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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.

UILIE, n., adj., v. Also uily, uilyie, ulie, ullie, ul(e)y, uly(i)e, ulzie; oolie, ooly, oulie; üli, üiley, ül(l)ie, ulie, öli(e), öllie, öly (Sh.), eul(l)ie (Ork.); olie, ule-; yulie (Sc. 1845 Sc. Farmer (Aug.) 251); yewly (Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Days and Nights 16), and, with influence from Eng., oilie, oily (Ags. 1873 T. Watson Poems 201), oylie (Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen III. v.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. oil (Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 16, oolie; Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186, ulzie, Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 45, ouly; Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary x., ulyie; Ags. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (3 June, 28 Oct.) ulie, Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 590, oulie, Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of Glen 95, ulie; Fif. 1873 J. Wood Ceres Races 27, Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 69, üiley; Ork. 1905 W. T. Dennison Wedding Customs 34, eullie; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 273; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Sc. 1947 D. Young Braird o' Thristles 46, ulyie). Now obs. or arch. For other Sc. forms see also Eelie, Ile. [′øl(j)i; ′uli, †′juli]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Sc. ‡combs.: (1) Ulzie Ball, see quot.; (2) öllie bunkie, øli-, a tub-shaped vessel for holding oil (Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 34, Sh. 1973). Cf. Sh. Norn bunki, a wooden bucket; (3) üllie collie, an oil lamp (Sh. 1973). See Collie, n.2; (4) uilie-cruisie, id. (Sc. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 348; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 273). See Cruisie; (5) øli hoilk, a wooden oil vessel broader at the bottom than the top (Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 34). See Huilk, n.; (6) ulie kig, an oil barrel (Sh. 1973). See also Kig, n.; (7) uilyie lamp, an oil lamp (Sh. 1973); (8) u(i)ly-pig, = (6) (Sh. 1973). See Pig, n.2; (9) øli poitik, -pootyek, id. (Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 34); (10) uley pot, id. (Sh. 1973); (11) øli roobel, = (5) (Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 34); (12) øli truggel, a vessel for holding liver-oil (Ib.) (Sh. 1973).(1) Per. 1939 L. Melville Land of Gowrie 163:
The Ulzie Ball was held annually at Longforgan about the end of March. During the winter, the weaving had to be done in the evenings, by the light of the cruisie, and the ball took place as a sign of rejoicing that work could now be finished by daylight. . . It was discontinued about 1850.
(2) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (13 Nov.):
Da öllie bunkie 'ill be rinnin ower wi küddie bi dis time.
(3) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 28:
Noo we hae na da blink o' a üllie collie.
(4) Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 235:
Poet courtin at his musie Owre thee, thou ancient oulie cruisie?
Sc. 1895 R. Ford Thistledown 294:
In the light of the “oilie cruizie”.
(6) Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 593:
A drap o' hey bru in a ulie kig.
(7) Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm xiv.:
Daur ye say I dinna ken hoo to trim an uilyie lamp?
(8) Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 97:
Not uly-pig, nor master-cann But weel may gie Mair pleasure to the ear o' man Than stroak o' thee.
Lth. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 74:
Sauce-boats, saut-fits, oily-pigs Cups for boil'd or roasted eggs.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 95:
There's naething comes out o' an oulie pig but an ill smell.
Abd. 1882 G. MacDonald Castle Warlock liii.:
The auld tale o' the meal-girnel . . . hit 'at never wastit, ye ken — an' the uily-pig an' a'.
(10) Sc. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 348:
Oil, in common Scotch, used always to be ule, — as the uley pot, or uley cruse.

2. An oil lamp.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) Il. 122:
Fraser's ulie tint its light.

II. adj. Oily, greasy (Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Days and Nights 16; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973), orig. from attrib. use of the n.Sh. 1898 Shetland News (20 Feb.):
Hit'll only dü wis gude sittin' i' da ölie 'oo'.

III. v. To oil, grease, lubricate.Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (April) 296:
The rousty lock was ullied weel.

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"Uilie n., adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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