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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DALE, DAIL, Deyl, Deall, n.2 Sc. forms of Eng. deal, a certain size of plank of fir or pine wood; the wood of fir or pine.

Used also in Sc. to mean: 1. a shelf (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd. correspondents, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1939; Ayr.4 1928, dail). Hence (1) cheese-dail, “a shelf on which cheeses lie for maturing” (Kcb.10 1939); (2) turnin'-dails, “racks which hold a number of cheeses which can be turned on pivots, thus saving the labour of turning singly by hand” (Id.); 2. “a wooden bridge across a burn, sometimes consisting of a single plank laid from bank to bank, sometimes composed of several planks laid side by side” (Sh. 1938 (per Sh.3)); 3. a vessel (orig. of wood) gen. used for holding milk (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); 4. a diving board (Dmb. 1940s). [del Sc., but Cai. deil]1. Sc. 1802 Scott Letters (1894) I. 14:
Sundry times he'd run to the dale where the books lay.
Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 23:
In some houses a series of shelves like a press without doors were called dails.
(2) Kcb.10 1940:
Up till twae year sin' we had nocht but the auld plain shelves, but the estate jiners put in posts and made them intae turnin'-dales.
3. Cai.7 c.1910:
Scaud yer deyls if ye want til keep yer milk sweet.
Per. 1737 Ochtertyre House Booke (S.H.S. 1907) 248:
[Inventory of Milk House] 1 deall with iron handle.
4. Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 19:
dale a high diving board or platform at the swimming baths: 'Ah dare ye tae dive aff the dale.'
Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 26:
Ma wee pal c'n dive aff the tap dale at the baths. My little friend can dive from the highest diving board at the swimming pool.

[O.Sc. has dale, dail, a deal or plank, from 1496 (D.O.S.T.); introduced into Eng. from L.Ger. c.1400, earliest quot. N.E.D. 1402 (dele); Mid.Du. dele, deele, a plank (Kilian).]

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"Dale n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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