Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FANKLE, v., n. Also fangle (ne.Sc., Ags. 1951). [fɑŋkl + ne.Sc., Ags. fɑŋl]

I. v. 1. tr. To catch in a snare, to trap. Fig. to captivate. Sc. 1724 Ramsay Evergreen I. 196:
Our Ryal Lord [Quha] now is fast heir fanklet in a cord.
Lnk. 1924 Hamilton Advert. (19 Dec.):
They fankle me try hoo I will, These twa wee bonnie flooers.
Gall. 1930 per Wgt.3:
There's jist a possibeelity it micht ha'e got fankl't on an owerhangin' brench or the root o' a tree.

2. tr. To tangle, ravel, mix up (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., fangle; Abd.7 1925; em. and wm.Sc., Wgt., Kcb., Rxb. 1950). Also fig. Ppl.adj. fankled, fanglet, confused, tangled. Slk. 1826 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 221:
The only fear I had was o' my long spurs; — but they never got fankled.
Cld. 1880 Jam.:
A person who has lost the thread of his discourse or has become confused is said to have got fankled.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 74:
He so fangled the laird's affairs, and drooned him in diffeekwalties and debts.
Gsw. 1904 J. J. Bell Jess & Co. x.:
It was jist the ither day I got fankled wi' some o' ma accoonts.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 126:
A fankled bit string, then a plunker an' glassie.

3. intr. To become ravelled or tangled, to catch (on) (Ayr., Rxb. 1952). Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 103:
Stair had grown up into a great lang drink, and would fankled . . . if he fell.
Ags. 1869 Arbroath Guide (20 Nov.):
They knot an' fangle on the reel, Or snap in twa.
Bnff. 1925 G. Cumming A'anside Lilts 82:
His hooks an' line got fankled sair, He wroucht an' foucht to get relief, But aye they seemed to fankle mair.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 10:
Thro' slaps he breenged that hecht fu' weel, But fanklt on the leg or heel.

4. intr. To move the feet (or hands) uncertainly; to stumble (Ayr. 1950); to fumble. Vbl.n. fanklin, stumbling, faltering; ppl.adj. fankled, uncertain. Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 254:
Her auld guidman as he cam warplin' an' fanklin' owre the muirs.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's iii. 15:
He'll kep yer fit frae ony fanklin.
Sc. 1932 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 367:
Fearfully I fankelt in the breast and drew it forth.

II. n. A tangle, muddle. Gen.Sc.; an entanglement (Sc. 1818 Sawers); a predicament (m.Sc. 1952). Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 202:
When cloth is in unrid folds, it is said to be in a fankle.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxi.:
Do you see that hank? . . . But it's all a fankle, as ye see.
Lnk. 1923 Bellshill Speaker (31 Aug.):
Nae wunner ma mind's in a fankle.

[Freq. forms of Fank, n.1, v.1, Fang, n.1, v.1]

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"Fankle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2020 <>



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