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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GUIL, n. Also gool, gule, gull, gill; gweel, gueel (ne.Sc.), and obs. forms gole, guill, guile, goold, guild(e). [Sc. gøl, gɪl, but ne.Sc. gwil, Ork. gʌl]

1. The corn marigold, Chrysanthemum segetum (Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica I. 489, guills; Abd. 1794 J. Anderson Agric. Abd. 27, guild; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 234; Sc. 1825 Jam., goold; Mearns Ib., goles; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 25, guile; Ayr.3 1910, guil; m.Dmf.3 c.1920; Uls. 1931; ne.Sc., Gall. 1955). Also gill gowan (n.Ir. 1886 B. & H. 203; Uls. 1922 The Gael (3 July)). Formerly often in pl. Also in Eng. dial.Bch. 1735 J. Arbuthnot Farmers (1811) 18:
By small weeds, here, is meant, yarrs, skellachs, gule, and others, that spring from the seed.
Sc. 1771 T. Pennant Tour 1769 126:
Guil is a weed that infests corn.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 537:
Five stocks of gool were . . . said to grow for every stock of corn through all the lands of the barony. [XIX. 330, guild.]
Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 167:
Few ordinary fallows are efficient in the destruction of chrysanthemum segetum, corn marigold, or gule.
Sc. 1826 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 145:
The gule, the Gordon, and the hoodie-craw Are the three warst things that Moray ever saw.
Rnf. 1830 Miscellany S.H.S. VIII. 158:
The lands for tilage is for two years crop in lots and by the acre as it shall measure and to be sown clean of all gull seeads.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 9:
The verra servets i' the kist Wad be as yallow's gueel.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 21:
... neglected and choked with weeds or the tell-tale splash there of corn marigolds, the gool which no self-respecting farmer would allow to strangle his growing crops.

2. The ox-eye daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Ork. 1929 Marw., gull-flooer; Abd.7 1925, gweel).

3. Sometimes applied to the charlock or wild mustard, Brassica arvensis (Gall. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 264; Kcb. 1955, esp. its seeds).

4. Phr. & Combs.: (1) gool court, see 1795 quot. and cf. D. Dalrymple Annals of Scot. (1776) II. 339; (2) gule-fitted, yellow-footed, of birds (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (3) gool-rider, -riding, see quot.; (4) guil-sieve, gill-, “a small mesh sieve in the threshing-mill which cleans the corn after it has come through the riddle” (Kcb.1 1934); (5) riding the guild, = gool-riding (see (3)).(1) Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 4:
The late Sir William Grierson, of Lag, . . . held gool courts . . . for the purpose of fining the farmers, on whose growing crop three heads or upwards of that weed were found.
(2) Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 14:
Jockey's mither killed the black boul horn'd yeal Ewe . . . three hens and a gule fitted cock.
(3) Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 536–37:
An old custom takes place in this parish [Cargill], called Gool-riding. . . . An act of the baron-court was passed . . . imposing a fine of 3s. 4d. or a wedder sheep, on the tenants, for every stock of gool . . . found growing among their corns at a particular day, and certain persons, styled “gool-riders,” were appointed to ride through the fields, search for gool, and carry the law into execution. . . . Though the fine of a wedder sheep . . . is now commuted and reduced to 1d. Sterling, the practice of gool-riding is still kept up, and the fine rigidly exacted.
(5) Per. 1778 A. Wight Present State Husbandry I. 35:
I must not overlook one good and singular practice, which is called riding the guild . . . A committee of their number, upon a certain day in August, examine every field of those that are under the guild-law.

[O.Sc. has guld(e), the corn marigold, from early 15th c., guild(e), from 1562; Mid.Eng. gōlde, O.E. golde, id. The Sc. forms [gøl, gwi:l] descend normally from the ō forms. The spelling gool(d), however, may in some cases represent the Eng. development [gu:l(d)] as in obs. Eng. form goul(d) and in O.Sc. gowl, id., (a.1568). The Ork. form derives from O.N. gull, gold. Cf. Goold.]

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"Guil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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