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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TRAUCHLE, v., n. Also trauchel, trachel, -el, -le; trochle; trackle, ¶trockle; traichle (m.Sc. 1872 W. Stevenson Yetts o' Muckart 13), ¶traekle; erron. thrachle (Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.). [trǫxl, trɑxl]

I. v. †1. tr. To draw, trail, drag. Combs. trachle pin, trachle soam, in the old Orkney single-stilted plough: the draught-rope and the pin on the beam of the plough on which it was looped.Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gazette (10 Oct.):
She would niver hae trachled the bluidy claes o' a murdered person miles awa' to howd them in a hedge.
Ork. 1903 G. Marwick Old Roman Plough (1936) 6:
This trauchle soam (drawing rope) had to be bound together or tied with hair out of a mare's tail that had at least two foals. This soam or rope encircles the trauchle pin; this pin is, or must be, the bone of a sheep's foreleg.
e.Lth. 1924 I. Adair Glowerower 40:
Trauchling her sticks down the face of the hill.

2. Specif. To injure, spoil, befoul or bedraggle by dragging, trailing, knocking about or trampling, to damage or blemish from carelessness or slovenliness (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Slg., Fif., sm.Sc. 1973); ¶in 1931 quot., to spoil a shot at golf, to muff a stroke. Hence (1) trachelt, ppl.adj., bedraggled, dishevelled, tangled, knocked about; slovenly, untidy, dirty (Rxb. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 377; Dmf. 1920; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); of crops: beaten down by wind and rain; (2) trachlie, apt to entangle (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195).Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 26:
For as laggart an' trachel'd as I wis wi' tawin amo' the dubs.
Abd. 1794 W. Farquhar Poems 191:
Sair trackl'd wi' the win' and weet.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
A person is said to trauchle corn or grass, when he injures it by treading on it.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
We canna hae the beast's meat trachel't amo' their feet.
Sc. 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 4:
Shame fa' thae trauchled, taupiet queans.
Abd. 1903 J. Milne Myths 21:
He saw that her dress was both meanly and badly put on: “She was trachelt in her claes” was the expression he used.
Fif. 1905 S. Tytler Daughter of the Manse iv. ii.:
Going home trachled and draigled in the wet.
Sc. 1931 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 409:
It's awa wi' yer shot gin ye tap it an' trockle.
Cai. 1961 “Castlegreen” Tatties an Herreen' 17:
Trauchled sheives aal heids an' tails.
Abd. 1971 Huntly Express (22 Oct.):
Ye pu' my piz, an' trachle my strae.

3. intr. To trail, draggle, to move in a slovenly way through mud, etc.Abd. 1887 R. S. Robertson On Bogie's Banks 78:
We wore nae drabbilt trauchlin' trails tae gaither strabs an' straes.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 148:
Their coats trauchlin in the glaur ahint them.
Gall. 1933 Gallov. Annual 88:
High-heeled shune trauchlin' in the glaur.

4. To walk slowly and wearily, to drag oneself or limp along, to trudge (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 157; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also vbl.n. Also fig. Ppl.adj. trauchlin, trudging, heavy-footed; agent n. trauchler.Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 171:
I'm a wee forjeskit though, wi' trachlin' sae lang.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 342:
The mourner that tracheled sae land down the road Sleeps calmly aside our wee burn!
Per. 1878 R. Ford Hame-Spun Lays 16, 151:
Wauchill'd an' trauchill'd thro' dub and thro' mire . . . He's trauchill'd an' run after them. As weel tae trauchle whar he is.
Ags. 1894 A. Reid Sangs 120:
Helpin trauchlers owre the stanes.
Slg. 1902 W. C. Paterson Echoes 114:
Gie the sair, weary trauchler a lift on the road.
em.Sc. 1913 J. Black Gloamin' Glints 143:
Hae ye nae mair gumption that a trauchlin' guse?
Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.):
Hoo ye hev been gettan trauchled throwe 'is weary auld world.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 54:
And ilkae lang driech day That traichles kail-worm-limbed atween us twae.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 189:
He met the old woman going trauchling out.
s.Sc. 1952 Sc. Home & Country (Sept.) 270:
Trauchlin frae door tae door like a tinker wi' buit-laces an preens.
wm.Sc. 1988 Christine Marion Fraser Storm over Rhanna (1990) 49:
'A lot of the island women would far rather have their bairns at home instead o' having to trachle miles away over the water wi' hardly the sight o' a loved one to see them through the loneliness of being in a strange place wi' strange people. ... '
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 38:
If he could only find something to live for, he said to himself, it would all be worthwhile, all this trauchling through gutters and shite.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 2:
Dreich clouds, a flicht o greylags ben the lift,
Drookit biggins squar on tae the caal,
Driftwid duntin tarry at the quay,
Dreary a skiffie trauchles hame twa-fauld.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 11:
Zis heat no terrible hen.
Sen ye roun the ben
so it wid!
It plays hell wi ma puir feet,
aa this trauchlan up the street
an near made me want to greet,
so it did!

5. tr. (1) To exhaust with overwork or long journeying, to weary, overburden, harass (Sc. 1808 Jam.; m.Sc. 1973). Very freq. in ppl.adjs. trauchled, -lit, weary, over-worked, harassed with care and toil. Gen.Sc.; trauchlin, tiring, fatiguing. Vbl.n. trachlin. Deriv. trachlie, in a constant state of muddle and drudgery, drab-like (Cld. 1880 Jam.), fatiguing, exhausting (Ib.).Per. 1753 A. Nicol Rural Muse 58:
My muse is also out of wind, And traeckl'd very sore.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 15:
Quo' they, “We're trachled unco sair, We've gane twal mile o' yerd and mair.”
Sc. 1803 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 638:
An' made a shift to puddle thro', Tho' trackl'd sair.
Ags. 1824 Literary Olio (10 Jan.) 4:
If she comes up your trachling stair.
Sc. 1828 Walter Lesly in Child Ballads No. 296. ix.:
Wae to the dubs o Duffus land, that eer they were sae deep; They've trachled a' our horsemen and gart our captain sleep.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 223:
Fin she's sair forjeskit — fin she's trauchled oot a' thegither.
Per. 1873 J. A. R. MacDonald Hist. Blairgowrie (1899) 144:
The carter or cadger that trackles his brute.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 110:
The lambs are deein', an' the yowes Are trachled wanderin' owre the knowes.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xvi.:
He's had a sair trachlin' o' late.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 86, 182:
The trachlin is ower noo an' a'm nane cast doon. . . . A'm gey trachled an' no' sae able noo.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 5:
To trauchled hairts dootless it will be sweet In burns far yont to lave their weary feet.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde 1st Bk. McFlannels i.:
His wife, trachled as she was with the impending flitting.
Abd. 1991 Douglas Kynoch in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 86:
Terpsichore was trachelt;
But, for aa she had tae pech,
Was lowpin like a limmer
Wi a forkie or a flech.
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 7:
For, quo ma soul: "I gyang tribbled an trauchelt
Wi reengin plains an owerloupin dykes. ... "
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 51:
A saw a licht in the hird's hoose
cam winkin throu the mirk
and thocht o him an his tappie doags
trachled fae thir work.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 11:
Syne oot frae his foul caverns crawls
The Earl o Hell an his angel pack,
Sair trauchelt by the muckle cheens
He hauls ahint his back.

(2) To impede, hamper, trouble, land one in difficulties, to worry.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 22:
[I] soon o'ertook them, trachel'd wi' the nout.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 85:
Wi' pech and grane he wriggles thro', And frees him frae the trauchlan jougs.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The strap o' ane o' my queetikins brak, an' was like to trachle me waur.
Ags. 1882 Brechin Advert. (12 Dec.) 3:
Trachlin a puir blate-lookin' cummer aboot the meanin o' the wird grace.
Sc. c.1925 R. Thomas Sandie McWhustler's Waddin' 108:
“What's trauchlin' ye?” . . . “Dates.” . . . “Indisjeest maist like.”
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xvii.:
A man may fecht stoutly his lee lane, but he is sair trauchled by a wife.

6. (1) intr. To drudge, to over-work, labour on in a weary, harassed way, to toil and moil (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson). Gen.Sc.Ags. 1843 Ayrshire Wreath 156:
Why need ye toil on, an' trachle sae sair?
Sc. 1847 W. Allan Hame-Spun Lilts 227:
The auld fouk struggled trachled focht, On poortith's edge.
Per. 1896 I. Maclaren Auld Lang Syne 198:
It's no possible ye cud trachle through the Greek withoot a bit tonic.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 29:
Trauchlin amo' the croods i' the big citie toilin an' teachin.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 54:
Trauchlin' awa', aye even on, Sin' ever he was born.
Abd. 1963 J. C. Milne Poems 68:
Trauchlin through the aucht times table.

¶(2) tr. To spend (time) in drudgery.Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite (1946) 57:
A woman on the verge of middle age content to trauchle the hours in a kitchen.

II. n. 1. A long tiring trudge or walk (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 272; ne. and m. Sc. 1973).Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 174:
A lang trachle frae the Kirk Wynd in Anster, to the Castle Wynd in St Andrews.
Ags. 1848 Feast of Liter. Crumbs (1891) 17:
You've born me weel through mony trachals.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 112:
After a weary 'oor's trauchle.

2.(1) Tiresome labour, toil, drudgery, any fatiguing or dispiriting work or task (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 272; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Hence trauchlesome, tiring, exhausting, laborious (ne.Sc., Ags. 1973).Ags. 1850 A. Laing Wayside Flowers 18:
Mary, her mother, a' broken an' pin'd Wi' trachle o' body, wi' trouble o' mind.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 7:
Yer trachle for a dizzen years.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 258:
Yestreen I cam' hame frae the trauchle.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 375:
It's sic a trauchel wi this wean.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie ii.:
We're flittin' onywye, and a bonny trauchle it is.
Lth. 1933 A. P. Wilson Tea for Ten 16:
Puir Lizzie gets maist o' the trachles tae dae at hame.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (2 Jan.):
The trachlesome hairst eventually drew to a close.
Sh. 1967 New Shetlander No. 38. 19:
Aa da daily trackle o feedin baes.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 84:
Fell sweirt is the man tae get hissel shiftit,
siccan a fash an a trauchle he's haen
sin the gaffer he wrocht fur his arle arrestit
for stailan sum breers that werenae his ain.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 13:
Isa said it had taken seven years of hard trauchle to bring in the acres and it seemed it had been too much for the man - not long after that he had died, falling in the stooks in the throes of a heart attack.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 80:
'Look after your mither, Dougie, and the land. It's a hard trauchle at times but it's good land and it'll be all your own. Promise me that.'
Sc. 1993 Herald 18 Jan 4:
What with all this misery I resolved today to make some mulligatawny soup. To be honest it's a bit of a trochle to make but it's well worth the effort ...
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 7:
in the thringin stand
the ghaists greet an rair
the trachle o buits
breenges on
Dmf. 2000 Betty Tindal Old Mortality 11:
Mind on, Jess, said Jaunty, yer huives are yer founds, sae ye maun aye luik aifter them. Ye'll hae tae mak Robert aware every noo an then, that ye're needin shod. Nearly a' the villages hae a smiddy, so it's no much o' a trauchle.

(2) A state of chronic muddle, caused chiefly by having too much to do (ne. Sc., Ags., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1973).Abd. 1920:
She's a peer doilt cratur, aye in a trauchle.

3. A source of trouble, anxiety or harassment, a burden, hindrance, encumbrance, drag (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195; Sc. 1880 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1973).Per. 1895 I. Maclaren Auld Lang Syne 257:
The bairns are juist the trachle o' ma life.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie ix.:
It's a gey sair trauchle bein' a King.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 152:
I've plenty o' trachles o' my ain.
Sc. 1943 Scots Mag. (April) 26:
A trauchle to short legs, which had to lift out of knee-deep drifts.
Abd. 1969 D. A. Brewer God's Golden Gift 45:
She thoucht her chuckens was i trauchle.

4. A minor ailment or complaint.Sc. c.1925 R. Thomas Sandie McWhustler's Waddin' 83:
I hae a pickle speerits pit by for ailin trauchles.

5. A careless, incompetent person, an inefficient slovenly worker (Slg., Dmb., Lnk., Ayr., Dmf. 1973); a muddler, a drudge. Hence trauchlesome, slovenly, unmethodical at work.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 156:
To ding some useless trauchle oot of my gate, when I saw that her fingers were a' thoombs.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 206:
She's juist a trachle, aye in a harrach, never gettin her wark dune.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (17 April) 6:
A “trauchlesome breet” is something of a sloven.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 27:
Sneering at her, upbraiding Almighty God for making such a trauchle to pest decent folk.

[O.Sc. trachle, to dishevel, 1549, to exhaust, a.1578, a struggle, a hard time, 1671, appar. of Du. orig. Cf. Flem. tragelen, trakelen, to walk with difficulty, heavily or laboriously, to trudge, trail, work in a drudging way.]

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"Trauchle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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