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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.

MIDDLE, v. Also midle (Slg. 1729 Slg. Burgh Rec. (1889) 205). Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. meddle (Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 29; Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 135; Fif. 1832 Fife Herald (6 Dec.); Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chron. (10 Dec.) 4). Hence middlin, meddling, interfering (Dmf. 1875 P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 17; Fif. 1909 R. Holman Char. Studies 65); middler, one who meddles (Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 8).

Sc. usages:

1. tr. To interfere with, to bother, to harm, to hurt (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.: Sh., m. and s.Sc., Uls. 1962). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1832 H. Smith Poet. Misc. 38:
Although I wouldna meddle thee, More timid ye would need to be.
Lth. 1857 The Misty Morning 18:
He'll bite onybody that wad come to meddle me.
Uls. 1884 Cruck-a-Leachan and Slieve Gallion Lays and Leg. 21:
Shure it's jist as I taul' ye for meddlin' their bank.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders iv.:
Let my hair alane — my hair's no meddlin' you!
Slg. 1929 Scotch Readings (Paterson) 4:
Wha's been meddlin' the wean?
Ags. 1942 Scots Mag. (May) 106:
Ye needna be feared at the cattle-beasts. They'll no meddle ye.

2. tr. and intr. To have to do with (a person or thing), to associate with (Bnff., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1962). Also with up. Hence to middle in wi, in 1922 quot. = to become infected with, to contract (a disease) (Sh. 1962).Sc. 1745 Scott Tales of Grandfather lxxxii.:
I hope . . . you will not offer to middle with any of my men, as we are both designed on the same errand.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 80:
Foul fa' the chiel' wha thinks't a faut, To meddle wi' the juice o' maut.
Sc. 1875 A. Hislop Anecdotes 6:
Frae that day to this I hae never meddlet wi' a probationer again.
Mry. 1888 J. McQueen Beauties 26:
'Twid ne'er cross my lips that he middl't the dram.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xxii.:
I'm no very likely to meddle up with the young leddy.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 114:
I wiss he bena middlin' in wi' da vinster-sickness.

[O.Sc. mid(d)le, mydle, to mingle, associate with, from 1513.]

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



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