Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

from 2005 supplement

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KAIL, n. 1. Add to defin.: Also attrib.
Add quots.: Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 109:
'The wind, boy, the wind. It leaves nothing alone. No even a kail plant'll grow strecht if ye dinna put a wall aroond it.'
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 12:
On me the thocht
o the lang, lang years o shot kail
flooerin owre aw Scotland.

3. Add quots.: Hebr 1995 Angus Duncan Hebridean Island: Memories of Scarp 93:
The crofter families did not trouble to lay in a supply of either rice or barley, and as few families grew either carrots or turnips, far less leeks and onions, the only vegetable in the broth was cabbage. Their broth was literally kail, as such broth is called in Braid Scots.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 57:
Greyfriars' Bobby's suppin a plate o kail
While MacDiarmid poors himsel oot a
Wee deoch-an-doruis frae a bottle o peaty malt.

5. (34) Add quot.: wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 30:
Ay, whey. (Mary goes to the bunker) And ye, guid wife. Ye're juist keepin the fire frae the laddie. Hae ye ony kailworms?

5. (35) (a) Add quots.: m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 72:
Dae ye think yon Henley kent whit a kailyard wes?
Or aw thir ither expairts frae The Toun,
the Heich-Heid-Criticasters lukkin doun
thair nebs tae snirt et kintra chiels lik us
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 18:
There wis a kailyaird forbye, weel-delled and growthie, wi aa kin o crap, frae green kail tae ticht pirls o sproots.

5. (35) (b) Add quots.: Sc. 1985 Robert A. Rankin in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 1:
John Hay is best known as author of the remarkable book Gillespie, published in 1914 and reissued in 1963 and 1979. This powerful novel of Scottish village life, together with its precursor George Douglas Brown's The House with the Green Shutters, brought about the demise of the sentimental kailyaird school of Scottish authors.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 7 Jan 7:
The turn of the year fairly brings out the kailyard Scots from the woodwork, and we get on radio a near unadulterated diet of Scottish country dance music, pipe music and the old chestnuts of Scottish song: ...
Sc. 1996 Herald 19 Feb 13:
Cashing in on kailyard stereotypes may be the stock in trade for shortbread firms, but selling Scotland on a grander scale, to multi-million pound investors, requires a rather different approach ...
Sc. 2002 Sunday Herald 9 Jun 12:
Scepticism is understandable, but misplaced. As Ian Campbell rightly remarks in his excellent introduction to these three books, it is a serious mistake to imagine [John Galt] in the vicinity of the kailyard. Francis Russell Hart wrote (in The Scottish Novel) of an author "as much interested as Scott in the end of the past". More than that, Galt lacked Scott's taste for melodrama.

5. (35) (b) Add Deriv.: kailyardish, Sentimental.Sc. 2000 Herald 9 May 19:
Translations of Moliere by the late Kemp are successful, if a little kailyardish. They well exploit the comic quality of Scots, its ability to put weighty matters into the language of the streets, which is what Moliere himself was doing.

5. (35) (b) Add Deriv.: kailyardism, Sentimentality.Sc. 1989 Scotsman 7 Jan 7:
But New Year proves annually that kailyardism is alive and well in Scotland, ...
Sc. 1999 Herald 30 Nov 15:
Written in reaction to those working-class Scots comedies in which the wee guy always triumphs, the play was Paterson's attempt at breaking the mould with a full-scale tragedy. He's conscious that in writing a rural tragedy set in the 1930s he lays himself open to the charge of kailyardism, but that's a risk he's prepared to take for the privilege of being emotionally open.
Sc. 2000 Scotsman 22 Jul 8:
Furthermore, Fergusson wrote about urban life with great confidence, and if he had lived a few years longer he might have developed a model for later Scottish poetry which could have offset the 19th-century tendency towards kailyardism.

5. (38) Add quot.: Sc. 1905 R. B. Cunninghame Graham, ed. John Walker The Scottish Sketches of R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1982) 41:
In the deserted long-kail patch, heather and bilberries had resumed their sway.

5. Add Comb.: kailpatch, = (35) kailyard (a).wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 19:
The yard was awash and roof boulders strewed the kailpatch.
Sc. 2001 Daily Express 3 Feb 12:
It's an attitude which hasn't made the place universally popular — it's also known as Cabbage Town (Baile Chail in Gaelic) [Dingwall] to mark the townsfolk's passion for Kail patches in their gardens to feed their pet pig — but the sense of order is apparent walking down the High Street.

6. (6) Add quot.: Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 235:
Everybody that wasn't there got their character, or 'kale through the reek'.

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"Kail n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <>



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