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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GILL, n.1, v. Also †jill; †jel(l) (Gall. 1723 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 430–431).

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. In Sc. measure, one fourth of a Mutchkin, or about three-fourths of the Imperial gill. For Hawick gill, see Hawick. Dims. gillie, gillock, jillock.Ayr. 1786 Burns On a Sc. Bard x.:
I'll toast you in my hindmost gillie.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 140:
But hark! at eve he tunes his sang, When o'er his jillock sitting.
Sc. 1844 Justiciary Reports (1846) 301:
“Thirteen gills imperial,” that number of gills imperial being exactly equivalent to sixteen gills Scots.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 15:
An' a gillock to Benjie the Bookman.
Bnff. 1888 in J. S. Skinner Logie Coll. 95:
She brought a gillie and a glass, And slyly named the figure, O!

Combs.: †(1) gill-bells, the bells which rang at 11.30 a.m., see third quot.; †(2) gill-sipper, a tippler; (3) gill-stoup, see Stoup; †(4) gill-wife, an ale-wife; (5) gilly shop, a tavern.(1) Edb. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 121:
To Ed'nburgh, Sir, when e'er ye come, I'll wait upon ye, there's my Thumb, Were't frae the Gill-bells to the Drum [10 p.m.], And take a Bout.
Edb. 1735 Occasional Tinclarian in a Letter to Sir John de Graham 21:
About the Gill-Bells . . . he averred he would give me the best roasted Back-Sey in all the Canongate.
Edb. 18th c. H. G. Graham Soc. Life Scot. (1899) I. 89:
The citizen shut his shop, or left his wife to tend it, when the St Giles' Bells rang at half-past eleven — a well-known sound which was known as the “gill-bells”, because each went to his favourite tavern to take his “meridian”, consisting of a gill of brandy, or a tin of ale.
(2) Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxi.:
A few old topers used to take their morning draught, and a few gill-sippers their modicum of strong waters.
(4) Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 84:
Peggy Little, the gill-wife, has broke some charm wi' her rowantree beetle or kirn-staff.
(5) s.Sc. 1802 Prophecy in 19th Cent. 18:
There was na a public-house, or jilly shop, or coffee-house, or hotel, in a' Embro', but what Jock kent by lug-mark.

2. A vessel holding a gill, a gill-measure. Dims. gillie, jilley.Sc. 1747 Caled. Mercury (July) 14:
All Sizes of Wine and Ale Decanters, Cruits, Tumblers, Jugs, Jilley, Salts, Salvers.
Edb. 1809 A. Stewart Poems 6:
I coft a drap o' Norland blue And down craig's close twa toothfu's threw Frae maister gillie.

II. v. To drink (gills), tipple. Also in Yks. dial.Gsw. 1856 J. Strang Gsw. Clubs 123:
Forenoon gilling prevailed through the whole range of the different craftsmen.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 118:
They sat an' gill'd an' gill'd awa'.

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"Gill n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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