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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PALLALL, n., v. Also pal(l)-al, -aal, -auls; dim. forms pal(l)aly, -aulay, -allie, -y, -aldie(s); parallie(s), pra(h)llies; also short forms (phs. the orig., see etym. note) pallie, -y, pawlie; paldie(s) (Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 258, Fif. 1965), pallsies (Ags. 1965). [pɑ′lɑl(e)(z); Ags. ′pralez, Fif. ′pɑl(d)e]

I. n. 1. Freq. in pl., the game of hopscotch, Beds, Peever (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson; Ags., Fif. 1965). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ags. 1799 Dundee Mag. (April):
Boys were not then publicly permitted to infest the streets and lanes, and to play at marbles, penny-stone, or pal-aals [on Sundays].
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Pallall, pallalls. A game of children, in which they hop on one foot through different triangular spaces chalked out, driving a bit of slate or broken crockery before them. From the figures made it is also called the beds.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch i.:
Some of her companions . . . took her out to the back of the house to have a game at the pallall.
Gsw. 1854 Glasgow Past & Present (1884) II. 182–3:
Whether it arose from the want of flagstones on our streets or otherwise I cannot say, but certainly no such game existed here in olden time as we see daily played upon our pavements nowadays by our little misses — I mean the game of “pall-all.”. . . I never saw this game played upon our streets before the year 1785.
Ags. 1887 J. McBain Arbroath 346:
Another game, much in vogue still, was the “pallie,” with its chalked-off beds on the pavement, firstie, secondie, thirdie, and so on; its hopping, jumping, and striding being deftly performed.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 250:
Mony's the time I've played the pallaldies bare-fit wi'm on the plainstanes at his feyther's door.
Arg. 1902 N. Munro Shoes of Fortune xv.:
Look! look! at the bairn playing pal-al in the close.
Sc. 1936 Gsw. Herald (10 Nov.):
“Hopscotch,” however, is an English name. We Scots called it “peever,” or “pallally,” or “pot,” or “the beds,” or “the pitcher,” or, most original of all, “teesy beesy beds.”
Fif. 1991 John Brewster in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 164:
My lane vice is a wee lass
Playin paldies in the rain,
Shuvin the warld an its polish tin
Back an forrit again.

2. The counter with which the game is played (Ags., Fif. 1965, paldie). Also prally. Cf. Fallall, Peever; transf. a wedge used in coal-cutting (Fif. 1950).Ags. c.1850 A. Reid Kirriemuir (1909) 400:
The pal-lal was thrown into each division, and then moved back towards the stance by the toe of the player, who hopped on one leg. She was not allowed to put down both feet except at “Dum, scum,” where she had to straddle across the line.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) iv.:
The same bonnie bit lassokie that cam' in wi' her pawlie that Setarday efternune.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon x.:
Then they had pallies, a game played with a tile. You hopped on one foot and tried to kick the pally from one square to another.
Ags. 1962 D. Phillips Lichty Nichts 62:
Sometimes the choice of game would be decided by someone revealing that they had a prallie — an empty polish tin, or the sawn-off end of a bobbin.
Dundee 1987 Norman Lynn Row Laddie Sixty Years On 57:
Hop Scotch sometimes involved the 'Prally' or Pal-ally, a puck like piece, such as a tobacco tin or bobbin head from the Spinning flat.

3. The name given to one of the squares or beds, usu. the seventh, in the chalked diagram on which the game is played (Ags., Fif. 1965). The whole diagram is called the pally-bed (Fif.17 1949).Ags. c.1850 A. Reid Kirriemuir (1909) 400:
The pavement or ground was marked off so: — . . . the divisions being termed “Firsty, secondy, thirdy; kittlety, dum, scum; Palaly, A' the Warld.”

4. By extension: a to-do' commotion. fuss (Ags. 1965).

II. v. To stroll around in an aimless way, to drift about, saunter, prowl.Lnk.1 1933:
Ye daurna leave yer coals ootbye athoot they're lockit up, for ther' aye some body pallallin' about the back-doors at nicht.

[Altered or reduplic. forms of Fr. palet, a stone or piece of flat metal used to throw at a target in various games, e.g. quoits.]

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"Pallall n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 May 2024 <>



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