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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RUMMLE, v., n.1 Also rumle, rummel, rummil; romble, rommle (Sc. 1880 Jam.); rowmil (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); rimil; ¶raymil; rumple-. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. rumble. [′rʌməl]

I. v.

Sc. form of Eng. rumble.wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 32:
Ye'll hae to fill the coffin to the richt wecht wi stanes, but wrap them weill roun in case they rummle.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Bit fyles yer birss begins to rise
An rummlins fae yer thrapple birl
Wi fearsome gurr an feerious dirl
Like thunner rivin simmer skies.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 6:
'Twixt Ruberslaw an Warbla Knowe
Yince, Christopher we'd meet
For ae sicht o' the tither
Asklent burn water rummlin at oor feet!
Ayr. 2000:
Rummle the seed through the seed dressing.

Sc. usages:

1. Combs.: (1) rummlegarie, rumle-, rum(m)el-, rummil-, rumble-, ramble- (Lnk. 1825 Jam.), -gairie, -gar(e)y, (i) adj., wild, disorderly, unruly, having a forward, devil-may-care attitude (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (ii) n., a wild, reckless, headstrong, devil-may-care person, one who acts or talks in an unordered, thoughtless or confused manner (Lnk., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (11 Dec.)); a nonsensical speech (Uls. 1929); (2) rummle-hobble, a commotion, confusion (Per. 1825 Jam.). See Hobble, v., 1.; (3) rummle kirn, see quot. (Kcb.10 1951); (4) rummil-skeerie, a wild, reckless person, a mad-cap (w.Sc. 1880 Jam.; Per., Slg., Ayr. 1968). Cf. (1) and Skeer, adj.; (5) rumble-tumble, rummle-tummle, adj., full of noisy confusion (Ags. 1968); n., a noisy confusion (m. and s.Sc. 1968); also in form rumple-tumple, v., to roll on one's side down a slope in play, n., the game so played. See also Rumtumble.(1) (i) Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 31:
Jouk and his Rumblegare [sic] wife Drive on a drunken, gaming Life.
Ayr. 1795 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 670:
An ill-deedie, damn'd, wee, rumble-gairie hurchin of mine.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. v.:
A rumlegarie, light-headed helleck of a lad like that.
(ii) Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 121:
Come here a' ye young rummel-garies.
(3) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 415:
Rummlekirns — Gullets on wild rocky shores, scooped out by the hand of nature; when the tide flows into them in a storm, they make an awful rumbling noise; in them are the surges churned.
(5) Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 33:
The rumble-tumble flittin' day.
Lnk. a.1885 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) VIII. 307:
When I, a gilpy thing, Did rumple tumple doon the braes.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 189:
'Mang the gowans rant and play At rumple tumple doon the brae.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 5:
an in amangst it
the stuschie
the cullieschangic
the reel-rall
ramress o a fecht,

2. Derivs., ppls. and phr.: (1) rumbled, of masonry or rock: collapsed, fallen in, ruined (Sh. 1968); (2) rumbler, a thick stick which children sit astride to sledge on (Abd. 1926 Buchan Observer (23 April); (3) rummlie, -y, (i) of soil: rough and stony and hence loose and crumbly (ne.Sc., Ayr., Wgt. 1968); (ii) of the mind: disordered, jumbled (Mry. 1968); untidy (Sh. 1968); (iii) combs.: (a) rumlie guff, rummly goff, a rattling, foolish fellow (Ked. 1825 Jam.). See Guff, n.1; a great state of excitement, a frenzy; (b) rummlieguts, lit., one with wind in the stomach; fig., as a term of contempt, a “windbag” (w.Lth., Dmf. 1968); (4) rummlin, ppl.adj., (i) rickety, ramshackle (Abd. 1968). Cf. (1); (ii) applied to a system of drainage by ditches filled with loose stones, instead of pipes or tiles, prob. from the noise of the water passing through. Also in n.Eng. dial. Esp. in combs. rummlin(g)-drain, -syver, a drain or ditch of this description (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov Encycl; 415); (iii) comb. rummling-kirn, a deep narrow gully on the shore into which the tide flows with a loud rumbling noise (Kcb. 1968). Cf. 1. (3); (5) to rummle a spout, to stuff a rain-pipe with paper and set fire to it, so as to cause a loud roaring, as a boys' prank (Mry. 1968).(1) Sh. 1959 New Shetlander No. 51. 14:
The one house . . . its gables rumbled.
(3) (i) Abd. 1952 Huntly Express (1 Feb.):
If the rig was “rummlie”, another stout fellow held down the coulter, two or three tramped, and maybe another two or three handled.
(ii) Abd. c.1930 B. R. McIntosh MS. Verses:
My wits are a' rumlie an' reelin'.
(iii) (a) Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 68:
She wad get intill a great rummly goff an' loup through the garret like ane dementit.
(b) m.Lth. 1955 Bulletin (24 Feb.):
The wheen scipes and rummliegutses wha hae shamit Scotland mair than ance wi their lah-de-dah alien blethers.
(4) (ii) Sc. 1778 A. Wight Present State Husbandry I. 354:
Drains were made in great abundance, such as are known by the name of rumbling sivers, being about three feet deep, three or four feet wide at top, and two in the bottom.
Slk. 1794 T. Johnston Agric. Slk. 48:
The draining ought to be completed, either by wide open casts, or by rumbling syvers.
Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 424:
Rumbling syres. A narrow ditch is cut through a field . . . and two rows of stones, set obliquely, and leaning to each other at the top, are laid along the bottom, like the couples or roofing of a house. There are two and sometimes three rows of these couples, with a flat stone between every two rows. A more considerable stream of water may pass through, in the open spaces.
Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 316:
Very narrow rumbling drains, partly filled with small stones or brush, and finished with a cover of mould.
Mry. 1879 R. Young Annals Elgin 20:
One of the tenants carried away the stones, and used them for making “rumbling drains”.
(iii) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 85:
Auld Borgue I wad adore, Ay, every rummling-kirn about its shore.

3. To make a noise or disturbance; to stump or stumble about in a noisy riotous manner, roister. Obs. in Eng. Ppl.adj. rummlin, boisterous, unrestrained, full of mischief; slap-dash, disordered.Rxb. 1702 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. (1909) 38:
Rumbling up and down the streets and disturbing people in the silence of the night.
Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 10:
Rumbled to ilka Market Town, And drink and feight like a Dragoon.
Ayr. 1723 Ayr Presb. Register MS. (16 Jan.):
All the three rumbled or tripped through the floor as if they had been dancing a reell.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 72:
Whiles rumlin' owre his box't-up pelf.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail ii.:
Claud's a rumbling laddie and needs mair than I hae to gie him.
Fif. 1868 St Andrews Gazette (5 Sept.):
Noo o'er a buffet stool ye rum'le.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 140:
A rummlin' wee peelreestie, Where mischief is, he's to the fore.
Abd. 1948 Huntly Express:
As regards his records of transactions, the average farmer is, to use his own expression, “a bitty rummelin' kin'.”

4. To knock violently or throw stones (at a door) as a prank (Mry.1 1925; ne.Sc., Ags., w.Lth., Dmb., Ayr. 1968). Cf. II. 1.

5. To strike or beat severely (Cld. 1880 Jam.); to jolt, disarrange, handle roughly (m.Sc., Slk. 1968).Gall. 1896 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 55:
He rummelt her, he tummelt her, He gied her sic a blow.
s.Sc. 1937 Border Mag. (March) 48:
To rummle brod, fly auld body, And draw 'Dod's geme o' draughts.

6. To toss about restlessly in bed (Abd., Ags., wm. sm.Sc., Slk. 1968). Obs. in Eng.wm.Sc. 1908 Gsw. Ballad Club III. 58:
But when sea-sickness cools your spunk, And sore ye rummle in your bunk.

7. To stir or agitate violently, to mash (potatoes), to scramble eggs (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Kcb. 1968). Rumbled eggs, scrambled eggs (wm.Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 207). Also in Eng. dial. Vbl.n. rumbling, stirring, agitation, of water, etc., see 1968 quot.Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 83:
She had begun to drain the well before I came, so that the rumbling, (as she called it) was over.
Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Tales 114:
They [potatoes] were beetled, buttered, milked, and ultimately rumbled into the most beautiful and palatable consistency.
Arg. 1882 Arg. Herald (3 June):
I champit them up amangst the rummilt bitatoes.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 117:
He rummled my hass wi' a spune-shank and sweishtered my throat wi' cowstick!
Kcd. 1900 Crockett Stickit Minister's Wooing 318:
“Rummelt tawties”, i.e., a sort of puree of potatoes, made in the pot in which they have been boiled, with sweet milk, butter, and sometimes a little flavouring of cheese.
Sh. 1930 Sh. Almanac 193:
Shü rumbled da tatties i' da pot.
Ork. 1948 Orcadian (May):
I fled awa' tae de hen hoose, an' cam' back an' rummeled twa eggs.
Abd. 1968 Huntly Express (2 Aug.) 2:
“Rum'lin”, that is shaking the tree to dislodge the fruit.

Hence comb. rummle-thump, rummel-, rumley-, rum(m)le-de-, rumblede-, rumplede-, rummelty-, rumblety-, rummlete-, rummilty-; rumilty-dumps (Ayr. 1958), a dish consisting of mashed potatoes with added milk, butter and seasoning (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Ayr. 1958); also mashed potato and cabbage or, less freq., turnip (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 190; Ags. 1880 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264; Ags., Slg., Fif., ‡Ayr. 1968); given also as “oatmeal and fat pudding” (n.Sc. 1921 T.S.D.C.), Skirlie (Ags. 1968).Rxb. c.1800 Mem. S. Sibbald (Hett 1926) 203:
Then there's what folks call “rumblety thump.” . . . I suppose its ca'ed that way, as they're [potatoes] the peel an' eat left fra the day afore an' pet in the pan owre the fire, wi' a bit creeshe, and rumbled aboot to keep fra burning an' shou'd ony stick, the pan gets a bit thump to move them.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 265:
Like the red arm o' a hizzie wi' a beetle champing rumbledethumps.
Ags. 1884 Brechin Advert. (22 April) 3:
When they took the form of “rumley thump,” viz. — being first well mashed, and then a portion of butter and sweet milk put into the pot amongst them, the whole being stirred well with a spirtle.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 258:
He lookit at the fosy monks stechin wi' howtowdies and rumbledethumps.
Ags. 1966 Dundee Courier (15 Dec.):
In Arbroath rumelty-thump was identical with creeshie mealie.

8. To clear or cleanse a narrow passage, esp. of a tobacco pipe, by means of a rod or wire (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Bnff., Abd., Ags., Lnk. 1968).Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 77:
The pipe gaed oot twice afore it could see't, but I rum'led it weel wi' a preen.
Arg. 1882 Arg. Herald (3 June):
Fesh my cutty oot the bual an' a sprit to raymilt.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 249:
He took his pipe, an' begoud to rummil it oot.
Abd. 1900 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (6 Oct.):
Fan the pipe was lichtit, an' rimilled up wi' a preen.

9. To feel in one's pocket for something (m. and s.Sc. 1968); tr. to pick (someone's pocket); in thieves' slang: to rob; to rummage in gen. (Lnk. 1968).m.Lth. 1827 Justiciary Cases (1831) 60:
Thomson asked him to go with him to ‘rumble a cove'.
m.Sc. c.1840 J. Strathesk Hawkie (1888) 79:
She rumbled his pockets in the dark, and decamped with a sovereign.
Lth. 1914 C. P. Slater Marget Pow (1925) 127:
Mr. Forbes needed his hanky, and roused the bairn wi' rumblin' in his pocket for it.
Gsw. 1993 Herald (25 Jun) 16:
Being the type of folk they are, the Glaswegians allowed Ms Atkinson-Griffith to rummle through their canteens of cutlery.
Ayr. 2000:
I don't like folk rummlin through ma stuff.

10. With up, in football: to jostle or charge (one's opponent), to play a rough attacking game against. Gen.Sc.wm.Sc. 1954 Bulletin (2 Sept.) 18:
Cries of ‘rummel-'em-up' or ‘sink the referee.'
Bnff. 1962 Banffshire Advertiser (18 Oct.):
We'll be back in the juniors an' we'll rummel up the Rovers.
Dundee 1992:
Rummle them up!
Sc. 1998 Scotsman (21 Mar) 34:
From time immemorial, sides who are expecting the opposition, in the ancient Border euphemism, to rummle them up, have determined to take the game to the foe up front, ...
Ayr. 2000:
Rummle someone up.
Sc. 2000 Scotsman (4 Apr) 36:
When Walter Thomson ('Fly-Half' of the Sunday Post for more than 50 years) wrote his History of Border Rugby, he gave it the title "Rummle 'em up." And that is precisely what Andy Nicol's team did. They got stuck in, rummled 'em up. It's an old-fashioned idea in these days of scientific coaching and video analysis. But it worked.
Sc. 2000 Herald (30 Oct) 4:
... making selective gallops to assault the battlements of Clyde's lofty defences and rummle up his own attackers.
Sc. 2004 Scotsman (6 Nov) 11:
As against that, Scotland's best - some might say only - chance of winning today might be to revert to some very old-fashioned rugby, seeking to disrupt the Wallabies or, in the old Borders phrase, to "rummle 'em up." Tackle everything, kick the ball high in the air, chase like hell, put the boot to the ball on the ground, and, in short, make it impossible for the Aussies ...

11. To have sexual intercourse with (a woman) (Ayr. 1968).Arg. 1991:
Women attending the ante-natal clinic at Calton Hospital, here, are sometimes known as the 'rummle club'.
Arg. 1992:
Too much rummlin ...

II. n. Sc. form of Eng. rumble.em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 7:
Oceans an bens will flee awa,
Deaved wi the dour trumpet's rummle,
The deid will coor aneath the mools;
The quick in fear will trummle.

Sc. usages:

1. Any movement or action which causes a low, heavy, rumbling sound, a vigorous stir, a rough jolting; a resounding blow or whack (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Sh., Fif., w.Lth., Ayr. 1968; Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s); a rude knocking or beating, a battering (ne. and wm.Sc. 1968). Cf. I. 3.Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xi.:
What a rumble I was going to get, down the brae hurled I like a barrel.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 154:
“Come on an' hae a rum'le at the Pinner's door.” Stones are gathered.
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 117:
Pit the egg in an gie it a rummle roon.

2. Any badly-built piece of masonry such as a wall, a ruin, a pile of collapsed masonry (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 146; Sh., ne.Sc. 1968).

3. Applied as an epithet to anything large, ugly or dilapidated as a room, piece of furniture etc. (Sh., Abd. 1968).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 146:
He lives in a great muckle rummle o' a room, wee a rummle o' a press in ilky corner, an' a muckle rummle o' a kist i' the side o't.

4. Of a person, in a derogatory sense: a large, clumsy “lump”, a rough, reckless, devil-may-care boy (wm. and sm.Sc. 1968), also in comb. rummle dustie; a shabby person (Lnk. 1968).Kcb. c.1930:
Ye'll break your neck, ye muckle rummle (-dustie).
Ayr. 1952 J. Veitch G. D. Brown 25:
Her big rummle o' a laddie.

5. A sudden impetus, a rush (Sh., ne.Sc., w.Lth., Ayr. 1968).Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 125:
San'ers is gran at gien a word o' prayer. A've seen't sometimes jist come on 'im a' in a rummle.

6. A stir-up, mixture, concoction; anything confused or disordered, as a heap of articles, a room, a speech (Sh. 1968). Comb. rummle-up, a medley, a confusion.Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption 166:
A rumble o' glauber salts or jalap.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
The procession was a perfec' rummle-up.
Edb. 1936 F. Niven Old Soldier 208:
Some says a rummle of salt in your mouth [to disguise the smell of drink].

III. adj. Of a drain: filled with broken stone (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Cai., Ayr. 1968).

[O.Sc. romble, a blow, 1375.]

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"Rummle v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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