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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.

WINDLE, n.1 Also winnel, win(n)le. Gen. in pl. a device for winding yarn or thread on to bobbins preparatory to weaving, a yarn-winder (Sc. 1825 Jam.); handles with adjustable screws for adjusting tension on yarn on such a device (‡Ayr. 1951). Comb. winnle blade, winles' blade, one of the spokes of a yarn-winder. See also Yairn, n., 2.(9). [wɪnl]Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 181:
My hanks of yarn, my rock and reel, My winnels and my spinning-wheel.
Gsw. 1749 Records Trades Ho. (Lumsden 1934) 359:
The pinns for a pair of yearn windles.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 26:
Whan ony o' them turn'd Whigs, they were put on a four neuked thing, like a yarn winnle blades, and rave a' their gouls sindry till they turn'd Papists again.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 203:
Jennock tum't the winles' blade An waft in lapfu's left her.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
A cousin wi' accounts, and yarn winnles, and looms, and shuttles.

[Mid.Eng. (yar(ne))-wyndel, id., instrumental form from Wind, v.2 O.Sc. has yairne wyndell, 1599.]

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"Windle n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2023 <>



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