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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HOCHLE, v., n. Also hochil; ho(u)ghle, -al, houchle, houg(h)el; huchyall, hugh-; hoichle (Gsw. 1865 J. Young Homely Pictures 166), -el, hoighle, -el (Ayr. 1825 Jam.); hoggle (Ags. Ib.), huggle; hoikle (Uls.). [Sc. hoxl, Ayr., Uls. hɔiçl, Rxb. + hʌuxl]

I. v. 1. To walk with a slow, awkward, hobbling or tottering gait (Sh., Ags., Fif., Lnk., Slk. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 21; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1924 W. Lutton Montiaghisms 25; Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 14). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
My auld, ga'd gleyde o' a meere has huch-yall'd up hill and down brae.
Uls. 1804 J. Orr Poems (1935) 35:
Some hunk'rin at a lee dyke back, Boost houghel on, ere fasten'd Their breeks, that day.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 194:
An' taigl't age now totters in, Though he can scarcely hougel.
Lnk. 1884 J. Nicholson Willie Waugh 56:
When a kintra wench or yochil Doun to the City for the first time hochil.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong R. Rankine 22:
A wee, lang-faced, weaver-looking cratur ye could hae stappit in your breek-pouch, an never hochled a bit the waur o' him.
Mry. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 78:
Auld Luckie Lowrie hochled ower Tae gie Jinse Watt her ca'.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 3:
We dreidit sicht o the kinrik whase puir king
Hochled his lane ti walcome us ashore,

2. To do anything awkwardly, to be untidy in dress (Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 30, Arg. 1957). Ppl.adj. hochlin, hoighlin, slovenly; awkward, clumsy (Knr. 1825 Jam.); to spoil or mar (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (3 Feb.), Cai. 1957). Phs. rather a variant of Haggle.Arg. c.1835 in Colville 115:
Thou'rt not a hochlan scleurach, dear, As many trooshlach be.

3. To fornicate, “to tumble lewdly with women in open day” (MacTaggart).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 79:
And tw'r-three moons after did swaul i' the wame, Wi' hougheling at the bonello.

II. n. 1. An ungainly heaving movement of the body, an awkward shifting of position (Ayr. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 21; Abd.. Peb., Dmf., Uls. 1957).n.Derry 1930 per Uls.3:
I heard a woman say to her mother who was bed-ridden, “Give yourself a hoikle”, i.e. Try and lift yourself up in bed.

2. A person who is ungainly or slovenly in gait, dress or appearance (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; n.Ant. 1924 North. Whig (14 Jan.), hoighel; Uls.3 1930; Peb., Arg. 1957).Ayr. 1868 J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 90:
He was a houghal to look at — most unlike a runner. He had a limping way of walking, . . . was round shouthered.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
He's a sore houghel of a craithur.
Arg. 1882 Argyllshire Herald (3 June):
I wonner whaur that glaikit hochle o' a lassie has stravaiged till.

3. Anything which is in a tumbledown or ramshackle condition (Ags. 1910 Arbroath Guide (24 Sept.), Ags. 1957).

[Freq. form from Hoch, n., v.1]

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"Hochle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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