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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.

GRIMLINS, Also grimm(e)lings (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 77), grimplins, grumlins. Twilight, the “first or last gleams of daylight” (Ork. 1929 Marw., grim(p)lins, Ork. 1955; Cai.3 1931, grimmelings). [′grɪm(ə)lɪnz, ′grɪm(p)lins (Marw.)]Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 224:
Bit alis, alis, whin da grimlins cam' an' he gaed tae geong hame feinty sheep nor shoon fand he.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 114:
In the “grimmelings” the youngsters were employed to strip the green peel off [the rushes], leaving the white pith, “as saft as silk,” which, swimming in sillock oil, barely made darkness visible.
Ork. 1995 Orcadian 21 Dec 9:
I was walking home along the shore in the grimlins when, from the Burn of Gairsty, I saw a flash of light at the end of our house where my father was lighting his pipe.

[Deriv. of Norw. dial. grimla, to glimmer, twinkle, blink. Cf. grimlen, shining intermittently, e.Sw. grim(b)la, to glimmer before the eyes.]

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"Grimlins n. pl.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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