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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHAELA, n. Also shaila(h), shilah, sheila, shaler (Edm.); sjela (Jak.). [′ʃe:lɑ]

1. Hoar-frost (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1970) esp. used attrib. in combs. sjela-clood, -frost. -wadder (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).

2. A steely grey colour, esp. of the wool of native Shetland sheep (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 196, 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1970). Freq. attrib. or adj., of this colour, bluish grey, like frost on black soil.Sh. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 126:
The native breed of sheep . . . black and white, in equal proportions, or “shilah,” and piebald.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 244:
Dey hed sax shaela yows.
Sh. 1900 Chambers's Jnl. (22 Sept.) 717:
Shaila which is a kind of grayish-brown, with a strange frosted appearance.
Sh. 1951 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 83:
A bluish-grey, the Shailah of Shetland, every hair of whose black wool is tipped with white, may have been their predominant colouring.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 48. 8:
Da shaila sheen Has changed da green.

[Norw. hela, hoar frost. See S, letter, 6.]

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"Shaela n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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