Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KEMPLE, n.1 Also kempel; kimple, kimpal, kimpel.

1. A bundle of straw, a certain quantity of straw varying in weight between 14 and 19 stones tron (21 to 29 stones avoirdupois). Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 330:
To George broune for 8 kemples oat strae at 1 lib. 18 sh. the kemple, and 8 kemples bear strae at 1 lib. 8 sh. the kemple allowing 2 sh. for the kemple cariage.
m.Lth. 1795 G. Robertson Agric. m.Lth. 208:
Straw is sold by tale, 40 windlens to a kemple, generally from 14 to 16 stone trone weight.
Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley lxiv.:
The auld gudeman o' Corse-Cleugh has panged it wi' a kemple o' strae.
Lth. 1814 Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 322:
In the vicinity of Edinburgh, it is calculated that a boll, or 4 bushels of wheat, produces a kemple of straw, which, by the regulations of the Edinburgh market, should weigh only 15 stones; but the farmers generally give about 18 stones.
m.Lth. 1841 J. H. Oliver Brit. Agric. (1857) 7:
217 kemples oat straw, at 8s. 2¼d.
Sc. 1935 Scotsman (31 May) 15:
The carter no longer buys a “kemple” of straw with which to bed his horse.

2. A bundle or load of hay or straw made up in a particular way, a truss of straw prepared for thatch (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 76, kimpel, Cai. 1959); a shapeless, untidy mass (Cai.9 1939); fig. a stout person (Cai. 1919 T.S.D.C.). Cai.9 1939:
She's but a roch kimple o' a lassie.

3. A lump, a fragment, esp. of food, “a piece of cheese broken off” (Mry.1 1928). Also intensive forms kimplack, -ock, a very large piece (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 95, 1880 Jam.), and dim. kimplet, “a piece of anything solid of moderate size” (Gregor). In extended meaning: an icicle (Rs., Crm. T.S.D.C.). Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 95:
He jist cuttit doon the kebback in kimples.
Abd. 1902 E.D.D.:
Gie me a big kempel o' yer cheese.

II. v., from n., 3. To cut in pieces, “to cut into separate parts for a particular use, as when wood is cut into billets” (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., kempel).

[O.Sc. kimpill, 1565. Norw. kimbel, a large bundle of grass, a truss of hay, O.N. kimbill, a truss, little bundle. The Sc. term may be directly from Norse, or indirectly via Gael. ciomboll, a bundle of straw or heather.]

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"Kemple n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Aug 2021 <>



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