Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PEEL, v.1, n.1 Also peal. Sc. forms and usages. [pil]

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Hence derivs. (1) peeler, -art, -an, a small crab which has just cast its shell or is about to do so and which is therefore suitable for bait (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 229, Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., peeler; ne.Sc., Ags. 1965). Hence fig., as in 1905 quot., a person who is a little “soft in the head”, a “natural”, simpleton; (2) pealings, the “strippings” or last drops of milk taken from a cow (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. App.); (3) peelock, n., a potato cooked and served in its skin. Also peelock potato, id. (Kcb. 1900). See also 2. (3). (1) Mry. 1852 Zoologist X. 3682:
It [common shore crab] is occasionally employed as bait, particularly the “peelarts,” as those that have just cast their shell are called.
Sc. 1905 A. Forbes Gael. Names 356–7:
The green crab is nothing but an ordinary crab in this state, i.e., while casting its shell, and called peeler or peelan. . . . In Scenes and Stories of the North of Scotland, by John Sinclair, a portrait appears of a poor, witless being, John M'Lean, whose eke-name is there given as “Peelans,” the origin or meaning of which the author was unable to explain; the similarity of the poor being to a shell-less crab, however, is the origin.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
Peeler. The female crab, esp. at mating time when it has cast its shell.
Bnff. 1960 Banffshire Jnl. (26 April):
The partans an' the labsters tremblin' In their holes will cling, The peelers an' the safties Will be shakin' in their she'in.
(3) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 214:
His peelocks will be sweet to eat, And no puir scabbed chittery.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 366:
He was asked . . . “What dae ee get tae yer supper?” “Peelocks”.

2. Sc. combs. and phrs.: (1) peel-a-bane, a bitterly cold day, a freezing wind, a spell of very cold weather (Sc. 1903 E.D.D., “a common saying”); (2) peelaflee, a person wearing unsuitably light clothing, a dandy. Also in forms peaner(flee); (3) peel-an-eat, a potato cooked and served in its skin, a meal made up of these (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 378; w. and s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Lth., wm. and s.Sc. 1965). Also attrib. Hence adj. of a person: unhealthy-looking, delicate, sickly (Abd., Bwk., Slk. 1921 T.S.D.C. 16; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (4) peeled egg, a stroke of good fortune which one has not had to strive for, a benefit which falls into one's lap, a “windfall” (Abd.24 1929). Found also as a farm-name (Abd. 1952 W. M. Alexander Place-Names 98). See Egg; (5) peelring(e), -range, -the-reenge, (i) a mean, miserly person, a “skinflint” (Fif. 1825 Jam.; s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws Gl.); (ii) a thin, emaciated creature, one who always feels cold, a thin-blooded shivering skinny person (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Also attrib. See Reenge, n.2, 2.; (6) to pack and peel, see Pack; (7) to peel one's wands, fig., to commence any enterprise, to start on something new, prob. a metaphor from basket-making, specif. used of a newly-married couple starting life together, or of the beginning of an apprenticeship or the like (s.Sc. 1965). (1) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 211:
March borrows frae April Three days, and they are ill; . . . The third o' them's a peel-a-bane, And freezes the wee burds neb tae stane.
(2) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 392:
Peelaflee, he said, was a creature out of its element; a dandy attempting to play with men at the channlestane, for the dandy looks as if the wind had him peeled, and that he looked as if going to fly. A being much liker a warm room, sitting by the hip of a lisping lady. Peelaflees are all those who look better on a street than they do in the country. . . . Peaner — A cold-looking, naked, trembling being — small of size. Peanerflee — A light-looking craw o' a body.
(3) s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 336:
[He] was glad to dinner for a' this On peal-an'-eat.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 81:
Peel an' eat mith maybe please, O' guid Potaties.
Slk. 1836 Fraser's Mag. (May) 610:
Where had that peel-an'-eat creature sae mony thousands o' pounds to lend to his daft profligate laird?
Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (14 Dec.) 3:
Twa three peel-an'-eat pitawties.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 4:
We had rowth o' guid tatties, oor favourite anes Were . . . served peel and eat to a wee pickle saut.
Abd. 1955 Abd. Press & Jnl. (3 Feb.):
Enjoying bowls of hare soup with peel-and-eat potatoes.
(4) Ags. 1722 Session Papers, State of Process, Mudie v. Ross 124:
Ise waren you thought you had got a good peel'd egg of me yon time.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvii.:
Here was a peeled egg that few hae the like o' to sit doon till when they first enter into the matrimonial state!
Kcd. 1880 W. R. Fraser Laurencekirk 377:
The daughter of a village Mrs. Partington had made an eligible match, which was announced by the worthy matron in these words: “She's got a braw peeled egg”.
(7) Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
“The twaesome's peelin' their wands” — said of a pair just beginning married life.

3. To plunder, spoil, rob, pillage, cheat. Obs. in Eng. in 18th c. Cf. Eng. pill; in 1872 quot., to fine, mulct. Bnff. 1872 W. Philip It'ill a' Come Richt xxi.:
I've nicket a bawd or twa an' gotten peeled for't.
Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 96:
The idea of being robbed and peeled by the man who he considered had no right to a single farthing.

4. (1) To rub or scrape skin off, usu. by accident, to inflict or suffer an abrasion, to “skin” one's leg, arm, etc. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Gall. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 141:
Whan I'm for sleepin', she's for waukin', An' peels my shins.
Lnk. 1838 A. Rodger Poems 282:
I skail'd my snuff, I peel'd my loof.
em.Sc. 1842 Children in Mines Report XVI. 29:
The carts often peel my legs.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 140:
He naps his taes an' peels his heels.
Sh. 1901 Shetland News (9 Feb.):
A'm brösd or dan peel'd me left elbik.
Bnff. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 49:
An' fient a compleen, sair heed nor peelt shin.

(2) To shear corn with a sickle (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. App.) Cf. obs. Eng. peel, pill, id.

5. “To travel in a windy, wild day, with light clothes on” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 378). Cf. 2. (2).

6. With frae: to desist from, give up, stop (an action, habit, etc.). Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 174:
Ilk rantin', rovin', ramblin' chiel, . . . Frae raking now he maun off peel.

II. n. A crab that has just disearded its shell (Bnff. 1965). See I. 1. (1). Abd. 1932 J. Leatham Fisherfolk 49:
Peels, pullers, and other names used by the fishermen to designate the soft, shell-less crab during its moulting period.

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"Peel v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Jul 2020 <>



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