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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

EIL(D)INS, EEL(D)INS, [′il(d)ənz, ′(j)il(d)ənz]

1. Equals in age, contemporaries, persons born in the same year (Sc. 1808 Jam., eildins; w.Sc. 1887 Jam.6, eelins, eilins; Kcb.4 1900, eelins; w.Lth. 1949, eildins). Also eellens (Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 15); eitlins (Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 25); eilde(e)ns (Fif. 1912 Rymour Club Misc. II. 115); yealans (Sc. 1820 Edb. Mag. (June) 537); yealings, yellings; yeelin, yieldins (Sc. 1808 Jam.); eelans (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); (y)ealins (Uls.2 1929); eilance; and deriv. form eildrins (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 245). Often used pred. with sing. subj. in similar construction to Eng. “to be friends with”: equal in age with. Rarely used in sing. attrib. In the Arg. quot. the pl. is used as a sing.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 188:
For you, a Species by your sell, Near Eeldins with the Sun your God.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Brigs of Ayr ll. 150–151:
O ye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings!
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems II. 60:
His bonny, various, yeelin' frien's Cam a' in bourrochs there.
Arg. c.1850 The Follinash in L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre (1936) 30:
For Dohl had fund a fallachan, An eilance o' his ain.
Fif. 1887 “S. Tytler” Logie Town I. vii.:
Hay Melville was fated to be Lizzie's sole girl associate, just as they were “eildens”.
Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.):
Two persons born in the same year would be said to be eelins.
Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 64:
Weel may they blaw aince their eildins a' dee, Wi' nane left to gab o' the days o' their daftness.

2. Used as a sing. = equality of age.Ayr. 1836 Galt in Tait's Mag. (June) 395:
He seemed to have the gleggest and weel-doingest laddie weans for a family of the male gender I ever saw — wonderfully, as I thought, all of an eildens.

3. Used anomalously to mean children, offspring.Sc. c.1726 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 196:
What Father's he that thinks't a shame To let his Yellings bear his name.

[From Eild, n., + suff. -ing, having the quality of, one of (the same), as in Farden, n.1, Litlin.]

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"Eilins n. pl.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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