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.

KILL, v., n.2 Also kyall (Inv. 1911 Buchan Observer (10 April 1962) 7), kyull- (see Kyullt), ‡kyil (Bnff.). Pa.t. kilt (Ags. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck II. iii.; Uls. 1953 Traynor), killt.  Pa.p. kilt, killt

I. v. 1.  As in Eng., to put to death, to slaughter. Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 41:
kilt A past tense of kill: 'Big Gerry hauf-kilt him.'
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 97:
Rab raised himself to his knees. 'God's curse on that loon, Doug,' he snarled, 'he could'a kilt us all!'
wm.Sc. 1988 Scotsman 12 Nov IV:
The farmer said to me: "That's the third cushie that hawk's kilt since yesterday. If you gang up tae the wid you'll see the ither two, wi' the breists eten oot o them."
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 34:
In thae days whuin a collier man
was crusht an killt alow a stane,
the-tyme wi sploongein, swaetie sark,
gurriein, he wrocht at the wark,
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 35:
'Is he deid?' the boy asked.
'Aye,' said the minister. 'I doot the faw has killt him.'

Phrs. and Combs.: (1) killing-claiths, the clothes worn by a butcher in the slaughterhouse; (2) killing-time(s), the name given to the period of the greatest persecution of the Covenanters in 1685, later extended to cover the whole period 1679–1688. Hist.; (3) kill (the) cairter, a strong raw kind of cheap whisky, see Cairter; (4) kill (the) coo or cow, (a) a serious matter, bother, trouble (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Kcb.4 1900; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Arg.1 1936; Ayr., Kcb. 1960), gen. used in neg. sentences; (b) a swashbuckler; ironically, a champion (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. 315).(1) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch v.:
Out flew the flesher in his killing-claiths.
(2) Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remarkable Passages 114:
The Eighty five was ev'n a killing Time.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
It was in killing time, when the plowers were drawing alang their furrows on the back of the Kirk of Scotland.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
The killing time was now nearly over, and those in power were only instituting trials in order to improve heavy fines and penalties.
Sc. 1894 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 310:
One had even endured martyrdom for “Christ's Kirk and Covenant” in the old “killing times”, as they are still called in Scotland.
Sc. 1901 D. H. Fleming Six Saints II. 133:
Modern writers sometimes use the term “Killing Time” as synonymous with the whole period of the persecution. By those who lived through that period, the term was applied to the hottest time of the persecution.
Sc. 1951 Scots Mag. (April) 48:
“The Killing Time” was a terrible yet brave page in Scots history.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 57:
But these were matters for no more than passing comment and the shaping of their own lives absorbed the Blairs' time and energy during the "killing times" elsewhere.
Sc. 1999 Herald 18 Oct 22:
And in the Killing Times, Covenanters were pursued through these hills by Bloody Claverhouse who had set up shop in the Black Bull.
Sc. 2001 Edinburgh Evening News 22 Aug 7:
Bluidy Tam - a direct ancestor of veteran MP Tam Dalyell, - is venerated in Russia for his service to the country, where the 17th century general is best remembered as a courageous and loyal soldier who commanded the Royalist armies in Scotland during the bloody battles of the Civil War and "Killing Times" of later Covenanting rebellions.
(3) Ags. 1848 Feast Liter. Crumbs (1891) 12:
Famed for the quality of its liquors, more particularly for a compound known by the name of “Kill Carter.”
Crm. 1881 Bon-Accord (20 Jan.) 7:
What we want is that “kill the carter” be selt at a penny a glass.
(4) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 188:
The laird, however, partly for the love o' timmer, and partly to lay the axe to the root o' superstition, cut them down. This was reckoned another awful “kill the cow.”
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (26 June) 539:
It was only a sort o' formal jury job, an' the chairge was nae great kill-coo.

Hence agent n. killer, a flat piece of metal about the size of the palm, used in the game of Cundies (see quot.).Ags. (Lochee) 1955:
This was thrown so as to fall on the top of a cundy (street manhole) cover. If this was achieved the player then had to “kill” his opponent's “killer” by throwing his own so as to strike the other. He then threw his own killer from that spot on to the next cundie further along the street and so on till a previously arranged goal was reached.

2. To thrash, beat (n.Sc., Per., Fif., m.Lth., Kcb. 1960), to hurt badly (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Ayr., Kcb. 1960). Vbl.n. killin, a thrashing (Ags., Slg. 1919 T.S.D.C.; Uls.3 1930; m.Lth., Kcb. 1960), Pa.p. kilt, badly hurt. Now only in colloq. Eng. and Ir.Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
The wean's kilt.
Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
If ye come home drounded, yer father will kill ye.
Edb. 1910 Scotsman (6 Sept.):
The master's gied me an a'fu killin.

3. To overcome from weariness (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Wgt. 1960).Sh. 1898 Shetland News (2 July):
We're ower weel, but kill'd wi' wark.

4. Specif. in marbles: to drive marbles out of the ring and so capture them. Gsw. 1870 G. Henderson Recollections (1914) 31:
Irish and English Ringy. The former was the more deadly, and was known as "kill-and-slay-a'-roads".

II. n. 1. “A schoolboy name for a rough, spirited game of any kind” (Sc. 1910 Scotsman (13 Sept.)).

2. = Death, in phr.: to laugh one's kill, to laugh immoderately, “to laugh one's head off.” Also to get one's kill (lauchin) (Abd., Ags. 1960; Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).Abd. 1940 C. Gavin Hostile Shore v.:
Folk would lauch their kill if they thocht ye was sic' a mither's bairn.
m.Sc. 1989 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay The Guid Sisters 30:
Listen til yese hear this. Yese'll git yir kill at it.
Edb. 1993:
Ye get yer kill wi that Joe McBloggs.

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

"Kill v., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: