chaumer, n., 4; (2) chiel (cheel) (n)or chare (chair), kith (n)or kin, chick (n)or child; (3) the Auld Chiel', — sheeld, the Devil (Abd.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1939). (2) Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 348:
Wi' a gude stane house, an' a pantry bein, An' chiel nor chare to want them frae him.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 67:
Heard ye nae word gin he had cheel or chair, Or he a jo, that had the yellow hair?
(3) Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Sh. Trad. Lore 180:
You referred to him [the devil] as . . . the auld sheeld.
Bch.(D) 1926 P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Review (July) 222:
A widna 'a' thocht, noo, 'at ye wid 'a' liket t' be mix't up wi' dealin's wi' the Auld Chiel'.

[O.Sc. has cheld, cheild, a child, a.1400; a boy, lad, young fellow, 1488, variant of child: also childe, a girl or young woman, a.1400, and chalmer-cheild (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Chield n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2021 <>



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