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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEEL, v.2, n.3 Also peal, peil. [pil]

I. v., tr. or absol. To equal, match (Lth., w.Sc. 1808 Jam.; wm. and s.Sc. 1965); in competitive games, esp. curling and bowling: to achieve equal scores, draw, tie. Also to peel the game, id.Sc. a.1700 Poems Royal Co. Archers 2 in Jam.2:
He cou'd not be peal'd; At the old sport he wan.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems 288:
Twa rinks o' them did no' sae bad — Yin peel'd, the ither winnin'.
Gsw. 1950 Scotsman (9 Aug.):
The players peeled at several stages in the game and were 17–17 at the seventeenth end.
Edb. 1962 Edb. Ev. Dispatch (29 Jan.) 7:
The last-named fought back in the closing stages to peel the game [curling] at 11 at the 13th.

II. n. 1. An equal, a match, a person or thing comparable to another in some quality or achievement (Lth., w.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Hence to be (lie, stand, etc.) peels, of the contestants in a game, etc.: to have the same score, be level, “quits” (m. and s.Sc. 1965); of a game, competition or the like: to be at the stage of a draw or tie, with equal scores on both sides.Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace 158:
In time of peace he never had a peel, So courteous he was, and so genteel.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 131:
Sae she fush him John Gilpin, nae sang is its peil.
Sc. 1883 Channel Stane (McNair) I. 42:
Wattie . . . was flitting about from rink to rink carrying good news and bad — how “Campbell was peels at the tenth head.”
m.Lth. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. Curling 240:
He absolutely refused to play his stone on one occasion when the game stood peels.
Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (4 Oct.) 3:
The players were “peels” at 12.
Edb. 1956 Edb. Evening News (10 Aug.):
The sides finished peels.
m.Sc. 1990 Scots Magazine Mar :
Would any reader be able to tell me the origin of the word "peels", the expression used during the game of bowls and meaning all equal? An English bowler told me she had never heard it before she came to Scotland.

2. In pl.: a call by children for a truce or halt in a game, “Keys!”, “Barley!” (Bnff. 1959).

[Orig. obscure. ?Variant of peer, (to) equal.]

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"Peel v.2, n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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