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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

THRUMMLE, v., n. Also thrummil; thrimmel, -le, thrimal. -le, thremml; thrimble. [θrʌml, θrɪml]

I. v. 1. (1) tr. To press, squeeze, wrap up closely; fig. to involve; with on: to push, force, foist (something) on (someone). Arch.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 102:
The country hated my hard gripping way, And thrummled a' ill bargain on me aye.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 59:
Wee Tiddle-Toddle Thrimmelt in the claes, Castin' aff the blankets To your very taes.
Lnk. 1929 Scots Mag. (March) 455:
Tholin' the ane and thrimmelt wi' the ither.

(2) intr. To push, jostle, or squeeze one's way through a crowd or the like (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl., thrimal; n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 92:
Wi' gryt hamstram they thrimbl'd frae the thrang.

2. Specif.: (1) tr. (i) to press or rub between the fingers, to get a grasp of or draw (an object) towards one by fumbling or groping, to finger or handle in an awkward or excessive manner (sm.Sc., Slk. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb., Dmf. 1972), also in n.Eng. dial.; to let something, esp. money, pass through the fingers in small amounts; to strum on (a musical instrument) (Watson). Ppl.adj. thrummelt, tousled, rumpled with fingers.Abd. 1729 Third S.C. Misc. II. 152:
She kept him 6 or 7 minutes while she thrimbled off a strait glove.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 36:
And taylors, fain the gear to thrimmle Of coward coofs.
Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 97:
Whate'er he thrimml's fae his pouch, It's ay the hinmost shot.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 169:
The chanter he cou'd thrimmle weel, Wi' gleesome speed.
Dmf. 1873 A. Anderson Song of Labour 117:
Then she thrummels the leaves o' some aul' tatter'd book.
Ags. 1879 D. M. Ogilvy Poems 127:
There's a giggling gawkie wha thrimmles the cheese.
Kcb.4 1900:
He thrim'les lang wi' the siller before he cud think to pairt wi't.
Abd. 1904 Wkly. Free Press (17 Sept.):
They ken th' wye to thremml th' bawbees oot o' folk.
Bnff. 1954 Banffshire Jnl. (19 Jan.):
Her towsy, thrummelt heid an' her sinbrunt, crunkelt face.
Kcd. 1958 Mearns Leader (5 Sept.):
He hed again tae thrummle the fussle oot o's breeks pooch.

(ii) transf.: to squeeze out or produce (a thought, idea, etc.) by dint of much rummaging in one's brains.Bnff. 1954–6 Banffshire Jnl. (20 July, 25 Dec.):
I'll gie my aul' harns a steer up and see gin I can thrummle oot a fyow swatches o' weather lore. . . . Fin some lang-heidet, brainy kine o' a lad wid thrummle the idea oot o's heid for the makkin' o' a tattie-howkin' macheen.

(2) intr. To fumble or grope with the fingers (Abd. 1791 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.); to work the fingers awkwardly or in a cramped manner (Abd. 1929); to drum or strum nervously (Id.).Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 289:
I' the forenights, a' the hale winter roon', I thrimml'd away at the spinning o't.
Abd. 1885 J. Scorgie Flittin' Noo 23:
Yestreen thro' some bit books I thrummel't.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 17:
He steid an' glowert a fylie, syne he thrummelt in his pooch.

3. To cause the feet to patter.Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 285:
When Yeddie play'd up, how they caper'd an' lap, They thrimml'd their feet a' sae tightly

II. n. A fumbling touch or groping action.Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 22:
The deil be here gin thae auld fizenless fingers come to grape among my taes; the very thrimble o' them would gie a body's feet the cramp.

[O.Sc. thrimler, a pusher, a thruster, 1500, thrimbil, to press, squeeze, 1513, to crush in a crowd, 1589, freq. form of Mid.Eng. and E.M.E. thrum, to compress, crowd in, cram, now obs., ? from O.E. þrymm, a host, multitude, cogn. with Mid. Du. drom, pressure, squeezing, drommel, a crush or crowd of objects.]

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"Thrummle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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