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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).

WILLIE, n.2 Also willy, wullie (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); ¶wallie (Ayr. 1909 Science Gossip (Aug.) 227); and deriv. forms willan (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), willin (Crm. 1829 H. Miller Poems 81) (see etym. note). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. willow.

1. A willow twig or osier, a withy.Kcb. 1703 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1910) 143:
To cutt the willies that remains.
s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 365:
The kings o' Europe now wad wiss to thraw The French unto their minds like a green willy.

2. Sc. combs.: (1) willow buist, a wickerwork box used for storing meal, etc. See Buist, n.1, 1.; (2) willie-maillin, -miln, “a bar or slot of a country door” (Fif. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) W. 31), “a door-latch worked by a string” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.), phs. orig. a twisted withy loop used as a fastener. Cf. Mail, n.4, and Widdie, n., 2.; (3) willie-muff, -muftie, the willow-warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus (Abd. 1840 W. MacGillivray Manual Brit. Ornith. 149; e.Lth. 1867 W. Turnbull Birds E. Lth. 15; Bwk. 1902 A. Thomson Lauder 280); the wood-warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Abd. 1840 W. MacGillivray Manual Brit. Ornith. 149). See Muff; (4) willie-wan, a wand or shoot of willow. See Wand, n., 2.; (5) willow widdie, a willow branch used in basket-making (Cai. 1934). See Widdie.(1) e.Lth. 1796 R. Gall Poems (1819) 26:
Frae the wilow buist did scatter A tate o' meal upo' the water.
(4) Dmf. 1833 W. Park Vale of Esk 88:
She shuke like a willie wan'.

[O.Sc. willey, a willow, 1473, Mid.Eng. (chiefly N.), wylghe, preserve somewhat more closely than Eng. willow, the O.E. form weliȝe. There has been vowel influence from O.E. wiliȝe, a willow basket. The forms willan, -in may represent a reduced form of willie wan(d).]

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"Willie n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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