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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

HEELIEGOLEERIE, adv., n. Also -y, heeligleerie, hilliege-, -gi-; heldigo-, hildega-; hiliegulier, hildegulair; hullygoleerie, heiliegoleirie. [′hiligə′li:ri]

I. adv. Topsy-turvy, in a state of confusion, higgledy-piggledy (n.Sc., Ags. 1808 Jam., hilliegeleerie; Per. 1825 Jam., hiliegulier, hildegulair; Ags., m.Lth. 1956).Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 39:
And barley-pickles flee round and round Hilliegileerie 'mang the bree.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie viii.:
But a' wad gang heeliegoleery Gin ye wanted wee Tam an' his drum.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 232:
Hech! love is a gey queer sensation, . . . It puts ane a' hildegaleerie.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xxii. 12:
But He'll cowp, heelie-goleerie, the man that speaks deceiverie.

II. n. Confusion, hubbub, noise, a to-do, a bustle (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 109), a turning upside down (m.Lth.1 1956); in pl. frolics, playful tricks.Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. vii.:
Whuna' be, she ne'er forgets hersel' far, and she's ony thing but glaiket wi' a' her hilliegeleeries.
Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 51:
Langsyne what a heldigoleery, Ilk' priest was the fae o' a ball.
Bnff. 1937 E. S. Rae Light in the Window 43:
Sic a heeligleerie, is't Jamie?
Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 58:
... the touers we bigged yestrein murls doun ti saund,
an synds ti heiliegoleirie in the sea.

[Appar. a fanciful formation, phs. orig. from a children's action-rhyme, with influence from similar words like haligo-mary, Hullabaloo, and in the second element from e.g. Whigmaleerie, Fitakaleerie, Bummeleerie.]

Heeliegoleerie adv., n.

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"Heeliegoleerie adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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