Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KYLOE, n. Also kiloe (s.Sc. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (13 May)), -ey, kylie, keilie (Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 1), k(e)yley, cayley (Rxb. 1768 Session Papers, Buccleugh v. Turnbull (10 March) 17). Also in n.Eng. dial. [′kəilɪ, ‡′kəilo]

1. One of a breed of small Highland cattle, esp. those from the West and the Hebrides, having shaggy hair and long curving horns (Cai., Per., Fif., Lnl., s.Sc. 1960); sometimes applied to Highland cattle in general (Sc. 1825 Jam.), but see 1919 quot. See Hieland; Also fig. and attrib., in Rxb. 1885 quot. = rough, shaggy. Slk. 1751  Border Treasury (17 Oct. 1874) 144:
Recd. from Brodhaugh, kiley stots that I am to winter till the 1st of April, for 7s. 6d. the beast fore wintering.
s.Sc. 1766  Abd. Journal (24 Nov.):
At Hexham fair, there was the greatest quantity of black cattle ever known there . . . what sold considerably lower than at Newcastle fair, particularly Scots kylies, many of which had been drove from thence unsold.
s.Sc. 1776  Dmf. Weekly Mag. (3 Sept.) 416:
A great saving to the south country dealers, who have been under a necessity to travel to the most northern parts of Scotland, to fairs for kyloes, &c.
Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy xxiv.:
There's mony ane wad rather see him again at the tail o' three hundred kyloes, than at the head o' thirty waur cattle.
Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 116:
There's Jock that came frae Islay As clung's a hungered kylie.
Dmf. 1827  Carlyle Letters (Norton) I. 48:
The fence had been broken down; and there had the kyloes been ranging and rubbing and eating and breaking.
Sc. 1844  H. Stephens Bk. Farm (1849) I. 9:
Those [cattle] in the Western Isles, called “West Highlanders”, or “Kyloes”, are esteemed a beautifully symmetrical and valuable breed.
Rxb. c.1885  W. Laidlaw Poetry & Prose (1901) 44:
Her kyloe hair an' squintin' e'en Made Griz the queerest lookin' wutch That e'er in Jethart toon was seen.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 190:
A min' yin o' them, a great muckle jellet o' a byrewoman, yt could maist 'a taen a Kyloe bill by the horns, an laid it aval.
Sc. 1919  Trans. Highl. Soc. XXXI. 138:
The Kylo, the common indigenous cow of Scotland, . . . was a very small fine-horned cow, prevailingly dark in colour, and bearing a close resemblance to the Shetland cow.
Sc. 1931  J. Lorimer Red Sergeant ix.:
Give him his due, the great kyloe of beef and brawn!

2. Used, with a pun on the place-name Kyle, to denote a native of that part of Ayrshire (Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 180). Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 19:
Talk about the Eerish! They'r naething tae the Kyloes . . . the verra sorra hissel wudna get an Ayrshireman oot if he gat his muckle tae in.

[Ad. Gael. gaidhealach [′ka:əlɔx], Gaelic, Highland. Prob. from the Highland drovers of the 17–18th c. who were Gaelic speakers.]

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"Kyloe n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jan 2020 <>



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