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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Ȝule, Y(h)ule, Ȝuil(l, Ȝoul(e, Y(h)ole, Yeul(e, n. Also: Ȝul(l, Yul(l, Yulle, Ȝwle, Ȝuil(l)e, Yuil(l)(e, Ȝuyll, Ȝwil(l, Ȝwile, Ywil, Ywyll, Ȝou(y)ll, Ȝouil, Ȝouile, Youl(l, Youle, Yhoull, Ȝowle, Yowle, Ȝow(i)ll, Ȝowile, Yowill, (Ȝowlie), Ȝoil(l, Ȝoile, Yoill, Ȝool, Ȝoole, Yool(l, Yoole, Ȝeoll, Yeull, Yewle, Yewel, Yeoulle. [ME and e.m.E. yol (1183), ȝol (Orm), Ȝole (Manning), yowle (c1440), yoole (c1450), vle (1546), Yule (1643), yewl (1656), OE ᵹeól, ᵹe(o)h(h)ol, ON jól a heathen feast lasting 12 days, Christmas.]

1. Christmas, the date or time of the year, as used to specify the point in time of an event, transaction, etc. Also used as a term day.Quot. 1587 may belong in 2 below.(a) ? c1390 Reg. Morton I xl.
On Thurisday neist before Yhole last passit thou … tuk away twenty-one beistis
14.. Burgh Laws c. 55 (A).
In the tym of the slayng of thar beestis fra the fest of Sanct Michael quhill Ȝoill
1532 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 128.
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii 2188 (see 2 d below). 1473 Treas. Acc. I 30.
Gevin to Hude sutore … for hire [sc. the queen] fra Ȝule last bipast to the day abone writin vij li. vj s.
1491–2 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 33.
The communite has forgiffyn the brosteris the falt of Yul
1508 Grant Chart. 48.
To be done betuix the date herof and Ȝul nixt to come
1516 Edinb. Hammermen 91b.
For our walx makin sen Ȝull
1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III 84.
Efter Yule quhill Fastrans ewyn the best cuppill cwnyngis for iiij s.
1562–3 Reg. Privy S. V i 331/1.
The said yeirlie pensioun … to be uptakin be him at tua termes in the yeir, that is to say, the feistis of Midsomer and Yule
1570 Sempill in Sat. P. xii 177.
Byde ȝe aucht dayis, Ȝe be not thair quhill Ȝule [: dule, fule, cule]
1574–5 Exch. R. XX 466.
Pay to the said Schir William … the forsaid soum betuix … the 17 day of September … and the 15 day of December nixt thaireftir following quhilk is the nativite of our Lord callit Yule
1579–80 Inverness Rec. I 275.
He brewit nocht … bot ane broust at Yule last
(c) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 134/22.
Had I my wage wantit quhill Ȝuill
1513 Prestwick B. Rec. 45.
The court of [the] burght of Prestwik, haldyn … vpon Sanc Thomas ewyn, forow Ȝwill, vz. xxj day of December
1537 Liber Dryburgh 283.
Payand … sex pultrie foulles at Yuille
1552 Corr. M. Lorraine 364.
As farder my lord … wil schaw your grace at Ywil
1556 Prot. Bk. T. Dalrymple 29b (see Nativitie n. 2 b). 1559 Prestwick B. Rec. 65.
To pay betuex and nateuite of our Salueour, callyt Ȝuyll
1562 Maxwell Mem. I 298.
Payand heirfoir … betuex Ȝuile and Candilmes
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 175.
The rent … is to be valued at the prycess given betuixt Yuil and Candlemes
1660 Stitchill Baron Ct. 19.
6 lib. 1 shilling at Yuille only to cum, and sua furthe at the tyme of Yuille yeirly, till the compleit payment
1672 Rothesay B. Rec. 312.
To pay … to the said Johne Galie … at ans upone the terme of Yuill nixtocume 1671 yeirs without further trubill
1681 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 32.
That the mutton should be sold from Yuill to the midle of July at twentie pennies per pound
1686 Mackenzie Observ. (1687) 41.
The escheating of old corn-stacks, that are kept longer than Ȝuil, was found to be in desuetude
1690 Cramond Kirk S. III 22 May.
That she had entertained a man … nights about Ȝuill last, her husband being from home
(d) 1493 Acta Conc. I 313/1.
To gif furth thar sentence betuix that day and the natiuite of oure Lord callit Ȝoule
1496 Halyb. 26.
Sen my comyn out of Scotland quhyll Ȝowll anno 96
1509 Newbattle Coll. Somerville.
The said Alexander … to pay … fowr bollis betuex Sant Androis day & Ȝoull
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 51.
That the saidis … had wranguislie … put furth the said Jonet … of the landis of Scaithowye befoir the feist of Ȝouil nixt eftir
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 87.
Mairyone Mous gaif our hir … tenement … for aucht merks and now scho sall have xx s. in hand at Lammes and all the laif or Belten neixt to cum, and now or Youl [MS Ȝoul] four ellis of gud broun
1530 Reg. Soltre 98.
In dewiteis … fywe caponis [etc.] … betuix Martimes and Yhoull
1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 99.
1533 Aberd. B. Rec. I 149.
1539 Chart. Coupar A. II 146.
At twa termes in the ȝeir vidz mydsymmar and Ȝoule
1542 Reg. Cupar A. II 182.
?1557 Corr. M. Lorraine 410.
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. 146b.
To pay … betuix this & the xx day eftir Ȝowill nixttocum
a1563 Reg. Panmure I xxxiii.
The twentie ane day of December … befor Youle
1573 Prot. Bk. T. Lindsay 60.
xxiiii merkis to be payit instantlie … and at the nixt Beltane x lib. and at the Ȝoull thaireftir vther ten lib.
1659 A. Hay Diary 159.
I bought … 6 bolls of oats … and shold reseive them betwixt Mertimes and Youle
1668 Galloway P. 14 Feb.
The first payment therof to be betuix Yowle 1669 & Candlsmasse 1670
(e) 1587 Bk. Univ. Kirk II 716.
Mr Johne Durie, Jesuite, … had mes within … Dumfries, before Ȝoole and Pasche last was
1623 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I 242.
That nane … transporte furthe of this kingdome ony auld copper that hes bene in worke till the feast and terme of Yoole now approtcheing
(f) 1583 Ayr & Gall. Coll. VI 223.
And that betuix and Yeule nixt to cum
1583 Ayr & Gall. Coll. VI 226.
1584 Ayr & Gall. Coll. VI 230.
1599 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 661/1.
He is to be befor Yeull in France
1693 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 630.

b. specif. Designated as a period of a number of days from late December into January, ? the twenty days from Christmas day to the 13th of January.Quots. Dunb. may belong in 2 below. 1470 Peebles B. Rec. I 164.
On Sant Stevynisday in Yole, the xxvi day of the moneth of December
1479 Acta Conc. I 45/1.
To bring the rentale … betuix this day and the xx day of Ȝule next cum
1494 Treas. Acc. I 245.
The intra of thir werkmen … to the byggen of the barge was the acht day of September, contenuane to the xxv day of Marchis; in the quhilk tyme thar is xxviij wolkis; of the quhilkis thar is to be falkyte twa wolkis of the tyme of Ȝowle
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 126/6.
I wald at Ȝoull be housit and stald
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 128/73.
Gar hows him new aganis this Ȝuill
1523 Dundee B. Ct. I 156a (16 Aug.).
Oblis thaim as said is to pay it be the xx day of Ȝule next to cum
1526 Acta Conc. MS XXXVI 136.
The xxti day of Yole nixt hereftir … Subscrivit … the xii day of December
1531 Bell. Boece II 345.
King Alexander maryit Margaret … on Sanct Stevins Day, in Youle
1574 Rec. Earld. Orkney 292 (see Hermanstein n.). 1636 Glasgow Chart. I ii 386.
Quatuor liberis nundinis quater annuatim, viz., vna earundem decimo tertio die mensis Januarii nuncupato lie twentie day of Yule; secunda [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. (1728) 167.
The same year a storm … began the thirteen day of Ȝuille and continued till the tenth of April thereafter

c. With reference to the hede-court (Hede-court n.) or law dayis (Law-day n.), qq.v. for further examples, held at the beginning of January, one of the three main court sessions of the year. 1410–11 (15 … ) Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 31.
Thai respitit the determinacioun of thair borrowis till the law day and heid court nixt eftir Ȝuill
14.. Burgh Laws c. 56 (B).
Thar is thre principale mutys in the yhere … the fryst eftyr Mychalmes, the tuthyr eftyr Yhule [A. Ȝoill] the thryd eftyr Pask
1432 Ayr B. Ct. 138a.
1443 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 268.
1466–7 Ayr B. Ct. 22 Jan.
On Monunday nest efter the xx day of Ȝwle the law day
1474–5 Ayr B. Ct. 16 Jan.
1490 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 19.
The hed court of Youl
1491–2 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 32.
Wilyam Stewart … borowit Jamys Bosuell to the hed of Yul as peremptour and to ansuer to Johne Wilsone claym
1501 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 110.
Yull Curia capitalis post festum nativitatis Domini
1505 Mill Mediæv. Plays 136.
The … bailȝes assignit the law day eftir Ȝouyll nixt … to the personis that the abbot of Bonacord was plantuis one quhilkis raid nocht at Sanct Nicholes mes to decoire the toune
1516 Wigtown B. Ct. 59a.
The borow hed court eftir Ȝoule haldin in the tolbuyth of Vigton
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 49.
The actioune & cause … continu[i]t to the hede courte nixt eftir Ȝowile
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 52.
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 161.
1556–7 Inverness Rec. I 4.
The heid burrow curt of Innernes haldyne efter Ywyll in the tolbuyth of Innernes … the xj day of Januar
1585 Forres B. Ct. 13 Dec.
[He] desyris the law day of Ȝowill

2. (The period of) Christmas viewed as a. The religious festival of the birth of Christ. b. A time of celebration and merrymaking associated with a above.Also proverb., see also Pas(c)h(e n. 1 proverb. for further examples.Also Ȝowllis ȝald, see Ȝa(l)d n. 1 b.Some examples may belong in 1 above.a., b. 1443 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 7.
That na baxter baik na mayne breid … saiffing allenarly at Witsounday, Sanct Geillis messe, Yule, and Pasche
1473 Treas. Acc. I 68.
Gevin at the kingis commande at Ȝule to Robert of Craufurde … for a leueray colare
1473 Treas. Acc. I 71.
To Maister Johne Patonsone … to by his clething and vthir thing again Ȝule
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 99/49.
1524 St. P. Henry VIII IV 282.
This day I have gottin ȝour … letteris … makand mentioun that ȝe have none utheris newes … and ȝour excuse for ȝour nocht being with me this tyme of Cristynmes … My lord I wald have bene rycht glaid of ȝour heir being with me in Sanctandrois this tyme of Ȝoile
1533 Boece 299b.
It may be iugeit in the solempnite of Ȝule we wourschip the wame and nocht Criste
1535 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 71.
Till … convoy the provest fra the kirk … after evin sang in the haly dayes of Yule, New Yeir day and Vphaly day
1535 Stewart 26950.
He wes the first with glutony and guill That euir begouth to mak sic feist in Ȝule
1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 152.
Sabbato ii Januarii na cariage becaus of Yuill to Sabbato xvi Januarii
1551–2 Acts II 488/2.
Prouyding alwayis that this present act … stryke not vpone Ȝule and Pasche, patroun dayis … nor bankettis
1562-3 Winȝet I 27/15.
That the hail kirk of God … hes ȝeirlie celebratit the solennitie of Ȝule and Pasche with vtheris feistis of our Saluiour
1558-66 Knox 51 (Jam.) (see Haliday n.).
1577 Edinb. Test. VI 3.
I leue to him [gap in MS] bollis of malt agane Ȝule
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 874 (Wr.).
A gallant horse and good To ride thereon at Yoole
1587 Bk. Univ. Kirk II 722.
The laird of Fintrie hath seduced the chief there and stollen away the hearts of the commons by banqueting att Yuile, continuing three days, enduring which time all papisticall ceremonies wer used
1596 Bk. Univ. Kirk III 874.
Superstitioun … in keiping of festuall dayis … singing of carrells at Yoole
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 94/6.
Certaine dayes in the yeare ualde be appointid for … feasting & mirrines for I can not see quhat greatter superstition can be in making playes & laufull games in Mey & goode cheir at Yule [1603 Christmasse]
1618 Elgin Rec. II 158.
That the superstitious obseruation of auld reitis and ceremonies expresly forbidden during the tyme callit Yooll … be altogidder awodit and eschewit
1627 Elgin Rec. II 198.
Certaine personis compeirit this day [sc. January 12th] who wer gyseing about Yool [Elgin Kirk S. 199, Ȝool]
1637 Sc. Bk. Com. Prayer Table Proper Ps.
Yule, or Christmas day
1643 Baillie II 120.
Manie were the more willing to have the Assemblie adjourned for the holy dayes of Ȝuile
1644 Row xxix.
Knowing that the superstitious dayis of Yool was approching, and hearing that thair wes great preparation made for the keeping of it in our nighbour parichon of Dunfermlyne, I warnit our people of the danger
c1650 Spalding I 375.
The gramariaris … had 20 dayis play, and the colliginaris 8 dayis play, in Old Abirdein, conforme to the old order obseruit at Yooll
1656 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 138.
Saying that becaus the said Mr. Andrew spak againest Yuill, he spak lyke ane old fool
a1658 Durham Commandments (1675) 461.
When it is without a divine warrant tyed to such a time only, as Christmas (commonly called Yool), Easter, Pasche, etc., which is an observing of times that God hath not appointed
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 471 (see Royal(l adj. 12).
1677 Fawside Coal Compt 14.
For mage wood proveideing Ȝuill 12 s.
1683 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 20 Jan.
For a load of aile at Youll to the workmen
1691 Master Clark Defended 2.
High-flowen-holy-day-sermons, composed and fitted for Pasch, Yule, and such high-times
proverb. a1568 Balnevis in Bann. MS 138b/12.
Langer lestis ȝeir nor Ȝule

c. In an exclamation of joy greeting the occasion. Also proverb. a1500 Henr. Fab. 289.
Thay … 'Haill, Ȝule, haill!' cryit vpon hie
1567 G. Ball. 69.
Hay Ȝule now sing and mak myrth, Sen Christ this day to vs is borne
1574 St. A. Kirk S. 404.
Dilatit for keping of Ȝwil haly, and in spetial on Newar-day last was … cryit … Ȝwil! Ȝwil! Ȝwil!
proverb. a1568 Bann. MS 135a/24.
It is eith to cry Ȝule [M. to cry hailyȝule] On ane vder manis coist
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 897.
It is easie crying Yule under ane other mannis stule

d. The celebrations associated with Christmas. Chiefly const. indef. art., def. art. or possess. adj. c1420 Wynt. vii 2797.
A ryalle Yhule thare held the kyng
c1420 Wynt. viii 2192.
Fra the Alhalowmes In Yngland till Yhule he bydand wes … Come efftyr the Yhule [C. Ȝoil, W. Ȝule] in till Scotland
1473 Treas. Acc. I 46.
Gevin to a currour passande to the Lady Glammis … to cum to the Ȝule
a1500 Rauf C. 251.
The king and the quene meitis in Paris For to hald thair Ȝule togidder
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 75/89.
And ȝe sall cum or Ȝule begyn
1531 Bell. Boece II 340.
King Alexander, quhen he wes sittand … on the Epiphany Day, at his Ȝuill
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 37/87.
Quhair is the blythnes that hes bein … Daunsing singing game and play … For now I heir na wourde of Ȝule In kirk on cassay nor in scule Lordis lattis thair kitchingis cule
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 37.
The lieutennent … past to Tamptalloun, and thair held his Ȝule
a1578 Pitsc. II 51/25.
He desyred the governour to pas to Sanctandros with him to the Ȝuile

e. To hald, keip Ȝule, to participate in the celebration of Christmas in senses a, b or d. Also pl. a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 38/31.
Our faderis wyse was … Thay had bayth honour men and meit With luif thai did thair tennentis treit … we hald nother Ȝule nor Pace
1570 Leslie 79.
The king and quene passit to Falkland quhair thay remanit till the next Yoill quhilk thay keipit with thair nobles in Sant Androis with greit triumphe and banqueting
1587 Bk. Univ. Kirk II 719.
There is superstitious keiping of Yoole, Pasche [etc.]
1590 James VI in Scot Narr. 57.
The Kirk of Geneva … keepe Pasch and Yuille
1592 Melvill 297.
His hienes and esteates … annulled … that part of the act maid be the quein regent … giving speciall licence for halding of Peace and Ȝuill
1645 Ritchie Ch. S. Baldred 271.
Thair was no keiping of Yoole, ather be feasting or playing, or abstaining from work idillie
1658 Argyll Synod II 175.
It is recommended to the severall presbyteries that they take care to supress the keiping of Ȝuill and other pretended holy dayes, as also the abuse of corronaching or crying at burials
pl. a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 38/45.
We waist far mar now … Nor thai did than that held grit Ȝulis, Off meit and drink said never nay … And mirrines was nocht away

3. attrib. a. Ȝule nicht, tide, etc. See also Ȝule day, Ȝule evin, etc. b. With things or events associated with the celebration of Christmas, as, banket, clais, meit, etc. Also proverb. Also Ȝule stok, prob. a Yule-log (see Stok n.1 1 c). c. Of payments made at or due by Christmas, with commoun, fe, wageis, etc. d. Ȝeoll wark, prob. religious ceremonies taking place at Christmas. e. Yule keiping, the observance of Christmas as a celebration. Yule preaching, preaching on Christmas day.a. a1500 Rauf C. 4.
The Ȝule tyde
a1500 Rauf C. 342.
Betuix none of the day and Ȝule nicht
1629 Elgin Rec. II 212.
That ther be no gyseing nor any other supersticious rites be vsed about the Yule tyme
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III 252.
The magistratis … dischargis the masteris of all the scollis … frome keiping of anie Yule wacance
b. (1) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 249.
To Maister William Dunbar for his Ȝule leveray … vj elnis ane quartar Parise blak to be hyme ane gowne
1525 Treas. Acc. V 260.
To Willȝam Wod, for his Ȝoil clais xxx li. vij s.
1526 Treas. Acc. V 267.
To James Crechtoun capitan of the castel and maister of pantrie for his Ȝoil clais
(2) 1562–3 Inverness Rec. I 98.
The clame of Schir Patrik Anderson … of Yule Meit Pasche and Witsundaye and the ering of ane aker of land
1630 Fraser Sir-Name of Baird 67.
The scollers are very well … We have causit send over thair Yool goose to them
(3) 1629 Hossack Kirkwall 257.
Ye came to … his father's hous at the making of his Yull banket, and got almis
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 122.
Ane Yul feaste may be quat at Pash
(4) a1500 Henr. Practysis 77.
The bellox of ane brok With thre crawis of the cok The schadow of ane Ȝule stok Is gud for the host
c. 1522 Stirling Ant. IV 218.
The Ȝoull wages that he gave to the servants
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II 271.
To the viij serjands … for thair Yule fee
1562 Edinb. B. Rec. III 154.
To pay the bedrellis of Sanct Mary Wynde, for thair Yule dewtie, x s.
1600-1610 Melvill 274 (see Commoun n. 8 b). 1660 Glasgow B. Rec. II 455.
The supplicatioune … that he get his full pairt of the nixt Yuill waiges
d. 1540 Elgin Rec. I 47.
The quhilk day Dauid Herdy … wes creat and suorn freman of this burght … and sall pay ane stane wax to the nixt Ȝeoll vark
e. (1) 1599 Banks Sc. Cal. Customs III 234.
That Ȝoolkeiping may be stayit
1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 70.
Sic as haid yokit thair pleuch befoir Yvlle and sat ydill that day to the fostering of superstitioun sall publictlie acknavleg and confess thair falt with promeis of amendmant and no to do the lyk heirafter [marg. Yule keiping]
(2) 1622 Scot Course of Conformity 105.
The Yuile preaching hath no more pietie, albeit the Christmas pye make it more pleasant than before

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"Ȝule n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2023 <>



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