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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

GURLIE, adj. Also gurl(e)y, †gowrlie (Bnff. 1852 A. Harper Solitary Hours 108). [Sc. ′gʌrle, Arg. ′gur-]

1. Of the weather: stormy, threatening, blustery, bleak, bitter (Uls. 1929; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Ayr., Gall., s.Sc. 1955). Also of the sea. Also fig.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 53:
Bare Fields and gurly Skies Make rural Scenes ungrateful to the Eyes.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 29:
When floating clouds obscure the glaring sun, And o'er the stream diffuse a gurly cast.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 50:
On Britain blew a gurly blast, Whilk gied for fears occasion.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 301:
While lowly plants, that grow upo' the vale, Bide the rebuffs o' the maist gurly gale.
Sc. a.1803 Sir P. Spens in Child Ballads (1857) III. 154:
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, And gurly grew the sea.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 16:
Like gurly north in winter weather.
Lnk. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 70:
The March winds nae langer blaw gurly an' dour.
Abd. 1882 G. Macdonald Castle Warlock xx.:
It's a gurly nicht; no a pinch o' licht, an' the win' blawin' like deevils.
Hdg. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes & Sk. 33:
Trowth! drear an' gurly was the simmer!
Arg. 1912 N. Munro Ayrshire Idylls 90:
They were forlorn, these lands, because we did not beach upon them, tossed on the gurly wave in silly cobles.
Ags. 1920 A. Gray Songs 44:
Wi' jet-black sails my bonny boat Scuds ower the gurlie sea.
Gsw. 1936 F. Niven Old Soldier xx.:
Nova Scotia . . . was a far cry — with all the gurly Atlantic between.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21:
It sweyed an showded on the wire, grippit bi migration fever, till o a suddenty it lowsed its clooks an soared up tae the lift inno a gurly September storm-cloud, on the first daud o its journey aff tae the saft wins o the Sooth.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 57:
The gurly sea, rock-spatter't, sprays
brave sowls wha promenade her bays.

2. (1) Of persons: surly, crabbed, bad-tempered (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Uls.2 1929; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., w. and sm.Sc. 1955). Also of dogs: growling, snarling, bad-tempered (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.; ne.Sc. 1955).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 191:
Breathing Mischief, the God look'd gurly, . . . He made a horrid hurly burly.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 77:
There gurly James, and his baronis braw War out to hunt the deere.
Gall. 1824 “Cincinnatus Caledonius” Lights & Shadows 153:
The gudeman, being a stout, gurly man, tore up a cow-stake and broke the leg of the lawless Elspeth!
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 169:
Dour were their threats and their grimaces, Gurlie and crabbit-like their faces.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 108:
Thy deep-mouth'd, gurly, loud bow-wow Creation startles.
Kcd. 1871 Stonehaven Jnl. (1 June) 3:
The miller stood musin', richt gurlie an' glum.
Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 65:
Dinna gape for dauds o' praise Frae gurly Andrew Fairway.
Sc. 1896 Stevenson Weir of Hermiston viii.:
Ye'll have to look in the gurly face o'm.
Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” Green Shutters iii.:
'Deed I don't wonder that gurly Gourlay, as they ca' him, has an ill temper.
em.Sc. 1913 J. Black Gloamin' Glints 142:
I'll hae a lock o' some kin, on the henhoose door, an' this nicht I'll tether my gurly collie braw near.
Tyr. 1931 North. Whig (17 Dec.) 10:
Wilson is a bit gurly, but he has a farntickled, sonsy daughter.
Rxb. 1933 Kelso Chron. (3 Nov.) 5:
A ramstam loon wis Geordie ere the hefty limmer cam', A red-wud deil for ploys an fechts, an' gurly wi' a dram.
Abd. 1949 Abd. Press & Jnl. (20 April):
The minister met and reproved one of his parishioners who was much the worse of liquor. The man was “gurly.” He wanted to fight.

(2) Fig. extended to things; of a tree, gnarled. Of undergrowth, tangled, overgrown.s.Sc. 1837 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 46:
A thick gurly aik smashed to shivers.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie iv.:
The strong [castle] wall Embedded and braided With many a gurly gun.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 139:
The fauld that happit weel Frae gurly cares.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 71:
Ae waesome day a gurly bell Toll'd doom ower Fotheringay.
Sc. 1991 William Wolfe in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 65:
A routh o greenyerie taks ower the hill
An derns the growthe an gurly wark o thorns
But still an on, goddesses are bluidan.

3. (1) Of water: gurgling, purling (m.Lth. 1955); (2) of infants: crowing, gurgling (Abd. 1900 E.D.D.).(1) Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 90:
The mischief-making spirit did seem To dance alang the gurly stream.
Edb. 1871 J. Ballantine Lilias Lee 237:
Wee gurly burn, wee gurly burn — Fu' mony kittle jouk and turn Ye tak' as on your way ye journ.
Sc. 1900 E.D.D.:
Gurlie describes the noise of water running through a narrow pipe when it is nearly run out and air rushes in also.

[From Gurl, v.1, adj., n., q.v.]

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"Gurlie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/gurlie>

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