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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ILL, adj., adv., n. Also ull (Abd.), see P.L.D. § 58.1. Sc. usages, many of which, esp. under I., are obs. or obsol. in Eng., where ill is now commonly replaced by bad, or some other synonym:

I. adj. Compar. gen. waur, sometimes iller (Ags. 1956 Forfar Dispatch (19 Jan.)); superl. warst. 1. Of persons: evil, wicked, morally depraved; of animals: vicious, bad-tempered; of language, conduct, etc.: bad, profane. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1699 Edb. Gazette (10–12 April):
It is not the scarcity of Corn that has occasion'd so great a Dearth, but rather the Covetousness of some ill Men, who with-held it.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 177:
If you be not ill, be not ill like; If you steal not my Kail, break not my Dike.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 18:
Better be alane than in ill company.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxix.:
It's ill o' the vassal's mouth that betrays the bread it eats.
Bnff. 1893 G. G. Green Kidnappers x.:
She'll nae hae her sorrow to seek wi' yon sin o' hers. He his an ill leuk. He's nae gweed.
Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Witch-Wife xv.:
An ill beast of a great towsy black dog . . . sought to drag her shrieking towards the draw-well.
Arg. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days xix.:
Ye needna fear that Wully Oliver would learn ill language to a lady like the wee one.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 31:
Aw'm aweers o' sayin' an ull wird aboot it, 'cause aw 'm sae sair disappintit.
Bch. 1930 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 102:
The bairns are nae ull littlins, but they come an' sit by ye i' the peat-neuk an' the worset gets tanglt.

Special combs.: ill-ane, -man (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Mry.1 1925; Sh., Ags. 1958), -thief, a'thing, the devil; illbit, -pa(i)rt, -place, Hell (Sh. (-place), ne.Sc. (-pairt), Kcb. (-bit) 1958); ill word, a swear word (Sh., Bnff., Ags., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 120:
Give a Thing, and take a Thing, Is the ill Man's Goud Ring. A Cant among Children, when they demand a Thing again, which they had bestowed.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 54:
Down a dark stair to ane o' the how houses, beneath the yird, where it was mirk as in a coal heugh, and they had a great fire . . . it minds me o' the ill part.
Ayr. 1789 Burns To Dr Blacklock ii.:
The Ill-Thief blaw the Heron south, And never drink be near his drouth!
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick II. x.:
Could ye no fin' anither gate tae the Ill Pairt?
Slk. 1819 Hogg Tales (1874) 147:
It was only the servant maid that the Ill Thief had taen away.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Spaewife II. xxi.:
O! I'm fear't, for I doubt he was the Auld A' Ill Thing.
Per. 1835 R. Nicoll Poems 112:
An' I trust, if ayont to the ill place she win, They'll be able to bear wi' her flytin' an' din.
Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer xii.:
There'll come a sough o' wailin' up frae the ill place, an' a smell o' burnin'.
Abd. 1888 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) II. 29:
The carl suddenly disappeared in a flash of fire taking the remains of the laird along with him. . . . Some indentations were pointed out as the marks of the ill man's fingers made at the time.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
Man, I wad gang for ye into the Ill Bit itsel', that's fu' o' brimstane reek.
m.Sc. 1917 O. Douglas The Setons xii.:
Suddenly he met another ship — a black wicked-looking ship — bound for what Marget calls “the Ill Place.”
Abd. 1993:
Let's hae nae mair o yer ill words.
Abd. 1994 David Toulmin in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 72:
But he was a staunch elder o' the Auld Kirk and never said an ill-word in his life, nae even in anger, and he had the patience o' Job himsel in adversity.

Phr.: †to be ill with (a woman), to have unlawful intercourse with (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. III. 2. Phrs.

2. Poor in quality, of little worth or substance, scanty, famine-stricken (Sh., Bnff., Abd., Rxb. 1958). Comb. and phrs.: (1) ill-bit, a poor or unfertile piece of ground (m.Lth., Bwk., Gall., Rxb. 1958); †(2) the ill years, a series of years of scarcity and hardship at the end of the 17th c. Cf. King William's dear years, s.v. King; (3) to pit one's meat in an ill skin, to look thin or half-starved, to have a malnourished appearance (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 110). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Hence ill-skint, sickly-looking, not thriving (Dmf. 1957).Fif. 1712 Two Students (Dickinson 1952) 18:
Jean was so far from buying ill meat for them that I have heard them complain of the fatness of the flesh.
ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems (1853) 39:
The Trees are ill, but worse the fruit.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 71:
They never beuk a good Cake but may bake an ill ane.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To the Toothache iv.:
Of a' the num'rous human dools — Ill-hairsts, daft bargains, cutty-stools.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 30:
Cause bear's so ill, fouk winna yoke The whisky pot.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xx.:
Nae dou't it has been an ill hairst, an' meeserable wark oot in the fields.
(1) Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 208:
Such hard-working, thrifty folk who could make livings for large families out of what most farmers today would call a “hard illbit” were the making of Scotland.
(2) Sc. 1699 Letter in Atholl MSS:
The laying out much money on work folks and the ill yeers, has made them spend more then ordenarie.
Sc. 1782 F. Douglas E. Coast 167:
The unfruitful seasons towards the end of King William's reign, which are still called the ill years.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 18:
Owing to unfavourable seasons, during the 7 last years of the preceding century, called here, the ill years, they were greatly diminished.
(3) Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds i.:
Ony ha'd o' health he has, is aye at meal-time, and yet he puts a' in an ill skin.

3. Unwholesome, injurious to health, severe (of an illness), noxious, hurtful (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Bwk. 1958).Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock viii.:
She was sair forfochen for lang wi' an ill cauld she teuk.
Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 39:
Ill air, noxious gas, as from underground fires or choke damp; a stagnant state of the atmosphere underground.
Per. 1888 R. Ford Glentoddy 32:
The effect o' an ill cauld, contractit, it was said at the time, by suppin' cauld sowens next her stammach in the mornin'.
Abd. 1932 Abd. Press & Jnl. (6 April) 2:
Oor aul' frien' Mairch sent ma a present o' an ull caul' at's keepit ma pyocherin' an' hoastin' an' fozlin' for win'.
Sh. 1938 I. B. S. Holborn Foula 84:
If a cow fell ill it was thought that the trows had smitten her, although it was not wise to say so — the recognised phrase being that she had “gotten an ill air.”

4. Of persons: harsh, severe, cruel, unkind (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.(exc. wm.)Sc.; used freq. of a creditor towards a debtor: exacting, hard in bargaining (Sc. 1825 Jam.). With till (Ib.), to, on; on o (Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 12).Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 181–4:
Except for breakin o' their timmer, Or speakin lightly o' their Limmer, Or shootin of a hare or moorcock, The ne'er-a-bit they [gentry] 're ill to poor folk.
Sc. 1827 Scott Croftangry iv.:
They werena ill to them [the poor], sir, and that is aye something. They were just decent bien bodies.
m.Lth. 1894 W. G. Stevenson Puddin' 35:
I didna mean to be ill to 'um, either, if he wadna dirty my door.
Fif. 1899 E. F. Heddle Marget at the Manse 206:
She was ill to the bairn and he couldna stand that.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 181:
Dinna be ill on Nanny.

5. Annoyed, vexed, grieved, sorrowful, with about (Ags., Lnk. 1825 Jam.; s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 170). Gen.(exc. n.)Sc. But see also 12. (1); at (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 205; Per., Slg., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., w. and sm.Sc. 1958).Sc.(E) 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xlvii. 6:
I was ill at my folk, I fyl'd my ain stok.
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 20:
I wuz aafu ill at the way he did it.
Dmf. 1955:
She was ill aboot leavin — she was fed-up at having to leave.

6. Malevolent, unfriendly, hostile (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); ne.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1958); unlucky, unpropitious (Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Bwk., Kcb., Uls. 1958), freq. in imprecations.Per. 1747 J. Christie Witchcraft in Kenmore 4:
Ill meeting and ill flitting might he have and ill might he thrive.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 215:
Ill chance on you, stir, and out he goes, cursing like a madman.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales (1896) 94:
Some says he wants a feather in the wing . . . but speed 'im awite he has ill wit.
Ork. 1854 N. & Q. X. 221:
Some one has perhaps said “He's a bonny bairn,” or “Thou ar' looking weel the day;” but they have spoken with an ill tongue. They have neglected to add, “God save the bairn,” or, “Safe be thou,” &c.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxvii.:
Dinna haud ocht frae me, if ye hae ill news.
Sc. 1889 Stevenson M. of Ballantrae i.:
An ill day for the groom And a waur day for the bride.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vi.:
They ca'd ane anither leears, an' cheat-the-wuddies, an' muckle füles, an a' mainner o' ill names.
Arg. 1902 R. Maclagan Evil Eye 21:
It must not be supposed that the “ill e'e” is a Highland speciality.
Abd. 1929 Stories of Young Abd. 14:
Jeannie an' Donald wis aye fechtin'. It wisna 'at they war ill freens at hert, ye ken.
Abd. 1932 J. Leatham Fisherfolk N.E. 128:
The regular sea-fishers' dislike to the salmon, which they call “the ill fish” and “the beastie”.

7. Of coinage: spurious, counterfeit (Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1958).Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 326:
Jamie Gray got an ill ducadoon from me to change.
Bte. 1704 Session Bk. Rothesay (1931) 180:
A 13 sh. piece of ill money in the thesaurie.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet x.:
He will come back again, like the ill shilling — he is not the sort of gear that tynes.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 261:
And if you find an ill baubee, Lift it up, and gie't to me.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 434:
I'll try to get it awa' mysel'; it wouldna suit you to be putting awa ill siller.
Ags. 1897 A. Reid Bards of Ags. 150:
In makin' rhyme I wouldna gie, For a' their help, an ill baubee.

8. Of weather: rough, stormy (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Bwk., Lnk., Rxb., Uls. 1958); unfavourable.Ayr. 1738 Ayr Presbytery Register MS. (11 Jan.) 160:
Hindered the day appointed by ill weather.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 268:
This ill spring ye ken we've mony dead.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
A great, ill-favoured jack-an-ape, . . . chattering and yowling, and pinching, and biting folk, especially before ill-weather, or disturbances in the state.
Slk. 1823 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) i.:
I had thoughts that, as the day grew sae ill, he had hadden forrit a' the length wi' our wife.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 144:
I'm feared it's gaen ta be a ill nicht, an sae I tink we'll a' just mak fir hame.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 12:
It's an ill day wui rain.
Ags.20 1957:
Sweir folk are aye bodin ill weather.

9. Difficult, hard, troublesome (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 25). With til = Eng. for (Cai. 1909 D. Houston 'E Silkie Man 9). Freq. used predic. followed by inf. or vbl.n., e.g. in proverbial sayings. Cf. Eng. ill to please. Gen.Sc. See also phr. to hae ill —, s.v. Hae, v.1, B. 2. (5).Sc. 1710 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1842) I. 164:
The hand is ill, and I have not yet had time to transcribe them.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' xxxvi.:
The gait was ill, our feet war bare.
w.Lth. 1794 J. Trotter Agric. w.Lth. 37:
Carrot, although not ill to raise, I find subject in certain seasons to be almost totally cut off.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xl.:
It's ill carrying gudes up the narrow stairs, or ower the rocks.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xcix.:
To make you ken that a' thing in't is hard and rough, and ill to thole.
Sc. 1870 A. Hislop Proverbs 186:
It's ill speaking between a fu' man and a fasting.
Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Heather & Snow xxiii.:
Dinna forget a piece to uphaud ye as ye gang; it'll be ill fechtin the win'.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle vii.:
It's still auld bauld Doom, and an ill deevil to crack.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 17:
I am readin' him the noo, for the first time, but it's gey ill.
Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Cai. Proverbs 5:
“Ill's ma lord, bit waur's Geordie hungry,” said the ploughman when his brose was thin and raw. “It was ill to hae but waur to want.”
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 127:
Troth I ken doo's hed a ill day, Sibbie, I ken ower weel what he is ta dell oot snaw'd sheep.
Abd. 1941 Abd. Univ. Rev. (Spring) 93:
The half-door was nerra an' filies a fyow O' the wivies wi' baskets had ill winnin' throu'.
Kcb.10 1945:
The coonts were gey ill the day.
Ags. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 313:
It's ill-going for her to mount the brae.
sm.Sc. 1979 Alan Temperley Tales of Galloway (1986) 138:
... the earl replied in apparent courtesy: "It's ill speaking between a full man and a fasting one." Servants therefore brought food and Sir Patrick had no option but to sit to a substantial dinner.
em.Sc. 1986 Helen and Keith Kelsall Scottish Lifestyle 300 Years ago 108:
Late in January 1695 there was a particularly bad spell of weather ... '... John Murdo brought me word there was no going by the wester way, but that some were gone this day by the post road, but that it is ill getting to it. ... Capt. Cockburn told me I would have ill travelling, ...'
Edb. 1988:
It's no ill tae dae if ye dinna let it get oan top o ye. [of housework]
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 35:
tae gar the lachin hit the waa.
"Ay, Jean," says he, "It's me masel"
an spak wi sic an awfie fell
was sair tae hear as ill tae tell.
Edb. 1991 J. K. Annand in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 19:
Yestreen I dreamed a dream
A dream was ill to dree

10. Gen. with to and inf. or at, o(n) and vbl.n.: awkward, inexpert, having difficulty in (I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Wgt., Rxb. 1958).Mry. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu III. 43:
As she was aye a thrifty wife, I'm thinkin' that she was no that ill to live in the warld.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xv.:
I wus never that deen ill at the readin'.
Abd. 1909 Banffshire Jnl. (9 Feb.) 6:
The smaller farmers would “yoke the cairt” and give some of the auld bodies that were ill at gyaun a “hurl” doon.
Fif. 1957:
He's ill o' gaun, he's ill on the feet = he's clumsy, bad at walking.

11. In a gen. sense: bad, unsatisfactory, not effective (I.Sc., Abd. 1958). Phr. no (or nae) that ill, not so bad, good enough (Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth. 1958).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 273:
Of ill Debtors Men take Oaths.
Abd.13 1914:
There's nae muckle in 'im bit he micht mak a nae ull man.
Abd. 1993:
Ma holiday wis nae that ull.

12. Phrs., mainly with preps.: (1) ill aboot, (a) desiring greatly, eager for, keen on, fond of (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Mry., Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1958); (b) vexed, annoyed about. See I. 5.; (2) ill at, see 5. and 10.; (3) ill for, (a) = (1) (Kcb. 1958); (b) inclined to (some bad habit or the like), having a vicious propensity to (Abd. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc., m.Lth., Kcb., Dmf. 1958); (4) ill i' one's komin, see Common, n., Phr.; (5) ill o(n), see 4.; (6) ill the part of, — one's part, out of place for, unseemly or ungracious of, improper for; (7) ill tae dae () til (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh., Bnff., Ags., Per. 1958), — wi (Gen.(exc. I. and s.)Sc.), ill tae say til (Mry.1 1925), difficult to please or humour; (8) ill to see, ugly to look at (Sh., Ags., m.Lth. 1958); (9) ill upon (i)t, (a) in bad health, very fatigued, spiritless, woebegone (Ags. 1825 Jam.); (b) in difficulty in regard to means, hard-up (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 88); (10) ill wi, infested with (Bnff., Ags., Edb., Ayr. 2000s).(1) Abd. c.1782 Ellis E.E.P. V. 775:
I dinna think he wis ony ill aboot 'ir.
Ags. 1848 Feast of Liter. Crumbs (1891) 56:
I ken na hoo I'll do without it; An' faith I'm michty ill aboot it.
Mry. 1887 A. G. Wilken Peter Laing 52:
For years I wis only able to get up the stane wa's; but heth, man, I wis aye ill aboot gettin' it finish't.
Abd. 1929 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2:
It's her, I'm taul', that's ill aboot A kirk in some big toon.
(3) (a) Sc. 1880 Stevenson & Henley Deacon Brodie (1892) iii. v. 4:
I'm ill for my bed.
(b) Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer ii. xxi.:
Min' 'at he doesna tak a nip o' ye. He's some ill for bitin'.
Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 58:
They're ill for forgettin' their place, an' gettin' the upper han' a'thegither.
Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. (Spring 1956) 16:
When a body came to die, the cats were put out and locked up, because it's an auld fret, they were ill for going to the bed where the corp lay.
Bch. 1929 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 129:
A richt gweed smith tee, bit terrible ull for takkin' a dram.
(6) Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. xiii.:
It wad be ill my part no to do her errand.
Lth. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland vi.:
It was ill the part of the like of me to take upon myself to judge of the ways of Providence.
(7) Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 127:
You would need to be an angel ere you were able to thole yon ill-to-dae-wi' cutty.
(8) Sc. 1866 Cornhill Mag. (March) 359:
Her father used to say she took some of her good looks fra me, . . . in my day I wasna that ill to see.
(10) Abd. 1988 Jack Webster Another Grain of Truth (1989) 40:
We remembered the new arrival in the infant room, a farm boy who sat all day just gazing up at the ventilation grille in the ceiling. At the end of the day he affected an adult posture and asked the teacher 'Are ye ill wi rottens?' which, translated into English, means 'Are you troubled with rats?'
ne.Sc. 1993 Ronald W. McDonald in A. L. Kennedy and Hamish Whyte New Writing Scotland 11: The Ghost of Liberace 69:
The steadin an fairm-hoose wis faain apairt an the place wis ill wi rottans.

II. adv. 1. Used with senses corresp. to those of the adj.: badly, wickedly, with difficulty, with disfavour, unpropitiously, etc. Phrs.: (1) nae that ill, no —, not so badly, quite well (I. and n.Sc., m.Sc., Gall., Rxb., Uls. 1958); (2) to be at ill-micht-agree, to be at one's wit's end (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 April)); (3) to dee ill wantin, to ill spare, to ill afford to be without (Cai., Abd., m.Lth., Bwk., Uls. 1958); (4) to tak (something) ill oot, to be upset at, averse from, offended by (Cai., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Lnk. 1958), distressed; (5) to tak ill (wi), to take badly (with), find difficulty in. Gen.Sc. See also s.v. Tak, v.; (6) to tink ill o', to be sorry for (Sh. 1958). For to hae ill at, see Hae, v.1 B., 2. (3); to hae ill, see Hae, v.1 B., 2. (5).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 274:
Our Sowins are ill sowr'd, ill seil'd, ill salted, ill soden, thin and few o' them.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. vii.:
If I didna see the bogle, I could as ill see the hen, for it's pit-mirk.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Woolgatherer (1874) 69:
There have been fairy raids i' the Hope, an' mony ane ill fleyed.
n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Ill mat ye, an imprecation, as, Ill mat ye do that, May ill attend your doing that!
Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 6:
I had ill gotten a beginning.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 87:
"His good opinion can be bought; and so can Saunders's."
"Isa. Does she speak ill of me?"
"You ken she speaks ill of nobody."
m.Sc. 1979 Donald Campbell in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 68:
Ye werenae sweirt to yase your name
and aa your faimly's ill-wrocht share
Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 57:
An ill-yokit pair is merriment an' dule
Ane's trottin trig, the tither rugs the load
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 115:
Like Brutus. Mind, he wauked an dirk
Stickt intae Caesar ...
Thae Romans tholed a teerant ill.
Abd. 1993:
Some o at tatties wis richt ill-shapit.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 181:
' ... Did ye ken, sir, they kept me in chains in the Tolbooth mair than a twalmonth? Can ye think whit like that is? The iron bands skive the skin aff ye till ye're raw tae the banes. Ye wouldna see a dug treatit sae ill. ... '
(1) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxix.:
The fishing comes on no that ill.
Abd. 1954 Banffshire Jnl. (2 March):
Ye're at three jobs a' at ance, churnin', an' rockin' and nursin', an' ye're managin' nae that ull, tee.
(3) Mry. 1830 T. D. Lauder Mry. Floods 22:
I minded me o' something I wad ha'e done ill wanting.
(4) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxix.:
I'll tak' it very ill oot if ye dinna come.
Ags. 1884 J. S. Cadell Fisher-Folk 41:
She wad tak ill oot wi' rough ways and shairp words.
m.Sc. 1917 O. Douglas The Setons xix:
Eh, I wull tak' it ill oot if thae Germans kill that bonnie laddie.
Fif. 1923 M. Bell Pickles & Ploys 73:
I never thocht ye would tak' it sae ill oot.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 98:
Sheu disno tak' ill-oot wae'd.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
He is. See here, I take it ill-out
That you will scan him wi' that jaundiced eye!
Heed him. That man can not lie.
(5) Abd.4 1929:
Hard wark's nae eesy, an' sweer folk taks ill wi't.
Abd. 1993:
Ye tak ill wi't fin ye canna get a lang lie.

III. n. 1. Evil, trouble, bad; used imprecatively = the devil! (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh., Cai., Mry., Kcb. 1955).Gall. 1719 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 434:
Robert Gordon . . . confessed that he had used unchristian expressions in contesting with his neighbour such as, Ill have the lyars.
Sc. 1724 Ramsay Ever Green I. 141:
He het the Milk sae het, That ill a Spark of it wad ȝyrne.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality viii.:
I thought it best to flit before ill came to waur.
Abd. 1956 Huntly Express (27 Jan.):
There never was an ill but it micht been a waur.

2. Badness, wicked disposition. Gen.Sc.Arg.1 1929:
He's a birkie sort o' chap, but there's nae ill in 'um.
Abd. 1930 N. Shepherd Weatherhouse iii.:
There's lots that's nae quite at themsels and nae ill in them.

3. Harm, injury, mischief (Gen.Sc.) from natural or supernatural causes; bewitchment, the evil eye. Phrs.: to cast ill on, to bewitch, put under an evil spell (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 34); to dae nae ill (to a woman), to have no unlawful sexual relations (with) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Kcb. 1958). Cf. phr. under I. 1.; to get ill, to be put under witchcraft.Sc. 1818 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 412:
Apprehensions are sometimes entertained, that witches, by their incantations, may cast ill upon the couple, particularly the bridegroom, if the bride has a rival. To counteract these spells, it is sometimes the practice for the bridegroom to kiss the bride immediately after the minister has declared them married persons.
Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 182:
A lesson teaching poor and rich That nane should weird ill to a witch.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 252:
Joost aboot bye wi't thinkin' that some ill had come to him.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 164:
I hope the laddie's met nae ill.
Dwn. 1913 F. E. S. Crichton Andy Saul 26:
A'm not wishin' ill till anny Catholic hereabouts.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 46:
Bit, fin the gweed-wife didna see, Nae ull wis deen.

4. Illness, disease, ailment (Sh., n.Sc., Ags. 1958). Often as the second element in combs., where the first element specifies the particular disease, esp. of animals, as fell-ill, joint-ill, loupin-ill, muir-ill. See Fell, n.1, Joint, Loup, Muir, etc.Bnff. 1729 W. Cramond Fordyce (1883) 58:
Bessie Chisholm fined 20s. for wishing that some persons might fall and tumble nineteen times in the falling ill.
Abd. c.1760 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 58:
May dool and sorrow be his chance, Wi' a' the ills that come frae France.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 118:
In short, nae ill was e'er sae wickit, That John the cure o't ever stickit.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 46:
Those who nursed him Through his sair and weary ill.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of Fields 14:
As dowff's a dowg that's got the ill.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheon Chota Chants 22:
Hens took the pip, the kye went yeld, Sheep had the staggers or ills waur.

5. Disparagement, mockery, in phr. to hadd i' ill, to hold in scorn, deride (Ork. 1958).Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 136:
Da lasses api da shore waar gelderan an' laichan an' haddan dem i' ill dat dey wadna catch ony fish.

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"Ill adj., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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