Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MIDDLE, adj., n. Also middil. Sc. usages:

I. adj. Combs.: †1. middle-e(a)rd, midlert, the earth, the world, viewed as being half-way between heaven and hell. Chiefly liter. Erron. in 1897 quot. applied to hell. Hence to be in midlert, to be alive, to be in the land of the living. Cf. 6.; 2. middle(-te)-moy, see quot. and cf. mid row s.v. Mid; 3. middle-night, midnight; 4. middle sea, the depths of the sea; 5. middle-spoon, a wooden-headed golf club with a concave face of medium curvature. See also mid-spoon s.v. Mid, adj., 20.; 6. middle world, = 1. Rare and obs. in Eng. 1. ne.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. myddil erd:
A phrase yet in use in the North of Scotland among old people, by which they understand this earth in which we live, in opposition to the grave: Thus they say, There's no man in middle erd is able to do it.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 62, 135:
This gate she cud na lang in midlert be . . . An' yet 'tis sair born o' me that she may, Frae what I dream'd in midlert be the day.
Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 329:
Having narrowly escaped thrice being confirmed in her fairy state, she visited her friends on this “middle-eard”, with whom she dwelt for seven years, disclosing the manners and explaining the customs of the Fairy Land.
Sc. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxx.:
She's ower thick wi' the Auld Ane and the folk that dwell in the middle erd for a body to mell wi'.
2. wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan Add. 508:
Middle-te-moy, n. — A term applied to cauldron ale that is neither strong nor weak but in a middling state. The old fourpenny yill is the true middle-te-moy.
Slg. 1899 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. & Arch. Soc. 34:
Inky Pinky was used by the brewers in Stirlingshire to designate the smallest kind of beer; the medium was termed middle-moy, and the best, or strongest, Ramtambling.
3. Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xxi.:
I was to be carrying them their meat in the middle night.
4. Sc. 1827 W. Motherwell Minstrelsy 25:
Down doukit then, the mermayden, Deep intil the middil sea.
5. Fif. 1857 H. B. Farnie Golfer's Manual 18:
The long and middle spoons are often pressed into doing duty for a grassed driver, from their ability to “loft” the ball; but besides this, from their tougher build, they are admirably fitted to jerk it out of a grassy rut — or a yielding whin — or, indeed, out of the thousand and one bad lies which the best directed stroke will get into, and which would very likely shiver the more slender shaft of the grassed play-club.
6. Sc. 1822 Scott Pirate xxiv.:
He spoke mair like a man of the middle world, than she had ever heard him do.

II. n. A sheepmark, a rectangular incision from the top to the middle of a sheep's ear (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Hence middeld, of a sheep's ear: having this incision, given, phs. erron., as a noun (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., middelt). Sh. 1897 Shetland News (18 Dec.):
The right lugg midled, the left lug shulled in the top a bit before . . . The right lug middled, the left lug feathered.

[O.Sc. mydle erd, the world, 1513, Early Mid.Eng. middilert, for earlier O.E. middan-ȝeard, mid earth.]

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"Middle adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2021 <>



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