Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WIMPLE, n., v. Also wymple, wumple; whimple, whumple. Sc. forms and usages:

I. n. 1. A twist, turn, winding or meandering of a road or stream; a twisting, turning movement, a convolution, a ripple (I.Sc., Ags., Slg., Fif., Lth. 1974), the sound of rippling. Also fig., approximating to sense 3. Sc. 1723  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 174:
Adown clear Nyth wha does his Wimples guide Throw Meadows parks and woods on either side.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xi., xiv.:
Over hill and dale, as a shepherd always does, who hates the wimples, as he calls them, of a turn-pike. . . . He had as mony links and whimples in his tail as an eel.
Lnk. a.1832  W. Watt Poems (1860) 88:
Nae music, exceptin' the clear burnie's wimple.
Abd. 1832  A. Beattie Poems 131:
He could a' their wimples see.
Dmf. 1913  J. L. Waugh Thornhill 223:
I hear the wimple of the winding Scaur.

2. A curl, ringlet of hair. Kcb. 1902  Crockett Dark o' the Moon xxxix.:
When ye think on the wimples o' the silken hair that curls aboot her brow.

3. A tangle of material objects (n.Sc. 1974); .fig. a complication, intricacy; a wile, ruse, piece of craft or trickery (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Sc. 1704  J. Maidment Pasquils (1868) 382:
Hugh and David Dalrymple's, Who plague the whole nation with your damn'd tricks and whimples.
Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 19:
A' his wimples they'll find out.
Dmb. 1817  J. Walker Poems 98:
Till tir'd thro' many a loop an' wimple, They quat the plea, or cut its rumple.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
There is aye a wimple in a lawyer's clew; but it's a wee bit of a secret.
Ayr. 1819  Kilmarnock Mirror 16:
An' put a lang farrago o' whigmeleerie wimples on ae word.
Abd. 1949  Buchan Observer (23 Aug.):
I've clean ca'd the edge affen her wi' a confounit wumple o' weir.

II. v. 1. To enfold, enwrap, entangle (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1974). Obs. in Eng. Abd. 1957  People's Jnl. (14 Sept.):
Ae wee vratch [mouse] hid gotten wumple't in aboot's claes.

2. intr. To wriggle, writhe (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1974); to whirl, pirouette; to curl, twine; to pursue a sinuous course. Rarely tr. Hence wympler, a curl, lock of curly hair; phr. wimpling wrom, the spiral “worm” or condensing tube of a still. Sc. 1724  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 83:
Doun his braid Back, frae his quhyt Heid, The silver Wymplers grew.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Scotch Drink ii.:
Guid auld Scotch drink! Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink.
Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 88:
Could I but up this histr'y wimple.
Abd. 1832  A. Beattie Poems 131:
Wi' merry sprent they lift the heel, And wimple like the simmer cout.
Fif. 1841  C. Gray Lays 9:
Ere lang the wavin'-wimpler grew A decent hoar-lock.
Edb. 1843  Whistle-Binkie (1890) II. 207:
Wee curly waves that wimple the sea.
Ayr. 1882  J. Hyslop Poems 124:
Ye slip thro' my hauns like a wee wimplin' eel.
Kcb. 1896  Crockett Grey Man i.:
A dark train of horsemen. . . . Their line wimpled like a serpent.

3. Of a river: to meander, twist, turn, ripple, freq. connoting the sound as well as the movement (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Sh., ne., em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc. 1974); also of a road and transf. of standing corn: to wave, ripple; sim. of sound. Vbl.n., ppl.adjs. wimplin, wimpled, sinuous, winding. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 243:
Tay and Tweed's smooth Streams . . . They wimple to the Seas.
Sc. 1761  Magopico (1810) 34:
A mighty, little, muddy, wimpling, shallow brook.
Ayr. 1785  Burns Halloween ii.:
Amang the bonie winding banks Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear.
Sc. 1808  E. Hamilton Glenburnie vi.:
The trees, and rocks, and whimplings o' the burn.
Rxb. 1815  J. Ruickbie Poems 37:
John Dowie's Ale, o'er many a glen, Cam wimplin' forty miles an' ten.
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 71:
That wimpl'd roadie keep, Down to the ford.
Gsw. 1843  Whistle-Binkie (1890) II. 139:
There is ane I dearly lo'e In wimpling sang to swell.
Wgt. 1875  W. McIlwraith Guide 68:
A little burn, wimpling westward.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxiii.:
I saw the drove-road to the Cree Bridge wimpling across the heather.
Edb. 1928  A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 15:
The din [of church bells], Its echo stottin' frae the castle knowe, Wimples oot owre the valley.
Ags. 1934  H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 24:
I hear the burnie's wimplin' sang.

4. Of a boat: to move unsteadily, to be top-heavy, to wobble (I.Sc. 1974). Sh. 1898  Shetland News (5 Feb.):
The yawl was wofully ‘rank'. . . . ‘She'll be steady enough by-and-by' cried out old Moad, ‘it's the tar that makes her wumple.'

5. To complicate; to bewilder, perplex; to tell a story in a deceitful way, to use circumlocution in order to deceive (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ppl.adjs. wimplin, wimpled, complicated, involved, contorted, circumlocutory. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 243:
The wimpled Meaning of your unco Tale.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 106:
Sick other threap saw I not a' my days As now is here; but wimpl'd is the tale.
Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize III. vii.:
There was no difficulty in reading the whumplet meaning of this couthiness anent the reeking o' the chamber.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 107:
My faith he'll soon eclipse us a', Just wi' his wud wild wimplin' jaw.
Abd. 1876  R. Dinnie Songs and Poems 74:
Her daddie's a queer wimplin' bodie.

[Fig. developments of O.Sc. wymple, a loop, coil, to enfold, 1513, a piece of deceit, 1637, extended meanings of Early Mid.Eng. wimple, a woman's folded cap, coif or veil, M.L.Ger., Mid. Du. wimpel, veil, banner, streamer.]

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"Wimple n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <>



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