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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TOTTLE, v.1 Also to(at)tle. [tɔtl, totl]

1. intr. Of the contents of a cooking-pot: to boil gently, to bubble, simmer (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1880 Id.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ags. 1972). Also of the pot itself.Sc. 1806 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 696:
Twa gude pingles and a pat, Whare the sonsie haggis tottles.
Edb. 1863 Border Mag. (Oct.) 234:
The sweltering and tottling of the pot.
Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 85:
Come, buy my hot and tottling pies.
Ags. 1897 Arbroath Guide (2 Jan.) 3:
To hearken to the pot tottlin' an' boilin'.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 24:
Daursay that egg ull be weel now; it's been toattlin lang eneuch.
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 184:
The kettle tottlin on the swee.

2. tr. To cause to simmer or boil gently.Per. 1739 A. Nicol Nature 100:
In Winter-time a Piece fat Beef to tottle.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 183:
Imprimis, then a haggis fat, Weel tottl'd in a seything pat.
Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 182:
Ye's get a cock well totled i' the pat.

3. Of running water: to chatter over stones, to ripple, babble, 1802 Edb. Mag. (July) 57:
The blinkin' queans wha bleach their claes, By tottlin' spring.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 136:
The sang o' the birds whare some burn tottles owre.
Sc. 1824 R. K. Douglas Poems 45:
Where burnies tottle down the glen.
Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 24:
Glancin' bright at ilka turn aye Till it tottl't owre the lin.

4. To walk unsteadily with quick, short or feeble steps, to toddle, totter (Ags. 1972). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. tottlin, toddling; to go at an easy pace, to jog; in Dmf. quot., to cruise.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ciii.:
When [their bairns] begin to tottle about the house.
Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Trad. Tales II. 251:
Let us slip our drap o' brandy into the bit bonnie boat, and tottle away as far as the Kingholm.
Ayr. 1824 Galt Rothelan III. iii.:
The tidy grand-dame slowly tottling across the fields.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xi.:
Wi' a' my tottlin' weans aboot my hand.

5. To totter and fall, to topple over (Ork., Ags. 1972). Also in Eng. dial.Slk. 1830 Blackwood's Mag. (Dec.) 895:
Off flew the English warden's head, And tottled into Foxton burn.
em.Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 319:
Where wad be the great loss if ye were to tottle owre.

[Prob. onomat., of freq. formation. Cf. Totter, v., 2. and Hotter, Sotter.]

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"Tottle v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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