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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

JEELIE, n., v. Also jeellie, jeel(l)y, jeeley; †geely. Sc. forms of Eng. jelly. [′dʒili]

I. n. 1. Jelly, a gelatinous substance, a table jelly. Gen.Sc. Combs. jeely-heidit, “soft” in the head, stupid; jeely-wablicher, a contemptuous name for a jelly tart. See Wabble.Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) l. 64:
Jeellies and coosturd, and bluemange.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) viii.:
What's the jeely-heidit ass sayin'? It'll be foo o' blethers.
Abd. 1909 R. J. MacLennan Yon Toon 71:
An' Honest, because she hed workit hard, got twa helpin's o' tapioca and jeely.
wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie Last Day 19:
“Ham and eggs the day again, Jock?” asked Wullie. “Aye, but bashed intae jeely as usual”, replied Jock.
Abd. 1959 Gsw. Herald (31 Jan.) 3:
They're jist a puckle jeelywablichers. Tak' up twa-three o' them, they're that easy etten.

2. Jelly, as a preserve of fruit juice and sugar. Gen.Sc.; also applied to jam or whole fruit preserve (Ork., Cai., m. and s.Sc. 1959), esp. in phr. a piece an jeelie, bread and jam (m.Sc. 1959).Ork. 1747 P. Ork. A.S. XII. 50:
11 small earthen pots for pickling of Geely.
Sc. 1834 Chambers's Jnl. (Sept.) 254:
Two of her grandchildren — fine chubby, rosy-cheeked, flaxen-haired little rogues — were receiving each a piece and jelly on't from granny.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) viii.:
Hoo can I haud my tongue, an' my airms stewin' amon' boilin' jeelie?
m.Sc. 1924 O. Douglas Pink Sugar xix.:
I'll try yer bramble jeely. I ken ye're a great hand at the jeely-makin'.
Slg. 1929 Scotch Readings (Paterson) 6:
I'll gie ye a cup o' tea an' a piece an' jelly.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 17:
There used to be Robertson's Jeely Works and Galbraith's Jam Works. All the fruit came by boat.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 7:
They keepit thirsels tae thirsels, wi the exception o their laddie Graham. Like rinny jeelie he seemed tae spreid himsel aawye.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 58:
A scart o jeely on a piece ?
A pittance ti retire wi ?
A scart o jeely's aa they'll gie's,
if thats aa we aspire ti.

Combs.: (1) jeelie bettie, a crab in spawn (Kcd. 1964); (2) jeelie-can, a jam-pot. Gen. (exc. ‡ne. and s.)Sc.; (3) jeely-eater, a nickname for a native of Alexandria in the Vale of Leven (Dmb. 1975), said to be so-called from the town having the only grocery store in the district in the early days of the Industrial Revolution which had its stocks of jam in great demand; (4) jeelie-ja(u)r, jeely jar, = (2) (Ork., n.Sc., Ags., Lth., w. and sm.Sc., Slk. 1959); (5) jeelie-mug, = (2) (Ork., Rnf., Kcb. 1959); (6) jeelie pan, a (brass) pan used for making jam or jelly (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 254). Gen.Sc.; (7) jeelie piece, = piece an' jeelie above. Gen.Sc. For fig. usage see 3.; (8) jeelie pig, = (2) (Ags. 1958).(2) Abd. 1935 M. C. Wilson Sutor's Sujaistions 41:
No beetroot! An' me wi' thirty-four jeely-cans fu' o't.
(4) Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde First Bk. of the McFlannels ii.:
It disnae matter if ye havenae tumblers for everybody. Jeely jaurs'll dae!
Edb. 1951 Edb. Evening News (26 Jan.):
Two youngsters proudly peering at their fishy captures in a jeely-jaur.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 34:
Or you would get into the pictures for a halfpenny or a jeely jar. You used to be able to change your jeely jars and your sauce bottles in the shops.
Sc. 1995 Herald 29 Dec 16:
To me it was almost mystical, a process that transmuted the base metals of glass and paper into gold of sweets and hours of entertainment. Even now in my 50s, I still wince when discarding a jeelie jaur.
Gsw. 1997 Herald 18 Jun 17:
The sort of place that serves quarter gills or thereabouts in wee thick glasses like miniature jeely jars.
Gsw. 1997 Scotsman 28 Jul 9:
Did youse see the boats gaun doon the watter? Did youse see the baggie minnies scatter? Fine weel they knew whit we were efter Wi' oor jeelie jaurs and wur nets in wur hauns ...
Sc. 1998 Herald 18 Sep 24:
Current impotence treatments available on the NHS, involving needle injections and frolics with jeelie jaurs, are primitive, demeaning, and off-putting.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 305:
Puerto Bello. Some old sea-dog had built a house here and named it after a Caribbean town he'd helped capture from the Spanish in the War of Jenkins' Ear. For fuck's sake. That had to be the stupidest fucking excuse for a war ever. A lug in a jeelie-jar. What did anybody get out of it?
(6) Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie i.:
They wad get the len' o' your wife's best jeely-pan.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 279:
Five toom cornbeef cans, an' the wifeock's braw brass jeely-pan, a' reemin' fu'.
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 26:
The dirty washing could be kept there too, ... and the jeely pan, and the girdle.
Sc. 2002 Scotland on Sunday 28 Jul 30:
My Scottish kitchen is just like many others. ... And, of course, there is the huge brass 'jeelie pan' on top of the cupboard, with the jelly bag hanging alongside.
Sc. 2004 Herald 8 May 14:
She displayed on their stall some old items from her mother's house. Her first sale was her mother's jeely-pan, and from there it all began.
(7) Sc. 1839 Chambers's Jnl. (19 Jan.) 410:
Ye have taken twice as much already as would have made jelly-pieces for ye.
Lth. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland v.:
So I bad Jenny go ben the house, and give the bairn Willie Lightfoot a jelly piece, seeing he well deserved it.
Sc. 1897 Stevenson W. of Hermiston i.:
Kirstie had decoyed him to her room and given him “a jeely-piece”.
Dmb. 1927 J. Ferguson The Old Vale 86:
Natives of the Vale and Dumbarton in the old days were designated “jeely piece eaters”. . . . Many of the “field” employees, too, had home-made jelly between the slices of. bread they carried to the Works.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 17:
The bowlie o' milk an' the jeely-piece ye promised me.
Gsw. 1958 C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 15:
Haw Maw! Throw doon a jeely piece!
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen Seventeen Poems 6:
Or jeelie pieces; thick
Door-step yins wi the jam
Rinnin aff the marg.
And scones: tattie scones;
Soda scones; or treckle Scones ...
Sc. 2002 Scotsman 23 Nov 4:
The Reuben, the BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) and the Club are all spectacular, but we should not overlook the charm of the jeelie piece.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 18 Oct 29:
Billy Connolly first brought the sandpaper caress of a Partick childhood to life, as he recalled his school chums wrapped in jaggy scarves, crossed over their chests and fastened at the back with a safety-pin; jeely pieces at playtime, and a future focused on shipyards and Saturday nights.
Gsw. 2004 Evening Times 13 Jul 4:
Like so many others, he would shout up "Haw, maw throw us down a jeely piece".
(8) Abd. a.1909 G. Greig Folk-Song cxxxvi. 1:
O there's eely pigs, an' jeely pigs, an' pigs for haudin' butter.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 8:
And Mains will hae mair jeely-pigs than ever he did see.

3. In jocular and slang usage: a bloody nose, “claret”. Gen. used attrib. as jeelie neb, nose (em.Sc., Ayr., Rxb.), piece (m. and s.Sc.), yin (Edb.). Cf. v., 2.Edb. 1930:
If ye say that again, I'll gie ye a jeelie piece, i.e. bleed your nose for you.
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth I. iii.:
Ye'd better rin up hame wi' yer messages an' get yer jeely nose cleaned.

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to set like jelly, congeal. Gen.Sc.

2. To cause (the nose) to bleed, sc. by punching it. Hence jeelier, a bloody nose (Ags.16 1948). See 3. above.Ags. 1890 A. N. Simpson Muirside Memories 126:
He sent the two ringleaders home with what was known in the village as a “jeelier” each.
Edb. 1956:
I'll jeelie your neb for ye.

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"Jeelie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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