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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SAUL, n., int. Also saal, sal(l). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. soul. For other forms see Sowl. [sǫl, sɑl]

I. n.

Sc. form of Eng. soul.m.Sc. 1979 Walter Perrie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 83:
It's no the days,
sair tho they are,
but gantan nicht
I canna thole -
Lang, dreich tyauvan
wi a festert saul.
Dmf. 1979 Ron Butlin in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 35:
But shaw's insteid the mirror o yer saul
that yet can haud the haill warld an mair
in image o yer love fer ither men
fair ootbleezin thon electric glare.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 37:
Whit's aa your Art but a vaigin in the mirk
By the saul launcht oot frae its lang ootworn kirk
And batterit by the typhoon's rage and roar?

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng. Also in various asseverative or expletive phrs. (by) my saul, (for the) saul o' me, good saul, saul to gude (I.Sc., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Lnk., Wgt. 1969). Ppl.adj. -saul't, -souled. Deriv. saulfu, the “fill” of a soul, enough to fill the soul.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 157:
A hooded Friar . . . came up; good Saul! Him Satan cleek'd up by the Spaul.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 92:
They trail'd him ben, an' by my saul, He paid his drunken groat.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xx.:
The lads an' lasses, blythely bent To mind baith saul an' body.
Rnf. 1806 R. Tannahill Poems (1835) 71:
'Tis also said, our noble Prince, Has play'd the wee saul't loon for ance.
Slk. 1824 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) 364:
For the saul o' me I durstna take the book.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones III. iii.:
Saul to gude, lass, but your gudeman has a pretty handful o' ye.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 204:
“Saul o' me, 'oman”, would Jock exclaim, when patience had reached its limit.
Lnk. 1890 J. Coghill Poems 91:
What's life but a saulfu o' sorrows?
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 95:
My sall! Ye'll hear ferlies untauld in the toun.
Ork. 1908 Old Lore Misc. I. v. 174:
Bi me sa'l, sheu wis a strappin' lass.
Abd. 1928 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 40:
Three hoolets cryin' wi' ghaistly squall, — They sped her saul.

2. Spirit, mettle, courage. Hence saulless, saules, of persons: without spirit, lacking in courage or character; mean-spirited (Kcd. 1923); of things: exasperatingly bad, unpleasant, e.g. of weather (Abd. 1930).Rnf. 1755 Session Papers, Arthurlie v. Arthurlie (4 Aug.) 25:
Calling him several Times a Saul-less Bitch.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xlvi.:
If ye dinna eat instantly, and put some saul in ye.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
He has na hauf a saul, he has no spirit in him.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 162:
An easy-osy thrieveless [sic] coof, an' saulless as a rock.

II. int. As an exclam. of asseveration or emphasis: upon my word, by Jove! (I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr. 1969).Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 25:
Saul man, I began to think be this time that my disty-meiller wis near made.
Sc. 1752 Scotland's Glory (1805) 64:
Our common oaths are such as these: With fiend and deil, and soul and saal.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. iii.:
Saul, your honour, and that I am.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 107:
Sa'l I wad mak the cloods tae dunder.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister x.:
There was no mistaking wha he was preaching at. Sal! oh! losh; Tammas got it strong.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 207:
Sal! mistress, ye'll need to watch 'im the nicht.
Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 112:
Sall, it wes titch an' go for a meenut.

[O.Sc. saul, soul, 1375.]

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"Saul n., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 May 2024 <>



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