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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAUCHLE, n.1, v.1 Also pauchal, -el, poackle, pochle, pauc-, pock-; poghal, pokle; pawchle (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 376). pyauchle; paghle; pachal; packle; †packald; †pakkald (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); pechle (Jam.), peghle. [pǫxl]

I. n. 1. A bundle, a small load, a burden, a pack-load; “a parcel or budget carried by one in a clandestine sort of way” (Lth. 1808 Jam., pechle; Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) P. 1., pachal); the personal belongings of someone in service and living away from home, gen. as kept in a trunk, kit-bag or the like (Per., Fif., e.Lth. 1968). Also fig. Deriv. packler, pechler, a pedlar who deals in earthenware (Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders Gl.), a travelling handyman or tinker (see 1832 quot.), a packman.Gall. 1743 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 408:
Samuel M'Clain, had on the first Lords day of May rode a great part of the way to Air and that with a packle under him to the offence of God and his people by breach of the Sabbath.
Kcb. c.1800 in J. Morrison Poems (1832) 57:
The figure of a horse And on his back there seemed a little load Such as in Scotland we a pauchal call.
Lth. 1832 Tait's Mag. (April) 64:
The Pechler is a character in humble life, who assumes no distinct profession, but contrives to live a curious, irregular life by means of all kinds of out-of-the-way bargainings, and contracts for work; his habits being generally in a considerable degree determined by the accident of his living in a city or in the country.
Sc. 1833 Chambers's Jnl. (April) 73:
Peghler . . . a person who has many curious properties, and who would, by many, be described as a Jack-of-all-Trades.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 54:
A pauchle o bleck steered aside me. "Ma?" said ma loonie. His face wis that birssled, I cudna makk oot far his een war. His hauns war swalled like puddens, sypin pus.

2. A small bundle or parcel of something, a quantity of anything (Uls. 1927 W. Lutton Montiaghisms 31, poghal); specif. a small quantity of goods, working materials or the like, taken by an employee from his employer's stock by way of a perquisite or gratuitous allowance, either furtively or by convention (Per., Fif., Slg., Edb., Slk. 1965), e.g. a share of the catch taken home by trawlermen at the end of a trip (Edb. 1965), comb. pauchle-bag, a sack used for this purpose; hence, more generally, a tip, gratuity to a porter, etc. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).m.Lth. 1955 Bulletin (16 March) 2:
“Pauchles” — an old East Coast fishing term for “back-handers” — were mentioned yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court . . . Ward had received between £7000 and £9000 as “pauchles” while he was an employee of the company.
Edb. 1956 Edb. Ev. Dispatch (5 Jan.):
With “paucle” bags, kit bags and . . . new seaboots, they make their way along Granton's Middle Pier to rejoin their ships.
Edb. 1957:
He was seen going into the scrap-merchant's with some pawchle and we had just lost some lead from the cisterns. . . . The janitor made a pauchle buying and selling the scholars' books.
Rxb. 1958 Daily Express (7 May):
During the hearing materials, which, it was considered, were free to employees for sale were referred to as “scran” or “pockle.”
Edb. 1994 Irvine Welsh Acid House 179:
The digs were adequate and free. The wages were pretty shite but the poackle was good, ...

3. A swindle, a piece of trickery (Per., wm.Sc. 1965), a “fiddle”. Also Phr. at the pokle.Gsw. 1963 Scottish Field (Dec.) 11:
I have never won a prize even in the humblest raffle — except once when I was on an amateur football club's committee, and that was a pochle.
Gsw. 1985 James Kelman A Chancer 238:
No hold barred, anybody they catch at the pokle Tammas.

II. v. 1. To do odd jobs for a gratuity, to earn “tips”.Sc. 1898 Railway Review (30 Sept.):
The name “tipping” is not quite understood among Scotch railway men, but the word “pauchel” . . . is known to every porter from John o' Groat's to the Mull of Galloway . . . Men on night shift . . . are known to remain on the platform for an extra half-dozen hours for the express purpose of making a few sixpences by “paucheling”.

2. tr. and intr. To be guilty of a minor dishonesty, to cheat, “work a wangle”, “twist” (m.Lth. 1951, poggle; wm.Sc., Kcb. 1965, pochle); specif., to cheat at cards (Ayr. 1928; Slg. 1958); to manipulate something for dishonest ends, to “fiddle” or “rig” an election or the like (m.Lth., Gsw. 1965). Also vbl.n.(Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Kcb. 2000s). Hence pochler, a cheat, twister, wangler (Gsw. 1965).Gsw. 1942 per Abd.27:
He pauchlet the votes.
wm.Sc. 1995 Robin Jenkins Leila 197:
Maitland looked at his wrist watch. 'Five to seven. They should be opening the boxes [of votes] shortly. I'll have to be on hand, to see that there's no pochling.'
Ayr. 1999:
He's pochlin. [cheating in an exam]
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 33:
'His uncle is Mitchel the packman.' 'Mitchel the pauchler,' said another. There was laughter, and the boy's face burned with shame. He wanted to change the subject.

3. To steal, pilfer, embezzle, pocket, make off with (m. and s.Sc. 1965). Also vbl. n.Per.4 1950:
He's pachled ma banana.
Edb. 1957:
He was Treasurer of the club and he pawchled the lot.
wm.Sc. 1984 Agnes Owens Gentlemen of the West 102:
I wasn't interested. Not that I'm averse to a bit of pauchling. For me the building site was fair game for easy pickings.
Edb. 1994 Irvine Welsh Acid House 185:
I wouldnae really class Wallsy as a mate, just an okay guy I've done a bit of work on the golf with, a bit of poacklin. I suppose that's as good a mate as you can get, on the parks like.
Edb. 1994 Gordon Legge I Love Me (Who Do You Love?) 99:
They'd did their best with all the material they'd pockled for insulating the place but the temperature they were insulating was never quite high enough.
Edb. 1998 Gordon Legge Near Neighbours (1999) 88:
No a penny to his name. I know that. Maybe the odd tuppence he's pockled out my purse.
Edb. 2000s:
When ye work in an office there's aye scope for pauchlin.

4. To shuffle (playing cards) (Lnk., Ayr. 1965).Ayr. 1930:
In the Kilmarnock district it is a kind of technical term at cards. “Pauchle thae cairts” — Shuffle those cards.

[O.Sc. pakkald, bundle, packet, 1516, packald, 1637, a deriv. of pack, of uncertain formation. The d may be excrescent, in which case the suffix would correspond to -le in Hantle, q.v. Cf. Flem. packeel.]

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"Pauchle n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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