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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WILL, adj., adv., v.2, n.2 Also wil, wull, and, by confusion between pa.p. forms and Wild, adj., wild, wuld, wull'd. [wɪl, wʌl]

I. adj. 1. (1) Of persons: astray, straying, lost, unsure of one's way or whereabouts, wandering (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1974). Also trans. and merging with (2).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 26:
Breathless and feckless, there she sits her down, An' will an' willsome looked her around.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 242:
In his richt hand a lichted brand That aft the wull nicht-wanderer Has fleeched to his bale.
Abd. 1828 Heir of Linne in Child Ballads No. 267 B. xv.:
Then he turned him right and round about, As will as woman's son.
Abd. 1863 G. MacDonald D. Elginbrod i.:
Whaur are ye gaein' that get, like a wull shuttle?
m.Sc. 1884 C. Neill Poet. Musings 94:
In this mirk warld I feel quite wull.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (5 Dec.) 13:
A body wis gey wull aboot a new toon.

(2) Transf. of things: straggling, spreading unchecked.Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 10:
Fear, shame, pity, like a will and wilyart growth, That kills a' else wi' in its reach.

2. In a moral or intellectual sense: misguided, erring, wayward (Rxb. 1942 Zai); bewildered, crazed, perplexed, at a loss (ne.Sc. 1974). Phr. to be will o, to be in a quandary about, at a loss for. Adv. wull-kin, in a bewildered manner. See Kind, IV.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 375:
You are so will of your wooing, you wat not where to wed.
Abd. 1812 Bards Bon-Accord (Walker 1887) 601:
Fu faen wad he 'abeen till a taen himsel' hame, But was wull o' a wyle for the deein' o't.
Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Heather & Snow xxviii.:
Phemy was aye a gey wull kin o' a lassie.
Fif. 1895 G. Setoun Sunshine & Haar 1–2:
It was told of Peter Gordon that he reckoned time in horses and pigs. The miners . . . “got wuld amon' his horses, an' could never be certain whether he was i' the forties or fifties.”
Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert 35:
I think, wi' you, 'at curns o' the folk may be trailin' the vrang gait efter wull ‘leaders.'
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 63:
Moosie watna o' its freedom, fleyd at a' the great mineer, Dauchlet wull-kin' for a meenit.
Ork. 1929 Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. .75:
Tae rin sae muckle i' tow wi' da Eenimy is gin dey waar poosted or will i' da hade.

Phr. they're wull at wats, they are clever who know (that) (Ork. 1929 Marw.), appar. used ironically, sc. ‘they are not to be found who . . .', but the sense is not readily explicable. Poss. there is some corruption and connection with the 1899 quot. given under III.

3. Of a place: strange, bewildering, unfamiliar, desolate (‡Abd. 1974).Abd. 1831 Aberdeen Mag. 22:
An' I waur at hame, an' no i' the midst o' this wull how.

4. Combs. and deriv.: (1) will-gate. wull-, an erroneous course, lit. and in a moral sense, waywardness (Sc. 1825 Jam.): (2) wull-like, in a perplexity, at a stand; having a dazed or bewildered look, freq. of one looking ill or out-of-sorts (ne.Sc. 1974); (3) willness, wull-, dizziness (Ork. 1974); ¶(4) wul-weird, a perverse, sinister sense of doom. See Weird.(2) Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd xii.:
I houp ye winna think o' leavin' me noo aifter a' this haes happen't. I wad be unco wull-like gin that war tae be the case.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 113:
Man, yer leukin' unco wull-like. Hae ye tint onything?
(3) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 75:
I ha'e ta'en a w'akeness i' me breest, an' a sair, sair willness i' me heid.
(4) Slk. 1807 Hogg Poems (1874) 63:
My een are darkened wi' some wul-weird.

II. adv. In phr. to gae (gyang, etc) will, to go astray, lose one's way, get lost (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 220; Cai. 1905 E.D.D., wild; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1974); also to go mad or crazy (Ags. 1946). Cf. I. 2.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 82:
To se a morn in May sae ill, I deimt Dame Nature was gane will.
Kcd. 1796 J. Burness Thrummy Cap (1887) 9:
Sir, we hae gaen will, We thocht we'd ne'er a house get till.
Abd. 1839 A. Walker De'il at Baldarroch 12:
In gaun hame she had gane will, An' tint her meaths for a' her skill.
Mry. 1851 D. Paul Poems 4:
Ye hae gaen wull like me, I dout.
Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 242:
I tried the muir, but gaed clean wild.
Per. 1910 D. R. Kyd Rev. T. Hardy 239:
Wha wud thocht that I'd gae wull'd In my ain auld-farrant toon?
Ork. 1920 H. Campbell Island Folk Song 14:
Like a soul that's gone wil' and astray.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick vii.:
A tint ma meathes a'thegidder an' gidd clean wull.

III. v. To go astray, lose one's way, stray, as in darkness or mist (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 228, 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1974). Pa.p. willed, wilt, lost, strayed, = adj., 1. (I.Sc., Per. 1974). For 1899 quot. see I. 2. Phr.Sh. 1888 B. R. Anderson Broken Lights 82:
Whan da mists lay ower da hill Till raikin' dogs wid even will.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 227:
“They're wilt that wales” has reference to the difficulty often experienced in choosing among many things.
Ork. 1910 Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 32:
Tammy made for hame bit nae kent he whit wey tae geong, he waas fair willed.
Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 51:
You get wilt among the dark apartments of the Will-Helyer.
Sh. 1964 Nordern Lichts 57:
I began ta tink I hed mair shance o willin ower da banks-lip or finnin da rest.

IV. n. The state of having lost one's way, error, with a play on will, wish.Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 227:
It's a willing' will that leads a man to the lady's hoose.

[O.Sc. wil, = I. 2., 1375, = I. 1., 1420, to gae will, a.1400, = I. 3, 1513, = III., a.1400, Mid.Eng. wil, O.N. villr, bewildered, astray, erring, the Scand. form of wild. For III. cf. Norw. villast, O.N. villask, to go astray.]

Will adj., adv., v.2, n.2

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