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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WARLD, n. Also waurld (Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.); worald (Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 210), woorld (Lnk. 1947 G. Rae Sandy McCrae 4), woarlt, warlt, wurld, worlt (Slk. 1889 Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 562), worilt (Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Confessional 170); ¶wairld (Bnff. 1871 Banffshire Jnl. (19 Dec.) 9); warl(e) (Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 75; Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Confessional 173; ne.Sc. 1973), worl, wurl (Uls. 1879 “Robin” Hum. Readings 84–5, Uls. 1973); and met. forms wardl(e) (n.Sc. 1774 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 328; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 207; ‡ne.Sc. 1973); wordl(e) (Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 107; ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 15; Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cheengefu' Wordle 21). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. world. [wɑrl(d), wɔrl(d); ne.Sc. + wɑrdl. See D, letter, 2.]

1. Sc. formsne.Sc. 1979 Alexander Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 70:
Here wi a heidache, I
- and outbye thonder,
the warld that aches
aa owre.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
A Warl oot o reel - as menseless
as a hure in a hurly.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 43:
Ah jist maun trust that those who ken me best
Ken better than Ah'd act oot o' self interest.
A' the glisterin' riches in the warld mean nut a thing tae me.
Ah'm the last wan tae get dazzled by their glamourie.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 25:
and tae gie til the warl syne
that rissom o aefauld experience
nae ither hais, or can hae. And it's a sair fecht.
Sc. 1991 R. Crombie Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 28:
Warlds frae the lyft hae fled, an sterns gane black
Sen yesternicht, bot anely God can read
In the derkened universe o my tuim hert
What galaxies He ended whan you deed.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 31:
In siccan a dreech ootlin orrie airt
ane wurld an groo but growthieness
that skyles in aa its sairie stanes
or the groo gangs lirt i the luft
sae nane may lippen ont.
m.Sc. 1991 Ronald Stevenson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 70:
The warld hes gane tae gowd;
for ower lang
the skinklan sun caresst
the leaf, the boucht.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
Cam ye fae some idder warl,
Mysterious, oonchancy cat,
A speerit-craiter athoot faat,
To me, a feel, roch human carl?
m.Sc. 1997 Tom Watson Dark Whistle 54:
Ahint his een
Glowers great stramash, oor sair
Forfochten warld.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 3:
This is thon warlt's end. We winna pairt
Here at the endless tryst o watter an scaur.
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 54:
For mony a wan haes slep' face tae the table,
hale crews in scaly boots an skins awa
intae that blissfu warld where there's nae herrin,
nae boats, nae buyers, naethin real at a.
Sc. 2002 Sunday Herald (29 Sep) 8:
The leid that gied the warld its unofficial anthem, Auld Lang Syne, ...

2. Sc. usages (1) In possess. case without the article: temporal, earthly, worldly. Obs. in Eng. since 17th c. Freq. in phrs. warld's gear, worldly goods (Sc. 1825 Jam.), for warld's gear, for all the world, nae warld's gear, nothing of any kind, nothing at all (Ib.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 36:
'Tis true, she had of warld's gear a fraught.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To Mr J. Kennedy iv.:
Now if ye're ane o' warl's folk, Wha rate the wearer by the cloak.
Sc. 1788 Poet. Dialogues 1:
We're a' concerned for warld's gear.
Ayr. a.1796 Burns Now Bank and Brae ii.:
The chield wha boasts o' warld's wealth.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
Add not loss of lives to the loss of warld's gear.
n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
I didna taste warld's gear; there was nae warld's gear in the glass but cauld water.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
Aw wudna tell't to my nain sister for warl's gear.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (31 March):
Der no world's gaer 'at we can offer dem.

(2) in pl.: things in gen., the state of affairs, one's circumstances, esp. in phrs. in quots. below (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 207; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.).Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xiv., xvii.:
It's braw wardles wi' them 't disna need to fee. . . . It'll be cheeng't wardles an' he binna able to haud's nain.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 77:
It's chang't wardles bye's fin' we cud get a poun' the quarter for wir corn.

‡(3) Worldly wealth, riches (Sh., Cai., Mry., Abd. 1973).Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 47:
Du's gaen ta hae plenty o' da warld . . . horses, kye, sheep, and plenty o' a'thing.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton xi.:
Scrapin' an' hoordin' up the wardle t' the like o' Mains.

3. (1)

Sc. combs.: (i) warld-like, (a) normal in appearance, like anyone else (Sc. 1825 Jam.), freq. in phrs. weel or wise and warld-like, warld(-like) and wise-like, normal physically and mentally, in full possession of one's powers and senses, commonly applied to a newly-born infant (ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Lnk., Dmf. 1973). See also (2) (iv); (b) avaricious, greedy, worldly (Abd. 1930, wardle-like); (ii) warl's ferlie, an out-and-out miracle; (iii) world's föl, a very silly person (Sh. 1973); (iv) warld's make, one's earthly partner, freq. in ballad usage. See Make, n., 2.; (v) warld's waster, a complete spendthrift (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (vi) warld's wonder, -wunner, one whose conduct is notorious and surprising (Sc., Abd. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Ork., ne., em.Sc. (a) 1973), an object of scorn and derision, or of wonder (ne.Sc. 1973); (vii) warld's wark, life, the business of living; (viii) warld's worm, a miser, a niggard (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. X. 196).(i) (a) Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 14:
She wou'd speir gif he cou'd tell Gif Cain's mark was warl' like?
Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen IV. i.:
Ane o' the family keeping sae muckle out o' the wye, as gin she wasna wise an' warld-like.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. ii.:
Wha ever saw ane of the race that was na warld like?
Fif. 1844 J. Jack St Monance 89:
Things meikle waur may come to ane's house than a warlt-like wean.
Ags. 1887 Brechin Advert. (26 April) 3:
Juist as “wise an' warld-like” an' a fell bittie healthier an' hardier nir we are the day.
Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Witch-Wife ii.:
Sibbie was not merely “world and wise like,” as well-favoured as the better looking of her neighbours.
Gall. 1905 E.D.D.:
A ‘warl-like baby' is a baby like other babies, without any peculiarity at its birth.
Abd. 1969:
It daesna maitter if a bairn's bonnie or no, if it's weel and warl'-like.
(ii) e.Lth. c.1910 J. P. Reid Skippers' Daughters 154:
It'll be naething short o' a warl's ferlie gin I ever clap een on Sandy again.
(iv) Sc. 1783 The Twa Sisters in Child Ballads No. 10 B. xiv.:
Foul fa the han that I should tacke, It twin'd me an my wardles make.
Sc. 1830 Tam Lin in Child Ballads (1956) I. 353:
The grip ye get ye maun haud fast, I'll be your warld's make.
(vi) Sc. 1727 A. Pennecuik Poems (1750) 67:
Beagles will harle me by the Gown, A Warld's Wonder thro' the Town.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 20:
To be set up like a warld's wonder on their cock-stool or black stool.
Abd. p.1786 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 106:
To mak a warld's wonner o't as ye hae dane.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
It's an unco thing that decent folk should be harled through the country this gate, as if they were a warld's wonder.
Ags. 1857 “Inceptor” Tom of Wiseacre 90:
They wad just make a warld's wonner o' ye leavin' Burneside.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 20:
'Twas thocht a warl's wunner an' fowk cam' fae far an' wide.
Mry. 1929 J. Ross Earnside 6:
I aften pray'd to be released Frae bein' a warl's wonner.
(vii) Sc. 1843 Willie Armstrong i. ii.:
I'm meikle mista'en gin ye hae na monie years' warlds-wark to gie through wi'.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 29:
Dis warld's wark nae mair I'll toil at — I die for love o Sibbie Guljet.
(viii) Slk. 1832 Fraser's Mag. (Sept.) 162:
The auld warld's-worm! I hated her.

(2) Sc. phrs. (see also (1) above): (i) abuin the world, in state of great elation, in the seventh heaven of delight; (ii) a' the warld, (a) infinitely, to the greatest possible extent, in the highest degree. For 1902 quot. see Mak, v., 12.; (b) the final square in the game of hop-scotch; (iii) clear of the warld, free from debt; (iv) like the warld, like everyone else, normal. Cf. (1) (i) (a); (v) — of the warld, an intensive phr., implying the best — in the world. Obs. or arch. in Eng. Also in Ir. dial.; (vi) the warl o' wig-wag, “this state of being, this world of sin and shame” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 462); (vii) to tak the warld by speed o fit, to get on in the world in a hustling pushing manner, to get rich quick (Abd. 1930); (viii) to take the world for one's pillow, to go out into the wide world, to leave one's home and become a wanderer, corresp. to Gael. gabh an saoghal m' a cheann; (ix) what in the worl's earth, what in the world, what on earth?(i) Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 6:
A was abuin-the woarlt! A was naether ti haud nor ti binnd!
(ii) (a) Kcb. 1896 A. J. Armstrong Kirkiebrae 49:
I'm sure we'll be a' the worl' obleeged to ye.
Abd. 1902 Abd. Wkly Free Press (20 Dec.):
It's jist th' clemat o' a place 't mak's a' th' wardle.
(b) Ags. c.1850 A. Reid Kirriemuir (1909) 400:
The pavement or ground was marked off so: —. . . the divisions being termed “Firsty, secondy, thirdy; kittlety dum, scum; Palaly, A' the Warld.”
(iii) Ags. 1846 A. Laing Wayside Flowers 18:
Clear o' the warld, an a' cantie an' weel.
(iv) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 34:
I wad rather see the wean gin it be ony thing wally and like the warld.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 45:
Is it [a new-born baby] like the worl'? . . . Is it tongue-tackit?
(v) Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 73:
To gang alang the Gallowgate on a Saturday afternune and hearken to the rippitin' randies and dyvors is juist the sport o' the worl'.
(viii) n.Sc. 1901 N. Munro Shoes of Fortune xvii.:
I was outlawed for a deed of blood and had taken, as the Highland phrase goes, the world for my pillow.
(ix) Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 103:
What i' the warld's earth are ye to do wi' a labster?
n.Sc. 1928 Gallovidian Annual 91:
Fat i' the worl's airth wad mak' them come this time o' night?

(3) Sc. derivs.: (i) warlish, worldish, worldly. Obs. in Eng. since 14th c.; able to transact business, with all one's wits about one (Uls. 1953 Traynor, warlish); (ii) warldlie, -y (Sc. 1791 Tam Lin in Child Ballads (1956) I. 344, 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xxiii.; Bwk. 1851 A. Steel Poems 373; ne.Sc. 1888 D. Grant Keckleton 14; Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs 12), warlie, -y, wardly (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 83; Wgt. 1885 G. Fraser Poems 64), worldly, of this world; grasping, money-grubbing, greedy (Sc. 1825 Jam., warldlie; Uls. 1929). Also adv. Comb. wardly-wary, worldly wise (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (iii) warldling (Edb. 1801 H. MacNeill Poet. Wks. II. 67), wardling (Sc. 1828 Descr. Sk. Curling 25), warldin (Clc. 1850 J. Crawford Doric Lays 48), warlin (Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 45; Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 187; Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 258; Bwk. 1863 A. Steel Poems 49; Kcb. a.1902 Gallovidian No. 59. 108; Abd. 1973); wordlin (Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 21), worlin(e) (Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 327, 1871 H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. I. 174), a worldling, a mean grasping person.(i) Dmf. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 207:
Till I the warlish gumshon learn O' getting clockin' placks wi' bairn.
(ii) Ayr. 1785 Burns To J. Lapraik xx.:
Awa, ye selfish, warly race!
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xlii.:
I was anes better off, that is, warldly speaking.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 82:
In short she is a warlie wretch; A jealous greedy graceless b — h .
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 497:
But Luckie was wily, and Luckie was war'ly, She ettled to cleek in a wealthy auld carlie.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vii.:
War'dly, time-servin' characters.
Dmf. 1910 R. Quin Borderland (1933) 62:
Wi' just aneuch o' wardly pelf Tae keep ye on the causey.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs 12:
He isna rich in warldly gowd.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Rhymes of a Besom Man 85:
I hae na muckle warly gear.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Fin I'm owercome wi warldly care
An dwine in dark despondency,
Ye'll come, ma cat, an purr to me
Yer three-threids-an-a-thrum I'll hear.

[O.Sc. warld, 1375, wardill, 1525, warldly, a.1400, wordyll, 1578.]

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"Warld n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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