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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

LADLE, n., v. Also laidle (Ags. 1712 in A. Jervise Land of Lindsays (1853) 342, Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 206); †laddle (Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 143; Bnff. 1792 Trans. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 445; Bwk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IV. 399, Ags. 1821 J. Ross Peep at Parnassus 16). Dims. (in sense I. 5.) laidlie, laidlick.

Sc. usages. [′ledəl, †′lɑdəl]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Phrs.: (1) a sackfu' o' ladles, “a bag of bones”, said of a very thin or emaciated person, from the ladle-like shape of the larger bones of the body; (2) to coup the la(i)dle, to play at see-saw (Abd. 1914 J. Cranna Fraserburgh 181; ne.Sc. 1960). See Coup, v.1, III.(1) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 158:
Being noo as I may say juist a sackfu' o' ladles, the mortclaith-like goons she puts on gie her a swamp, cauldrife, full-m'unted appearance.

2. A kind of small wooden box or bowl fixed on the end of a long handle and passed along church pews by an elder or other church official to collect the offering. Still used in some rural churches. Gen.Sc., obsol.Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 412:
The elders make these collections by going round to each with a ladle or small box with a handle to it, when the public worship is concluded.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xvii.:
The poor's ladle had been found to be a pund Scots short every Sunday since he and his family had left the church.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes xxi.:
The verra elders cudna pass The ladles till his min'.
Ayr. 1886 A. Edgar Old Church Life II. 16:
Forty years ago the collection was every Sunday lifted in ladles, which were carried through the church after the last Psalm had been sung.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 133:
I turned, and at my elbow saw A douce Scots elder with the ladle.
Kcd. 1929 J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse 24:
An earlier practice had been to collect the money during the service by means of the old-fashioned ladles.
Abd. 1960 Abd. Press & Jnl. (26 April):
Long may they continue to use the ladle and metal communion tokens.

3. A float-board or paddle of a water wheel. Obs. in Eng. Hence laddle mill, a corn mill driven by such a wheel.Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 1068:
The querne was partially used; and though the laddle mill had disappeared, it had only been superseded by the cog and rung.
Sc. 1873 Trans. Highl. Soc. 300:
Before the introduction of water mills, when the quern or the simple laddle mill, still to be seen in some remote districts, ground all the corn.

4. A duty imposed by burghs on certain foodstuffs, esp. cereals and potatoes, brought into town for sale, orig. paid in the commodity itself and measured by a scoop or ladle, but later commuted to money and farmed out to tax-gatherers. Goods coming into Glasgow by river paid the water ladle, those coming by land the higher land ladle (Gsw. 1798 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1913) 125).Arg. 1701 Campbeltown T. C. Minutes MS.:
Thair is a ladle to be paid out of each boll bear Kintyre measure . . . the ladle to be a fourt pairt of the peck.
Fif. 1707 E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 381:
The counsell ordains the customes of the foure old fairsladdle of the meall tron, and small customes — to be rouped on Wednesday next.
Slk. 1708 T. Craig-Brown Hist. Slk. (1886) II. 86:
Town's common ladle . . . £12 Scots.
Gsw. c.1750 A. Brown Hist. Gsw. 1795) II. 176:
About this time, the magistrates began to exact a tax, under the denomination of ladles, on potatoes, which had come formerly to the city coastwise.
Lnk. 1769 R. Frame Interest Lnk. 72:
The duty called the ladle . . . was originally fixed to one half peck of meal, taken from every load. But it is now converted to the value of one half peck of meal, rated at One Penny Sterling, below the highest price. Thus if the highest price be Nine-pence per peck, the ladle is Four-pence per load.
Sc. 1787 J. Girvin Practice of Sheriffs, etc. under Present Corn-Laws 39:
Ladles, a duty or town-due, of 1/96 part of the water borne grain or meal, and 1/64 part of country or farm grain or meal; that is 1/19 part in favour of foreign grain.

Hence combs.: (1) laddle dues, id.; (2) ladleman, see quot.; (3) ladle meal, the meal given in payment of this duty; (4) ladte tax, = (1).(1) Gsw. 1800 Act for Establishing Police 6:
Their claims for any exemption from land and trade's stent, laddle dues, and other existing public or city burdens.
Gsw. 1835 Report Comm. Municipal Corporations II. 9:
“Ladle dues” is the term applied in Glasgow to what is ordinarily denominated the petty customs.
(2) Sc. c.1750 H. G. Graham Soc. Life 18th Cent. (1928) 456:
The town customs exacted from all provisions sold in the market by the official who was called the “ladleman”, from the tax having been one ladleful taken out of every sack.
(3) Slg. 1741 Burgh Rec. Slg. (B.R.S.) 261:
The ladle meall exacted in the meall mercate . . . be converted into money.
(4) Gsw. 1767 A. O. Ewing View Merchants' Ho. (1866) 184:
A part of the town's present revenue arises from the Ladle-tax on meal, barley, salt, groats.

5. A tadpole, from its shape (Abd. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 177; Mry. Ib., Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 100, laidlick; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., laidlie). See also Puddock.n.Sc. 1902 E.D.D.:
“Laidle” was aye the name. Ye ken they're juist the shape o' an auld-fashioned ladle.

6. Phr.: to be, hae ane's caup, sit aneath somebody's ladle, to be(come) dependent on or subject to another (Abd.4 1930; Abd., Ags. 1960). See Cap.

II. v. To collect the custom or duty of the ladle (see n., 4.).Sc. 1703 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 364:
The mealmen having some meall in the mercat place which they pretend was ladled be the late tacksmen in corne before it was grind in meall, and thereupon they pretend that it ought not be ladled again when inverted in meall.

[O.Sc. ladill, = n., 4., from 1574.]

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"Ladle n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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