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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.

HURLIE, n.1 Also hurl(e)y. [′hʌrle]

1. A hand-cart, a porter's barrow (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 85; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Used in humorous contempt of other more pretentious vehicles. Also attrib.Gsw. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (7 June) 3:
Several horse carts (some of them new), hurleys, masons' scaffolding, sign boards.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 8:
Hurlies fu' o' chirry-cheekit apples an' brown speldings.
Lth. 1857–9 Trans. Highl. Soc. 75:
On a railway platform, a “hurley” line of rails would be a nuisance.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 101:
Oor toonsman Tam, wi' his machine, Can beat yon fower-wheel'd hurley clean.
Sc. 1918 Weekly Scotsman (2 Feb.) 2:
In a side alley a two-wheeled hurly flanks the kerb.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
An fient a trap, boaggie, geeg, laarrie, caager's cairt or hurlie cood A airt oot or hear tell-o gaun up Teiot.
Sc. 1934 A. Fraser Herd of the Hills 88:
The postman came running down with his rattling hurley.
Abd. 1957 Press and Jnl. (28 Jan.):
Sack Hurleys; immediate delivery arranged.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
A Warl oot o reel - as menseless
as a hure in a hurly.

Phr. & Combs.: (1) hurly- (†hurli-) barrow, id. (Cai., m.Lth.1 1957). Cf. hurl-barrow s.v. Hurl, v.1, n.1; (2) hurley-load, the load carried on a hand-cart; fig., a heavy burden; (3) to coup someone's hurley, see Coup, v.1, III. 12).(1) Abd. 1779 Powis Papers (S.C.) 325:
To George Nicol for Two hurli barrows and one hand barrow.
Ayr. 1899 H. J. Steven Old Cumnock Advert.:
Makers of hurly barrows, hand barrows, navvy barrows, hods, and all builders' utensils.
(2) Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 110:
My mither says I'm ower young Life's hurley-load to draw.

2. A hutch, a box on wheels used for conveying coal from the face to the pit bottom, or slate from a quarry (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 38).m.Lth. 1842 Children in Mines Reports II. 443:
My employment is to push or shoot the hurlies along the rails to pit bottom.
Sc. 1869 D. Bremner Industries 6:
The coal was drawn in “hurleys”, or wheeled boxes to which boys and girls were yoked by a rude kind of harness.
Rnf. 1872 J. Young Lochlomond Side 50:
An' see ye na this line o' rails 'Lang whulk the sclate heap't hurly sails.

3. A child's home-made cart, an orange- or soap-box on wheels (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd. 1950 Abd. Press & Jnl. (6 Feb.); I.Sc., Cai., ne. and em.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1957). Also attrib. in comb. hurly-cart, id.Lnk. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 93:
O' you [bellows] they'd mak a hurly-cart, an' kytch ye owre the flair.

4. A low bed on wheels that can be stored under another when not in use, used by children, a truckle-bed (Ags., Edb., wm.Sc. c.1900; Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott W.-L. 30; m.Sc., Dmf. 1957). Comb. hurly-bed, id. (Dmf. 1912 J. & R. Hyslop Langholm 636; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., hurlie-).Lnk. 1873 J. Nicholson Wee Tibbie 134:
An' there in the hurley us weans took our rest.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
In the houses of the working-classes the hurly-bed is an important piece of furniture. During the day it stands under a larger bed; at night it is hurled out to receive its occupants: and in the morning it is hurled back again.
Lnk. 1954 People's Friend (9 Jan.):
Lack of sleeping accommodation compelled parents to have a hurly bed for their families.
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 25:
That awful empty sickness of thinking of the hurley without Grannie threatened to rise and engulf me again, ...
Sc. 1999 Herald (21 Sep.) 11:
There were also "hole-in-the-wall" beds and "hurley beds" on wheels that could be stored and then "hurled out" at night.
Edb. 2003:
Ah wis aye feart o spiders when Ah had tae sleep in a hurlie bed as a bairn.

5. A wheel (Sc. 1887 Jam.), phs. an error for whurlie, s.v. Whirl.

[Orig. a curtailed form of hurlie-barrow, -bed, -cart, etc. from the adj. form hurlie ( < Hurl, v.1, n.1 + suff. -Ie.) ]

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"Hurlie n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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