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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HUIL, n., v. Also hool(e), hule, hooil, hüll; heul; hill. [m. and s.Sc. høl, hyl, hɪl, em.Sc. (a) hel]

I. n. 1. The husk, pod, outer rind, skin or shell of a fruit, nut, etc., the hull (Abd. 1825 Jam., hill; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., hule; Ayr.3 1910; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., hül; Mearns2 1925; em.Sc., Lnk., s.Sc. 1957). Fig. phrs.: to be in hool, to be in embryo, in skeleton form; to cast the hule, to be born.Sc. 1729 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 110:
Ilk kind of corn it has its hool.
Mry. 1775 L. Shaw Hist. Moray 152:
The Barley and Oats are of a smaller body, and a thicker hool.
Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 559:
Ye've aiblins sat the cuttie-stool For some bit brat that cust the hule.
Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 18:
To rich he'll roast, to poor he'll boil, Gie's beggars hools o' pease.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 24:
I cleaned them out, baith pea and hool.
Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kailyard 105:
'Gin ye canna get berries, put up wi' the hools.
Per. c.1879 Harp Per. (Ford 1893) 347:
A hool o' cheese.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 222:
An' wasna' Victoria the First thy true freen Sin' thy vera first buik was in hool?
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 26:
Braird that shot at Beltane shows a new hool in October.

2. By extension to other forms of covering: (1) the skin of a person or animal (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 152, hull; Cai.3 1932, hull).Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 79:
I'se rive frae off ye'r Hips the Hool.
Dmf. 1797 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 458:
. . . the wearie heat to cool Whilk scouders a' the ucc frae aff his glewin' hool.

(2) A covering of cloth; in pl.: clothes, garments.Sc. c.1715 Jacobite Relics (Hogg 1819) I. 150:
Ri'en hose and raggit hools, . . . We'll see never mair, man.
Rnf. 1863 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 36:
The buttons burstin' thro' their hools, Jist bits o' airn red roostit.
Sc. 1901 N.E.D.:
(Mother addressing child) Now, out o' your huils!

(3) The caul or membrane which sometimes covers the head of a newly-born child (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Hoo, n.2

(4) The membrane surrounding the heart, the pericardium; gen. used in such phrs. as to leap or loup (oot o') the hool, to burst, start from its place, used by later writers in imitation of Burns (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), ‡Sh. 1957). ¶Similarly of the brain.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 45:
But O the skair that I got i' the pool, I thought my heart had couped frae its hool.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xxvi.:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool; Near lav'rock-height she jumpet.
Edb. 1816 J. Aikman Poems 243:
But now my breast begins to cool My heart grows thick about the hool.
Ayr. 1836 J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 50:
She fixes some like Lot's auld wife, Maks ithers fidgin' keen, Sets some hearts wi' their holes at strife.
Sc. 1842 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 55:
Wullie's heart was like to loup the hool — for tylers, ye ken, are aye timorsome.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 14:
Twise doo's nearly pittin' puir Girzzie's hert oot o' hül, wi' dy deevil's wyes an' stoopidness.
Sc. 1923 R. Macrailt Hoolachan 29:
I actually felt the hool o' my harns dirl.

3. Fig. The body as the container of the soul; an outward or superficial aspect or appearance, the trappings.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 4:
[To] gar your sauls maist quat their hools Whane'er they nod.
s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 365:
[Politicians] wad aften in a jiffie to auld Nick Sen' ane anither dunnerin' saul an' hool.
Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 55:
There dwells a saul within this hool, Warm wi' a spunk o' haly flame.
Ags. 1857 Arbroath Guide (6 Nov.) 3:
Puir chiel! he never meant to wrang, The heart or hool o' saunt or sinner.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin i.:
Worship o' the mere hool o' God's sterlin' nobility to the disregaird o' the quality o' the kernal thereof.

4. A hovel (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add., hule).

II. v. 1. To shell peas, etc., to husk (Cld. 1880 Jam., hule; Per. 1916 Wilson L. Strathearn, huil; em.Sc.(a), s.Sc. 1957). Vbl.n. hoolin, pod, husk. Also fig.Rnf. 1791 A. Brown Hist. of Gsw. (1797) II. 371:
Hooled barley, 14,481 lb.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 167:
Sin' I sprang frae my douce forbears, Life's prickly piles tae hool.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 161:
Wi' poddies an' hoolins o' pease an' beans.

2. To encase as in a pod or hull.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 220:
Daring and unco stout he was, With Heart hool'd in three Sloughs of Brass.

[O.Sc. huill, = n., 2. (4), from a.1605, Mid.Eng. hoole, hole, a husk, a north. development of O.E. hulu, which gives Eng. hull, pod, husk, O.Sc. hull, id. from 1530. For sense I. 4., cf. obs. and dial. Eng. hull, id.]

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"Huil n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2022 <>



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