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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HERLE, n. Also her(e)l, herral; huril; herald (Ags. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 144); erle (Fif. 1949), yerl. The heron, Ardea cinerea (Ags. 1808 Jam., herle, huril; Fif. 1887 Jam.; Ags. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 85, Per. Ib., Tammie herl; w.Fif.1 1930, Ags. (herald), Knr. (erle) 1957). Also fig. a dwarfish, undernourished child or small animal (Per. 1825 Jam.), but poss. a different word. [hɛrl]Fif. 1901 G. Setoun Skipper of Barncraig 278:
Up from the end rock came a croaking protest from a “long-necked-yerl.”

Hence herral-neckit, having a long neck like a heron's.Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 80:
In fact, Tibby, the mair herral-neckit they can mak' themsel's they think it the better.

[The l is unexplained, phs. due to confusion with Harle, q.v. O.Sc. herle, id., c.1500.]

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"Herle n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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