Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).

GULLIE, n., v. Also gull(e)y, guil(l)ie, -y, †gooly, -ie, †gulle; ¶gulzie (Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 58); ¶gillie (Dmf. 1850 Carlyle New Letters (1904) II. 102). [′gʌle]

I. n. 1. A large knife, often one blunted by use. Gen.Sc. Also occas. a butcher's knife (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Ork. 1955), or applied to a large pocket clasp-knife (Fif. 1955) or as a derisory name for a butcher's boy (Patterson). Sometimes attrib. with knife. Rarely, by extension, a sword. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 131:
That Bang'ster Billy Cæsar July, . . . Had better sped, had he . . . . . . 'midst his Glories sheath'd his Gooly, And kiss'd his Wife.
Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remark. Passages 45:
Their heads and hands were hashed and hagged off by the common hangman with his bloody gully.
Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caled. (Thomson) II. 100:
A Gullie-knife, and a Horse-wand, A Mitten for the Left-hand.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Death and Dr Hornbook ix.:
I red ye weel, take care o' skaith, See, there's a gully!
Abd. c.1803 D. Anderson Sawney and John Bull 21:
Whan he drew his twa edg'd gullie, To snap aff heads o' English bodies As we wou'd di a carl dodies.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 65:
Gif by misfortune's gully knife Ane's mulkit sair.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xvii.:
Folk kill . . . wi' the word as weel as wi' the gulley.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.:
“Gie yer aith then that ye winna stick me wi' that gully I heard ye sharpin',” quoth Willie.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxvii.:
The cutler, in Gallowgate, who . . . was unequalled in the production of a reliable pocket “gullie.”
Sc. 1883 Stevenson Treasure Island iv.:
His gully with the crooked handle, a pocket compass, and a tinder box, were all they contained.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls ii.:
The spears were in many cases “gully-knives,” fastened to staves with twine and resin, called “rozet.”
Ork. 1905 Dennison Wedding Customs 31:
Each man then drew from a sheath at his side his large knife, called a gully. Each gentleman had to carve for his lady partner, . . . and for himself.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xvi.:
May ma throat be cuttit by my grandda's gully there, as I've sworn on't, if I dinna haud by ma bargain.
Edb. 1956:
After a schoolboy fight the victor will thump the vanquished on the shoulder with his fist and cry: “There's the gully, there's the knife; I can fight ye aw my life.”

2. Phrs. & Combs.: (1) a burn-the-gully, an unskilful, incompetent workman (Uls.3 1930); (2) butching gullie, “a large knife used for butchering pigs” (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 77); (3) fir gullie, see Fir; (4) gully-cut, to cut or hack with a knife; (5) hash gulle, see Hash; (6) kail-gully, see Kail; (7) to guide the gully, lit. to control the knife, hence fig. to control, manage things in general, used proverbially of the Deity; (8) to haud the gullie ower the dyke (to someane), to stand up for oneself, to maintain one's position or opinion against opposition (Ags. 1955).(4) wm.Sc.1 1910:
It's no tae rug, rive, or gullycut; said of something tough and resistant to any attempt to divide it.
(7) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 292:
Sticking goes not by Strength, but by guiding of the Gooly. Matters are carried on rather by Art than Strength.
Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remark. Passages 20:
He is above that guides the Gully, my God will not let you either kill me or banish me.
n.Sc. 1737 W. Fraser Chiefs of Grant (1883) II. 350:
He sits abun the lift that guides the gully.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 38:
It will tak' wit To guide the gullie through this kittle bit.
Sc. 1891 R. Ford Thistledown (1895) 15:
Sin' Ye hae baith the heft and the blade in Yer nain hand, just guide the gully as best suits her guid and Yer nain glory. Amen.
Rxb. 1919 Kelso Chron. (22 Aug.) 2:
Nannie would remonstrate: “De'il a fear, Nan; there's a Hand abune that guides the gully.”
(8) Ags. 1864 D. Allan Hist. Sk. 37:
Gin thae cross-grained wiever bodies get time to muster thir forces, we may e'en find the gully hauden owre the dyke on's.
Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 44:
Noo lat them come as fast's they like, You'll haud the gully owre the dyke To them.
Ags. 1892 Brechin Advertiser (26 April) 3:
But in that respeck the City can haud the gullie ower the dyke to them.

II. v. To cut, knife, slash, wield a knife.Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 97:
It's nae gude trade to gully fowk.
Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 90:
A fellow's purse I never spulye, A human throat I never gully.
Wgt. 1884 D. McWhirter Ploughboy's Musings 77:
. . . oor Hallowe'en. Then roon the pot the young anes cramnmed, They champit an' they gullie't, Grapplin' for the coin.

[O.Sc. has gul(l)y, guillie, a large knife, from c.1530. Of obscure origin: phs. a short form of gully (E.M.E. form of gullet) -knife, Sc. for cutting the throat.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Gullie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: