Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
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.

KAIL, n. Also kaill, kale, cale, cail, keal(l), kell; keil(l); keel (I.Sc.). Sc. forms of Eng. cole, also in n.Eng. dial. [Sc. kel, Sh. kɛl, Ork. kil, Cai. Keɪl]

1. Borecole, esp. the curly variety, Brassica oleracea acephala, freq. also called green kail (Sth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 580). See Green, adj., II. 3. (5) (a). Gen.Sc. and now also adopted by Eng. Also applied to cabbage (Sh., Cai., Ags., wm.Sc. 1959).  Also attrib.Bnff. 1700 S.C. Misc. (1846) III. 188:
The Egiptians . . . took possession of his house, and stole his peats and kaill.
Sc. 1746 J. Clerk Memoirs (S.H.S.) 193:
I had brought my Distemper upon me by a large quantity of Green Kail which I chanced to eat at Dinner.
Sc. 1760 R. Pococke Tours (1887) 127:
A porridge made of oatmeal, cale, and sometimes a piece of salt meat in it, is the top fare.
Lth. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 121:
I've seen you workin' at your kail Upo' the Sabbath, fu' wi' drink.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 21:
Ahint my laigh housie blooms nae leafie bower, But a divot-dyk'd yard for my corn-rucks an' kale.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 69:
The man that eats muckle kail wull be curly.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 135:
The meal wus deun, the keil wus ga'n, — O I hed naethin' forrow!
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums i.:
It is only a garden of kail and potatoes.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 21:
When ither fouk had routh o' kail and cabbage and tatties.
Dmb. 1949 E. G. Murray Old School Cardross 80:
Another rite which lingered long and was still practised in my youth was that of “pulling the green kail” when youths and maidens went hand in hand with shut eyes into a bachelor's garden, to pull up the first kail stalks which came their way. Were the stems strong and straight with a plentiful supply of earth at their roots, then the future husbands or wives would be young, good-looking and rich. If on the other hand the stalks were crooked or small with little earth at their roots, the future spouses would be lacking both in looks and fortune; according as the heart or stem proved sweet or sour to the taste, so would be the temper of the future partner.
Sh. 1959 Shetland News (27 Jan.) 4:
I had this planted with kell-plants.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 109:
'The wind, boy, the wind. It leaves nothing alone. No even a kail plant'll grow strecht if ye dinna put a wall aroond it.'
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 12:
On me the thocht
o the lang, lang years o shot kail
flooerin owre aw Scotland.

Hence kailie, -y, adj. “producing many leaves fit for the pot; a term applied to coleworts, cabbage, etc.” (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1959); fig., of the nature of the Kailyard School of writing, see 5. (36) (b) below.Sc. 1898 Academy (3 Dec.) 378:
It is impossible to avoid the term “Kailyard” in this connexion. More than a little kaily is the work.

2. A dish made of this, gen. by boiling and mashing the leaves and adding milk, butter, salt and pepper (Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict., s.v. kell, 1929 F. M. McNeill Sc. Kitchen 102). Gen.Sc. Examples of this usage are not always distinguishable from 3. below.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 192:
Your ordinary fare has been little else beside brochan, cale, stirabout, sawings, etc.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 150:
I'll seek but bree out of the pot, Frae 'mang your boiling kail, To be my supper brose.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 223:
He hed hed naithin a' day bit a tristoo o' kail afore lavan hame i' the mornin.
Abd. 1934 D. Scott Stories and Sk. 64:
Ye've surely had kail t' yer denner the day.

3. Broth, soup made with vegetables (Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Edb., Bwk., Lnk., Kcb. 1959), with or without the addition of meat. Freq. prefixed by the name of the principal ingredient, as meal(y)-kail (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 126), nettle-kail, pea-kail, pork-kail (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein 31), raisin-kail, salmon-kail, water-kail, etc., and sometimes construed as a pl., like Broth, Porridge. Also fig. For lenten kail, lentrin-, lantrin-, muggart-, see Lenten, Muggart.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 135:
The Scots, for their first Dish have Broth (which they call Kail) and their Flesh-meat, boil'd or roasted, after.
Edb. 1731 Bk. Old Edb. Club XVII. 71:
Beef to the value of 18 pence will make Twenty four Pynts of Broth or Kail, which is sufficient to serve 24 Persons two days. To make the said 24 pynts of Kail it will require Eight pence worth of Barley or Grotts and Greens.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 80:
Ye breed of nettle-kail and cock-laird ye need muckle service.
Per. 1738 Ochtertyre Ho. Bk. (S.H.S.) 182:
Dinner cabage Keall.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 137:
The readied kail stand by the chimley cheeks.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ordination vi.:
For lapfu's large o' gospel kail Shall fill thy crib in plenty.
Sc. 1796 G. Paton MS. letter to R. Gough (12 April):
While you have Soups in England, we use Kail and Broths i.e. the former cooked with Barley unhuskt or outter husk or rough Coat taken off at the Milln, then boil'd with flesh and Green herbs: the latter is the Barley boiled with the flesh, Beef, mutton etc. without Green herbs.
Peb. 1817 R. Brown Lintoun Green 91:
He'd singed the sheep's heads to the fell, Tae mak' the sheep-head kale.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xii.:
Our kail is like to be cauld eneugh too.
Slg. 1835 Trans. Highl. Soc. 14:
The servants in the Carse of Blackgrange are said to have stipulated that they were not to get salmon kail oftener than twice in the week.
Per. 1836 G. Penny Traditions 23:
Their dinner [consisted] usually of water kail; that is, green kail and other vegetables boiled with field pease and groats — barley not being then in use.
Sc. 1874 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 70:
D'ye think that religion's naething but a pease-kail for chicken-cocks to cackle about?
Sc. 1884 Chambers's Jnl. (8 March):
The common stinging nettle of Europe . . . in Scotland is occasionally used for making a kind of soup termed nettle kail.
Lnk. 1890 H. Muir Reminisc. 246:
“Raisin Kail”, another old custom, . . . is now defunct; probably but a few of our readers ever heard of it . . . When the marriage ceremony was over the party adjourned to some neighbouring barn, where the “kail”, made from raisins, was served round in plentiful supply.
Ags. 1903 T. Fyfe Lintrathen 47:
Mealy kail being broth, with a slight sprinkle of meal to give it more substance.
Lnk. 1926 W. Queen We're a' Coortin 29:
I've a pat o' kail on for the denner, an' I'm a wee feart it micht burn.
Ags.17 1942:
Pea-kail is broth made with fresh green peas, as distinguished from pea-soup which is made with split brown peas.
Hebr 1995 Angus Duncan Hebridean Island: Memories of Scarp 93:
The crofter families did not trouble to lay in a supply of either rice or barley, and as few families grew either carrots or turnips, far less leeks and onions, the only vegetable in the broth was cabbage. Their broth was literally kail, as such broth is called in Braid Scots.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 57:
Greyfriars' Bobby's suppin a plate o kail
While MacDiarmid poors himsel oot a
Wee deoch-an-doruis frae a bottle o peaty malt.

Hence kaily, smeared with broth, greasy.Sc. c.1760 J. Maidment Ballads (1859) 38:
She had tauchy teeth, and kaily lips.

4. Extended to mean a main meal, dinner (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Bwk. 1959).Sc. 1807 J. Hall Travels I. 233:
I told my landlady, to whom I presented the conquests of my fishing-rod, that if she had no objection, I would take my kail with her.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf i.:
I will be back here to my kail against ane o'clock.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxxvii.:
I hope, Sir Andrew, ye'll no objek to tak your kail wi' us.
Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Tales 68:
Step doon to Mr M'Kie, and wi' my compliments say to him that he maun come up, and tak' his kail wi' me to-morrow.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 10:
I maun awa' doon to my kail.

5. Combs.: (1) barefoot-kail, see Barefit; (2) bow-kail, see Bow-kail, n.; (3) cabbage-kail, see Cabbage; †(4) kail-baillie, the servant who stays at home on the farm on Sunday to prepare dinner and feed and water the cattle (Per. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 161). See Bailie; (5) kail-bell, a bell once rung at the dinner-hour in Edinburgh, hence familiarly of any call to dinner (Sc. 1887 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) I. 2.; Ags., Per. 1959); (6) kail-blade, a leaf of kail (Ayr. 1786 Burns Death & Dr Hornbook xix.; I., n. and em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc., Dmf. 1959), a cabbage-leaf (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 190; Uls. 1908 Traynor (1953)). See also Blade; (7) kail-broo, -breu, -bree, the juice of boiled kail (I.Sc., Cai., Abd. 1959, -bree). See also Bree; (8) kail-brose, †kaily-, Brose made with the scum of broth (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1959), or with the juice from boiled kail (n.Sc., Per., Ayr. 1959); (9) kail-broth, broth in which kail is a principal ingredient (n.Sc., Per., Wgt. 1959); (10) kail caster, a mischievous person who throws stalks of kail, cabbage, etc., down chimneys for sport (Sh. 1902 E.D.D., Sh. 1959); (11) kail-castock, -ick, -custock, see Castock; †(12) kail-cog, a wooden dish for holding broth, see Cog, n.1; †(13) kail-court, a justice of the peace court which dealt with cases of kail-plucking. See (22) below; (14) kail gullie, -y, a blade fixed at right-angles to the end of an upright handle, used for cutting and chopping kail stems (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Cai., ‡Abd., Kcd., Ags. 1959); †(15) kail jockie, the hedge-sparrow (Bnff. 1900). See Jock, n., 2.; †(16) kail-kenny, -kennin, cabbage and potatoes mashed (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 147; Cai., Kcb. 1959), a variant form of Ir. colcannon, id.; (17) kail-kirk(ie), the Glasite sect, or one of its churches (see quot. and cf. broth-kirkie s.v. Broth, n.1) (Sc. 1913 J. Hastings Encycl. Religion VI. 231). Now only hist.; †(18) keill-knife, = (14) (Rs. 1727 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) II. 133); (19) kail-ladle, a tadpole (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 156; Fif., Dmf. 1959). Cf. Ladle, id.; (20) kail-pat, (a) a pot in which broth is made. Also attrib. and fig. Gen.Sc., obsol. Comb. †kail-pat whig, see 1887 quot.; †(b) one of the two divisions or squares at the far end of the “bed” or court in hop-scotch; (21) kailpatch, = (36) (a); †(22) kail-plucker, one who pulls kail for the purposes of divination, cf. 1949 quot. under 1. and pulling the castoc s.v. Castock. Vbl.n. kail-plucking, the act of doing this; (23) kail-reet, -root, the stump left after the head of the kail has been cut off (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n.Sc., Lth., Ayr. 1959). See Ruit; (24) kail runt, (a) the stalk of the kail plant, esp. when the leaves have been stripped (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1953 Traynor; I. and n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc., sm.Sc. 1959); †(b) a full-grown kail-plant (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 289); (c) a term of contempt, applied esp. to an old woman (Ags., Fif., Kcb. 1959). Also ¶kail-runtle (Ags. 1896 Barrie M. Ogilvy vii.); (25) kail shank, the stem of kail (Ork., Cai. 1959). Cf. (24) (a); (26) kail-stick, a stick used for stirring broth; (27) kail-stock, (a) a stem of kail (Sc. 1808 Jam.; I. and n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Rnf., Lnk., Kcb., Dmf. 1959). Cf. Castock. Phr. tyin' the kale stock, a Halloween divination rite (see 1899 quot.) (Ork. 1975, obsol.); (b) a full-grown kail-plant. Cf. (24) (b); (28) kail-straik, -strike. See Kill, n.1, 1.; (29) kail-supper, -sipper, (a) one who is fond of broth, specif. a nick-name given to the people of Fife; (b) a member of the Glasite sect. See (17) above; (30) kail-ticht, able to hold one's food, unwounded (see quot.); (31) kail-time, dinner-time (Ags., Per., Fif., Lth., Lnk. 1959); (32) kail-tree, = (26) (Rs. 1919 T.S.D.C., keltry); (33) kail-whittle, = (14); (34) kail-wife, (a) a woman who sells vegetables and herbs, a female green-grocer (Ags. 1959). Fig. applied to a scold, a coarse brawling woman; (b) the cook in a school canteen (Ags.17 1942); (c) an effeminate man (Per. 1959); (35) kail(ie)-worm, a caterpillar (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai.8 1934, kailie-; Ork., n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Ayr. 1959). Also fig.; (36) kail-ya(i)rd, †-yeard, (a) a small plot where kail and similar vegetables are grown, a kitchen-garden, esp. of a small cottage. Gen.Sc. For phr. to ca' oot o' a kailyard, see Ca', v.1 IV. 22.; (b) a name applied to a type of fiction, popular in Scotland from about 1880, dealing mainly with rural domestic life, containing a good deal of dialect speech and written in a heavily sentimental vein. The main exponents were “I. Maclaren” (John Watson), S. R. Crockett and J. M. Barrie and the name was apparently coined by W. E. Henley or J. H. Millar, suggested by the line from the Jacobite song “There grows a bonny brier bush in our kailyard”, which gave “Ian Maclaren” the title of his first work, Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush (1894), a typical specimen of the class (Gsw. 1951 G. Blake Barrie and the Kailyard School 16–17). Gen. used attrib. Derivs.: kailya(i)rder, a writer of this school; kailyardish, sentimental; kailyardism, sentimentality; (37) Kilmaurs kail, a strong, hardy type of kail, gen. used for feeding cattle (wm.Sc. 1959); (38) Kilmeny kail, broth made from a rabbit cut in pieces, a lump of pickled pork, and vegetables (Fif. 1929 F. M. McNeill Sc. Kitchen 103); (39) lang-kail, a variety of borecole, also called Great, or Scotch kail, with less wrinkled leaves than the ordinary borecole, and purplish in colour (Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 15, 1808 Jam.); a dish or soup made with this; (40) open-kail, borecole, Brassica sabellica (Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 227); (41) pan kail, = 2. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. c.1890 D. M. Forrester Logiealmond (1944) 146); (42) Pencuir kale, snakeweed, Bistorta bistorta (Ayr. 1886 B. and H. 282); (43) red kail, rid —, = (39); (44) short kale, broth made with cabbage; (45) slake kail, a name given to various seaweeds, Porphyra laciniata or Ulva lactuca (Inv. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIV. 467; Cai. 1959); (46) wil(d) kail, the wild radish, Runch, Raphanus raphanistrum (Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 167).(5) Sc. 1740 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 131:
But hark! — the kail-bell rings, and I Maun gae link aff the pot.
Per. 1775 T. L. K. Oliphant Lairds of Gask (1870) 385:
The Bell on the Kirk of Aberdagie had of old been the Kail Bell of the Lords Oliphant, when they resided at Duplin.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 125:
Lang, lang the laird's kale-bell had rung, And our brose hour returning.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xiv.:
His tongue gaed like the clapper o' a kail bell.
Abd.4 1933:
Said of a loud and constant chatterer, “Lassie, ye've a tongue like a kale bell.”
(6) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 141:
Mony a pickle well butter'd kail bleds I gi'd him.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xvii.:
But the moon, and the dew, and the night-wind, they are just like a caller kail-blade laid on my brow.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. xxii.:
[A] black ram . . . they had laid in Mysie's bed and keepit frae baaing with a gude fothering of kail-blades.
(7) Dmf. 1877 R. W. Thom Jock o' the Knowe 17:
Being ower rash wi' his cutty spoon, Had sca'ded his mouth wi' het kail-broo.
Rnf. 1880 W. Grossart Shotts 203:
A very old custom at marriages was to run a race called “The Broose”, . . . The winner of the race or bruse . . . had a ladleful of kail-broo presented to him.
Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 13:
De wife he ca'd a coolter neb poured a sap o' soor keel breu doon on his heed.
(8) Bnff. 1766 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 566:
The deceased took a very little supper, either of ale-berry or kail-brose.
Rxb. 1815 J. Ruickbie Poems 237:
Stuff my wame wi' guid kail brose. To fleg the caul'.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxv.:
A pot of kail-brose which she herself had hung on the fire.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Dec.) 693:
Their apology for not appearing earlier at the fishing of the ring in the kail-brose.
Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. (1887) 83:
A charter of right . . . upon presenting to the Scottish king when he passed that way, a ram-horn spoon and a dish of Kaily-brose.
Sc. 1873 Trans. Highl. Soc. 310:
Kail brose, or greens boiled and oatmeal stirred into it, formed one of the chief dishes during winter in the farmer's kitchen to a very recent date.
Abd. 1923 B. R. M'Intosh Scent o' Broom 75:
It was coorse words at mornin' and kail-brose at nicht.
(9) Bnff. 1891 A. Gordon Carglen iii.:
Kail-broth . . . brewed from a huge shin or sirloin of beef.
(10) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (9 Dec.):
“Kail casters, kail casters!” Scottie roar'd, “Come, boys, lets pay dem fir dis.”
(12) Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems 7:
Wi' meal-cogs an' kail-cogs For stumpies when they cam'.
(13) Cai. 1842 J. T. Calder Sketches 230:
There was regularly held, after Hallowe'en, what was called a “kail court,” where the detected offenders were punished by fine.
(14) Sc. 1716 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 66:
The bauld Good-wife of Braith Arm'd wi' a great Kail Gully, Came bellyflaught.
Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 408:
There are employed in tillage 100 Orkney ploughs, and two Highland ones . . . The former is of a very singular construction, having only one stilt, a small pointed sock, with a coulter, resembling a kail gully.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vi.:
Heaving over her shoulder a large green-kale gully.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 111:
I wou'd liket just as muckle o't as wou'd made a heft to a kail gully.
Ork. 1914 Old-Lore Misc. VII. i. 33:
A large knife used for butchering pigs and cutting cabbages and hence called the butching-gullie or kale-gullie.
(17) Ags. 1936 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 340:
Since the breaking of bread had been one act performed when Christ's disciples came together on the first day of the week, they would observe this ordinance weekly. Thus began the Love-Feast, the sitting-down after the morning service on Sunday to a common table, which resulted in the name “The Kail Kirk.”
Ags. 1957 Bulletin (25 Oct.) 14:
At the middle of last century, in Arbroath's Kail Kirkie alone, there were around 100 members.
(20) (a) Sc. a.1706 in J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 69:
A Kaill-pot-lid gently to lift.
Sc. 1763 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 579:
Throwing poison into the kailpot of William Roxburgh, weaver in that place.
Sc. 1822 Scott Pirate xi.:
Set ane of their noses within the smell of a kail-pot.
Lnk. c.1850 Rymour Club Misc. (1911) I. 4:
And efter that they skin the cat And plump it intae the kail-pat.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 26:
He'd a heid like a kail-pat.
Cld. 1887 Jam. Add.:
During the reign of Prelacy in Scotland those who would not go to church were called Whigs. And since then, those who stay at home to prepare the family meal, or because they have no inclination for church, are called kail-pat whigs.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (21 Oct.) 4:
His kail-pot swung over a fire burning in his neighbour's property.
Sc. 1950 F. D. Gullen Trad. Number Rhymes 26:
First she got the kail pot, Syne she got the ladle.
Dmf. 1958:
There is a children's game in which they join hands in a circle and try to prevent the “man in the middle” from escaping, to the chant: “The paddock's in the kail-pot An he'll no get oot the day.”
(b) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 253:
This bed is divided into eight parts, the two of which at the farther end of it are called the kail pots.
(21) wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 19:
The yard was awash and roof boulders strewed the kailpatch.
Sc. 2001 Daily Express 3 Feb 12:
It's an attitude which hasn't made the place universally popular - it's also known as Cabbage Town (Baile Chail in Gaelic) [Dingwall] to mark the townsfolk's passion for Kail patches in their gardens to feed their pet pig - but the sense of order is apparent walking down the High Street.
(22) Cai. 1731 D. Beaton Eccl. Hist. Cai. (1909) 147:
T — H —, in Seatter, delated for Kaill-plucking superstitiously on Hallow Eve. . . . J — B —, Conjunct superstitious Kaill-plucker, Cited, Call'd, Compear'd not.
(24) (a) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 17:
He's out in the yard powing Kail runts.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Death and Dr Hornbook xvii.:
When I lookèd to my dart, It was sae blunt, Fient haet o't wad hae pierc'd the heart Of a kail-runt.
Lth. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 148:
Friends that help her in her need, Will mount a kail-runt or rag-weed, And come and see ye.
Fif. 1876 A. Laing Lindores Abbey 389:
Boys . . . filled the house with Smoke, by blowing a hollowed kail-runt, filled with burning tow.
Ags. 1893 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. vi.:
He wad mak' a saunt swear. I hae broken a kail-runt ower the back o' 'im.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 128:
Kail-runts, pulled at random in the dark, symbolised the stature and build of one's future spouse.
Abd. 1928 P. Grey Making of a King 11:
Fancy me in the minister's castock — did ye ca't? Soun's like a kale runt!
(c) Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm I. x.:
Jist Meg Horn, the auld kail-runt.
Ags. 1875 J. Watson Samples 31:
Black coat nor petticoat spare they, Kail-runt or daisy.
m.Sc. 1934 Chambers's Jnl. (Jan.) 5:
The sapless kail-runts of the Senatus.
(25) Per. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (1 July):
A certain constable in the western suburbs of this city, having been under the influence of the “drappie,” a wag took the opportunity to take from his pocket his baton of office, and to substitute a kail shank in its stead.
Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 93:
He meant to go to the Edinburgh Infirmary where they would brak' his leg ower like a kail shank and set her richt.
(26) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 58:
For gif we soud mak ony obstic Our dams wad clank us wi' the kail-stick.
(27) (a) Mry. 1739 Caled. Mercury (29 May):
Miln had a Sword, and Schand said he was sufficient for him with a Kail-stock.
Sc. 1871 C. Gibbon For Lack of Gold I. xviii.:
Others had made tubes of pieces of kail-stocks and filled them with cotton, which they lighted. Then they applied one end of the tube to the keyhole and blew.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xxi.:
She cared no more for Alpin than what she did for a kale-stock.
Gall. 1895 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 42:
The pulling of the kail stock was a part of the [Halloween] celebration now quite obsolete in the parish.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 191:
Tyin' the Kale Stock—For this purpose the young folks went blindfold into the kale-yard, and each one tied his or her garter round the first kale-stock they touched, and the number of shoots on the kastick, which was counted in the morning, was a forecast of the family of the future.
(b) Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xxviii.:
Many, among the kail-stocks and cabbages in their yards, had planted groset and berry bushes.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xx.:
They came stumbling after him in darkness clashing into walls and tripping among kail-stocks.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 33:
Afore shu ever boils a kail stock, shu aye gies him a dad apo da lip o' da tub.
(29) (a) Sc. 1765 Boswell Grand Tour Italy (1955) 263:
Lady Inverness, helping me to soup said, “Are you a kail-supper?”
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary iv.:
Aiken was ane o' the kale-suppers o' Fife.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 519:
One of the “kail sippers” of Fife used to say of his digestive powers — “Never onything fashes my stomach.”
(b) Fif. 1936 St Andrews Cit. (11 July) 3:
He had knowledge of the tenets of the Cameronians, the Morrisonians, and perhaps even the “Kail suppers”.
(30) Ags. 1909 A. Reid Kirriemuir 114:
We'll hae the gully hauden owre the dyke at's wi' a vengeance, an', maybe, some o's'll no' be very kail ticht ir a' be 's dune.
(31) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 233:
My Lord . . . ordered them . . . to come up before his gate, directly the morn about kail-time.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
I got myself sae noutouriously bitchify'd the day after kail-time, that I can hardly stoiter but and ben.
Sc. 1813 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) III. 250:
I am very sorry it will not be in my power to wait upon you again at Kale-time.
Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Tales 68:
The minister dropped in about kail time, as if by accident.
Fif. 1851 R. P. Gillies Memoirs I. vi.:
I'll come at kale-time on my way back.
Ags. 1864 D. Allan Kirriemuir 36:
We have only a love-darg before our hands till kail-time.
(33) Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
Ye wad see twa nicks i' the heart o' me like the mark o' a kail-whittle in a castock.
(34) (a) Sc. 1706 Just Reflections on a Nonsensical Pasquil 8:
I am apt to apprehend that a Kail-wife at Edinburgh hath been his Nurse.
Sc. 1747 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) I. 189:
He had seen him frequently at Deel speed the leers with the Prince, who humour'd the joke so well that they would have flitten together like twa kail wives.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 29:
They began to misca ane anither like kail-wives.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-boat x.:
The King's kail-wife, or, as they call her in London, his Majesty's herb-woman.
Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie liii.:
I promised to tak my dish o' tay wi' auld Mistress Green — the kail-wife, ye ken.
(35) Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 81:
Braid Claith lends fock an unco heese, Makes mony kail-worms butter-flies.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality iv.:
I heard that green kail-worm of a lad name his Majesty's health.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xxv.:
The bonny butterflies begin the warld in the shape o' crawling kailworms.
Ags. 1830 A. Balfour Weeds and Wildflowers 127:
The cabbages are just like ferns wi' the kail-worm.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood x.:
Write it down that Andra Shillinglaw couldna see an honest man beat, and that he didna like kail-worms.
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 30:
Ay, whey. (Mary goes to the bunker) And ye, guid wife. Ye're juist keepin the fire frae the laddie. Hae ye ony kailworms?
(36) (a) Sc. 1706 Lamont Papers (S.R.S.) 321:
He disponed to him the house, kailyaird, kiln and acre of Moninacre.
Kcd. 1712 Urie Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 116:
Noe cottar nor grass man . . . shall not hinder nor impead the entering tennent to labour the emptie ground of ther kaill yeards at Pasch yeirlie.
Sc. 1715 Hogg Jacobite Relics (1819) I. 83:
A wee wee German lairdie . . . And when we gade to bring him hame, He was delving in his kail-yardie.
Ags. 1749 Dundee Charters, etc. (1880) 127:
That piece of ground or kail yard lying at the south-west end of the Bucklemaker Wynd.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 155:
Poor Butterfly! thy case I mourn, To green Kail-yeard and fruits return.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 61:
Those who work as day-labourers, in the capacity of hedgers, ditchers, dikers, village-shoemakers, tailors, wrights or joiners, and the like, have now almost universally little gardens, called kail-yards, attached to them.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xii.:
They . . . had contrived to get feu-rights to their little possessions, their huts, kail-yards and rights of commonty.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 235:
[An] orchard and garden, separated from our kail-yard simply by a gooseberry hedge.
Abd. 1872 W. Forsyth Idylls 167:
Fareweel my auld kail-yard, ilk bush an' ilk tree!
Dmf. 1894 J. Cunningham Broomieburn iii.:
Geordie, ye muckle sumph, ye've letten the auld sow into the kailyard.
Sh. 1952 Shetland News (2 April):
The House of Binnaness, . . . with concrete Boat House, two Piers and Outhouses, partly habitable, Garden and Kaleyard.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 72:
Dae ye think yon Henley kent whit a kailyard wes?
Or aw thir ither expairts frae The Toun,
the Heich-Heid-Criticasters lukkin doun
thair nebs tae snirt et kintra chiels lik us
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 18:
There wis a kailyaird forbye, weel-delled and growthie, wi aa kin o crap, frae green kail tae ticht pirls o sproots.
(b) Sc. 1895 J. H. Millar in New Review (April) 384:
Mr J. M. Barrie is fairly entitled to look upon himself as pars magna, if not pars maxima, of the Great Kailyard Movement.
Sc. 1896 Dundee Advertiser (1 Aug.):
The Kailyard School is quite photographic in its reproduction of Scottish life and character.
Sc. 1896 Westminster Gazette (7 Nov.):
Among its contributors lately has been one of the minor “Kailyairders.”
Sc. 1903 J. H. Millar Lit. Hist. Scot. 657:
The vogue of Mr Barrie's weaver-bodies and elders of the Original Secession was not long in bringing into the field a host of rivals; and the “Kailyard” School of Literature, as it has been termed, presently burst into existence.
Abd. 1923 A. Shewan Spirat Adhuc Amor 235:
It was a fad of the Head's that we should speak with the accent which the Kailyarders call “Englishy.”
Gsw. 1931 N. Munro Brave Days 146:
Finding myself in danger of being regarded as an earnest adherent of the Kailyard School, I switched off.
Sc. 1933 Edb. Essays on Sc. Lit. 156:
It is this overgrowth of sentiment that stifles almost all life in the “Kail-yard” novels.
Sc. 1945 J. M. Reid Mod. Sc. Liter. 17:
The promise of a new “realistic” school of Scots novel writing which showed itself in George Douglas Brown's House with the Green Shutters seemed to have flickered out — to be, in fact, nothing more than a momentary reaction against the false sentimentality of the “Kailyaird” authors of whom Barrie himself had been by far the ablest.
Sc. 1985 Robert A. Rankin in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 1:
John Hay is best known as author of the remarkable book Gillespie, published in 1914 and reissued in 1963 and 1979. This powerful novel of Scottish village life, together with its precursor George Douglas Brown's The House with the Green Shutters, brought about the demise of the sentimental kailyaird school of Scottish authors.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 7 Jan 7:
The turn of the year fairly brings out the kailyard Scots from the woodwork, and we get on radio a near unadulterated diet of Scottish country dance music, pipe music and the old chestnuts of Scottish song: ...
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 7 Jan 7:
But New Year proves annually that kailyardism is alive and well in Scotland, ...
Sc. 1996 Herald 19 Feb 13:
Cashing in on kailyard stereotypes may be the stock in trade for shortbread firms, but selling Scotland on a grander scale, to multi-million pound investors, requires a rather different approach ...
Sc. 1999 Herald 30 Nov 15:
Written in reaction to those working-class Scots comedies in which the wee guy always triumphs, the play was Paterson's attempt at breaking the mould with a full-scale tragedy. He's conscious that in writing a rural tragedy set in the 1930s he lays himself open to the charge of kailyardism, but that's a risk he's prepared to take for the privilege of being emotionally open.
Sc. 2000 Herald 9 May 19:
Translations of Moliere by the late Kemp are successful, if a little kailyardish. They well exploit the comic quality of Scots, its ability to put weighty matters into the language of the streets, which is what Moliere himself was doing.
Sc. 2000 Scotsman 22 Jul 8:
Furthermore, Fergusson wrote about urban life with great confidence, and if he had lived a few years longer he might have developed a model for later Scottish poetry which could have offset the 19th-century tendency towards kailyardism.
Sc. 2002 Sunday Herald 9 Jun 12:
Scepticism is understandable, but misplaced. As Ian Campbell rightly remarks in his excellent introduction to these three books, it is a serious mistake to imagine [John Galt] in the vicinity of the kailyard. Francis Russell Hart wrote (in The Scottish Novel) of an author "as much interested as Scott in the end of the past". More than that, Galt lacked Scott's taste for melodrama.
(37) Sc. 1754 J. Justice Sc. Gardiner 183:
The Kilmaurs Kail are the best of any for boiling in Winter.
Bwk. 1794 A. Bruce Agric. Bwk. 132:
The kind called Kihnaurs, or Scotch kail, are the properest for this purpose [feeding cattle].
Sc. 1803 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 182:
It approaches nearest, to the red curled colewort of Ayrshire, known in the west by the name of Kilmaurs Kail: but it is still more hardy, and of a stronger growth. Where the seeds of it cannot be procured, the Kilmaurs kail is certainly a good substitute, and the best of all our coleworts, for field culture.
(39) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 20:
With crowdy mowdy they fed me, Lang-kail and ranty-tanty.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Grose's Peregr. viii.:
It was a faulding jocteleg, Or lang-kail gullie.
Sc. c.1805–18 Jolly Beggars in Child Ballads No. 279 A. 9:
Out spak our goudwife, an she was not sae shay, He'se gett a dish of lang kell, besids a puss pay.
Sc. 1826 M. Dods Manual (1837) 20:
Popery and made-dishes, eh, Mr Cargill? — Episcopacy, roast-beef and plum-pudding, — and what is left to Presbytery, but its lang-kail, its brose, and mashlum bannocks?
Per. 1845 Royal Caled. Curling Club Annual 82:
The roun' o' beef, in lang kail set, Now smokes upon the table.
Rxb. 1848 R. Davidson Leaves 151:
He ne'er wanted langkail, wi' bannocks and brose.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 141:
Lucky that some fowk cud get plenty o' lang kail an' peel-an' aet potawtos.
Sc. 1905 R. B. Cunninghame Graham, ed. John Walker The Scottish Sketches of R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1982) 41:
In the deserted long-kail patch, heather and bilberries had resumed their sway.
(40) Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 116:
Every cottager has a garden, in which little is planted except potatoes, and sometimes a few cabbages for summer, and, for winter, green or open kail.
(41) Per. 1737 Ochtertyre Ho. Bk. (S.H.S.) 63:
Dinner pan keall.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Pan-kail. Formerly a superstitious rite pretty generally prevailed in making this species of broth. The meal, which rose as the scum of the pot, was not put in any dish, but thrown among the ashes; from the idea, that it went to the use of the Fairies, who were supposed to feed on it.
Per. c.1890 D. M. Forrester Logiealmond (1944) 146:
Lady Katrine of Logie had “pan-kail” on her table almost every day for dinner, — what we call “meal-kail”, i.e. without any butcher-meat in it.
(43) Sc. 1716 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 580:
To William Martine, gardiner, for rid kaill apprysed to six pund Scots.
Ayr. 1733 Sc. Journal (1847) I. 223:
The very bow kail and red kail were smitend by the roots.
Sc. 1773 Sc. Farmer I. 241:
I would advise the red Scots kail, as the most hardy plant yet known in this country.
s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 324:
A wee bit groun', To set red-cail, an' saw a lock Lint-seed upon.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 130:
Common greens or the not too delicate “red kail”, which had latterly become the exclusive perquisite of the bovine race, and seem now to be much neglected as an article of cultivation.
(44) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 177:
Cabbage entered largely into the winter dietary, in such preparations as lang kale, short kale, and tartanpurry.
(45) Inv. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIV. 467:
It is known by the people as slake kail and is considered, when dressed, good in consumption and scrofula.
(46) Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 450:
Annuals infest it, and destroy the crops; of this kind are gule, wild-kail' day-nettle, charlock, mugwort.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 18:
O! never saw thy wil,-kail seed Near by the poet's houseless head.

6. Phrs.: (1) caul(d) kail het again. See Cauld, I. 2. (2); (2) kail an' tartan, cabbage and meal porridge (Rs. 1919 T.S.D.C.); (3) kale out of the water, cabbage boiled without stock, as of bacon or pork (Cai. 1902 E.D.D., Cai. 1959); (4) land of kail, Scotland, where broth is a national dish; (5) to earn (get, mak) saut to ane's kail, to make a living (Ork., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lnk., Ayr., Dmf. 1959), to gie ane saut to his kail, (a) to provide one with a living (Per. 1959); (b) to give one a scolding (Fif. 1959); (6) to get one's (gie one his) kail through the reek, to get (give one) a severe scolding or censure, to get (give one) “what for”. Gen.Sc.; (7) to get or hae ane's kail het, id. (Mry., Bnff., Ags., Per. 1959); ¶(8) to gie ane kail o his ain groats, to pay one back in his own coin, to give one tit for tat. Cf. (10); ¶(9) to hae our (your, etc.) kail through the reek, to quarrel, have a set-to, scold (Cai. 1959). Cf. (6); (10) to ken ane's ain groats in ither folk's kail, to recognise one's own ideas when retailed by others; (11) to lep o' somebody's cauld keil, to take another's leavings, esp. fig. in a love affair; (12) to run or win the kail, to win the race at a wedding. See also Kiles and cf. Broose; (13) to scaud ane's lips (tongue) in (wi') ither folk's kail, to interfere, to meddle, “burn one's fingers,” with other people's affairs (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 191; Cai., Ags., Per., Fif. 1959).(4) Sc. 1826 M. Dods Manual (1837) 140:
In some parts of the “land of kail”, broth made of fresh beef would scarcely be tolerated.
(5) (a) Sc. a.1730 A. Pennecuik Collect. Sc. Poems (1787) 26:
I canna' get salt to my kail.
Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 30:
Ye'll no mak saut to your kail o't. Teachin' here, sir, is awee like sellin' gin — plenty to tak it for naething, but unco few willin' to pay for't.
Sc. 1887 A. S. Swan Gates of Eden ii.:
I'm no that auld nor that failed but I can earn saut to my kail yet.
Fif. 1897 G. Setoun G. Malcolm iv.:
John Murdoch couldna mak' saut to his kail at the loom.
 Gsw. 1904 J. J. Bell Jess & Co. i.:
He's ower fond o' growin' roses an' pansies — a' vera' fine, . . . but no' the kin' o' things that'll gi'e ye saut to yer kail.
(6) Sc. 1705 Atholl MSS. (18 Jan.):
Ther was something in it [a letter] which made her Gr[ace] give my Lord deuk his kail throw the rike.
m.Lth. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 137:
In the days o' lang syne when wi' Jamie MacFeal, I aft thro' the reek frae him got my kail.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxx.:
If he brings in the Glengyle folk, and the Glenfinlas and Balquidder lads, he may come to gie you your kail through the reek.
Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption ii.:
Whan your auntie's in an ill key, she gars folk hear that's no hearknin'; an' ye ken yoursel', if she did nae gi'e you your kail through the reek.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb iii.:
Tam . . . spoke widely of giving the two disturbers of his enjoyment their “kail throu' the reek some day.”
Ags. 1890 Arbroath Guide (4 Jan.) 6:
Gin I dinna gie her het kale through the reek it cheats me.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (22 July):
Jeemson an' da boy wis baith gettin' der kail trow da reek.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood i.:
David Leslie gave the King's horsemen their kail through the reek.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 235:
Everybody that wasn't there got their character, or 'kale through the reek'.
(7) Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxxvi.:
You an' me wull eyther be suppin' oor parritch in Earlstoun kitchen or gettin' oor kale het in anither place, according to circumstances an' upbringin'.
Per. 1894 I. Maclaren Brier Bush 191:
Ma certes, he's had his kail het this mornin'.
(8) Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. v.:
An' how keen ye war tae gie the warlocks kail o' their ain groats.
(9) Sc. 1757 Smollett Reprisal ii. i.:
Traiter me nae traiter, . . . or gude faith you and I maun ha' our kail through the reek.
(10) Sc. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (Ser. 2) 93:
An old lady . . . from whom the “Great Unknown” had derived many an ancient tale, was waited upon one day by the author of “Waverley”. On endeavouring to give the authorship the go-by, the old dame protested, “D'ye think, Sir, I dinna ken my ain groats in ither folk's kail?”
(11) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 107:
Gin I wad lep o' thee cauld keil, I doot no' that wad plais' thee weel.
(12) ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 117:
On coming near the house a few of the swiftest runners of the unmarried set out “to win the kail,” and he or she who did so was the first of the party to be married.
Mry. 1897 C. Rampini Hist. Mry. 310:
About 200 yards from the house the young men [at weddings] formed a line with the object of “running the keal.” This was nothing more than a race. The prize of the winner was a kiss from the bride.
(13) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie cii.:
Settle thysel', Mizy, and dinna scaud thy lips in other folks' kail.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs 5:
Never scaud yer ain tongue wi' ither folk's kail.

[O.Sc. kaill = 1., 1546, = 3., c.1530, kaill-bell, 1685, kaill-pot, 1584, kaitl runtt, 1602, kail-stock, a.1646, kaill wiff, 1569, kailȝard, 1568, O.E. cāl.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Kail n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: