Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HANTLE, n. Also hantel (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); hauntle (Lnk. 1926 W. Queen We're a' Coortin' 14); huntle (Bch. 1913 W. Fraser Jeremiah Jobb 27), and hantla [hantle o', confused with handla- in Handlawhile] (Sc. 1807 J. Ruickbie Wayside Cottage 181).

1. A considerable quantity (of things), a large number (of persons), a great deal; often used with a following noun with ellipsis of of. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (1876) II. 391:
And rattles out a hantla stories O' blood, and dirt, and ancient glories.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 23:
He connach'd a hantle o' tobacco.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 283:
Thae, an' a hantle scenes that I cou'd name, Sal ay mak mine to me a happy hame.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf i.:
They believed a hantle queer things in thae days, that naebody heeds since the lang sheep cam in.
Bnff. 1832 in J.F.S. Gordon Chrons. Keith (1880) 321:
Ye've great reason to be thankfu' that ye get a dover in the Day time, for hantels o' folk dinna get that.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 1:
A hantel speak o' my drinking, but few ken o' my drouth.
Ags. 1896 Barrie Sentimental Tommy xxxvi.:
Puckle was nearly the word, but it did not mean so many people as he meant . . . “I ken the word now,” he cried, “it came to me a' at once; it is hantle!”
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet III. ii.:
There's a hantle o' folk pass by here at a' 'oors.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Navember 4):
Some folk's oo needs a hantle o creesh.
s.Sc. 1930 Border Mag. (Aug.) 117:
Tho' no' very big, maybe twanty-twa pun', Ye certainly cover a hantle o' grun'.
Edb. 1979 Albert D. Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 45:
Ach weel, I've a hantle pitten by,
Eneuch for John or his lad, and Catherine,
Sc. 1991 R. Crombie Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 30:
The son brak out in lauchter:
"There's a twa-three chiel at the inn
Can mak a hantle o siller
An'll show me hou it's duin!"
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 25:
... the weans got thir licks
frae the dominie
for yasin the auld leid
but it niver dee'd, though
a hantle o fowk hae trockit
thir tongue for a pig in a poke ...
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 3:
Their merriagable sizzen wis a hantle o years atween saxteen an twinty-sax.

2. Used adv. with indef. art. before a comparative adj. = much, a good deal. Gen.Sc. Also a hantle sicht, id. (Fif. 1894 D. S. Meldrum Margrédel 231; m.Lth.1 1956), a conflation of 1. with Eng. slang sight sim. used.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxxv.:
I'm wearied o' the trade . . . I like the pleugh-paidle a hantle better.
s.Sc. 1821 A. Scott Poems 130:
Good news, good news, now fortune smiles, The meal's a hantla cheaper.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxi.:
But to be strung up by the neck for the thing ye never did is a hantle waur than the maist o' folk wad care to thole.
Hdg. 1886 J. P. Reid Facts and Fancies 51:
There's a hantle sicht owre muckle findin' faut.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xvi.:
It's a hantle caulder here than in London.
Lnk. 1904 I. F. Darling Songs 39:
Then I liket faither weel, Noo a hantel mair.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood iv.:
But we'll be a hantle better off . . . whan she's a finished teacher.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 81:
Him it kens your inside a hantle better as doo kens da inside o da moorit hug it doo slachtered a Foersday?

3. An unspecified number of people, often used by travellers.Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 107:
'Stall, hantle binging!' (Stop, there are strange people coming!)
e.Lth. 1985 Mollie Hunter I'll Go My Own Way (1987) 25:
The cottages were of the kind usually occupied by farm workers and their like - in traveller terms, 'the country hantle'.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 124:
The hantel aa celebrated with the laddie's nesmore, who wis completely overjoyed.

[O.Sc. has hantill, id., ? 16th c. Of somewhat uncertain orig. but prob. a reduced form of O.Sc. and Mid.Eng. handfull, with unusual phonological development. Parallels are Cairtle, Cogill, O.Sc. schippill (shipful), and ? Fersell, the ending -full alternating with -fu', as Full with Fou; and for -nt-, cf. Hanty. Less likely is the conjecture that the word is a reduced form of hand + tale, number (N.E.D.), sc. what one could count on one's fingers.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Hantle n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: