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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FURL, v., n.1 Also †forle, †furril. n.Sc. forms and usages of Eng. whirl. See P.L.D. § 134 and cf. Forl.

I. v. As in Eng., to whirl, to spin round, to turn, tr. and intr. (ne.Sc., Ags. 1953).Abd. a.1784 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 170:
He dances best that dances fast, . . . And furls about the feezings o't.
Abd. 1909 Banffshire Jnl. (9 Feb.) 6:
Ach, ye muckle stoopit gype, ye just cut the figure aucht, trok quines, an' furl.
Bch. 1949 W. R. Melvin Poems 9:
But she's unco spare o' Christmas fare — The kin' that furls ye roon.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 53:
The winscreen o wir car sugared an drappit in wir laps like smush, an the lang bleck toorie o rikk furled inno the set o a mushie's heid.

Hence furlie, a familiar name for a turner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 56); furlin yett, a turnstile (Mry.1, Bnff.2 1928).Mry. 1852 in L. Shaw Hist. Moray (ed. Gordon 1882) I. 381:
The Council . . . agreed to shut up the old footpath called “The Furlin' Yetts.”

II. n. 1. As in Eng.: a whirl, swirl, a circular motion (ne.Sc., Ags. 1953). Hence furl-pool (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.); furl-win (Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert xvii.).ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 65:
The whirlwind that raises the dust on roads is called “a furl o' fairies' ween.”
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Poems 33:
The furl in the water.
Abd. 1933 J. H. Smythe Barrowsgate 38:
Sae wi' a final furl He cuist the hinmost wup.

Phr.: ‡furl o' (furly-) birse, the ace of spades (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1943), from the intrieate flowery ornamentation which gen. appears on this card. Given in E.D.D. as = knave of trumps, evidently under a misapprehension.Abd. 1900 E.D.D.:
At a game of cards the remark was made, “Furlybirs is latchin' [lagging].”

2. “A short time of stormy weather; a sharp attack of disease” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 56).

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"Furl v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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