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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HANDLAWHILE, n. Also han(de)lawhile. A short space of time, a little while (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry, Gl., hanlawhile; Peb., Slk. 1825 Jam., han(d)lawhile; s.Sc. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 178).s.Sc. 1834 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 56:
But she sat cowering and unhappy, and seighin' every handel-a-while.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (27 Feb.) 353:
Ilka hanlawhile she was at the door . . . to listen if she didna hear Andro comin yet.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He wunna bide still a hanlawhile.
s.Sc. 1925 H. M'Diarmid Sangschaw 4:
There's no' a licht that the Heavens let loose Can calm them a hanlawhile.

[Mid.Eng. hand-lang-while. c.1460, an extended form of O.E. hand-hwīl, id.]

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"Handlawhile n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2023 <>



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