Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LILL, n. Also lult.

1. In pl.: the holes of a musical wind-instrument, as in a flute or the chanter of a bagpipe (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. Gl.); the pipes themselves. Comb. back-lill, the thumb-hole in the back of the Lowland or Northumbrian small-pipe chanter, the upper G note. Rxb. c.1734 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1913) 56:
A blyther lad ne'er buir a drone, Nor touched a lill.
Sc. 1788 in R. Galloway Poems 154:
Go on, then, Galloway, go on, To touch the lill and sound the drone.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
He could play weel on the pipes; and he had the finest finger for the back-lill between Berwick and Carlisle.
Fif. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 105:
Jock made a pair o' lulls to his sel' … played upon his lulls sae bonnie bonnie, that the hares a' danced round.

2. Fig. A stalk of oat-straw. Lnk. 1826 Caled. Mercury (6 July):
Short in the hose, and lang in the lill — Man and beast may eat their fill.

[Appar. ad. Du lul, a pipe, Mid.Du. lul(le)-pijpe, a bagpipe. Cf. note to Lilt.]

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"Lill n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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