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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MELL, v.1 Also mel (Jam.).

1. tr. and intr. To mix, to mingle (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Vbl.n. melling, a mixture, specif. a mixture of light wool with darker (Sc. 1882 Francisque-Michel; Mry.1 1925; Sh., Ags., Edb., Lnk., Uls. 1962). Arch. or dial. in Eng.Edb. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 174:
Complainin' o' ilk triflin' smell, That wi' his steam pretends to mell.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags vii.:
Here ten score King's men melled and married would settle the land.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 36:
Whisky mak's Heaven or Hell and whiles mells baith.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 16:
In room and kitchen pride and plainness mell.

2. To have dealings with, gen. a person, in a friendly manner, to consort with, to live together amicably (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., Ags. 1962).Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 24:
But Diomede mells ay wi' me, An' tells me a' his mind.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Death of Mailie ix.:
But ay keep mind to moop an' mell, Wi sheep o' credit like thysel!
Sc. 1842 D. Vedder Poems 78:
The weel-scented Barber, wha melled wi' the gentry.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 36:
Mell na' wi' rogues that entrap an' inveigle.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems and Sk. 35:
Amang my ain she'll pick an' mell An' sune dae sum'thing for hersel.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 13:
To rive auld hames, 'mang frem to mell.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 24:
It's fain I'd mell wi' tiger and tit.

3. To meddle, tamper or interfere with (Sc. 1808 Jam.), in an unfriendly or undesirable manner (Sh., Kcb., Slk. 1962).Ayr. 1786 Burns Sc. Drink xvi.:
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well, It sets you ill, Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlv.:
If a fule may gie a wise man a counsel, I wad hae him think twice or he mells wi Knockdunder.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 211:
An axe or a hedge-knife would e'en found it hard, To mell wi' the beard o' that bodie.
Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer I. xix.:
Haud oot ower frae the kissin'. I wadna mell wi't.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xliii.:
The Wolf of Drummurchie will carry off no more tender lambs, neither mell with other men's wives any more.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's x. 23:
A fule thinks it's daffin to mell wi' the wrang.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 63:
The King shall hae his richts; but dod! He'll get them when he gi'es me mine, An' mells na wi' the things o' God.

4. In alliterative phrs.: to mak or mell, — and —, meddle —, mess —, mint —, (Mry. 1919 T.S.D.C.), mix — (wm.Sc. 1962), to interfere, to meddle; to mix (with), to have dealings (with); ¶to mell and mend, to set to rights. See also Mak, Mess, Mint.Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxxiv.:
It never will do for the like o' you and me to mess or mell in the matter.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Laird viii.:
Rupees might hae a decency for a neighbour that he was sae blithe to mess and mell wi', either in his ain house or here.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
Gin we war to believe a' 't we hear, there's some fowk wud never mak' nor mell wi' naething less than gentry.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 30:
I wish them success o't wi' a' my heart, But, faith me! I'll meddle nor mell.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 199:
Five years' learning to mess and mell wi' these bit bodies' affairs down there.
Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxiii.:
A' my life I was never a man to make or mell wi' the baptisin' o' laddie bairns.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 27:
I wager yon's the lads to mell And mend sic preachin'.

[O.Sc. mell, to mix, mingle, from 1375, to associate, from a.1600, O.Fr. meller, mesler, Fr. mêler, to mix, blend.]

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"Mell v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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