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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.

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 3 Oct 2022 <>



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