Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
HANDLIN(G), vbl.n. Also hanlin(g); haun(d)lin; haandling (Sh. 1902 E.D.D.).
1. A transaction, business, job in hand, task, undertaking; a share in some affair, an intermeddling; hence specif. a difficult task, a “handful” (Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1956).Sc. 1720 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) II. 524:
You may guess what throng I have of letters by the few you sent me, which are little to my handling here.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
He wad fain hae a handling in that affair.Ayr. c.1827 Galt Howdie (1923) 5:
It began to grow into a fashion that the genteeler order of ladies went into the towns to have their han'lings amang the doctors.Sc. 1846 C. Johnstone Edb. Tales II. 333:
The old Scotswoman . . . lent her aid . . . from motives of kindness and the desire of obliging, not much alloyed by the love of what her countrywomen term a “handling”Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket 276:
I nevir hade sic a hanlin for ther's maist aye ane o' them greetin.Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet iv.:
Me wi' the care o' yer gran'faither — sic a handling, him nae better nor a bairn.Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 23:
You've keepit me frae grace, and a sair haundlin' you've been to me a' thae years.Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 128:
The neighbours they were socht owre by Ta ha'e a han'lin' in the pie.Dmf. 1954:
The minister of Tynron went miles up the glen to baptise a baby, and word got about the neighbours and he finished up by baptising five at one go. On the way home the car driver said “By, that was a guid handlin.”Abd. 1955 Huntly Express (4 Feb.):
Shrewd, progressive and enterprising, he had what the farming community call, “A big han'lin'.”Uls. 1993:
It was some handlin with 60 guests to feed.
2. A rounding up, penning of sheep for some special purpose, e.g. dipping, shearing, etc. (Peb., Ayr., sm. and s.Sc. 1956). Also attrib.Kcb. 1883 G. Murray Sarah Rae 47:
Our herds with skill the fat [sheep] must wale, And sort the slack for sale; When brown's the bracken on the brae What handlins then we hail!Dmf. 1925 Scottish Farmer (24 Jan.):
In gathering the sheep for handlings early morning is best.Hebr. 1937 J. MacDonald Highland Ponies 128:
When it came to sheep handlings, it was only men who were thoroughly used to sheep who were asked.Sc. 1954 Scotsman (17 Dec.):
The employer supplies meat for men at handlings, dippings, and clippings up to 3 main meals per day.n.Sc. 1954 Scotland's Mag. (March) 26:
A strategically situated fank or handling pen in the glen below.
‡3. An entertainment, meeting, party, social gathering, merry-making (Kcb.3 1929). Comb. tea-handling, a tea-party (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.).Ayr. 1821 Galt Ayr. Legatees viii.:
We are providing for a handling.wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 104:
It has been the custom . . . to hold merry-meetings in one another's houses during the New-Year holidays, which meetings are generally designated “New'r-day haunlins.”wm.Sc. 1888 Anon. Archie Macnab 55:
Catch the Morrisons encouragin' oor John to their tea-parties an' haunlins.Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 329:
I had only been yinst in her house since she settled, and that was at a promiscuous tea handling.
4. A discussion, altercation or quarrel (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.); “a disturbance, an unnecessary annoyance” (n.Ant. 1924 North. Whig (14 Jan.)).
5. “Abundance, store, fulness” (Abd. 1825 Jam.).
†6. A pit in a tannery, containing a weak solution of tannin in which hides were handled, = Eng. handler.Sc. 1763 Caled. Mercury (13 June) 284:
A Parcel of Leather, some of it finished, some of it in different layers in the pits, and some in the hanlins.Sc. 1777 Caled. Mercury (4 Oct.):
That convenient Tan-yard . . . consisting of four lime and water pits, 13 vats and handlings, two baits under shade.
7. An experience of a serious or unpleasant nature, an ordeal (Ork., Ags. 1975). Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle The Lintie 186:
A lass that cam' safely through a sair hanlin' wi' Mrs Cameron.
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"Handlin vbl. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/handling>