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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAIDLE, v.1, n.1 Also paiddle (Lnk. 1838 J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers 7; Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 45); padle; paedle (Edb. 1811 H. MacNeill Bygane Times 54; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); peddel (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. paddle. [pedl]

I. v. 1. intr. (1) As in Eng., to wade in or through water or mud (Ayr. 1788 Burns Auld Lang Syne iii.; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121); to move through a liquid by dint of a paddling movement. Used attrib. in Sc. comb. paddle-doo, n., a live frog at one time kept in a cream-jar to promote the formation of butter. The second element may be due to the notion that the frog is “milk-white” like a Doo or 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 194:
The ream pig or ream bowie was never washed. Washing took away all the luck. A frog was kept by some in it, and bore the name of “paddle-doo” or “gueede butter-gaitherer.”
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 33:
She [day] plunks the sun i' the lift aince mair Like a paddle-doo i' the raim-pig.

(2) to move with short, quick steps, to toddle, to walk slowly or aimlessly (Bnff., Cld., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, paddle; Sh., Bnff., Ags., Fif., Lth., wm.Sc. 1965). Derivs. (i) paidler, n., a child learning to walk, a toddler, a small person who walks with short waddling steps (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121); (ii) paidling, ppl.adj., toddling, waddling, hence footling, aimless, feckless.Ayr. 1792 Burns The Deuk's dang o'er i.:
He paidles out, and he paidles in, An' he paidles late and early, O!
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 41:
He thro' England on Shanks mare Did paddle.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. iii.:
Old Sandy paddled away from the stable towards the house.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie viii.:
Mony a lang stair hae I paidled up an' down this blessed day, and far hae I gaen for little siller.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 18:
While she was canny i' the saddle, An' at yer wull wad doucely paidle.
Ags. 1883 J. Kennedy Poems 77:
He paidlet through thick an' through thin.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxii.:
A wee white facie lookit round the corner o' the door, and wee bare feet paidled across the floor till they stoppit by Eppie's bed.
(ii) Ayr. 1792 Burns The Deuk's dang o'er i.:
He was but a paidlin body.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch x.:
He cam' to the yett yonder, thinking to meet his man, paidling Jock.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie viii.:
The inky-coated, paidlin' preacher.
Gsw. 1845 R. Husband Poems 113:
Poor, silly, padlin', bachl'd being.
Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Gall. Gossip 16:
He wus a queer paidlin buddy that, onywey.

(3) of a horse: to prance on the spot, to paw the ground without moving forward (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.). Cf. Pawt.Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 164:
Aff the spat she wadna stir, But prance an' paidle.

2. tr. To press or beat (something) with the feet, to trample, tread down (Sc. 1832 Scott Works Gl.; Uls. 1923 W. Lutton Montiaghisms; Ork., Fif., Kcb., Uls. 1965). Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb. paddled rounall, a circular area in a field trampled into mud by cattle. Cf. Pad, v.1, 2. (2), and Roundel.Peb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 I. 140:
The land is dunged and paddled by the sheep which eat the turnip.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 371:
In large fields where great flocks of oxen graze together, they have places where they often assemble . . . following each other round and round . . . These circular spots then shorn of grass are termed paddled rounalls.

II. n. 1. The act of wading or paddling in water, etc. (Cai., Bnff., Ayr. 1965).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121:
The twa bairns keepit a paidle . . . in the lint-cobble, catchin' wattir-horse.
Cld. 1880 Jam.:
[We] had a gran' paidle in the saut watter.
Lnl. 1896 Poets Lnl. (Bisset) 188:
But woe to the imp that . . . . . . damm'd up the burn for a paiddle or wade.

2. The act of walking with short, quick steps (Bnff., Cld., Rxb. 1880 Jam.).

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"Paidle v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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