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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WHEEL, n., v.1 Dim. wheelie, -y. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Combs. and deriv.: (1) wheelabouts, of a horse: its paces; (2) wheelamageerie, a fanciful notion, an impractical scheme, a gimmick, orig. a deformation of Whigmaleerie, cf. (9); (3) wheel-brae, in a coal-mine: a self-acting incline whereby loaded trucks on one set of rails in their descent pull up a train of empty trucks on another by means of a wheel round which the haulage cable is wound (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 72; Fif., Lth., wm.Sc. 1974), a Cowsy; (4) wheel-chargeman, see quot.; (5) wheeler, see (13); (6) wheelgate, a revolving gate or turnstile; (7) wheel-horned, having horns curving round in a circle, of a ram; (8) wheelie bed, = whurly bed (s.v. whurl, v., n. I. 1.); (9) wheel-line, the upper part of an angler's line, the part which is wound round the wheel or reel (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 255); (10) wheelmagig, “anything which whirls along rapidly” (Abd. 1905 E.D.D.), altered from Whirligig; (11) wheelmaleerie, a gadget or contraption. See Whigmaleerie and cf. (2) and (9); (12) wheel-mitten, a heavy woollen glove or mitt with thumb and one finger only used in rough weather by steersmen in grasping the wheel of a boat which had no wheelhouse for protection (Sh. 1974); (13) wheelmyorlum, wheeriorlum, a throw in the knock-out game of marbles in which the marble was jerked from behind the back over the right shoulder and caught in front, the player being allowed to take as many steps forward as he could while the marble was in the air, and then to shoot the marble from where he caught it (Bnff. 1958 Banffshire Advertiser (11 Sept.) 9). For the form cf. Wheeriorum; (14) wheelsman, the workman in charge of the wheel or windlass on a wheel-brae (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 72; Fif. 1944). See (3); (15) wheel-spauw, -spow, adv., head over heels with a sideways motion, in phr. to go or send wheelspow, to (make to) turn a catharine-wheel (Ork. 1929 Marw.) [-spʌu]. The second element may represent Norw. dial. spol, a spoke (of a wheel); (16) wheel step, a winding step in a spiral staircase, a winder, a newel step (Sc. 1952 Builder (20 June) 943). Also wheeler, id. (Id.): (17) wheel-tree, the wooden post or pivot on which the wheel of a self-acting incline in mining haulage turns (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 72; m.Sc. 1944). See (3); (18) wheelwright, used fig. in phr. to make a wheelwright o', to use another person for one's own ends or advancement.(1) Lnk. 1884 J. Hunter Poems 32:
A drove o' ramblin' couts, Wha ne'er had learn'd their wheel-abouts.
(2) Ags. 1850 Montrose Standard (8 March) 8:
Lat ye the Charter abee, Tammas, my man. It's just a mere wheelamageerie in politicks.
(3) Fif. 1867 St Andrews Gazette (2 Nov.):
Walking down the wheelbrae of the William Coal-pit when a tub filled with coals was coming down.
Fif. 1913 Session Cases 85:
The road [in the mine] was what is known as a wheel-brae.
(4) Lnk. 1897 S. & B. Webb Industrial Democracy 490:
Among the Steel Smelters the subordinates known as wheel-chargemen, who are recruited from the ordinary laborers, perform the onerous task of bringing to the furnace the heavy loads of pig-iron with which it is charged.
(6) Ayr. 1746 Dailly Session Rec. MS. (13 July):
There being a wheelgate which easily lifts off.
(7) Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) x.:
A wheel-horned ram, the king o' the flock.
(8) Gsw. 1985 Anna Blair Tea at Miss Cranston's 3:
There was mother, faither, mysel', Will and the wean in our house before we flitted to the room-and-kitchen. Me an' Willie slep' on the wheelie bed you hurled out from under the big bed at night.
Edb. 1992:
My gran had a wheelie bed, but by the time I grew up it was only used for visitors.
(11) Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 119:
A big place seated just like a kirk, wi' tables that had mony strange wheelmaleeries.
(12) Sh. 1962 New Shetlander No. 63. 5:
Dey made men's neists, wheel-mittens, an lang socks.
(15) Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. 186:
He juist sent tha Stennes champian wheelspauw afore he could say, Whit's dat!
(18) Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) vii.:
He wants to make a wheelwright o' your daughter Nell.

2. As in Eng., a spinning-wheel. In dim. form and combs.: (1) big wheel, the large spindle- or hand-driven wheel (Cai. 1974); the muckle wheel (see Muckle, I. 8. (46)). Cf. (2) and (8); (2) little wheel, the smaller spinning-wheel as opposed to (1), usu. driven by a crank and a foot-pedal and having a flyer on which the yarn is wound. See also (8); (3) peerie wheel, id. (I.Sc. 1974); (4) wee wheel, id.; (5) wheel-ba(a)nd, the driving-belt of a spinning wheel, gen. made of the dried gut of an animal (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; I.Sc., Cai. 1974). Also fig. See (6). Also in Eng. dial.; (6) wheelgut(s), the long small intestine of a sheep, formerly used as the driving belt of a spinning-wheel (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1974); (7) wheel term, id. (Sh. 1974). See Thairm; (8) wheelie, = (2) above.(1) Ayr. 1921 A. Murdoch Ochiltree 138:
Lady Glencairn, therefore, at her own sole charges, provided a room in which might be taught, sewing, knitting, and the art of spinning on the big wheel.
(2) Sc. 1729 D. P. Menzies Menzies Bk. (1894) 363:
A Cradle and a little Wheel.
Kcd. 1900 W. MacGillivray Glengoyne I. viii.:
Coarse lint spun on the ‘little wheelie'.
(3) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 363:
They made wee-wheels an orra things, an wur quait canny folk.
(5) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 366:
You have got the Bitch in the Wheel Band. That is, you have got a thing that you cannot keep long.
Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 175:
A rock, a reel, and a wheel-band.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) xxvii.:
Swaddle it [long hair] round wi' sax dizzen o' wheelbands.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 75:
His money is da wheelbaand 'at keeps a' turnin'.
(8) Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past & Pres. 129:
O gin Jocky wad but steal me I wad shortly burn my wheely.

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to turn a wheel, to drive by a wheel. Phr. to wheel a brae, to supervise the working of the wheel in the haulage system of a coal-mine (see I. 1. (3)) (Fif., Lth. 1974), hence wheeler, the workman who does this (Id.).

2. To spin yarn on a wheel. Vbl.n. wheelin(g), a coarse thick type of worsted yarn, orig. from uncombed wool spun on the big wheel (see I. 2. (1)) (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also attrib. and in combs. big-wheeling, wheelin wirs(t)it, id., wheelin weer, pins for knitting wheelin. See Fingering.Abd. 1777 Abd. Journal (29 Sept.):
A Piece of Fingered Wheeling Sey, not half milled, some foul Wool in it.
Edb. 1778 D. Loch Tour 3:
He pays for spinning worsted, twelvepence to fifteen-pence per spyndle, according to the fineness of the grist; big-wheeling, two shillings per spyndle.
Dmf. 1789 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (4 Aug.):
He has a Coarse Frame for working wheeling [for stockings].
Lnk. 1838 J. Morrison McIlwham Papers 18:
Some nice wheelin yarn for stockins.
Ags. 1858 People's Journal (2 Oct.) 1:
Men's Hosiery, in Wheeling and Fingering, Hand-Knitted and Wove.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnnie Gibb xxxviii.:
A stan' o' wheelin' weer.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (26 Aug.):
3 ply Wheeling Wool, Grey, Navy, Lovat, Marls and Heathers, at 1/10½ per 2 oz. Hank.
ne.Sc. 1954 Mearns Leader (4 June):
[He] wis in o's wheelin'-wirsit drawers an' hose afore he wis weel waukent.

3. tr. and intr. To whirl round in dancing, to swing one's partner round, to pirouette, to reel (Sh., Abd., Per. 1974). Vbl.n. wheelin.wm.Sc. 1820 Songs Cld. (Nimmo 1882) 197:
Tam he wi' Maggie was wheeling.
Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willie Waly 29:
Reel, reel, my hearties, keep your partners wheelin.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 83:
Up quick da lads gets jumpin; Dey wheel da lasses on da flür.
Per. 1881 D. Macara Crieff 5:
All the setting, wheeling, and winding intricacies of the “Duke of Perth”.

4. With it as cogn. accus.: to run hard, as if on wheels.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 6:
What spangs he made, how quick he wheeld it.

5. To make a bid at an auction sale for the purpose of raising the price without a genuine intention to buy (Abd. 1905 E.D.D.; ‡Bnff., Abd. 1974). Hence wheeler, one who does this (Abd. 1905 E.D.D.). Cf. white-bonnet s.v. White.Abd. 1892 J. Cromar Prodigal's Wife 167:
He was accused of “wheeling” at public sales, and of inducing tipsy farmers to endorse bills for his more shaky customers.

[O.Sc. quheill-band, a.1568, quheiling, of yarn, 1637.]

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"Wheel n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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