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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

MARDLE, adj., n.1 Also mardel, -al, maurdel; merdle, -al, -el; mairdal, -il.

I. adj. Heavy, unwieldy, clumsy, corpulent, hence lazy, applied most freq. to women (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. XI. 318).Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 73:
A mardal, useless, guid-for-naething clatch, Where e'en twa mice 'ill scarce fin room to hatch.
ne.Sc. a.1900 Sc. N. & Q. (Feb. 1928) 42:
“I believe you were a first rate turf-cutter in your younger days?” “I was that”, he replied, “but I'm ower fat an' maurdel noo”.

II. n. A contemptuous term for a fat, clumsy, idle woman (Ags. 1808 Jam., mairdil; Sh., Bnff. 1880 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1962, merdle); a gossip (Bnff. 1880 Jam.).

[Prob. the same word as Mardle, n.2]

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"Mardle adj., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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