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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCHULE, n., v. Also sc(h)uil, scule, skule, scöl, skuil, skeul (Ork.); ¶shool; skill; skewl; s(c)kweel, squeel (ne.Sc.); scheel, skeel (nn.Sc.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. school. See P.L.D. §§ 35, 128, 146. [I., m. and s.Sc. skøl, skyl, skjyl, skɪl; ne.Sc. skwil; nn.Sc. skil]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Also attrib. Phr. to learn the schule, to be a pupil at school (ne., em.Sc. 1969). Sc. c.1763 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) XI. 113:
A dominie, man — an auld dominie. He [Dr. Johnson] keepit a schule, and caa'd it an academy.
Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 66:
To the scuil in haste we gaed.
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1813) 10:
But there was ae buck o' a chiel', I think, had been at dancing squeel.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 62:
Ye left him into Kirkland fair, Learning the school alone.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvii.:
I promised to ask a half play-day to the schule.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 135:
But just some idle mornin' strayed Into the schüle.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 33:
He got a job at the Druckendub skule.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 320:
Gin 'e winna voo tae hae wir dialec ta't i' the skeuls.
Mry. 1911 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 106:
School becomes skeel and only sporadically is heard skweel.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 10:
The bairns new oot o' the skuil for leave.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 18:
The weans maun lairn their carritch or they gang Tae Sunday-skill.
m.Sc. 1986 William Montgomerie in Joy Hendry Chapman 46 10:
There's the heidmaister
frae his big schule ower the road.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 50:
Nou coontermandit aw oor unscreivit rules,
dress bi the richt and dinna quote Regulations;
real life is rin bi The Bress frae the Boardin Schuils ...
no bi oor aulder, lowsser congregations.
ne.Sc. 1991 Ken Morrice in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 61:
I ken I'm wearin aul, but I'm nae saft.
No me! I wis tap o the class for sums
and best in the schule at needle-craft.
ne.Sc. 1996 Ronald W. McDonald in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 69:
"Is at richt? Bit oor skewl teacher telt is it wis coorse tae kill whales. Daed ee fire harpoons at e puir whales?"
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Scunnert they ur. Cannae say A blame them,
Of course ye want tae keep yer ain schuils,
Yer ain hospitals, yer railways. An watter - whit next?
A could fill a bucket on ma ain windae sill
It's wur watter.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 95:
'Just awa tae see an auld schule pal I promised tae look up,' Jimmy replied.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 50:
In schules, guid-learnin is nae langer taucht,
Bit houghmagandie, merketin,
Industrial pedagogy o reality;
Moral sweirty,
Musical snoozlin.

2. †A class-room. In St. Andrews University: a lecture-room. This term became obs. but was revived about 1940.Sc. c.1754 R. G. Cant Univ. St. Andrews (1946) 91:
Opening off this arcade were certain classrooms or “schools”.

3. Combs.: (1) High School, see article s.v.; (2) school board, -boord, -brod, a publicly-elected body set up in each parish or burgh in Scotland by the Education Act of 1872 and charged with the provision of universal elementary education within its bounds. The Boards were abolished in 1918 to make way for local Education Authorities. Hence school-board officer, the official who attended the School Board at its meetings, supervised attendance of children and summoned defaulting parents, locally and familiarly the School Boordie; (3) schule-callant, a schoolboy; (4) schoolchamber, the accommodation reserved for the parish schoolmaster, his dwelling-house or living room; (5) school-doctor, see Doctor, n., 1.; (6) school-fere, a school-mate, fellow-pupil. See Fere, n.1; (7) school-freed, of children before the passing of the Factory Acts: exempted from work in order to attend school; (8) schule-fule, a pupil made the butt of the ridicule of his fellows; (9) schule-gien-up, the giving-up of the school, the break-up of school for the summer holidays; (10) schule-laddie, a schoolboy; (11) schule lair, — lear, schooling, education. See Lair, n.3; (12) schule maister, a schoolmaster. Gen.Sc. Dim. familiar form schooldie, id. (Abd. 1928); †(13) school meal, a payment in oatmeal formerly made towards the remuneration of the parish schoolmaster (see quots.); (14) schule paet, a peat brought every morning for the school fire by each pupil as part of his school-fees (Sh., Ork. a.1900); †(15) school-penny, a tax levied for the upkeep of a parish school; (16) school-piece, a snack taken to school; †(17) school wages, school-fees, the charge paid by parents for the education of their children. See Wage; (18) schule wean, a school child (wm., sm.Sc. 1969).(2) Sc. 1872 Act 35 and 36 Vict. c. 62 § 8:
Within twelve months after the passing of this Act a school board shall be elected in and for each and every parish and burgh.
Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (19 Feb.) 22:
I widna like to be a servant to sic an ill-greein set as the members o' the Squeel Brod are.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 143:
When the School Board had him up before them for not sending his bairns to the new school.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
Da Eddication Scotlan' Ack, Schule Brods, an' compulsary rules!
Sc. 1910 J. Kerr Sc. Education 300:
Unfortunately the school-board's love for higher edueation was not strong enough to cast out their fear of the ratepayer.
Abd. 1913 Buchan Observer (28 Oct.):
There are many people who are not enamoured of the “School Board English” now insisted on as the correct and only substitute for native speech.
Sc. 1946 A. J. Belford Centenary Handbook E.I.S. 147:
For the administration of national education the Act [of 1872] created a new central authority (the Education Department) and local authorities (School Boards). Education in each district was to be managed by a school Board to be elected triennially by all persons whose names were on the Valuation Roll as owners or occupiers of property of the annual value of £4.
Inv. 1950 Highland News (21 Oct.):
An Attendance Officer (in my youth he got the title of “School Boordie”).
(3) Edb. 1851 A. MacLagan Sketches 19:
The schule-callants, in roarin' crowds.
(4) Bnff. 1715 R. Sim Old Keith (1865) 48:
The Strathdone Rebells . . . robbed the School Chamber, and carryed of many things.
Abd. 1718 A. Jervise Epitaphs (1879) II. 61:
The “schoolchamber” was partitioned off from the school and made into a separate apartment.
(6) Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. i.:
My ain auld school-fere, proud Johnie Paul.
(7) m.Lth. 1842 Children in Mines Report II. 451:
I know the colliers' children are school freed, but very few attend after work.
(8) Fif. 1882 S. Tytler Scotch Marriages II. 149:
He was making another “schule-fule” of his sister Rachie.
(9) Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (6 March) 364:
It was like the schule-gien-up — lookit forrit to an' weariet for.
(10) Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 497:
Some schule-laddie passin' by.
(11) Rnf. 1895 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 158:
Schule lear noo we get frae the nation.
Gall. a.1897 Rab Ringan's Plewman Cracks 9:
I had but a sma sclatch o' schule-lair.
(12) Lnk. 1838 J. Morrison McIlwham Papers 12:
Nicely steerin' yer veshel atween what the schule-maister ca's “Silly” an' “Curruptus”.
Hdg. 1876 J. Teenan Song 22:
O' schulemaisters an' ministers.
Arg. 1912 N. Munro Ayr. Idylls 10:
A hectorin', conceited schulemaister, still drum-majorin' bairns.
Abd. 1926 Trans. Bch. Field Club XIII. i. 6:
That's the skweelmaister.
s.Sc. 1930 Border Mag. (August) 117:
Wi' your skuil-maister's heid, an' your pensive like luik.
(13) Bnff. 1714 W. Cramond Ch. Rathven (1885) 41:
The schoolmaster, who is also precentor and session clerk, had a furlet of meal, commonly called the scool meal, out of each plough of land in the parish.
Cai. 1773 Session Papers, Sinclair v. Sinclair, State of Process 12:
He pays a half peck of school-meal out of each halfpenny land he possesses.
(15) Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 517:
To his immediate landlord or to his superior, he owes scatt, land-tax, land-maills, school-penny and bawkhens.
(16) Abd. 1993:
I aye cairriet ma school piece in ma bag.
Sc. 1994 Herald 19 Sep 9:
She spent much of her childhood in Linlithgow, my mother, helping her uncle the baker to draw the little brown sugar feathers on fern cakes, clambering over the walls that once sheltered the birth of Mary Queen of Scots, throwing the remains of her school piece to the queenly swans.
Sc. 2004 Edinburgh Evening News 6 May 26:
"For my school pieces I got cheese wrapped up in greaseproof paper, which was mortifying!"
(17) Rxb. 1703 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1909) 42:
To Master John Purdom for poor boyes schoolwages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£3 18s.
Ayr. 1726 Ailsa Collection MSS. (5 Dec.):
Received from John Bowslone in name of Sir John Kennedy of Culean paynt of Mr. Kennedy his board and school wagges.
Dmb. 1792 T. Watson Kirkintilloch (1894) 62:
School wages for children . . . . . . . . .10s.
Dmf. 1819 A. Steel Annan (1933) 202:
The school wages should continue as at present, 5/3 (per quarter) for those who reside within the burgh Royalty and 10/6 for those residing without the Royalty.
Ayr. 1854 Maybole Ragged School Minute Book MS. (18 April):
Widow Tait appeared, a widow who has two children at the school but unable to pay the past arrears of school wages. . . . It is agreed that the arrears of wages be forgiven.
Sc. 1864 Carlyle Frederick xv. iii.:
He will have to pay his school-wages as he goes.
(18) Gsw. 1832 W. Motherwell Poems 37:
Whene'er the scule-weans, laughin' said, We cleek'd thegither hame.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 77:
Feint o' me's gaun to be a nicht nurse to strip a' the schuil weans i' the toon.
Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 349:
Roarin' like only schule-wean on his hunker.

II. v. As in Eng. Combs. schulin' broad, a school slate; schooling frock, a girl's school dress.Kcd. 1856 W. Jamie Jacobite's Son 140:
As if he was castin' an eight figure on a schulin' broad.
Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 16:
She's but a bairn, ye gowk, And barely cast aside her schooling frock.

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"Schule n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Feb 2024 <>



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