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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RAVEL, n.1, v. Also ravell; raivel; revel(l), -al; reaval, -el, -il; revil; rivel; raul-, real- (MacTaggart). [′re:vəl]

I. n. 1. A rail or railing (Sc. 1808 Jam.); a balustrade; the parapet of a bridge. Also attrib. = having a rail or parapet.Sc. 1702 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 33:
He was going up the Tolbooth stair, which then wanted a ravell.
Bnff. 1722 Rec. Bnff. (S.C.) 368:
Ane estimate of what the said bridge may cost, which must be twenty foot of an arch in widness betwixt the land stools, nine foot on the top betwixt the revels.
Clc. 1751 J. Crawford Mem. Alloa (1874) 177:
To David Rennie for a batton to the reaval of poor house four shillings Scots.
Ags. 1776 First Hist. Dundee (Millar 1923) 176:
The flight of Steps has a fine Stone reavil upon each hand.
Ayr. 1834 Galt Howdie (1923) 258:
I went up the wooden stair. I mind the place; it was very dark, and had a ravel of rope.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 55:
Took his seat on an inside stair that had what is called a wooden ravel.
Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 182:
He . . . crossed the auld canal Below the ravel lock.
Ags. 1896 Arbroath Guide (28 Nov.) 3:
I could mak oot that they'd fa'en in wi' the raivel o' the stair.
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. xv.:
I gaed the length o' the brig and sat doon on the ravel to think fat I wad dae.

2. The extending framework fixed to the top of a cart when carrying a bulky load (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).

3. The horizontal beam in a byre to which the upper ends of the vertical stakes for the cows' tethers are made fast (Slk. 1825 Jam.). Comb. ravel-tree, revel-, real-, id. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 405, raultree; s.Sc. 1825 Jam., revel-; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), hence realtreefit, -head (see 1824 quot.).Ags. 1707 Inventory of Buildings MS.:
Byre with two couples, all sufficient, with stocks revells and doors.
Bwk. 1751 Session Papers, Mitchell v. Smith (26 Feb. 1756) 8:
To Nolt Stakes and Ravel-trees, Hecks, and Mangers . . . 6s. 0d.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 405:
The one the foot of the stake rests in, is the realtreefit, the other the realtree head.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 15:
“I'll hang him,” sez he, “on the reviltree in the byre.”

II. v. To supply with a railing, to enclose with railings (Sc. 1818 Sawers, 1887 Jam.). Vbl.n. r(e)aveling, railing(s), ppl.adj. ravel'd, railed (Sc. 1818 Sawers, 1887 Jam.).Abd. 1701 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 184:
For mending the reaveling of George Taylor's yeard, to Geo. Broune, wright, 31/3 shil.
Edb. 1709 Edb. Courant (1–3 Nov.):
The second Story of the Timber Riveled Stair opposite to Moroco's Land.
Abd. 1729 Third S.C. Misc. II. 132:
All three storeys and garrets with an iron raveling and gate.

[O.Sc. raveling, 1626, revel, 1633, railing, ravelltrie, 1698, ravel, to set up a fence, 1633. Orig. doubtful, poss. from Scandinavian. Cf. Faer. revil, fillet of wood, Dan. dial. revel, strake of a boat, Sw. dial. rävel, joist, O.N. refill, strip of cloth. See also Revel. Not connected with Rail, n.1, though the forms in which v has been vocalised have become homophonous and orthographically confused with it. Cf. sim. changes s.v. Raivel, v., n.1]

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"Ravel n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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