Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

JEEL, v., n. Also jeal, †jeil; geel, †geil(l), geal, †gele. [dʒil]

I. v. 1. tr. and intr. To freeze, to congeal; to be benumbed with cold (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; n., e. and wm.Sc., Kcb. 1959). Obs. in Eng. since 17th c. exc. dial. Edb. 1786  Edb. Ev. Courant (12 Dec.):
An' whan your bluid begins to jeel An' shanks grow fozie.
Abd. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 19:
Wer't no for houp, that darling bliss, Our very hearts wou'd geal.
Lnk. 1827  J. Watt Poems 22:
Gin ither's furniture be guid, It's like to jeal his very bluid.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 59:
He pleutert i' the burn till he wiz gealt wee cauld.
Ags. 1918  J. Inglis The Laird 14:
Oh, John o' Frost, great frosty one! Come geal the dam we curl upon.
Abd. 1943  W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 29:
Cauld feems on Robbie noo began to jeel his spinal cord.

2. To set, congeal, become firm, esp. of jam or jelly; of stock, etc. (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.), of pig's blood after slaughter (Cai.7 1952). Gen.Sc. Sc. 1736  Mrs McLintock Receipts 32:
To every Mutchkin of the Juice of Rasps, take half a Mutchkin of the Juice of red Rizers to make it geil.
Per. 1896  I. Maclaren Kate Carnegie 204:
Might be seen setting saucers of black jam upon the window-sill to “jeel”.
Ayr. 1913  J. Service Memorables x.:
She cuist glamourie on the kirn that the butter wadna jeel.
Lth. 1925  C. P. Slater Marget Pow 159:
That cranberry jam didna geill, and it made wi' pure cane sugar and a'.
Slg. 1941  :
“A'm aye in the same dish I was gealed in”, I am still in the place in which I was born.

3. To spread with jam or jelly. Cf. n., 2. m.Sc. 1917  J. Buchan Poems 51:
A can o' worms ae pooch concealed, The tither scones weel brooned and jeeled.

II. n. 1. Extreme coldness, as of water in winter; chilliness, frostiness (Abd. 1825 Jam.); a severe chill, chilling sensation (Abd., Kcd., Ags. 1959), and in phr. jeel o' caul', a chill (ne.Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); ice. Sc. 1900  E.D.D.:
As cauld as geal.
Slg. 1905  D. L. Duncan Hameart Rhymes 62:
Sits a' day lang wi' heart like jeel, An' carkin' hoast.
Abd. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 54:
He thocht she hid gotten a gey jeel.
Mry. 1925 1 :
Pit in het water tae tak aff the geel.
Bnff. 1939  J. M. Caie Hills & Sea 20:
“It's caul',” said he, “for a peer aul' deil; My hoofs an' horns are that near jeel, I fairly thocht I wad freeze.”

Hence jeel-caul(d), stone-cold, cold as ice (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 225; ne.Sc. 1959). Abd. 1928  N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xviii.:
“She's geal cauld”, said the woman.
Bch. 1935  J. White Sea Road ix.:
Your tea's gele-cold.

2. Jelly (Rxb. 1942 Zai; Abd., Ags., Per., Fif. 1959). Also attrib. as in †geill-glass (Sc. 1724 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 136), -pot. Deriv. jeelaberry, soft fruit jelly (Slk. 1827 Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 174). Sc. 1736  Mrs McLintock Receipts 29–30:
To make Geil of Gooseberries . . . let it boil about half a Quarter of an Hour, and put it in the Geil Glasses.
Sc. 1761  Boswell Letters (1857) 14:
Obliged to conform to every Scotch custom or be laughed at, — “Will you hae some jeel? oh fie! oh fie!”
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 187:
To Walker's he can rin awa, There whang his creams an' jeels Wi' life that day.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 99:
Rang'd here and there in sindry parts, And sauces, soups, and geills, and creams.
wm.Sc. 1837  Laird of Logan 136:
On my imminent danger, I was just dissolved into a lump of geil.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xviii.:
I was genna gie him a bit piece an some noo grozer jeel on't.
Rxb. 1901  W. Laidlaw Poetry & Prose 44:
His hairt, tho' yince as “hard as flint”, Fu' soon became as saft as jeel.

3. Gelatine (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

[O.Sc. has geil(l), gele, jelly, from c.1470; Fr. geler, Lat. gelare, to (cause to) freeze, to congeal, O.Fr. gele, giel, frost, jelly.]

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

"Jeel v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: