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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

HORL, n. Also horle, horal, horral, horit. [hor(ə)l]

1. A whorl (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 169), a small wheel, e.g. of a clock, a caster, etc.; a pulley-wheel of the winding gear at a mine (Fif. 1957). Also used attrib.Ayr. 1754 D. M'Naught Kilmaurs (1912) 115:
A sum of six shillings Scots was paid for “a horle for the clock.”
Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1856) III. 287:
Circumnavigating the table in arm-chairs! . . . So ye continue to rin upon horrals.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 151:
'Tween horl boxes, necks, and tails, And wonnerfu'! ha'f a score o' spools, Wi' diff'rent weft.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute (1890) 89:
It tickit its ticks, lang afore I was born, Yet nane o' its horals is wasted or worn.

2. The metal tag or point of a boot-lace (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 119; Ayr. c.1890, 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 169; Gsw. 1953).

[Sense 1. is a variant of Whorl, q.v. and see H, 6.; in sense 2. there seems to be some confusion with Virl(e), a ferrule. Cf. Furl, n.2]

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"Horl n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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