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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 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 6 Feb 2023 <>



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