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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WHEEZLE, v., n. Also wheasle, whesel; weezle (Kcd. 1950); whaisle, whaizle, whezzle; whaz(z)le, -el, whaazle, whauzle, whasle; whassel(l), whaussell (Sh.); whoz(z)le, whosle; whuizle (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); and reduplic. form whassl-whiezl (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). The freq. forms are chiefly Sc. and n.Eng. [ʍi:zl, ʍɑ:zl, ʍǫ:zl, ʍezl; Sh. ʍɑsl. See etym. note.]

I. v. To wheeze, to breathe hard with a dry rasping sound, as in asthma or catarrh, to pant (Sc. 1808 Jam., whaisle, whosle, a.1813 A. Murray Hist. Eur. Langs. (1823) I. 452; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 253 whausle; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson, wheezle). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Freq. in ppl.adj., vbl.n. wheezlin.Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 28:
Ye wou'd hae hard the peer bursen belchs whoslin like a horse i' the strangle.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Farmer's Salutation x.:
But sax Scotch mile thou try't their mettle, An' gart them whaizle.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun 42:
Though whozzling sair, and cruppen down.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 150:
Down frae the sky as fast's he can Comes whazelin' and hurlin'.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 190:
Glee'd, wheezlin' Bauldy Lawson.
Ags. 1850 A. Laing Wayside Flowers 80:
He . . . hurklit down, an' hostit syne, An' whaisl't a' forfoughten.
Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 12:
Listen to the wheezlin' in its puir wee breast.
Sh. 1927 Shetland Times (3 March):
Da whassellin is geen trow da night.
Abd. 1963 J. C. Milne Poems 139:
A whazzlin in ma breist.

Comb. wheasle-reed, a reed pipe.w.Sc. 1929 R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 37:
We heard, doon Ghyll, October blaw On wheasle-reed an' fisslein'.

II. n. A wheeze, hard rough breathing (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 171; Sh., ne.Sc. 1974); also in n.Eng. dial.; in pl. with def. art.: asthma, bronchitis (wm.Sc. a.1859 Poets and Poetry Scot. (Wilson 1877) III. 174; Ork., n., em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc., Wgt. 1974). Derivs. ¶wheezloch, in horses: wheeziness, broken-windedness; wheezley, wheezy, asthmatic.Sc. c.1700 in R. Chambers Sc. Songs (1829) I. 302:
She had the fiercie and the fleuk, The wheezloch and the wanton yeuk.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) xx.:
My voice went away to a perfect wheezle.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 387:
Those [horses] which breathe quick, which have a kind of asthmatic wheezle.
Ags. 1827 Justiciary Reports (1829) 95:
She gave her them, ‘because she had such a whazle with her breath.'
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie ix.:
Close to the ribs ye hirsel in Wi' clochrin' whaizle.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie i. viii.:
Look at her, the wrunkled poke o' whesels.
Per. 1895 I. Maclaren Auld Lang Syne 119:
Nae whasle at a' the day.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong R. Rankine 21:
As wheezley as a twenty year auld tip.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 198:
It was efter Tit . . . got the better of the wheezles that the Baby cam' forrit.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xvii.:
Lattin oot 'e maist yaafu whaazles an' skryaachs 'at iver ye hard.

[Freq. form of Wheeze. The variant vowel forms represent imit. alterations of the sound.]

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



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