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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MEAL, n.1, v.1 Also meall, meel (Bch. 1903 E.D.D.); meil(l); miel; mill; mael (Sh.), mail (Per., Fif. 1915–26 Wilson), male (Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 223), mehl (Gregor); mell (Sh. 1888 Edmonston & Saxby Naturalist 184), meyl (Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. meal. [mil; I.Sc., Bnff., em.Sc.(a), Wgt. mel; Cai. me1l. See P.L.D. § 88.]

I. n. 1. In Scot. understood to apply specif. to oatmeal as distinct from that of any other grain, which would be distinguished as barley-meal, pease-meal, etc. Derivs. mealer, “a wooden chest in which the bothy men kept their meal, which was distributed to them monthly from the girnal. Each man had his own mealer which he took with him from place to place as his employment changed” (Ags.20 1962); mealom, a dry floury boiled potato (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 339). See -Um. Phr. on full meal, on half meal, see a.1914 quot.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 317:
The Meal cheap, and the Shoon dear, Quoth the Sowter's Wife that wo'd I hear.
Bnff. 1726 Annals Bnff. (S.C.) II. 217:
Paid for ten pyntes of aell and ane peck of meall to the men for bread.
Sc. 1775 Johnson Journey 68:
Her two next sons were gone to Inverness to buy meal, by which oatmeal is always meant.
Ayr. 1787 Burns To daunton me iii.:
For a' his meal and a' his maut, For a' his fresh beef and his saut.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality viii.:
A bit beild for my mither and mysell . . . and milk and meal, and greens enow.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 162:
As weel To mak his choice whar he was sure O' baith his maut and meal.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.:
A starn meal amo' the kail to the men's supper.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxx.:
Ye need mony a bow o' meal to your ribs.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 223:
A air o' kirn milk an' male or a sap o' loots an' burstan, . . . waas a' we hed.
Kcd. a.1914 Scots Mag. (Nov. 1973) 187, 191:
A single man was given a firlot of meal per term, that is 2½ stone, as part of his fee and a married man a boll or 5 stone. They spoke of being on "half meal" or "full meal". . . . When a man got married he was given a house and put on "full meal".
Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2:
Faigs! an' richt prood wis Willie Owman when He grun' his first good goupen-fu' o' meyl.
Ags. 1958 People's Jnl. (5 April):
The half box-beds, like stable sta's, Wi' kists and mealers roon' the wa's.

2. Combs.: (1) meal an' ale, — yill, a dish with the basic ingredients of meal and ale, prepared as in 1907 quot., which formed the traditional fare at harvest home celebrations (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 112), and hence by metonymy applied to the celebration itself (ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1962); (2) meal-an-bree, oatmeal stirred up with boiling water or stock, Brose (Abd. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, Uls. 1962), esp. as a dish to celebrate Halloween. Hence meal-an-bree nicht, Halloween (Mry. 1880 Jam.); (3) meal-an-kail, a “dish consisting of mashed kail mixed with oatmeal and boiled to a fair consistency” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 112); (4) meal an thrammel, meal stirred up with water or ale, taken as a hasty snack; specif. that prepared in the mouth of a sack at a mill. “At times it is made up in the form of a bannock, and roasted in the ashes” (Bnff. 1825 Jam.). See Thrammel; (5) meal ark, a chest for storing oatmeal (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M 35; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; m.Sc., Gall., Uls. 1962). See Ark, n.1, 1. (b); (6) meal-belly, the nickname given to a male inhabitant of the island of Sanday. Cf. gruel(l)y-belkie, id., s.v. Gruel, n.; (7) meal-bowie, a barrel for storing oatmeal (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 112; ne.Sc., Ags. 1962). See Bowie; (8) meal bunk, a chest used by farm-servants for storing oatmeal, etc. (see quot.); (9) meal-cannie, a tin for holding oatmeal; (10) meal-cog, a small wooden dish for holding porridge. See Cog, n.1; (11) mealcorn, meal's corn, grain in general; an ear of corn; a crumb of oatmeal (Sh. 1962); food, sustenance (Mry.1 1925); (12) meal-girnel, (i) a chest for storing oatmeal. Gen.Sc.; (ii) a granary, a storehouse for grain; (iii) phr. the Meal-Girnal of Scotland, a name applied to the Garioch, a district in Central Aberdeenshire famed for oat production (Abd. 1953 Abd. Press & Jnl. (25 Dec.)). See also Girnel; (13) meal-hogyett, a barrel for holding oatmeal (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 339; Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M 35). See Hogget; (14) meal kail, see quots. and Kail, n., 3.; (15) meal-kist, a chest for holding oatmeal. Gen.Sc. See Kist, n., 1.; (16) meal-kit, see Kit, n.1; †(17) mealmaker, a miller, one who buys grain in bulk to retail after grinding; (18) meal-melvied, powdered with meal, as a miller's garments. See Melvie; (19) meal-mill, a mill used to grind oats into oatmeal. Gen.Sc. Also used attrib. Hence meal-miller, the miller of such a mill; (20) meal mob, a riotous crowd, demonstrating against shortage of oatmeal caused by holding supplies back to create big prices, freq. esp. in N.Scot. at the time of the Napoleonic wars and throughout the first half of the 19th c.; meal-mober, one who incites such a riot; meal-mobbing, the inciting of these riots; (21) Meal Monday, a Monday holiday given in the Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh about the middle of the spring term, traditionally, but without foundation, said to be in order to enable students to travel home and replenish their store of oatmeal (Sc. 1906 N.E.D.); (22) meal-monger, a dealer in meal, a retailer of oatmeal (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Also used attrib.; ¶(23) meal-monging, adj., concerned with the selling of oatmeal; (24) meal-poke, -powk, a bag for holding oatmeal (I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Gall. 1962); specif. one used by a beggar. See Poke; a fig. or fisherman's taboo word for the sea as the source of one's livelihood. Phr. to rin like a meal-poke, of a vessel, etc.: to leak uncontrollably (Ags., Fif. 1962); (25) meal pund, a unit of 1 lb. 1½ ozs. weight used in weighing oatmeal (Ags. 1962). See (35); (26) meal ring, see Melder, v., 1.; (27) meal-road, see quot. (Sh. 1962). Hist.; (28) meal-seed, -sid, the husk or shell of a grain of oats, used for making Sowens or flummery (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; I. and n.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1962); (29) meal shell, -shilling, = (28) (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (30) meal's kaisie, see Meil; (31) meal skep, a basket for holding meal. See Skep; (32) meal-stand, a polished barrel for holding oatmeal; (33) meal-stane, -stone, a unit of 17½ lbs. weight used in weighing oatmeal (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 339). Hence meal-stane quarter, a fourth part of this weight. See (35); (34) meil syl, a meal sieve. See Sile; (35) meal weight, Scots Troy or Dutch weight used throughout Scotland in the 18th c. for weighing oatmeal; (36) meal-wind, melwand, v., in baking oatcakes: to rub the dough over with oatmeal before putting it on the girdle and before turning (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). The form is somewhat uncertain, phs. orig. from the vbl.n. of Melvie. Cf. II. 2. (2).(1) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 183:
When all was safe and snug for the winter season, there was the “meel an ale” — that is, a feast in which a dish made of ale, oatmeal, sugar, with whisky, formed the characteristic dish.
Bnff. 1907 Bnff. Jnl. (27 Oct. 1953):
First there was the meal and ale which was made as follows: — A jar is half filled with oatmeal. Ale is poured over it and the mixture stirred until it is the proper consistency, about that of cream, as, when it stands, the meal swells. A little salt and sugar to taste is added. It is poured into basins and when supper time comes a ring or button is thrown into each basin and also a glass or two of whisky.
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 56:
At Hecklestrushle's meal-an'-ale, fernyir wis a towmon' geen.
Abd. 1960 Stat. Acc.3 (Aberdeenshire) 379:
A “meal and ale” is now usually held for some charitable purpose.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 175:
There are no Meal and Ales nowadays. The real Meal and Ale disappeared with the horse wark.
(2) Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 30:
By this time, it wis time to mak the meel-an-bree, an' deel about the castacks.
(4) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 25:
In half an hour he's get his mess O' meal an' thrammel Like Geordie Cammel.
ne.Sc. 1791 Caled. Mercury (29 Sept.):
Fow knit-kyte crowdy, meil an' thramil, Sud stap the guts, an' keir the wame-ill.
(5) Kcd. 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 180:
In this garret is deposited the meal ark, the cheeses, and some lumber.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
Bothwell, that makes every wife's plack and her meal-ark his ain.
Lnk. 1880 W. Grossart Shotts 13:
It [grain] was stored in a large girnall or meal-ark until the minister found a purchaser.
Uls. 1884 Cruck-a-Leaghan and Slieve Gallion Lays and Leg. 66:
Male-arks, an' pitatey-pits — fifty, at laste.
Dmf. 1899 R. Wallace Country Schoolmaster 19:
The meal-ark, a huge chest divided into two compartments — one for oatmeal, one for wheaten flour.
m.Sc. 1932 O. Douglas Priorsford iv.:
Mrs McCosh was getting down a snowy baking board, and diving into what she called her “meal ark” for flour.
(6) Ork. 1922 P. Ork. A.S. I. 28:
In an old inventory of Melsetter from the early 18th century we read of a “meal-belly”. The Sanday nickname probably harks back to those days when Sanday was regarded as the “granary of Orkney”.
(7) Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 57:
Elspet was standing in a meal bowey.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 118:
The last act of her installation as “gueed-wife” was leading her to the girnal, or mehl-bowie, and pressing her hand into the meal as far as possible.
Kcd. 1909 Colville 163:
She could handle a hei-sned, turn a lay, or put together a meal-bowie with the best.
(8) Abd. c.1930:
The ploomen i' the bothies (noo unco thin an' far atween) hae ilk een thir meal bunk. It hauds thir brose caup an' speen, saut, an' idder aitables an' sae furth. The bunk (or chest) has a lock and key, and like the “clyes kist”, makes a seat or writing desk, etc. for furniture in a bothy is “fell scanty”.
(9) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller ii.:
Here comes a genty cleanly grannie, Wi' sma' coal-tub an' wee meal-cannie.
(10) Lth. 1866 J. Smith Merry Bridal 7:
Wi' meal-cogs an' kail-cogs. For stumpies when they cam'.
(11) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 65:
Nae sust'nance got, that of meal's corn grew, An' only at the cauld wild berries gnew.
Sh. 1815 Shet. Advert. (6 Jan. 1862):
Furr nivver micht I see d' moarn gin I'd preiv'd a veesable sistentation, no a maels-koarn t' d' mellishin.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
I haena tasted meal's corn the day, I have eaten nothing today that has ever been in the form of grain.
Ork. 1825 Ork. & Zet. Chron. (28 Feb.) 24:
I hae no ae teeth, but the four afore . . . no ane I hae, but them, to chow a meal corn wi'.
Cai. 1903 E.D.D.:
To have not a mealcorn, to be in the greatest want.
(12) (i) Sc. 1751 Session Papers, Petition J. Mitchell (12 Feb.) 8:
To climb up to the Head of a high Meal-Girnel to hide herself.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 413:
On to the lip o' the meal-girnel, Lap Robbin and sang his sang.
Ags. 1848 W. Gardiner Flora Frf. 88:
In such a place [shieling] luxury in furniture is not to be looked for, the principal items usually being . . . a turf-built sofa by the fire . . . a little meal-girnal, an iron pot, a tin flagon, one or more wooden dishes called caps, and several horn-spoons.
Fif. 1875 J. Grant Six Hundred ix.:
Many an oak almerie and meal-girnel stood around.
Abd. 1882 G. Macdonald Castle Warlock liii.:
The auld tale o' the meal-girnel . . . hit 'at never wastit, ye ken — an' the uily-pig an' a'.
Arg. 1909 Campbeltown Courier 9 Jan :
The meal girnel and the flour crock are reputed to be dying institutions in the farm and cot, but an occasional experience like last week's snow siege should do something to revive their use.
(ii) Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 64:
The Stones were taken to build the Meal-Girnel belonging to Lord Seafield.
(14) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 87:
And there will be meal-kail and castocks, With skink to sup till ye rive.
Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 114:
Meal-kail, n. Shorn coleworts, boiled up with oat-meal, and used as a kind of broth.
Per. c.1890 D. M. Forrester Logiealmond (1944) 146:
Lady Katrine of Logie had “pan-kail” on her table almost every day for dinner, — what we call “meal-kail”, i.e. without any butcher-meat in it.
(15) Rnf. 1741 in Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M.35:
All the beds, clock, meill-kist, vessel-board, meikle-chair.
Sc. 1836 Chambers's Jnl. (11 June) 159:
By the end of May, the meal-kist and potato-garners of a Hebridian family have been emptied and swept.
Sc. 1856 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 305:
Muck is the mother of the meal-kist.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Sketches 110:
It is seldom they let their auld meal-kist gae toom.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (29 Faebruary):
“Never leet”, said da moose as shö made for da mael-kyist.
Rxb. 1922 Jedburgh Gaz. (22 Aug.) 3:
The store cupboard is the great meal kist in the corner.
(17) m.Lth. c.1700 Discourse between an Old-Meal-Maker, etc.:
Tush, you have muckle to trouble your Head with as long as you get good prices for your Meall. . . . Do you think that its the Mealmakers fault, the Merkats are still keept up.
Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Works (1815) 392:
Mealmakers came to Truth to hald him, Till time their friend was out of strait.
Sc. 1736 Session Papers, Denham v. Lockhart (4 Feb.) 1:
The Grana crescentia were sold to Mealmakers, and by them grinded.
Bwk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XII. 56:
The quantities of grain . . . sold from this parish, at Eyemouth, Berwick, and to mealmakers . . . are very considerable.
(18) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 205:
Meal-melvied as he was, I wot, The meal cam fleein' aff his coat.
(19) Abd. 1793 Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (Jan.) 67:
A small island lying between the meal-mill race, and the north grain of the river.
Crm. 1858 H. Miller Scenes and Leg. 465:
On a level grassy spot, . . . there stood about a century ago a meal-mill.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 6:
He could, with his own hand, fit up all the iron work of the thrashing mill . . . and if need were of the “meal mill” as well.
Sc. 1892 R. Lovett J. Gilmour of Mongolia i.:
Our maternal grandfather . . . was a farmer and meal-miller on the estate of Cathkin.
Abd. 1947 P.O. Abd. Directory 206:
Meal Mills, Upper and Lower Mills of Sclattie.
(20) Bnff. 1766 Caled. Mercury (14 May):
They wrote from Banff, that on Monday came on at Aberdeen the trial of Alexander Robb and Alexander Forsyth, . . . all suspected of the crime of meal-mobbing.
Sc. 1778 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (11 Aug.) 11:
We hear from Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, that sixteen rioters and meal-mobers, from Bervie, John's-haven, and Gourdon, have been tried there by the sheriff-depute and a respectable jury.
Sc. 1801 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (29 April) 134:
David Wilson . . . accused likewise of being concerned in some riots and meal mobs.
n.Sc. 1847 J. Barron N. Highl. (1913) III. 125:
There were riots or “meal mobs” at Aberdeen, Peterhead, and other places. The people were anxious to prevent the export of corn or meal.
Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 213:
In these days [end of 18th or beginning of 19th c.], as now, there were forestallers who would buy up all [meal] that came to town on a Thursday before the public had been served. . . . At times the people would take the law into their own hands, which, when it became a meal mob, was rather troublesome to the authorities.
(21) Sc. 1895 College Echoes VI. 169:
Monday last was observed as a general holiday in the University. . . . It would have been a great pity had “Meal Monday” passed without due observance.
Sc. 1903 Meal Poke (Baildon & Buist) iii.:
Tradition tells that each Meal Monday the Scottish Student returned to College with his poke replenished and his heart refreshed.
Sc. 1927 D. Murray Old College 461:
In recent years [at Glasgow Univ.] an absurd fable has been invented that the Candlemas holiday was known as “meal Monday”, because the students got a day off for replenishing their store of meal.
Sc. 1952 Sc. Daily Mail (12 Feb.):
Most Edinburgh University students had no classes yesterday. It was Meal Monday — a flashback to the days when hardy students from the Highlands and Islands went to 'Varsity with a bag of meal to sustain them during term.
Sc. 1997 Scotsman 30 Jan 13:
Tomorrow, students at St Andrews University will enjoy a traditional holiday, known as Meal Friday, a throwback to what was formerly called Meal Monday, when students were given a day off to return home and collect a sack of oatmeal and a barrel of herring to see them through the second half of term.
Sc. 2000 Press and Journal 29 Jan 20:
Armies used to march on oatmeal and porridge, while St Andrews University still observes the Meal Monday holiday in February that traditionally allowed its students to go home and replenish their meal sack.
Sc. 2000 Herald 21 Nov 18:
Who on earth told you that Raisin Weekend at St Andrews University dates back to the fifteenth century? Raisin Monday is no older than the 1920s at the earliest, and is thought to derive from a reorganisation of the university calendar after the First World War, being analogous with Meal Monday, when students went home to replenish their food supplies. Raisin Sunday is even more modern, first appearing after the split with Dundee - ie, no earlier than 1968.
(22) Sc. 1699 Edb. Gazette (8–12 June):
A Meal monger near that place, who had some Meal to sell.
Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 165:
Like a covetous mealmonger That knows the poor must starve with hunger, Unless they give what price he pleases.
Rs. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XII. 264:
The brewer, the distiller, and mealmonger.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxix.:
The match between the laird of Kittlegirth's black mare and Johnston the meal-monger's four-year-old colt.
Mry. 1849 A. Blackhall Lays 38:
By ilk mealmonger chiel — a plague o' the deil.
Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 150:
Meal-monger Jock took owre the gate His craiken banes to recreate.
(23) Sc. 1746 Caled. Mercury (23 June):
The seasonable Weather and the falling of the Prices of Grain, would so affect his Meal-monging Business, that it would be the Occasion of his making some desperate Attempt upon himself.
(24) Abd. 1768 A. Ross To the begging (S.T.S.) 148:
An' first I'll have a meal-poke, Of good aum'd leather made; To had at least a firlot.
Sc. 1795 Robin Hood and Beggar in Child Ballads No. 134 v.:
His meal-pock hang about his neck, Into a leathern fang.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. v.:
“Shame be in my meal-poke then”, exclaimed Lord Turntippet, “and your hand aye in the nook of it! I had set that down for a by bit between meals for mysell”.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xvii.:
If ye were seeking your meat frae door to door in a cauld winter's day . . . and no ae handfu', — no even a cauld potatoe — in your meal-pock.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 333:
To rake the rent frae aff the soil, Else twig the meal-powk's strings.
Ags. 1866 R. Leighton Poems (1869) 317:
There isna a door but wad blithely unlock, To welcome me ben wi' my muckle meal-pock.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (20 Feb.) 345:
It's a miracle he hasna come to the meal-pokes langsyne.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 208:
Bairns did not consider her exhausted larder, and often cried for a kröl when the mael-pock was empty.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant vi.:
The poorest forager or thief among them did not fail to carry a meal-poke.
Arg.1 1932:
It's southerly win' in the meal poke. This is a saying of the local herring fishers when a long spell of southerly winds prevents them getting out to fish.
(25) s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 159:
He was a clean sawmon, an' three an' twenty meal punds.
(27) Sh. 1939 A. C. O'Dell Hist. Geog. 182:
As the result of the bad harvests of the mid and late thirties [19th c.], roads were constructed in the islands by the local labour supply, under the direction of the Royal Engineers. On account of the mode of payment, which was designed to reduce the tendency to pauperism, they were called “the meal roads”.
(28) Sc. 1952 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 336:
The black dust, husk, and “meal sids” (the left-overs from the second time through the stones), all find a ready market as animal feeding stuffs.
(31) Slk. 1746 Scottish Journal (1848) II. 28:
Ane ladle, ane souin seive, ane babrick, ane meal skep.
(32) Per. 1894 H. Haliburton Furth in Field 22:
A “single” ploughman had only two items of luggage — his kist and his meal-stand.
(33) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 368:
The ouncle-weights were rummaged over and over, and none less than the mealstone quarter could be found, and with this she saw it was impossible to weigh a pound.
(34) Rnf. 1715 in Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) M. 35:
Ane Foot-stane with the meal-syl . . . Footstane, Sword, Lifting-tree, Meil-syl.
(35) Abd. 1778 Aberdeen Jnl. (5 Jan.):
The Scots Troy pound is what is known in Scotland by the name of Old Weight, Amsterdam Weight, or Meal Weight, indifferently.
(36) s.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Lassie, melwand that banna.

3. Phrs.: (1) auld meal in one's kist, an error or misdeed which will cause trouble later on; (2) meal for corn, the quantity of meal which a boll of oats was calculated to produce when ground; (3) the meal cam hame short frae the miller, hopes did not come to fulfilment; (4) to blow and hold meal in one's mouth, to pretend to uphold two opposing and irreconcilable policies, to face both ways, as it is impossible to whistle with the mouth full of meal; (5) to hae plenty meal amang one's water, to be well off (Kcb. 1962).(1) Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 49:
To indicate the inevitable Nemesis of a deferred fate, . . . “That'll be aul' meal in yer kist”.
(2) Sc. 1956 W. M. Findlay Oats 193:
At one time a boll of oats was equal to 6 bushels of 40 lb. each and it was considered that that quantity should produce one boll (140 lb.) of oatmeal. This was called “meal for corn”. . . . it was only occasionally that this amount was obtained.
(3) Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 217:
He cuddled an' kissed her an' ca'd her his doo, But the meal cam' hame short frae the miller.
(4) Sc. 1728 Six Saints (Fleming 1901) I. 19:
Whatever faint opposition the judicatories of this Church have made against all these grievous impositions upon us, they have still blown and holden meal in their mouth.

II. v. 1. intr. Of grain: to yield or turn into meal (in grinding). Hence ppl.adj., vbl.n. mealin(g), (the) turning (of) grain into meal.Sc. 1769 Caled. Mercury (17 April):
For want of climate, the barley commonly called Bigg, raised in those isles [Orkney], is of a very inferior quality from that raised in Britain, equally unfit for mealing or malting.
Arg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 195:
The rest of the barley of the parish is generally sold at 20s. the boll, and meals about 16 stones weight.
Dmb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VIII. 171:
There was plenty of grain on the acre, but it did not meal so well as last year.
Sc. 1903 E.D.D.:
The crops in the western part of Scotland were bulky, yet they did not meal well.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 39:
Whar his guid maister keept a mealin' mill.

2. (1) To add meal to, to thicken (soup, etc.) by the addition of meal (Ags. 1962), to Lithe. Phr. to meal one's kail, to bring profit to one; “to feather one's nest” (Cai. 1962).Sc. 1827 W. Motherwell Minstrelsy 387:
And she would meal you [nettle kail] with millering, That she gathers at the mill.
Cai. 1869 M. McLennan Peasant Life 128:
His brose was plentifully mealed.
Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Proverbs 9:
“At'll noor meal his kail” — a project not likely to bring profit.

(2) To sprinkle (dough, etc.) with oatmeal before cooking or baking (Abd. 1962). Vbl.n. maelen, mellen, -(o)in, the act of doing this, used in first quot. as a finite v. Cf. meal-wind in n., 2. (36) above; in pl., the meal kept to dust over oatcakes before baking (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Combs. (i) mellin's balley, a ball of meal baked into a kind of oatcake from the dough left over (Sh. 1962); (ii) mellin(s) —, maelens-brunnie, a cake of the same.Sh. 1899 Shetland News (4 Nov.):
Shü bjuk oot anidder bannik an' maelin'd him weel.
(i) Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Tales 247:
Da mearest foonder oot o' da edge o' a mellin's balley is a' dat a body can tak'.
(ii) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (4 Nov.):
“Heas doo mair levin i' da basin?” “Yiss, a maelens-brünnie, dat's a'.”
Sh.5 1932:
The brünie made from the last oatmeal of the baking, often smaller than the others, was commonly called the mellin-brünie.

3. In vbl.n. mealin, a chest for holding meal (Abd. 1825 Jam.), but this may be a mistake for mealer s.v. I. 1.

[O.Sc. has mele ark, 1540, mele granal, 1562, mele kist, 1581, meilman, 1470, meil poke, 1598, meil sill, 1689, meil stand, 1571.]

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"Meal n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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