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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MUCKLE, adj., adv., n. Also mukle, -ell, mukkel, mukl-; ‡mei(c)kle, meikill, meeckle; †mekle, -il, -yl (Jam.); mi(c)kle, mi(c)kel, mikil, †mykil (Jam.). Compar. muckler, superl. mucklest. [Sc. mʌkl; ‡mɪkl, mikl]

I. adj. 1. Of size or bulk: large, big, great (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. In combs. with ppl.adjs. as muckle-backit, -heidit, -moued, etc., having a large —. See Combs. For muckle maun see Maun, adj.Clc. 1705 Masterton Papers (S.H.S.) 481:
Our mukell corn kill was brunt with 7 bols of our oats.
Slk. 1714 V. Jacob Lairds of Dun (1931) 241:
Ane meikill old meal ark.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. i.:
Set the meiklest Peat-stack in a Low.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Shop Bill 33:
The mucklest man, he may be fitted Wi' hose that's either wove or knitted.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 92–3:
And past the birks and meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brak 's neck-bane.
Rxb. 1805 A. Scott Poems 192:
A muckle black corby sat croakin.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxix.:
A muckle stour fearsome-looking wife.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 13:
When the moon Had groun meikle and round.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
He was desirous of getting to a “muckler toon” than Gushetneuk.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped i.:
In yon great, muckle house, with all these domestics, . . . show yourself as nice . . . as any.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 41:
I maun jist dree awa' wi' this meikle to do.
Cai. 1909 D. Houston 'E Silkie Man (1935) 18:
'Ey sees a muckle silkie makan' up oot 'e sea.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 8:
Dat's a muckle lee, daa, aless doo 'at's sayin' hit.
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 28:
He had meikle feet that aye seemed in his way.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 114:
'I hadnae thought to see so muckle a company wi' the King. Your Grace maun pardon me that the vittles are no' ready waitin'. But I'll have them mak' such a table as we have, withoot too great delay. ... '
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 71:
... in the days whan Auld Reikie wis Auld Reikie, ye cud aye tell frae our house whan it wis denner-time bi the lum-reik that stertit up in thon muckle toun.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 186:
'Look-you at her muckle great mooth ... like my ain Meg's,' chuckled McKim, glancing round sheepishly to see that she was safely clashing with the other women, well out of earshot.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 137:
Dougie saw her bend to greet the dog who, muckle soft brute that she was, sat and received the attention with shameless sycophancy.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 46:
The muckle beeches sooch an sweesh an swee.
Auld bodachs news aneth their reeshlin leaves;
Littlins toss breid tae spurgies neth the eaves:
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 6:
There's muckle big holes in baith ma shoes,
wi attendin interviews,
but it disnae maitter whaur ye gaan,
or wha ye ken, ...

2. Of quantity or degree: much, a great deal of, a lot of (Sc. 1808 Jam.); sometimes emphasising a particular characteristic. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 208:
Contrair to just Rights and Laws I've suffer'd muckle Wrang.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 64:
“Yes, yes, twa men I saw, ayont yon brae,” She trembling said; “I wis them muckle wae.”
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) H. 193:
I hae nae meikle skill, quo' he, In what you ca' philosophy.
m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 8:
Duncan brags how meikle meal She's eaten here.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 169–70:
[She] shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country-side in fear.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxviii.:
They are fear'd for denial o' quarter to themsells, having dune sae muckle mischief through the country.
s.Sc. 1859 Bards of Border (Watson) 8:
They were nae folk o' muckle gear.
Fif. 1897 G. Setoun George Malcolm i.:
He's ahent the counter himsel' the day, but he doesna come muckle speed.
Cai. 1903 E.D.D.:
Muckle black need [urgent need].
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl. 40:
Hit wis no mukkel wirt, bit hit wis still a enk.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Rhymes of a Besom Man 85:
I hae na muckle warly gear.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 48:
"Ach, you men! You make me sick so you do, you muckle bairns! For all the use of you, you should be put out to play in the woods. And you with your havers," ...
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 47:
And syne
I ran, wad tine
that greetin
o things forleeten
i the muckle dairk,
but aye the cark
souched ahent:
Tak tent! Tent!
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 21:
A bonnie exhibition for a King
tae mak, loupan owre the cassies
daein the Hieland Fling
like a muckle gowk.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 52:
'The hope is oursels. We waste far too muckle breath complaining and girning about politicians and taxes and what not, when all we have to do is get our arses off the chair and do what we want to do. ... '

3. Grown-up, mature, adult (I., ne.Sc., Kcb. 1963); doing the work of a full-grown person, of farm servants. Combs.: man muckle, woman-, having reached man-, woman-hood (Clc., Kcb., Rxb. 1963). See also Man and Woman; muckle-big, id.Wgt. 1712 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (28 Sept.):
Antony said to her that night the child was begot in his fathers house that if he was mickle enough he would marye her.
Mry. 1715 E.D. Dunbar Documents (1895) 20:
Both men and women servants, meikle and little.
Sc. 1822 A. Sutherland Cospatrick I. viii.:
I'll kill him, mither, when I'm muckle.
Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 26:
The craws hae killed the poussie, O; The mickle cat sat down and grat.
Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 10:
There's nae convainience to lat bairns play themsells, or muckle fowk keep things snod.
Gsw. 1877 J. M. Neilson Poems 92:
Faith, I'm fear't, whan muckle big, He'll be sic a fule.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 86:
Eppie wis his muckle douchter.
Kcb. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xxxviii.:
I had sons and dochters man and woman-muckle.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 74:
Aw gat 'em fae Dauvit's muckle dother.

4. Of great social consequence, of high rank, great (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Edb. 1963); puffed up with conceit, haughty, self-important (Ags.1 1926; Abd. 1963).Ayr. 1788 Burns Fête Champetre i.:
Or him [Boswell] wha led o'er Scotland a' The meikle Ursa-Major.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 71:
Madam, Quoth he, I wad speak wi' The meikle man.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 77:
Ye meikle folks that bide in L — n.
Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 34:
Obser' some fowls how weel protecket, Because by meikle fouk respecket.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.:
He was ambitious o' bein' thocht a muckle man.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 115:
He's a muckle little man.
Sc. 1896 L. Keith Indian Uncle i.:
There's nae gainsaying that oor Adam's the muckle man o' the faimily noo.
Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cheengefu' Wordle 27:
Yer muckle gentry's aye philarge wi' their siller.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 116:
'Maister MacWard bides in Utrecht these days,' Traill went on. 'He finds it' - he coughed - 'a pool less choked with the persecuted brethren than here. He's a muckle fish and needs mair space to swim in.

5. In farm names, freq. of the larger of the two farms made up of unequal portions of an older settlement in the general agricultural reconstruction of the 18th and 19th c. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1763 Caled. Mercury (19 Oct.) 504:
The Two Oxgates of Little and Meikle Blackmiddins.

6. Of letters of the alphabet: capital (Sh., ne.Sc. 1963).Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xxiv.:
She gave him Donal's school-slate, with a sklet-pike, and said, “Noo, mak a muckle A, cratur.”
ne.Sc. 1953 Mearns Leader (20 Nov.):
“Weel, freens,” says the Souter (I think I maun pit a muckle “S” till his teetle the nicht).

7. Affixed to a measurement. as in inch-muckle, n., a piece an inch long (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 88).Ib.:
He cuttit it in inch-muckles.

8. Combs.: (1) muckle ate, see Ait, n.1 and cf. (36); (2) muckle-backit, broad and powerful in the back; (3) muckle-bag = (43). Jocularly applied to human beings; (4) meikle bible, a family bible; (5) muckle boat, muckle-bate, a decked herring-boat as opposed to a small open boat (Sh.10 1963); (6) muckle-boukit, -bookit, (i) big and broad in physique, full-bodied, burly, large (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 150; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 115). Gen.Sc.; (ii) of a female: pregnant, with young (Jam. MSS.; n.Sc., Per., Rxb. 1963). See also Bouk, v., 1. (2); (7) muckle-chair, a large armchair (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 351; Sh., ne.Sc., Fif., w.Lth., Kcb. 1963). In Sh. and Ork., freq. used as a synonym for a restin-chair, see Rest, v.1, 1. (1); (8) muckle chield, -sheeld (Sh.), (i) a big well-grown boy (Sh. 1963); †specif. in pl.: a senior boy at Heriot's Hospital (see quot.); (ii) the Devil, Satan (Sh. 1963). Cf. (10) and (21), and Chield, 4. (3); (9) muckle-coat, an overcoat, a greatcoat (Sh., ne.Sc., Edb. 1963); (10) muckle deil, -de(e)vil, the Devil, Satan, gen. in imprecations (Sh., Lth., Gall. 1963). Also in n.Eng. dial. Cf. (8) and (21); (11) muckle feck, the greater part, the lion's share (ne.Sc., Edb. 1963). See Feck, n.1, 2.; †(12) muckle Friday, the Friday on which the half-yearly hiring market was held, hence the hiring market itself (Abd. 1903 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1939). Also in reduced dim. form muckley (Ags. 1896 Barrie Sentimental Tommy xvii., Ags. 1975). See Friday; (13) muckle furth, the open air, the “great out-of-doors” (Abd. 1963). See also Furth, n.; (14) muckle hammer, a heavy hammer, a Mash (Sh. 1963), specif. one used for flaking a block of granite; (15) muckle-heidit, of nails, studs, etc.: having a large head; (16) muckle hell, the depth of hell (Sh. 1963); (17) muckle-horned, of the Devil: having large horns. Cf. n.Eng. dial. muckle horn, sim. applied; (18) muckle kirk, the parish church, the Church of Scotland (I. and ne.Sc. 1963); (19) muckle-kited, pot-bellied (ne.Sc., Fif. 1963). See Kyte; (20) muckle-kokkeluri, the scentless mayweed, Matricaria inodora (Sh. 1963); also the ox-eye daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Id.). See quot. and Cockaloorie; (21) muckle maister, the Devil. Cf. (10); †(22) muckle man, the principal male servant on a farm, the foreman; (23) muckle Monanday, the Monday following the Sunday on which the half-yearly Communion was observed in the Church. See Monanday and cf. (35); (24) muckle-moued, †-mowed, having an unusually large mouth (I., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1963); fig. of a spoon. See Mouth; (25) muckle-neeved, having large fists. See Nieve; (26) muckle pot, -pat, the largest size of cooking-pot, a cauldron (I.Sc., Bnff. 1963). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (27) muckle preen, a large pin used to fasten a shawl (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Ork. 1963). See Preen; (28) muckle room, the best room or parlour (Fif. 1963); (29) muckle scorie, the glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus (Sh. 1932 J. Saxby Trad. Lore 199, Sh. 1963). See Scorie; (30) muckle snippack, the woodcock, Scolopax rusticola (Sh. 1899 Evans and Buckley Fauna Sh. 162; Sc. 1930 S. Gordon Birds Scot. 156). See Snippack; (31) muckle sorra, the Devil. See Sorra; (32) muckle spell-buik, see Spell; (33) muckle stanger, the greater weever, Trachinus draco (Abd. 1878 Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Abd. 89), from its poisonous spines. See Stang; (34) muckle-stell, see Stell; (35) muckle Sunday, the Sunday on which the half-yearly Communion was observed in the Presbyterian Churches (Abd. 1903 E.D.D.). Cf. (23); (36) muckle-supper, a harvest-home feast (Ork. 1963). Cf. (1); (37) muckle tae. the big toe (I. and n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Kcb. 1963); (38) muckle threave, twenty-four corn sheaves of a fixed large size. See Threave; (39) muckle tohoi, -tae hae, a gawky, empty-headed fellow (e.Dmf.2 1919; Ags., Rxb. 1963). For the second element see Tehee and for the formation cf. Eng. hobbledehoy; (40) the Muckle Toon, a soubriquet for the town of Langholm in Dmf. See also Muckle toun; (41) meikle trake, the Devil (Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Traik). See Traik and cf. Sorra; (42) muckle truncher, a large wooden dish for holding soup; (43) muklwame, me(i)kle-, the larger-sized stomach of a cow or bullock, as opposed to the smaller one of a sheep. (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M. 69). Cf. (3) and see Wame; (44) muckle water, with def. art.: the Atlantic Ocean; (45) Muckle Wednesday, the Wednesday on which cattle were sold in Edinburgh when summer pasture was exhausted; (46) muckle wheel, the most simple form of spinning-wheel consisting of a large hand-turned wheel connected by a band to the spindle (‡Sh. 1963). Also attrib. and in n.Eng. dial. Cf. little wheel s.v. Wheel.(1) Bch. 1926 Trans. Bch. Field Club 24:
Their parents would be from home at one of these “muckle ates”, as the juniors sarcastically termed them.
(2) Ags. 1883 G. Hay Round O 35:
The boatman . . . had to carry the great novelist ashore — a service which Sir Walter acknowledged by clapping Cargill on the shoulder, with the accompanying remark, “Weel, Geordie, you're a fine muckle-backit fellow.”
(3) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 37:
She was suddenly seiz'd wi' a rumbling in her muckle bag, what we kintry fouks ca's a rish i' the guts.
(4) Rnf. 1741 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M. 35:
All the beds, clock, meill-kist, vessel-board, meikle chair, meikle bible.
(5)Abd. 1988 David W. Summers Fishing off the Knuckle 35:
The sma-bate was designed for operating off the open shore, usually with a crew of six men. The great-line fishery entailed the use of the herring boat (the 'muckle-bate') or an intermediate type of boat (the 'sma-bate').
(6) (i) m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 107:
He was a muckle-boukit chiel, wi' chuffie cheeks, an' a roun' gawsy face.
Bnff. 1917 Banffshire Jnl. (26 June) 3:
My bield's nae muckle bookit, jist a cosy but an' ben.
Abd. 1918 W. Mutch Hev ye a Spunk 27:
Weel it [pill] wisna muckle bookit.
Abd. 1926 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 110:
A wiz never muckle bookit.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 4:
aye hingin
hootchin wi clart
(ii) Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 31:
Mary Florence . . . was what would be termed nowadays in an interesting condition, but in the beginning of last century people would have said she “wis muckle bookit.”
(7) Rnf. 1741 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M. 35:
All the beds, clock, meill-kist, vessel-board, meikle chair.
Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 120:
Guid e'ening John, I'm blythe to see you there, This night is sharp; draw in that muckle chair.
Gall. 1881 L. B. Walford Dick Netherby v.:
Sae dressed-up mim-mou'd a mistress ne'er sat i' my muckle-chair afore.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xi.:
He was a terrible invalid, an' for the hinmost years o' his life he sat in a muckle chair nicht an' day.
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 28:
She was crootlin' in her muckle chair.
(8) (i) Edb. 1859 F. W. Bedford Hist. Heriot's Hospital 343:
Muckle chields, the seven boys at the top of the Catalogue, who were the judges, as well as the executioners, under the garring law.
(ii) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (12 Feb.):
Why ta da muckle sheeld dü dey dive sae muckle intil hit?
(9) Abd. 1701 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 178:
For three ells of coarse cloath to be a muckle coate for winter weather.
Lth. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 5:
He also had a muckle coat, To had him dry when foul.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxiii.:
Lend me a hand off with my muckle-coat.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 16:
His muckle coat wis nearly new.
(10) Sc. 1721 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 173:
The meeckle Deel's in the man, nothing will please him but to putt us all in the Tabeeth.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 58:
A meikle deel ding the doup out o' their ca'dron.
Ayr. 1792 Burns Deil's Awa ii.:
And monie braw thanks to the meikle black Deil, That danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman.
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. xxxii.:
The muckle-deevil blaw wind in your sails.
Gall. 1872 E. J. Irving Fireside Lays 52:
The muckle Deil — Ill luck gang wi' him.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 30:
The Muckle Deil lay at the mirk pit mou'.
(11) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
But 's wife's freens . . . manag't to get the muckle feck o' fat wus leeft fan he wore awa.
(12) Abd. 1881 Bon-Accord (26 May) 4:
The “question of the day” on Muckle Friday — “Are ye feein' or are ye bidin'.”
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls ii.:
On the Muckle Friday, the fair for which children storing their pocket money would accumulate sevenpence-halfpenny in less than six months, the square was crammed.
Abd. 1930 D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 24:
Last Muckle Friday my foreman hit the orra man an' left a deep impression abeen his lug.
(13) Kcd. 1925:
If ye're tae mak' a rickydow ging tae the muckle furth wi'd.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (15 Aug.):
Baith hersel' an' byke hung roon' an' roon' wi' a' the trappin's for bidin' in the muckle furth.
(14) Sc. 1843 C. Holtzapffel Turning I. 171:
The spallers employ heavy axe-formed or muckle-hammers, for spalling or scaling off smaller flakes [of granite].
(15) Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray 204:
Chadrey keeps the best o' a'thing — the best birss an' muckle-heidit tackets!
(16) Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Nae doubt they burn for it in muckle hell.
Gall. 1894 Crockett Raiders x.:
Between the red coal and the brimstane flaming blue ayont the bars o' muckle hell.
(17) Slk. 1823 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) ii.:
I didna think the muckle-horned deil himsel could hae set up his mou' to the heaven, and braggit and blasphemed in sic a way.
(18) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxviii.:
I have seen many things which I trust to tell you one day, also the muckle kirk of this place.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes xxv.:
“The muckle kirk does weel eneuch for me.” . . . “The muckle kirk! . . . What get ye there but the dry banes o' morality.”
Sc. 1889 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 192:
The Auld Kirk, the Meikle Kirk, The Kirk o' Scotland's micht.
(19) Abd. 1936 Huntly Express (10 Jan.) 6:
A muckle-kited carle fa traivelled for manure.
(20) Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. (Tait) I. 83:
Muckle-kokkeluri: — (a) Mayweed or Corn Feverfew. Matricaria inodora. (b) Ox-Eye Daisy. Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum. Mayweed is much more plentiful in Shetland than the Ox-Eye but the latter name is often applied to the former by mistake.
(21) Sh. 1932 J. Saxby Trad. Lore 49, 103:
The story is that “The Mukle Maister” had caused a number of ships to be cast away upon the Vee Skerries. . . . “Da mukle maister sit in onder de.”
(22) Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. (1887) 76:
At sixteen he was little-man on a farm in the vicinity of Logie. At twenty he was muckle-man on the same farm.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 83:
The muckle man bears himself with great dignity and importance towards those of lower standing than himself, and generally enforces his commands in a very masterlike manner.
(23) ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 77:
On Monday there was public worship, and, as on Saturday, business and work of all kind were suspended during the hours of worship. On this day there was usually a party at the manse, consisting of the ministers who had assisted, their wives, and other members of their families. It was called “The Muckle Munanday.”
(24) Sc. 1715 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 75:
Twall Toop Horn-spoons down Maggy lays, Baith muckle-mow'd and lang.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 253:
Mickle mouth'd Folk are happy to their Meat. Spoken by, or to them who come opportunely to eat with us.
Sc. 1802 Lockhart Scott xi.:
Meg Murray was the ugliest woman in the four counties, and . . . she was called, in the homely dialect of the time, meiklemouthed Meg.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet vii.:
There was no ane o' them weel-faured — Muckle-moo'd Gilchrists they ca'ed them.
Fif. 1912 J. E. Simpkins County Folk-Lore VIL 391:
Mim-mou'ed maidens never get a man; muckle-mou'ed maids get twa.
(25) Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 196:
Douce Davie deserves to be paikit, He's spoony on muckle-neeved Meg.
(26) Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 153:
Rise up, and mak a clean fire-side, Put on the muckle pat.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 247:
She . . . set every tub an' sey 'at she could fin', as weel as da muckle kettle an' muckle pot.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 9:
Three-toed pots of different sizes, varying from the muckle pot of ten gallons, to the peerie pot for the bairns' milk gruel.
(28) Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 13v:
The browster-wife discreetly Gies them the muckle room.
(35) Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xxix.:
It was either ta muckle Sunday hersell, or ta little government Sunday that they ca'd ta fast.
(36) Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 115:
When the last sheaf had been gathered in, the farmer had a muckle-supper or harvest home.
Ork. 1924 P. Ork. A.S. II. 82:
But the joy of harvest has gone these two or three years past. . . . “The mucklesupper,” “the mullyou corn,” and all the rest — all have vanished.
Ork. 1995 Orcadian (5 Jan) 22:
On Friday, December 2 the "Muckle Supper" organised by the community association was held in Beltane. A good attendance included visitors from North Ronaldsay, Kirkwall, Orphir and Edinburgh.
(37) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 4:
Thro' my auld bachle peep'd my muckle tae.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 90:
It brunt to the bane my muckle tae.
Ags. 1907 Rymour Club Misc. I. 57:
He gaes to the door and broke's muckle tae.
(38) Bnff. 1897 Banffshire Jnl. (28 Sept.) 7:
In the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray there was a muckle threave and a little threave. In the muckle threave every sheaf was required to measure ten inches in diameter at the band. The measurement for the sheaves in the little threave was seven and a half inches. Half a century ago the shearer was paid threepence for the muckle threave and twopence for the little threave.
(40)Sc. 1982 Iain Lawson Drives in the Scottish Borders 46:
Langholm, the 'Muckle Toon' of Eskdale is the 'most Border' of all towns. It stands only eight miles from English ground.
(41) Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 20:
The meikle trake come o'er their snouts, That laugh at winsome kissing pouts.
(42) Ork. 1905 W. T. Dennison Ork. Weddings 31:
The soup, or broth as it was called, was next placed on the table in very large wooden basins called “muckle trunchers.”
(43) Sc. 1887 Jam.:
The term is still used in country districts where the people have not yet given up making a big haggis. The common or wee haggis is contained in the stomach of a sheep, . . . but the big haggis is contained in a meklewame.
(44) Abd. a.1807 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 78:
Syne after him cam Yankie Doodle Frae hyne ayont the muckle water.
(45) Edb. 1830 Per. Advertiser (25 Nov.):
Edinburgh Cattle Market . . . This being what is called Muckle Wednesday, cattle were plenty.
(46) Wgt. 1702 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (20 Sept.):
Margret Milmyn . . . being interrogat, confest her spinning a while upon the mikle wheel upon the morning of the Fast day.
Sc. 1706 Sc. Antiquary XII. 103:
Two Women will easily master half a stone of clean Wool every Week at the mukle Wheel.
Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. (1923) 66:
Ane old Saddle and bridle, an Sufficient Meikle wheell.
Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 357:
It was all spun, as it is termed, upon the muckle wheel.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie x.:
He had on a pair o' dark-blue pat-dyed rig-and-fur muckle-wheel worsted stockings.
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. xvi.:
She . . . talked something of matrimony; and the mysteries of the muckle wheel.
Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 1237:
The mule jenny, a machine invented by a Mr. Crompton, near Bolton, Lancashire. It is an adaptation of the twisting process of the old jenny, or meickle wheel of this country.
Rxb. 1868 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 7:
The muckle wheel on which our grandmothers or great-grandmothers spun consisted of a large fly-wheel, which turned the spindle, and which was set in motion by a vigorous turn from the guidwife's hand, who then retired slowly backward, ekeing out the thread as she retired, and winding it on the spindle as she advanced to set the wheel again in motion. A wheel was an indispensable article of plenishing, and many were the traditionary and empirical formulas for setting and keeping it in order. The spindle, which was frequently of wood, was always thought to run most freely in a “strae wisp,” which very possibly it really did, as the silicious surface of the straw would cause little friction. Fragments of bone, glass, &c., were recommended by others for the same purpose.
n.Sc. 1929 J. M. McPherson Prim. Beliefs 28:
Dr. Gregor describes a simpler method of kindling the fire. It was employed when the quarter-ill made its appearance. The “muckle wheel” was set in motion. Soon there was a spark and then a flame. From this, fires were kindled in the byres.

9. Phrs.: ¶(1) day o' meikle meat, a feast day; (2) muckle an' nae little, no small amount of, a great deal of (Abd. 1963).(1) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 136:
Bra haly days and days o' meikle meat, Fastrens-e'en and Yule days.
(2) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch i.:
They had brought him muckle and no little mischief.
w.Sc. 1880 Jam.:
Muckle an' nae little siller he gied him.

10. Derivs.: (1) mickledom, mekildom (Sc. 1808 Jam.), great size, bulk; (2) muckleness, id. (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (3) Mucklie, -y, a shortened dim. form of Muckle Friday, see 8. (12), the fair held on Muckle Friday (Kcd., Ags., Fif. 1963); a present brought from the fair; ¶(4) meikly, greatly, much.(1) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 245:
Mickledom is no Virtue.
(3) Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls xii.:
Books and pamphlets were brought into the town by the flying stationers, as they were called, who visited the square periodically, carrying their wares on their backs, except at the Muckly, when they had their stall and even sold books by auction.
Ags. 1952 People's Journal (4 Oct.):
That was the usual “Mucklie” the lads gave to the lasses.
Ags. 1958 Dundee Courier (6 June):
Grand Old-fashioned Mucklie at Westview Park, Kirriemuir.
(4) Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 88:
I wonder meikly, in sic times.

II. adv. 1. Qualifying a verb: to a great degree or extent, much, greatly. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. ii:
That gars me ergh to trust ye meikle, For fear you shou'd prove fause and fikle.
Ayr. 1786 Burns A Dream v.:
But faith! I muckle doubt, my sire.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 52:
I've ferlied muckle, soon an' late Whar ye cou'd a' the wisdom get.
Abd. 1863 G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod v.:
I sud be muckle obleeged te ye.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 22:
At length refreshed and very meikle Pleased wi' the grace of Willie Little.
w.Lth. 1908 J. White Pen Sketches 3:
An' ferlie mickle I hoo some o' them hae thriven.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water v:
Wha the bairnie's daddy is They dinna muckle mind.
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 48:
"Thir no here. Thoo're hin an acceedent wi' thee bike. Er thoo muckle hurt?"

2. Qualifying an adj., adv., etc. in the positive or comparative degree: much, greatly, very, exceedingly. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 137:
Her lady mither o'er an' o'er again In face an' feature, an' muckle about her eild.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Brigs of Ayr 175–6:
Now haud you there! for faith ye've said enough, And muckle mair than you can mak to through.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality ii.:
Cuddie had been in sair straits a' night, and she couldna say he was muckle better this morning.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxxvii.:
May be his son was as muckle in fault as Swinton.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister xxvi.:
Rintoul's so little o' a Scotchman that he's no muckle better than an Englisher.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 104:
I would be muckle the better o't.
Sc. 1897 J. Wright Sc. Life 47:
Our minister . . . was a “muckle thocht o' man,” and a “rale guid preacher.”
w.Sc. 1929 R. Crawford Quiet Fields 31:
There wis a wee man that wis muckle surprised.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick vii.:
He clartit ower 'e pob as muckle mair roset as 'e cud get sclairit on't.

3. Phrs.: (1) muckle aboot it, much the same, without change (Sh. 1963); (2) muckle about muckle, of similar things: with little to choose between them. Cf. Eng. “to be much of a muchness.”(1) Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw v.:
“If Miss Ruth speers for me, Jean, jist Say that I'm muckle aboot it.” “Ay, ye're ay muckle aboot it, if ye'd dee wise like I'd hae some peety for ye.”
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums vii.:
“Ay, hoo are ye, Jess?” Tibbie said. “Muckle aboot it,” answered Jess.
(2) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller x.:
“But the flour is mair kindly than coal-dust, is't no?” . . . “Muckle about muckle.”

III. quasi-n. 1. A large quantity, a great deal (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis), much. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 291:
Seek mickle, and get something; seek little, and get nothing.
Lnk. 1723 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 216:
Every man . . . haveing ane hundred pound land of new extent be year, may expend so meikle to plant woods and forrests.
Fif. 1772 Lady Lindsay Auld Robin Gray viii.:
O sair did we greet, and muckle did we say.
Ayr. 1792 Burns Hey, Ca' thro' i.:
Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro', For we hae mickle ado!
Sc. 1793 George Washington Writings (1939) 423:
A Scotch addage, than which nothing in nature is more true 'that many mickles make a muckle'.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf ix.:
She's ten times waur than himsell, and is wyted for muckle of the ill he does about the country.
Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems 40:
For meikle he read, and meikle he thought.
Sc. 1880 Stevenson Deacon Brodie i. i. 2:
The limmers . . . left her leddyship wi' no sae muckle's a spune to sup her parritch wi'.
Ork. 1884 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 3:
Hid's me toucht o' the Heeland men, 'at they wur meed for naethin' bit t'inkin' muckle o' themsels, an' for fechtin'.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Bog-Myrtle 269:
I was hearin' some o' them wasna thocht muckle o'!
Rxb. 1916 Kelso Chron. (24 March) 3:
There's far ower muckle o' the Roman Catholic aboot a' the kirks now.
Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 18:
Loard! did iver ye hear sic a feel mon comin' wi' win' tae hes that has aye eesless muckle o't?
Abd. 1940 Huntly Express (19 Jan.) 3:
He said at the close of his address: “As the Scots say, and they should know, mony a mickle mak's a muckle.” As I know Mr Hilton I took the liberty of telling him that, as the Scots know, he had quoted the proverb wrongly; that the proverb is “Mony a little mak's a muckle,” or “Littles mak' mickles.”
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 5:
" ... for he'll niver spick aboot love, bit cheust aboot the stit o' the crops, an' the price o' feedin' stuff. No muckle o' a kisser, the wey his mooth is aafil weet. ... "
sm.Sc. 1979 Alan Temperley Tales of Galloway (1986) 53:
As she knelt to gather her husband's body together, and the soldiers reloaded, Claverhouse said to her: "What dost think of thy husband now, woman?" "I aye thocht meikle o' him," she replied with simple distress, "an' never mair than now."
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 6:
"Yon yin's even blacker than he's pentit!"
Plenty reputations ruint, have nae doot!
Muck'll stick, when there's sae muckle fleein aboot.
Gsw. 1987:
Mony pickles mak a muckle.
em.Sc. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 105:
... professional reputation ... daren't make mistakes ... more haste, less speed ... patience is a virtue ... many a mickle maks a muckle ...
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 96:
Rob was smiling. 'No muckle has changed in the music field,' he said. 'still the old boxie and the fiddle. Kate Dalrymple is still lowping.'
Sc. 1995 Scotsman (21 Jul) 13:
Mickle means the same as muckle.
What it should have said was: "mony a pickle, or puckle, maks a muckle, or mickle." Fancy.

2. Phrs.: (1) an' as muckle, an emphatic imprecation (ne.Sc., Ags. 1963); (2) deil a muckle, see Deil, n. II. 1. (6); (3) if it wisna for muckle, with very little further provocation; ¶(4) insaemeikle, inasmuch; (5) I wadna muckle say but, it wouldn't surprise me if (Sh., Abd. 1963); (6) I've seen as muckle as, I wouldn't be surprised if. Gen.Sc.; (7) to mak muckle o't, in neg. expressions: to show little improvement in an illness (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1963).(1) Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 335:
Fiss fiss — sorrow fiss ye an as muckle.
Ork.1 c.1920:
Dorin an' as muckle.
(3) Ork.1 1949:
A younger, tall but lightly built man said to an elder powerfully-built man “If it wisna for muckle, Peter, I wid knock thee doon.”
(4) Sc. 1862 G. Henderson St. Matthew vii. 24:
There rase up an unco tempest insae-meikle that the ship was cover't wi' the waves.
(5) Rxb. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 20:
I wadna muckle say but ye May come to lose the feck o't.
(6) Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 145:
I've seen as muckle as it never come daylicht.
(7) Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 27:
“Hoo's Dauvit, yer brither?” “Faith, I dinna think he's makin' muckle o't.”

3. A shallow pail for working up butter in (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 33), short for muckle dish.

[O.Sc. mekill, mykill, a.1400, muckle, late 16th c., much, great(ly), mekledome, 1596, meikill devill, 1572, meklewame, 1596. Mid. (mainly north.) Eng. mikel, O.E. micel, O.N. mikill, great, large. The absence of palatalisation is due either to deriv. from O.N. or to the generalising of the O.E. oblique stem micl-; the long vowel forms meikle, etc. are due to the lengthening of i to ē in open syllables in North. Mid.Eng. and Sc., and for the u see I, 2. § 2.]

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"Muckle adj., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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