Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MILLER, n., v. Also mil(l)ner (Ayr. 1706 Arch. & Hist. Coll. Ayr. & Wgt. (1884) IV. 216; Lnk. 1710 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 104, Kcd. 1721 Urie Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 119, Gsw. 1729 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 311); meller; muller. Sc. forms and usages.

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Deriv. milnership, the control and working of a mill, the position of miller. Gsw. 1700  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 294:
The magistrates and towne counsell have subscrived ane tack granted be them to James Campbell, milner at the Subdeans Milne, of the milnership of the said milne, for nynteen years, after Mertimas last.
Gsw. 1746  Ib. (1911) 251:
During his continueing in the office of the said milnership.

2. Combs. (see also Millart): (1) miller's grip, a secret handshake among the fraternity of millers; (2) meller's hoops, the circular wooden casings which surround the mill-stones; (3) miller's lift, an upward thrust with a crow-bar made by raising the handle end of the bar, as a miller does in setting his mill-stones (Cai., Fif., Ayr. 1962); (4) miller's thumb, applied as in Eng. to various species of fish or small birds, esp. those having yellowish or golden markings about their throats or heads, from the proverbial allusion to the miller having a golden thumb, specif.: the armed bullhead, Agonus cataphractus (Abd. 1878 Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Abd. 89; e.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 214); the three- or five-bearded rockling, Onus tricirratus or mustelus (Ib. 240–1); the bib or pout, Gadus luscus (Gsw. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 V. 536; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 141); the loach, Nemacheilus barbatula (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slk. 1962); the goldcrest, Regulus anglorum (Rxb. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 25; Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 65); the willow wren or warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in Eng. dial.; (5) miller's word, see Millart, Combs. (2) (ne.Sc. 1929 J. M. McPherson Primitive Beliefs 292). (1) Sc. 1882–7  R. F. Gould Hist. Freemasonry II. 445:
The Rev. A. T. Grant informs me that he remembers, when a boy, hearing people talk mysteriously of the “Miller's word and grip”, some persons indeed believing that by the word a miller could arrest the action of a mill-wheel!
(2) Sc. a.1830  Kempy Kay in
Child Ballads (1882) I. 304:
And aye he kissd her wi his lips, They were like meller's hoops.
(3) Uls. 1871  N. & Q. (Ser. 4) VIII. 305:
The men were using iron crow-bars, and called out to each other, “Now all together a miller's lift!” . . . By this term was meant the effort to move the stone forward by an upward lift of the handle end of the crowbar, . . . just the reverse of a prise.
(5) Abd. 1958  Huntly Express (2 May):
Superstitious people held him [miller] in awe, because of the “miller's word”, by means of which he was reputed to hold intercourse with the Powers of Darkness.

3. Phrs.: (1) to bake, or pit oot the miller's ee, to add the wrong amount of water to dough, making it of an incorrect consistency for rolling out. Also in Eng. dial.; (2) to drouk or droon the miller, lit. to have too much water in a mill-stream, hence fig. used of adding too much water to whisky or to tea. Gen.Sc.; also in gen. to overwhelm or ruin by excess. (1) Abd. 1894  Trans. Bch. Field Club 144:
If the leaven is not properly made, when it is rolled out into the cake, holes break in, and the baker is reproved with the words: — “Ye're bakin oot the miller's ee or the miller's een.”
(2) Rxb. 1805  A. Scott Poems (1808) 136:
Honest men's been ta'en for rogues, Whan bad luck gars drown the miller.
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxi.:
The hale folk here . . . hae made a vow to ruin my trade, as they say ower muckle water drowns the miller.

II. v. To lever up a heavy object with a crowbar. Cf. I. 2 (3). Sh. 1962 10 :
Help me ta muller dis steen.

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"Miller n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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