Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FARL, n., v. Also †farle, faarl, far(r)el, faurl; ferle (s.Sc.).

I. n. A three-cornered piece of oatcake, the fourth part of a Bannock; Gen.Sc., but obsol. in north. Also applied to flour scones (Ags., Ayr., Uls. 1950), morning rolls (Per.4 1950), shortbread (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., ferle, farle), etc. Often in phrs. farl o' cake, farl o' scone, etc. (Gall. 1950). Sc. a.1706  in J. Watson Choice Coll.i. 10:
There will be good lapper'd milk Kebucks, And Sowens and Farles, and Baps.
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 57:
Then let his wisdom girn an' snarl O'er a weel-tostit girdle farl.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Holy Fair vii.:
Wi' sweet-milk cheese, in monie a whang, An farls bak'd wi' butter.
Edb. 1822  R. Wilson Poems 43:
Wha maisters want are unco douce, An' hae few ginge'bread farls.
Sc. 1830  Scott Leg. Montrose iii.:
I have tasted no food since daybreak but a farl of oat-cake.
Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 98:
Heat burstan bread an' faarls.
Ayr. 1889  H. Johnston Glenbuckie xix.:
They had to patch up a meal of cold sowens with a farl of rye-bread thrown in.
Bwk. 1897  R. M. Calder Poems 70:
There's a farl o' scones on the girdle . . . When I win to my chimla cheek.
Uls. c.1916  S. S. McCurry Ballads of Ballytumulty 33:
How to harn the oaten farls That wudn't crack in two.
Crm. 1933  D. A. Mackenzie Stroopie Well 3:
In the old days bannocks were baked in circular shape, and the sign of the cross was cut. The four portions thus formed were called “farls”. When these were thoroughly fired, they were placed on the “cheeks” of the fire-place. It was unlucky to count the farls.

II. v. To provide with, feed on farls. Only in ppl.adj. farled. Fif. 1845  T. C. Latto Minister's Kail-yard 11:
The saftest gliders thro' the warld Are ne'er owre nice an' dainty farl'd.

[A reduced form of Fardel, q.v.]

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"Farl n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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