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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MARDLE, n.2 Also mardel; merdle, mairdle; meirdel (Mry. 1825 Jam.). A large number, a crowd, a heterogeneous collection, a swarm (Mry.1 1925; ne.Sc. 1962). [mɑrdl, mer-]Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 131:
Ye see fat it is to hae a freen' i' the coort, man. There was a perfeck merdle o' them aifter't.
Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 74:
There's a mairdle o' fix't knablichs o' steens in't.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (18 Sept.) 8:
In the kirkyaird there's a mardel o' fock that's come fae near an' far.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (19 Sept.):
Nae win'er there's been sic a mardle o' hairy wirms.
Abd. 1993:
A mardle o geets.

[O.Sc. merdale, a collection of camp followers, 1375, Fr. merdaille, a heap of dung. In mod. usage the word has lost much of its contemptuous significance.]

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"Mardle n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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