Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

HORL, n. Also horle, horal, horral, horit. [hor(ə)l]

1. A whorl (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 169), a small wheel, e.g. of a clock, a caster, etc.; a pulley-wheel of the winding gear at a mine (Fif. 1957). Also used attrib. Ayr. 1754 D. M'Naught Kilmaurs (1912) 115:
A sum of six shillings Scots was paid for “a horle for the clock.”
Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1856) III. 287:
Circumnavigating the table in arm-chairs! . . . So ye continue to rin upon horrals.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 151:
'Tween horl boxes, necks, and tails, And wonnerfu'! ha'f a score o' spools, Wi' diff'rent weft.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute (1890) 89:
It tickit its ticks, lang afore I was born, Yet nane o' its horals is wasted or worn.

2. The metal tag or point of a boot-lace (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 119; Ayr. c.1890, 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 169; Gsw. 1953).

[Sense 1. is a variant of Whorl, q.v. and see H, 6.; in sense 2. there seems to be some confusion with Virl(e), a ferrule. Cf. Furl, n.2]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Horl n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2020 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: