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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LINGEL, n.1, adj., v.1 Also -al, -le; lingan, -en, -in (esp. em.Sc. (a)). [lɪŋl, ′lɪŋən]

I. n. 1. The waxed thread used by shoemakers (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 690; Per. (lingin), Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson: Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls.1 1929). Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. exc. Also fig. dial.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 222:
Nor Hynds wi' Elson and hemp Lingle, Sit solling Shoon out o'er the Ingle.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 187:
The canty cobler quats his sta', His rozet an' his lingans.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 231:
The candle wicks came ay into their cutties like sutter's lingles in the dish.
Slk. a.1800 in W. Stenhouse Illustrations to Sc. Musical Museum 390:
Here's to the Souters o' Selkirk, The elshin, the lingle, and birse.
Sc. 1803 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) I. 202:
In the petition of the Shoemakers apprentices: — When Lads of the trade in company mingle Can they Bind Leather shoe, or lick a cold lingle.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 42:
Will McWha was bred a souter, Better ne'er a lingan drew.
Peb. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 78:
Your luckie's mutch, and lingles at it! [An expression of petulance or impatience].
Abd. 1882 G. Macdonald Castle Warlock vii.:
I like fine to hear yer wheel singin' like a muckle flee upo' the winnock. It spins i' my heid lang lingles o' thouchts.
Per. 1910 W. Blair Kildermoch 90:
Pulling the “lingin,” or thread, through the leather.
Sc. 1912 Rymour Club Misc. II. 148:
To Kate I gae Drawn by a whing o' Cupid's lingle.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 65:
He has a' the rule o' three Aff by hert as ticht as lingle.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (19 Feb.):
Even the old souter was too busy with lingan to make rosity ends.

Adj. lingly, lank, spindly, of wool or hair (e.Lth. 1961).Dmf. 1843–5 Trans. Highl. Soc. 48:
The long, loose, open, lingly fleece which has been gaining ground for the last ten years.

2. Combs.: (1) deil's lingels, see Deil, n., VII. A. 18.; (2) lingle-back, (one having) a long, weak, limp back (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 318; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Hence lingle-backit, having such a back (Watson; Dmf., Rxb. 1961); (3) lingelen(d), the tip of a lingel to which the birse is attached for threading it through the leather, the piece of lingel itself (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). See also En, n., 3. Also fig. of a skinny, insignificant person; (4) lingle-leggit, having long, lanky legs (Dmf. 1961 ); (5) lingle-mou't, with a long thin mouth, narrow-lipped; (6) lingel-tail, = (3); a narrow, trailing skirt. Hence lingel-tailed, in various fig. uses: having a long lank tail, narrow-hipped, with long, narrow, trailing skirts, draggle-tailed (Sc. 1818 Sawers, 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Dmf. 1950).(2) Ayr. 1890 J. Service Thir Notandums 79:
Here comes lang, lingle-backit, ramshackled Bob Dragon.
(3) Slg. 1818 W. Muir Poems 5:
For me he needna beat his ben Or arm wi' birse his lingle en'.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan II. ix.:
Ye bit lingle-end of a bodie! I could brain ye wi' a lady's slipper.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute (1890) 29:
From steaks o' wyrie hemp — rown roond an auld gun stoke — He span his lingin ends upon the bakkin-roke.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde & Tweed 105:
The souters pu'ed the lingel-ends an' sang Auld Border ballants.
Rxb. 1927 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 68:
The old-time shoemakers, the Browns, Laings, Phaups, … at their work, used for sewing a “lingal-end” — a collection of threads rolled together and coated with cobbler's wax (rozzit). At the thin end was a stiff bristle (birse).
(4) Gall. 1898 A. J. Armstrong Levellers 202:
I'll beat this lingle-leggit Gemmell an' gie him twa months start.
(5) Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Writings 9:
An' [they] leathern tongue't, an' lingle mou't Gae thiggin' roun' wi' mealy pocks.
(6) Sc. 1706 Short Survey Married Life 14:
Your Idle, Vain, Proud, Stinking, Airy, Foolish, Fantastick, Tapie, Gaping, Glouring, Lingen-tailed Giglets.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 4:
They pow and rax the lingel tails.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 221:
Eppie had a daughter, called Lingle-tail'd Nancy because of her feckless growth, her waist was like a twitter, had nae curpen for a creel.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 209:
Stinkin' fish! — that's a gude ane. I wish ye may be as caller yoursel. — Stinkin' haddies! — Lingle-tail'd jade, for a' your silks.
Peb. c.1840 Rymour Club Misc. II. 89:
There's Willie, “in fac'”, wi' his lingle-tailed coo.
Slg. 1869 St Andrews Gazette (23 Oct.):
With a lingle-tailed coat and a hat, And twa or three hairs on his haffet.
Ayr. 1879 R. Adamson Lays 127:
While I maun wear a lingle-tail O' some bit wincey wab.

II. adj., from n. used attrib.: long, lanky, spindly, supple, flexible (Gall. 1961).Kcb. 1904 Gallovidian No. 22. 69:
A lang lingle fallah wi' a loot.
s.Sc. 1948 A. Hepple House of Gow vi.:
Thae blue e'en staring at ye oot atween thae lingle locks o' hair.

III. v. 1. To bind or sew with lingel. Used fig. in quot.Sc. a.1750 Hogg Jacobite Relics (1819) I. 102:
Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry, Beat them, and bore them, and lingel them cleverly.

2. Ppl.adj. lingelt, = II. above, sc. made like lingel.Lnk. 1904 I. F. Darling Songs 49:
A' his days are spent in teasin', Lauchin' at the drookit flowers, Lingel't locks an' feathers freezin'.

[O.Sc. linyel, 1635, lingle, 1681, id., Mid.Eng. lynolf, O.Fr. li(g)noel, ligneul, cobbler's thread, ultimately of same origin as Lin, n.2]

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"Lingel n.1, adj., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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