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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

CAILLEACH, CAILLIACH, CAILLACH, Cal(l)ach, Caliagh, n. Also caillich, culloch. [′keljʌx, ′kɑl(j)ʌx]

1. “An old woman” (Cai.8 1934; Crm. 1913 D. Finlayson W.-L., calach; Abd.19, Arg.1 1938). Also in phr. aul' callach, “an old maid” (e.Rs. (Avoch) 1916 (per Mry.2)).Sc. 1828 Scott F. M. Perth xxix.:
Think you the Clan Quhele have no cailliachs as active as old Dorothy?
Sc. 1999 Donald S. Murray in Moira Burgess and Donny O'Rourke New Writing Scotland 17: Friends and Kangaroos 115:
...the Volga boatmen crossing seas
to Mingulay;
some cailleach's coat
covering Kruschev or Cherenkov's wife;...
Hebr 1983 Christine Marion Fraser Children of Rhanna (1989) 27:
'Ach, it's a cailleach I am indeed.' The old nurse smiled sourly and sniffed the air.
ne.Sc. 1772 Alistair and Henrietta Tayler Jacobites of Aberdeenshire and Banffshire in the Forty-Five (1928) 177:
I had almost lost this winter my poor old caillich by a fall she got. ... My poor half-bruised caillach.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 60:
Even though she wis an auld culloch she could fair graft!
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 24:
Hyterin ooto his bed in the blae dawn, he cowpit hissel ower the auld wife's suitcase an fell rick-ma-tack tae the fleer. As luck wad hae't, the cailleach hid haen the foresicht tae pack a jar of coffee an dried milk.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 1:
When hoop! with a loup, and her hands at her middle, Came dancing the cailleach o' bonnie Culzean.
Gall. 1930 (per Wgt.3):
Did ever ony caillach hear O' sic'na greedy buddy That wudna spare a wheen thistles For a wee stervin' cuddy.
Uls. 1900 M. O'Neill Songs Glens Antrim (1907) 7:
I met an' ould caillach I knowed right well on the brow o' Carnashee.

2. “A potato of more than a year old” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn., caliagh); “an old rotten potato or parent tuber” (Uls. c.1920 J. Logan Ulster in the X-Rays (2nd ed.) vi., caillach).

3. “The last sheaf to be cut at harvest” (Abd.19 1938; Uls.3 1930). Cf. Clyack, n., 1.

4. “The feast of harvest home” (Abd.22 1938; Arm., mid.Tyr. 1930 (per Uls.3); Arg. 1990s). Cf. Clyack, n., 3 (a).

[Gael. cailleach, an old woman, a nun; the last handful of standing corn in a farm; from caille, a veil, cogn. Lat. pallium (MacLennan).]

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"Cailleach n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/cailleach>

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