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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Wol(l, Wo(w, n. Also: wolle, vol(l, wole, vole, woy(i)ll, woill, voill, woul(e, woull, wowl, vuol, wull, wool(l, woole, (wl), ul, wou, woo, woe, vow, vou, uouue. [ME and e.m.E. wolle (c1290), woule (Manning), w(u)lle, (both Wyclif), woolle (Piers Plowman), wole (Destr. Troy), woll (c1460), OE wull, MDu. wolle, ON ull; Oull n. Also in the later dial. (SND Oo n.1).]See also Bloncat adj., Closter n. 2, Fleis n.1 b, Forest n. 2, Gate n.2, Hals-lok n., Hat n. 3, Lam n., 6, Littit ppl. adj., Marin n., Skin n. 2 d (4) and Ledger of Andrew Halyburton, Conservator of the Privileges of the Scotch Nation in the Netherlands, 1492-1503 (1867) Index s.v. Wool for further examples. Also in a place-name.

1. Wool as a commodity, merchandise, etc., prob. chiefly fleeces. Also pl., proverb. and in fig. context. Also with some indication of the sort of wool or fleece. Also transf. as bever (Bever n.1) woll, cottoun (Cotoun n.) woll and woll (? Ostriche n.) estridge, materials similar in texture to wool. 1294 Reg. Paisley 94.
Inter Lochleboksyd et le Wlplays
(1) 1393 Chart. T. Dunbar (Reg. H.).
Tyl halfe … gyfin tyl the aldirmen … of Elgyne … al the wol [etc.]
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1254.
The scheip … sauld the woll that he bure on his bak
1482–3 Acta Conc. II cvii.
Sevin sek of woll gude and sufficient merchand ware without ter, cot or eik
?1495 Treas. Acc. I 219.
Tane fra Jhonne Williamsoune, at the kingis command, in woll and merchandreis
1495 Treas. Acc. I 220 (see Pakkit ppl. adj.). 1497–8 Acta Conc. II 120.
Fifti sex weddris schepe … with the woll than beand apone thame of a yere growing
1535 Treas. Acc. VI 260.
Clippand the kingis … sheip and for careage of the woll … to Selkirk xix li. xviij s.
1561 Treas. Acc. XI 57.
Havaris furtht of this realme of woll, salmond, claith, hidis, hering [etc.]
1572 Sat. P. xxxii 42.
To bring the woll, the skin and hyde To Edinburgh
1597 Edinb. Test. XXXI 36b.
I leif my hail woll quhilk I haue growand for the present ȝeir to … my seruand
1603 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 438.
To pay to Ninian Lyntoun ane quarter voll as bondathe
(b) 1428 Edinb. Chart. 63.
For ilk sarplare of wole and skynes
15.. Clar. iii 845 (see Fardell n.1). 1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 2 (see Fleis n.1 b).
(c) 1495 Halyb. 52.
iii sekis of woyll
1496 Halyb. 98.
1499 Halyb. 221.
A pok of woill
(d) c1500 Rowll Cursing 27 (M) (see (g) below). 1524 Wigtown B. Ct. 153a.
Half astane of vuol
1527–8 Stirling B. Rec. I 31.
Steillin of … cammes woull [etc.]
(e) 1548 Cal. Sc. P. I 144.
[Commodities of] myndes, wull, skynne & hide
(f) 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Serplath.
Ten seckes of wooll makis ane last of wooll
1632 Lithgow Trav. x 495.
The wooll … is nothing inferiour to that of … Spaine
(g) 1497 Reg. Cupar A. I 310.
The said Thomas … sal haue ȝerly ane stane of wo for hys bunta
c1500 Rowll Cursing 27 (B).
His wow [M. woule] his lamb his cheis … Or ony teyndis of haly kirk
1525 Wigtown B. Ct. 166b.
1526 Wigtown B. Ct. 182a.
He coft iii hunder stane of vov fra the abot of Glenlus
1541 Linlithgow B. Ct. 1 July.
vj lib. of wo quhilk the said Thomas sald to the said Johne vif
1579–80 Reg. Privy S. VII 364/1.
Small teindis, viz. lamb, wow, cheise [etc.]
1583 Reg. Privy C. III 593.
Hir haill guidis and geir, woe, hennis, clathis, and utheris
1603 Reg. Great S. 514/2.
Merchandrice sick as … wow
pl. 1389 Liber Melros 449.
Dauid kyng … of Scotland … has gyvin to the religious men … of Meuros … all the custume of all thair wollys as wele of thair awin growing as of thair tendys
1389 Liber Melros 449.
That the forsaid wollys at your portis … yhe suffre to be shippit … withoutyn ony … obstacle
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 207.
Our wolls thairby most neids ly inprofitabill in the awneris handis quhairupoun will enschew a great loss … to … the yemen … wanting that … pryce wiche formarlie thei ressavit by the seall of thair wolls
fig. 1533 Gau 104/6.
Pastors quhilk sekis bot the mylk and the wow of the scheip
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4803.
Christis scheip thay spolȝe … And with the woll thay cleith thame
1562-3 Winȝet II 65/18.
That thai mot steil … vpon the vnwar scheip … thai … faldis thame about … with certane fleisis of the woul, that quhen ony man first felis the softnes of the wowl [etc.]
1567 G. Ball. 188.
The syllie scheip was all forlorne … The hirdis … gadderit vp baith woll and mylk And tuke na mair cure [etc.]
(2) 1497–8 Halyb. 134.
6 pokis off Newcastall woyll
1498 Liber Melros 621.
Fyve sekkis of woll cleyne but cot and tar
1502 Halyb. 268.
v sekis Melros voill … and a sek Vorn woyll
1526 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 55.
1531 Bell. Boece I xxiv.
Our wol quhilk is sa quhit and small that the samin is desirit be all peple
1531 Bell. Boece I xxiv.
Of this woll is maid the fine skarlettis [etc.]
1588 Crawford Mun. Invent. II 190 (25 May).
The fyne woll of Glennesk
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V 383
That thai flay all thair scheip up throw the haill craig … and nather pluk the woll of the hals womb or uther part
1596 Edinb. Test. XXIX 299b.
Hieland blew wow
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 333.
Wooll called: Beaver woll the pund iii li., Cottoun woll the pund viii s., Estridge woll the hundreth weght xx li., French woll the hundreth weght xxx li. … Lambis woll … Polonia woll … Spanish woll for clothing or feltis the hundreth weght xxx li.
1643 Edinb. Test. LX 223b.
One hundreth stane weycht of littell wooll
(3) transf. 1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 333 (see (2) above).

b. In contexts indicating processing. c. Used as padding or stuffing. d. In other contexts. e. In comparisons.b. 14.. Acts I 24/2.
Na man bot a burges sall by woll to lytt
a1500 Bk. Chess 643.
To spyn & weif perfyte All thing to vs that langit woll or lyn
a1538 Abell 4b.
Ane wirgin callit Minarf … techit lauboring in … wow
1552–3 Lanark B. Rec. 23.
For the lyttin of the said woll
a1568 Bann. MS 263b/19.
Scho and hir … wenchis … Ane stane of woll thay mak … Wald scho and quheill war all in till a fyre
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 14.
Buttir to creisch hir woll
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 201.
Giff woll shuld be transported to Ingland then shall our whole tred with Flanders decay quhilk consistis of playdis … the greatest part of the woll quhairoff the same is maid cumming from the south [sc. of Scotland] … cumes yeirlie to the north above ten thousand stane of woll quhilk is all wroght and labored heir
1635 Glasgow B. Rec. II 33.
Three hundrethe markis … to by woll and materiallis to the said correctioun hous, rebaiting … four scoir four markis … payit alreddie for ane wheill
1640 Mouswald Kirk S. 1 July.
That profaineth the Lordis Sabbath by working … drying of lynt bollis or wolle
1659 S. Ronaldshay 27.
Laying out … upon the Sabaoth … woole or webes
1672 Edinb. B. Rec. X 128.
His tred of fyning of woull
16… Boyd Fam. P. No. 251c.
The veif that spins the vol
c. c1475 Wall. x 837.
Thai tuk skynnys … Ay betwix two stufft woll as thai mycht best, Agayn the straik
1506 Treas. Acc. III 249.
For vij elne Rowan gray to be ane mummyng goun … Item, for woll to the schulderis of it, xvj d.
1506–7 Treas. Acc. III 268.
Bukram to be ane cowch … for ane stane of woll to it … x s. … for making of the … cowch and carding of the woll to it
1507–8 Treas. Acc. IV 30.
For tua stane ane half stane woll to it [sc. a couch], xxx s.
1566 Treas. Acc. XI 510.
xiij li. wecht of woll to stufe thair hois, xxxij s. vj d.
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 215.
Certane woll and skenis … quhilk thaj causit bring … to ramforce thair trinsches
1700 Fugitive Poetry II xliv 2/3.
Batt'rie was Contriv'd with packs of woo
d. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1085.
The woll, the flesche, ȝit stikkis on thy teith
1533 Bell. Livy I 74/34.
Certane thredis maid of woll [L. filo—lanæ velamen est]
1549 Compl. 59/6.
The lyft did rane grit quantite of vol
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II 137.
The … officiar persawit ane corbie pluk furth woll out of the top of thy hous, the saidis tua scheip saltit in ane troche, in the rigging of thy house
e. a1500 Henr. Fab. 359.
Hir den, Als warme as woll [Bann. wow]
1533 Gau 63/30.
Giff ȝour sinnis … be reid as purpur neuthertheles thai sal be quhit as wow

2. As a description of cloth, etc.: Made of wool. Also pl.Quot. Bk. Rates (Halyb.) may be a further example of 1 (3). 1504 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 100.
That na … persoun … sett furth or sell outwith thair houseis … ony maner of clayth, woll or lynning, or ony yairne
1530 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 29.
That na … parsonis … by ony auld clais, wou or lynnyn … that na … personis ressett … ony insicht or gudis clething claith, wou nor lynnyn [etc.]
1597 Acts IV 136/2.
Ingillis claytht or vther Ingillis wairis or merchandeice maid of woll
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 314.
Hats of bever woll or hair the hatt, xvi li.
1615 Red Bk. Grandtully I xxvi.
Bedding of woll and linyng
pl. 1505 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 106.
Ony maner of clayth kind, wollis or lynning, silks or vthers

3. The nap of woollen cloth. 1456 Hay II 7/5.
A syde goune, alde and bare of wolle
a1500 K. Hart 938.
This threidbair cloik sumtyme wes thik of wow

4. fig. Neptunes uouue, ?fog. 1581-1623 James VI Poems II 131/15.
Quhen the sunne dois souk the uapouris small Furth of the sea … in uounde in uitt & raine the leaue He rander dois quhilk dois augment the strandis Of Neptunes uouue ane cott sine thay him uaue

5. attrib.a. Woll skynnis (fellis), sheepskins, the skin, with the fleece on, of an adult sheep. b. Wollpak, loft, etc., a container for transporting or a place for storing wool. Woll camis, quheill, (see also Quhel(e n. 3 b for further examples), weyis, etc., implements, etc. for processing, etc. wool. Wollbutter, butter used in the processing of wool. c. Made of wool or woollen cloth.a. c1420 Bute MS 170b.
Of a bynde of skynnys or schorlyng that is to say xxiiij d. of als mony wol skynnys ij d. of jc hog skynnys ij d. of jc lamskynnys
c1390-1434 Sc. Merchandise 116.
Woll skyns … schorlingis … & hogrell
1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I 397.
That na man by woll skynnis derar than x d.
1503 Acta Conc. III (1993) 255.
xl woll skinnis, winter slauchtir, the price of the pece xvj d.
1527 Wigtown B. Ct. 197b.
Fore the vranguis haldyne fra hyr of a vov skyne
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 340.
Woll skins the hundreth xx li.
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 209.
It may be urgit that our woll fellis may be transported no uther quher els bot into Ingland … it is also to be considderit that our woll as also the woll fellis quhilk wilbe comprehendit under the woll being the principall stapill warris quhairwithe … oure merchandis mainteinyis thair tred in France [etc.]
b. (1) 1460 Hay Alex. 14283.
He was like ane wollpak quhare he lay
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 92.
Dame keip the keis of ȝour woll loft
1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II 145.
ij new wol pakis of new cannes
1596 Dalr. I 18/15.
Lanrik (sa named … frome arca lanarum, as it war, ane woll arke)
1596–7 Reg. Great S. 177/1.
Lie wolhous
1624 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 259.
Thrie wooll barrellis
(2) 1488–9 Acta Conc. I 106/2.
A pare of woll camis a pare of scheris
c1500 Makc. MS xiii 83.
Hec lamgo, a wow cayme
1522 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 209.
Ane pair off voll kamys
1533 Aberd. B. Rec. I 451.
Ane pair of woll weyis
1563–4 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 138.
Woll kames of irne
1567 Bamff Chart. 71.
Ane paire of woll cairds
1609–10 Ayr B. Acc. 242.
The woll trone
1614 Edinb. Test. XLVIII 3b.
Ane woll quheill price xvj s.
1615 Edinb. Test. XLVIII 258.
Tua pestellis ane wenche ane wolcruik
1640 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 184.
A woll scheir
1673 Leith Customs 8.
3 dozen of new wooll & tow cairds 18 s.
1715 Crail Squaremen 29.
(3) 1600 Reg. Great S. 352/2.
Barrellam butiri lie woll butter
c. 15.. Lord Fergus' Gaist 29.
Thair man be hung abowt ȝour hals Pricket in ane woll poik, Off neis powder
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 174.
Ane payr of dowbill woll blankatis
1673 Leith Customs 14.
6 haire & wooll hatts £1 10 s.

6. comb. and attrib. a. With comber, finer, seller, man, etc. Persons who buy, sell or process wool. Also ? a personal name. Also proverb. b. With litting, mercat and teind. 1329 Exch. R. I 213.
Et in solucione facta Johanni Wolcoper, pro debito [etc.]
a. 1583 Edinb. Test. I 268.
Andro Symson, wowman … John Watson, woolman
1643 Edinb. Marr. 15.
Alexander Bell, woolfiner
1668 Edinb. Marr. 24.
Robert Fairholme, wool-comber
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 52.
A woole seller kens a woole buyer
b. 1581 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 212.
The woll mercatt
1582 Perth B. Ct. 27 Nov.
Voll and ȝarne litting
1627 Orkney Rentals iii 39.
The viccarage teind of … Wallis … extendis to … of wooll teind 4 leispund

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"Wol n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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