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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DIVIL, Divvel, n. Also duvvel, duvvle (see P.L.D. §§ 90, 95.2 (1)). Sc. forms of Eng. devil (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Arg.1 (duvvle), Kcb.9 1940). Dim. divilick (Abd.27 1947). Also in Eng. (mainly n.) dial. For Gen.Sc. forms see Deil, n. and Deevil.Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xi.:
“Michty,” said one urchin, “whatten duvvels!”
Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Stories Old Lossiemouth 22:
A'll juist wag ma paper at them, an' say “Chine yer divil!”
Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present 62:
Yon man ca's him the Divvel, an he disna care a pawpee for him.
wm.Sc. 1906 “H. Foulis” Vital Spark 4:
She drawed four feet forrit and nine aft, and she could go like the duvvle.

Phr.: divil mend ye, serve you right! (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.).

Derivs.: 1. divilment, devilment; 2. divvlish, devilish.1. Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xvi.:
Out of sheer divilment, if for no sweeter cause, he hankered still for a kiss from the only girl who had refused him.
2. Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 24:
An' then there's poattach ti the librarian — a divvlish big item!

[O.Sc. has divill from 1540, also duvill, later variants of devil; also divilisch.]

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"Divil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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