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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DOOL, DULE, DULL, n.2, v.2 Also irreg. dult. [du:l Sc., but Ork., m.Sc. dʌl(t)]

I. n.

1. The goal or place of safety in a game (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.; Ags.2, Edb.1, Lnk.11 (dull, dult) 1940; wm.Sc.1 1949; Ayr.4 1928, Kcb.1 1940 (dull)). Also fig. Freq. in phr. to hail the dool(s), to score a goal, see Hail, v. and n.2Ork. 1923 H. Marwick in Ork. Antiq. Soc. I. 66:
In Sanday, a portion of ground at the “Dull” or “Hail” is set apart in some games as a place of sanctuary where a player cannot be caught.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVIII. 88–89:
Every year on Shrove-Tuesday, the batchelors and married men drew themselves up at the cross of Scone on opposite sides. . . . The object of the married men was to hang it [ball], i.e. to put it three times into a small hole in the moor, the dool or limit on the one hand.
Gsw. 1948 Glasgow Herald (13 Sept.):
“A dult,” said one, “why it's a heap of stones, or a jacket, or a bunnet.”
Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. and Poems (1892) 197:
The goud and siller's at the dools — Hie honors, post, an' place.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 178:
The dools are places marked with stones, where the players always remain in safety — where they dare neither be caught by the hand nor struck with balls.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 96–97:
Wha's first to reak the place That's ca'd the dool is victor.
Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 253:
A stone, or branch of a tree, is set up at these marks in the huge circle; — these are termed “Dools.”

Hence (1) dool-hill, one of several hills in Galloway on which castles, or places of refuge, formerly stood (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 178); cf. doon-hill s.v. Dun, n.; (2) the dools (dulls), dully, prisoner's base or rounders (Edb. a.1870, Slg. c.1900 (per Slg.3; Lnk. 1920 G. A. H. Douglas Further Adventures Rab Hewison 109).(2) Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 391:
“The dulls” or “Dully” (Rounders) was also formerly popular.
Gall. 1822 Edb. Mag. (June) 798:
Some are to be seen in the “gravel walk,” stripped, and disencumbered, even down to the shirt and breeches — the light-armed Velites “of England and Scotland,” “the dools,” or the “shinty.”

2. “A boundary mark in an unenclosed field” (Sc. 1855 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 722); “a march-stone, a stone to mark a boundary; used in Sanday of the dividing marks between the plots of ground used by kelpers for spreading their sea-weed on” (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Ork.2 1949).  Common in s.Eng. dial.Fif., Lth. 1825 Jam.2:
Where ground is let for sowing flax, or planting potatoes, a small portion of grain is thrown in to mark the limits on either side; sometimes a stake is put in, or a few stones. To either of these the name of dule is given, as being the boundary.

3. Used fig. in phr. ayont the dool, beyond the reach.Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 45:
Ayont the dool o' men To understan'.

II. v. With aff: to fix the boundaries (of anything) (Fif., Lth. 1825 Jam.2).

[O.Sc. has dule (in phr. to hate the — ), a goal in football, from a.1550; a boundary mark, 1563; Mid.Eng. dole, c.1440, doole, a boundary or landmark, E.Fris. dole, id., Mid.Du. doel, a heap of earth used as a target, a ditch used as a boundary-line.]

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"Dool n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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