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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

GALL, n. Also gaul, gaal, †gaule, †ga. Sc. forms of Eng. gale, the bog-myrtle, Myrica gale (Sc. 1726 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. I. 388, 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scot. II. 613, gaul; Dmb. 1794 D. Ure Agric. Dmb. 86, Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 217, gall; Bwk. 1842 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club 13, ga(ll), gaule; Mry. 1925; w.Abd. (gall), Arg.1 (gaal) 1945; Bnff., Abd., Peb., Gall. 1953). Also attrib. with buss, plant. Also in Cum. and Dev. dial. Hence adj. gally, covered with bog-myrtle. [gɑ(:)l]w.Sc. 1773 Boswell Tour (1785) 200:
The sweet-smelling plant which the Highlanders call gaul.
Sc. 1805 R. Forsyth Beauties Scot. II. 258:
The hazel, the dwarf willow, the gall plant.
Abd. 1839 A. Walker Deil at Baldarroch 30: 
Thy gally bogs an' swardy howes.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xi.:
Bog myrtle — or, as he would have said, “gall busses.”
Arg. 1896 N. Munro Lost Pibroch 36:
He wore the dull tartan of the Diarmaids, and he had a sprig of gall in his bonnet, for he was in Black Duncan's tail.
Kcb. 1909 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xix.:
There were scents of childhood that made me cry, that of the “gall” or bog-myrtle, chief of all.

[E.M.E. gall(e), gaule, O.E. gagel, id.]

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"Gall n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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