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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DEEVIL, n. and int. A Gen.Sc. form of Eng. devil; found also in derivatives such as deevilry, deev(i)lish [+ ɪtʃ Abd., Bwk.]; deivilishdeevil(i)dge (Mearns, Bwk.), deevilment, etc. Also in use in Nhb. dial. Cf. Deil, n[′div(ə)l]

1. n.

Sc. form of Eng. devil. Also deivilish.Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 6:
"I thowt thoo wir here, for I saa thee two boy freends ootside, glowerin' at wen anither like the very deevil. ... "
Fif. 1992 Simon Taylor Mortimer's Deep 248:
'Ma lady,' I gasped, crossing myself, 'ye cannae dae this, it's no Christian, it''s the auld deivilish weys.'

Sc. usages:

(1) A colloq. term for a shoemaker's last (Abd.2, Abd.9 1940).Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willie Waly 60:
Caul' chisels, an' gimlets, an' aul' “sootars, deevils.”

(2) A potato-digger.Bch. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 2:
Booet two-faul ahin' the deevil, Haivin' tatties in a scull.

(3) In n. combs.: (a) deevil's bite, see quot.; (b) deevil's buckie, see Buckie, n.5; (c) deevil's craft = Clootie's craft s.v. Clootie, adj.3, n.2, q.v.; (d) deevil's-delight, buttermilk (Dwn. 1948 (per Uls.4)); (e) devil's faulie = (c) and see quot. s.v.; (f) deevil's kin, kin to the devil. Used attrib. = rascally; (g) devil's peat, a rascal. For peat see Peat, n.2, or Pet, n.1, 2., which Scott seems to have confused with Peat, n.1(a) Abd. 1891 G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 220:
Even yet the herd boy, discussing a slice of a sappy neep, calls the last mouthful "the deevil's bite," and generally flings it over his left shoulder.
(c) ne.Sc. 1929 J. M. McPherson Prim. Beliefs 134:
A piece of land dedicated to the devil and left untilled . . . got various names . . . the Deevil's Craft, Clootie's Craft, the Black Faulie. [Ib. 136, deevil's faulie.]
(d) Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 40:
Then it's a patfu' o' half-raw tatties . . . an' a drink o' deevil's-delight to synd it down.
(f) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 99:
That deevil's-kin nevey o' mine. Sanny Deuchar, wud keep it tae hissel.
(g) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xvii.:
Ye are baith a pair o' the deevil's peats, I trow — hard to ken whilk deserves the hettest corner o' his ingle-side.

2. int. Used to express indignation or anger.Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf ii.:
Deevil, that neither I nor they ever stir from this spot more!

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"Deevil n., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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