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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FELL, n.1 Sc. usages of Eng. fell, the hide of an animal.

1. The skin or cuticle immediately above the flesh; “the cutis, derm, or underskin in sheep, etc.” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.; Dmf. 1952): “the broad muscles of the body” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 203); the deep fascia.Ayr. 1786 Burns Ordination xii.:
See, how she peels the skin an' fell, As ane were peelin onions!
Peb. 1817 R. D. C. Brown Lintoun Green 91:
He'd singed the sheep's heads to the fell, Tae mak' the sheep-head kale.
Fif. 1899 Proc. Phil. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 39:
The fell is the deep fascia, a deep-seated pain being talked of as “betwixt the fell and the flesh.”

2. Combs.: (1) fell-ill, a disease of cattle, formerly called hide-bound (†Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (2) fell-poake, the trimmings and clippings from the dressing of hides, used as manure; (3) fell-rot, a rot in sheep, affecting the hide (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.).(1) Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 149:
Aged cattle, especially females, are liable to be hide bound, a disease known here and in the neighbouring counties by the name of fell-ill. The fell or skin, instead of being soft and loose, becomes hard, and sticks closely to the flesh and bones.
(2) Sc. a.1803 J. Gretton in A. Hunter Georgic. Essays (1803) III. 139:
Get your fell-poake on your head-land by the latter end of October.
(3) Sc. 1799 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. (1807) III. 465:
Others speak of many kinds of rot, and distinguish them by different names as the cor- or heart-rot, the fell-rot, the bone-rot and other rots.

3. The pile or nap of cloth; the way in which an animal's hair or fur lies (Gall. 1952).Kcd. 1900 Crockett Stickit Minister's Wooing 134:
Here Willie dusted the pulpit cushions . . . then carefully brushing them all in one direction, in order that, as he said, “the fell may a' lie the yae way.”

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"Fell n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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