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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GULSOCH, n., adj. Also gulsach, -sot, -set, -seck, -shich, -ik; gulso, -sa (I.Sc.); galshoch, -ach, -ich, galsoch, and corrupt forms gruls(h)ach, -ich, -ick, gralshich. [ne.Sc. ′gʌlʃəx, I.Sc. ′gʌlsə]

I. n. 1. Jaundice (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 27, gulsot; w.Sc., Gall. 1801 J. Leyden Compl. Scot. 340, gulsoch; Ags. 1808 Jam., gulset; Sh. 1825 Jam., gulsa s.v. gulschoch, 1908 Jak. (1928); Bnff.4 1927, gulshoch; ‡Ork. 1929 Marw., gulso; ‡Sh., Kcd. 1955).Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 30:
My mither gae me a forlethie o't, 'at maist hae gi'en me the gulsach.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 54:
Weel, weel, mam tought rigga hed da lungasüt, bit . . . sholma is hard an' fast i' da gulsa.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 81:
Minds doo, Olie, yon time I hed da vild turn o' da gulsa.

Combs.: (1) gulsa girs(e), a name given in Sh. to the buckbean or marsh trefoil, Menyanthes trifoliata (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1955; Ork. 1931 J. S. Leask Peculiar People 171, gulseck girse). (2) gulsa-shall, -snail, -whelk, a shelled snail or the shell alone, which was put into the drinking-water as a remedy for jaundice in cattle (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).(1) Sh. 1931 J. Nicolson Sh. Incidents 102:
The recognised cure [for jaundice] was “gulsa girse.” . . . The “girse” was infused, and the liquid given to the afflicted person.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 150:
Dan doo'll hae ta tak da bruu o' gulsa girse.
(2) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 157:
Gulsa, or the yellow disease (jaundice), was treated by an oil obtained from the gulsa whelk, or garden snail.

2. A surfeit (n.Sc. 1825 Jam., -ach; Bnff.4 1927), the consequent nausea (Kcd. 1955); a voracious appetite (Ags. 1825 Jam.).

3. Gen. in pl.: a sweetmeat, delicacy (Mry., Abd. 1954, g(r)ulshichs; Bnff., Abd. 2000s); trashy or indigestible highly sweetened food “such as sweets, unripe fruit” (Bnff. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl., galshochs; Abd. 1955); “scraps of food greedily eaten” (Mry.1 1925), tit-bits, e.g. pig's fry (Ags.18 1950).Bnff. a.1829 J. Sellar Poems (1844) 22:
“Conceited gouk, wha puff'd thee up, That thou wast for wise men to sup.” “'Deed, quo the well, ye are but galshach.”
Abd. 1895 W. Allan Sprays II. 17:
Maist punctual wi' his diet hour is oor Tam Cat. He'll no . . . seek for galshichs oot aboot, but aye mak' straucht for hame.
Abd. 1910 C. Murray Hamewith 101:
Nae foreign galshochs, taste they e'er sae sweet, But I will match them fast as ye can name.
Bnff. 1918 J. Mitchell Bydand 8:
An' halesame is the hamely fare in ilka hoose an' ha', For galshachs an' clamjamfry trash we canna thole ava'.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 67:
Buyin' as mony fine things — berries, biscuits, an' idder galshachs an' trock o' a' kin' 'at they canna affoord.

Hence fig.: (1) a luxury, treat (Bnff. 1955); (2) useless things, rubbish (Abd. 1916, gulshich).(1) Abd.8 1917:
Merryin's na sic a galshach as some folk wid gar ye believe.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Doric 68:
I carena a doit nor a docken For a' the warld's galshichs an' gear.

II. adj. Greedy, gluttonous, “fond of good eating” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 58, galsoch).Abd. 1891 G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 172:
They left the pigs o' fuskie teem, The butter kirns they sortit. Sic galshach breets war never seen.

[O.Sc. has gulsoch, from c.1500, gulset, 1549, galschot; Mid.Eng. gowyl sowght, 14 —, later gulesought < gule, yellow + O.E. suht, disease. The forms in -so(t), etc., derive directly from Norw. gulsott, O.N. gulu-sótt, id.]

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"Gulsoch n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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