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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HURL, v.2, n.2 Also hurrl, harl; horl (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).

I. v. 1. To make a deep rumbling hollow sound, as of rushing water or the sea heard at a distance (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Cai. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 22; Sh., Cai., Uls. 1957).Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April):
A deep hole in a burn, into which the water falls, would be called a hurlan hole.

2. To breathe with the wheezy, congested sound which indicates phlegm in the chest or throat (I. and ne.Sc., Ags. 1957). Vbl.n. hurlan, a bronchial murmur in the chest (Id.). See n., 2.Ork. 1949 “Lex” But-end Ballans 9:
Sometimes a hurlan i' de kjist, . . . An' his bad kjettleen i' de t'rot.

3. To talk on monotonously, babble (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).

II. n. 1. The rumbling or grating noise made by a heavy object in motion (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; I.Sc., ‡Abd., Ags. 1957); a peal of thunder; the sound of the sea as heard from a distance (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1957).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 78:
The thunder roars, an' nae a breath between, Hurle upon hurle, an' just aboon their head.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 84:
A heard the hurl o' the trees gain' oot our the rocks in o' the river. A heard the hurl o' the cairtie comin' in the rod.

2. (1) The sound of laboured breathing resulting from phlegm in the throat or chest (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai., Abd. 1957). Hence adj. hurlie, congested with phlegm (Cai., Abd., Ags. 1957). See v., 1944 Abd. Press & Jnl. (11 April):
Instead of a cold on the chest, we had “a hurl at the breesht.”
Ags.20 1953:
She thought her mother was taking pneumonia — she “grew hurlie in the chest.”

(2) Any gurgling sound in the throat (Sh. 1957), specif. a burr in speech; the death rattle (Ork., Cai., Abd., Kcd. 1957).Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Jan.-Feb.) 12:
Da hurrl o' da whisky gjaun doon 'is trapple.
Abd. 1988 Peter Buchan Fisher Blue 45:
The memories fae Seahooses an' Newbiggin an' Amble. Maist o' them seems t'hae a hurl in their throats.

3. Monotonous, meaningless talk, nonsense (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1957).Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
O, boy, yon's just a lok a hurl at du's spekkin.

[Prob. imit. in orig., and formally a freq. of Hurr. Cf. mod. e.Fris. hurreln, to roar, bluster, Upp.Ger. dial. hurlen, to roll, rumble as thunder. There has been semantic confusion with Hurl, n.1, v.1, and also with Harl, v., n.1, from the association of motion and its sound. For the Sh. usages cf. also Norw. hurla, to buzz, Faer. hurla, to roar, rumble.]

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"Hurl v.2, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2023 <>



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