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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

REESLE, v., n., adv. Also rees(t)el, -le, rees(s)il, reis(t)le, reissle, -il, ri(e)sle, risse, -le, risl; res(s)le; riz(z)le; reeshle, -i(e)l, -ull reis(c)hle, -el, -il; res(c)hel(l), -il(l), reachle; rishell; riseel; wreasel; misprinted rushle (Abd. 1891 Bon-Accord (7 March) 20). [risl, riʃl]

I. v. 1. intr. To make a crisp, crackling, rattling or rustling noise: (1) as of wind, ripe grain, straw, silk, paper, running water, etc. (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 143; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., reeshle; Ork., ne.Sc., em.Sc. (reeshle), Kcb., Rxb. 1968). Ppl.adj. reeslin, reeshlin, reishlin, ¶rizzling, crisp, crackling, dry and rustling (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 410, rizzling), as in combs. reeshlin coatie, an oilskin coat, from the noise it makes when worn (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 143); rees(h)lin dry, dry enough to crackle, bone dry (Abd. 1968). Also reestle dry (Abd. 1949 Buchan Observer (28 July)).Sc. a.1737 A. Fergusson Major Fraser's MS. (1889) II. 50:
The shot risled through the sails.
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1813) 5:
A' my doublets reeslin' dry.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales 63:
Whiles it gade by as tho't had been a thing wi' a thoosan' reeshlin' wings.
Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 13:
While caul' December's cranreuch breath, Does wreaselin freeze the faded heath.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 151:
Meggie hears a reestlin'-rustlin' I' the bed, but held her tongue.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Merry Men 148:
A wund gaed reishling round the fower quarters of the house.
Kcd. 1900 Crockett Stickit Minister's Wooing 237:
A rousing wind from the Lord to gar the corn reestle ear against ear.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 185:
The wind did come reestlin' an' soughin' at an antern time.
Bte. 1922 J. Sillars McBrides x.:
The blue lowes were rissling on the hill tops.
Abd. 1925 A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 34:
The Queen cam' doon in silks an' lace That reeslt ilka step.
Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 20. 26:
Da wind swappin and reeselin doon fae da Bjurgs i' winter.
Mry. 1956 Bulletin (17 Oct.):
The wind dry out of the west and the stooks reeshling at last.
Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 56:
War he a reed, she'd rax tae be his bow
The reeshlin, randy stra, she'd stap the manger
War he a stag, she'd ben, the hummel doe
An wi him, thole the brunt o only danger.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 48:
yirdit fowre years back, but he bides wi me yet,
ayelestand as whunstane or wun reeshlin through
Scotland's sair dung yet undauntit trees.
Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 5:
It's a reishlin wind
through a stand o birks
at the weet back end o the year.

(2) of more solid objects, doors, crockery, etc.: to clatter, rattle (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne. and em.Sc., Dmb. 1968); to rap on a door (Ags. 1910; Rxb. 1968). Ppl.adj. reishillin, noisy, rattling (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Phr. to reeshle on (a bodie), to attract one's attention by tapping or the like.Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 92:
The aul' wives shak their pows, An' their shin-banes reeshle i' their hose.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 44:
Doors reessil'd up, and made a blatter.
e.Lth. 1886 J. P. Reid Facts & Fancies 32:
They reistled at the door, an' then Lifted the sneck an' stappit ben.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1898) 3:
What was my consternation when the reeshlin' an' rattlin' stoppit at the shop door.
Ayr.1 1910:
I gaed to the door and reeshled on him.
n.Sc. 1911 T. W. Ogilvie Poems 85:
On thack the hailstanes reestled.
Ayr. 1920 D. Cuthbertson Poems of West 73:
An' when windows reesilled. winds birled loud at the sneck.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood ii.:
It's as hard's Hen'erson, an' he was that hard he reeshled whan he ran.

(3) of persons or animals: to bustle about noisily, to move with a clatter, to stamp or crash about (Sh., ne.Sc. 1968). Hence reeshler, one who works with noise and flurry (Cld. 1880 Jam.); reishillin, forward, active, prompt (Fif. 1825 Jam.); reeshly, wayward and uncontrolled in one's activities, unstable, boisterous, ram-stam (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Slg. 1804 “Transforthanus” Poems 68:
Catch, warsle, reisle, rin, an' feight.
Abd. 1837 J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 59:
It's the cat reeshlin' about.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 46:
Though ane anither we reissle an' reel.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 68:
He reissles hame as fou's the Clyde.
Kcb. 1899 Gallovidian I. 15:
He was a gleg ane, but as reeshly as the win'.
Per. 1904 R. Ford Hum. Sc. Stories 34:
Willie Kilspindie comes reeshlin' up against his door like five ell o' blue wind.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A hard the kye reeslin' aboot the wire fence.
Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie 'Twixt Hills & Sea 49:
Though aince he micht reeshle an' rage.

(4) to go through with a scuffling noise, to rummage through (Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Ags., Per. 1968).Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 25, 51:
Norah wad reeshle throu' ma purse like a hairst-win'. . . . A'm awa' oot tae reeshle throu' the nests for a curn fresh eggs.

2. tr. (1) To move or shake (an object) so as to make it rustle or rattle, to rustle (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I. and n.Sc., Per., w.Lth. 1968); to jolt; “to rub dry clothes to soften them” (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); to cause one to move along a seat or form (Watson).Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 11:
Wi mi clug-tae I reesles her [a door] clean ta da back.
Kcb.4 1900:
The corn is gettin' a rare reisslin' in the wun' the nicht.
Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 90:
He was reeslin' a money-bag.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He pat the rung in the wasp bike an, reeshl't it.
Lnk. 1948 J. G. Johnston Come fish with me 29:
Reistling our hip to make a hollow in the gravel.
Ork. 1951 R. Rendall Ork. Variants 16:
He gripped a shaef, he rissl'd the heid.
Ags. 1952 Forfar Dispatch (21 Aug.):
Tae get reeshled in trains and shoggled in boats.

(2) to drive (a person or animal) away by making a great noise or din, drum (someone) away.Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 40:
The younkers turned oot wi' oor auld pats and pans, An' reeshled him oot o' the toon.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Boy, reesel awa yon grise.

3. tr. or absol. To beat, whack, thump (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags., w.Lth. 1968), esp. in phr. to reesle one's riggin (see Riggin). Vbl.n. reeshling, a thrashing.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
He risl'd their Rigging with Rungs, i.e. cudgelld or bang'd them soundly.
Slg. 1788 R. Galloway Poems 159:
Since rishell'd fair wi' Fortune's rung.
Sc. 1825 Anon. Writer's Clerk III. 215:
I was only gien' her a reeshling wi' the stick, to wauken her.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems (1877) 170:
Whan Scotlan' had reissl't the rascals Wha meddl't her kirk an' her state.
Mry. 1887 J. Thomson Speyside Par. 45:
Annie woman, tak' the lang besom an' reisle them [pigeons] doon.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 225:
She reishelled his bumpy weel till it gelled again like a flee-blister.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-sayin's x. 13:
Wha wants gumption, wants a rung reislin on his back.
Arg.2 1930:
If ye dinna be quate I'll reeshle yer banes for ye.

4. To shake, stir, agitate (Sh., Mry., Bnff., Per. 1968); to shake grain about in passing it through a sieve (Mry.1 1925); to riddle ashes (wm.Sc. 1968); “to stir round nuts or any dry stuff in a basin” (Arg. 1936 L. McInnes S. Kintyre 15; Per. 1968).Gall. 1904 E.D.D.:
The claes wer'na dry but weel reesled.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th'Loudons 13:
Her smeddum's there, an' needs but reeslin up.

5. intr., with through, (up)on: to go with a jarring motion, to feel or produce a shivering, shuddering sensation on (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1968). The Sh. usage may represent partly a different word, from or influenced by Norw. rysja, to shudder.Arg. 1882 Arg. Herald (3 June):
Thae exterical pains is reishlan through an through me.
Sh. 1901 Shetland News (5 Oct.):
Dan shü rissl'd agen wi' da tought o't.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To risl wi cauld. De coo risled upon her.
Sh. 1962:
It just rissled on me to see da boy's cut hand.

II. n. 1. (1) A rustling sound (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 143; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; n.Sc. 1968).Abd. 1901 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (29 June):
The verra reeshle o' the ribbons on his bonnet gars him jump.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 40:
Or boued their crouns, as thir twae whuddit bye,
And the pearly argonauts on the surface swaw
Felt nae reeshle o the steir ava.

(2) A loud, clattering, knocking or banging noise, a resounding noise (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., n. and em.Sc. 1968); a crash, thud.Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 98:
I'd bring ye wi' a reesle down.
Edb. 1828 M. & M. Corbett Tales & Leg. III. 382:
Twa or three plates, which came down on the floor wi' an unco reishle.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xiii.:
There comes a lood reishil at the front door.
Per. 1881 R. Ford Readings 70:
Suddenly a reshill as if a stirk had fa'n i' their ben hoose fluir.
Slg. 1909 R. M. Fergusson Silver Shoe-Buckle 75:
The beast cam' tumblin' doon wi' an awfu' reisshle.

(3) Something which clatters or rattles by being loose, disjointed, unstable or ramshackle, or which is likely to disintegrate and crash in pieces, e.g. an emaciated creature, “a bag of bones” (Ags. 1968, a reeshle o' banes), a ruinous building. Hence reeshlie, -y, ricketty, ready to collapse.Ags. 1886 A. Willock Rosetty Ends (1889) 2:
Broken down reshils o' hooses.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 90:
He was blackgairdin' the man's horse for an auld hunger'd reeshil.
Ayr. c.1920:
A gey reeshlie-looking buildin'.
Ags. 1944 Scots Mag. (May) 87:
The biggin's just, as it were, a reishil o' banes.

2. A shake which produces a rattling or jingling sound, jolt, jar, jerk (Sh., Bnff., Ags., Slg. 1968).Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 129:
Now there's a spottie in my ee, I'd fain gie it a reesil ti'.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 143:
The pachtie, puchal bodie took oot's bit pursie, wee a twa 'r three bits o' bawbees in't, an' ga't a reeshle.
Sh. 1928 Manson's Almanac 187:
Whin I was tyin' da koilit coo shu made a reesil an' jammed mi finger.

3. A heavy blow or stroke, a thump, whack, knock (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 263; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., em.Sc. 1968).Sc. 1725 Ramsay in Wiltshire Archaeol. and Nat. Hist. Mag. LXIV. 100:
If I can Rax him a sound Risseel, I shall think my self serving the Publick.
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St. Patrick H. xvi.:
I'll tak ye a riesle o'er the aul' bou't riggin' o' ye.
m.Sc. 1827 A. Rodger Peter Cornclips 182:
I'll lend you a reestle wi' this owre your back.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of Glens 60:
He gart it swing roun's head, till't cam' wi' a reeshle aboot my lugs.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 133:
Syne ilka reesle o' yer whup 'ill cut me tae the heart.
Kcb. 1881 T. Newbigging Poems 192:
The hardest resle we bauldly tholed it.
Kcd. 1929 J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse 42:
A bombshell would mak, a fine reesel i' the ribs o't.

4. A period of windy weather, esp. at harvest time (Cai. 1968), sc. one that makes the corn crackle. See also Marymas reesle s.v. Mary, n., 1. (3). In extended usage, any spell of bad weather (Cai. 1920).Cai. 1935 Abd. Press & Jnl. (5 Sept.):
The “Marymas Reesle,” which for uncounted generations has been looked forward to by farmers and fishermen to bring, during the last week of August, a ruffle among the corn and a “jabble” in the sea.

5. An involuntary shivering movement, a shudder. Cf. I. 5. Now liter.Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy lii.:
Babbie remarked that a “reesle-reesle run up her back like pittin' a clean sark on”.
Edb. 1940 R. Garioch 17 Poems for 6d. 18:
Ma nervestrings screich frae hichts o wae a reichel wrocht o pains.

6. A large gathering, crowd, amount, etc., phs. thought of as an extended sense of 1. (2) or 3. (Sh. 1968, a reeshle o drunks). Rare.Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song (1937) 315:
A reischle of ploughmen and queans.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe (1937) 218:
The gentry childes that had promised them reischles and reischles of tariffs.

III. adv. With a rustling or crackling noise (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 143), with a clash or clatter (Sh., Ags. 1968).

[Immediate orig. uncertain. Cf. Du. dial. risselen, Mid.Du. rysselen, to make a low, crisp noise, as of wind, Du. ritselen, Eng. rustle, prob. cogn. with O.E. hristlian. to crack, < hrissan, O.N. hrista, to shake.]

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"Reesle v., n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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