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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.

WINTLE, v., n. Also wuntle; erron. wruntle (Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Verses 21).

I. v. 1. intr. To stagger, reel, rock from side to side, roll about (wm.Sc. 1808 Jam.); also transf. to get or struggle with difficulty through (an illness).Ayr. 1787 Burns Auld Mare vii.:
Tho' now ye dow but hoyte and hoble, An' wintle like a saumont-coble.
Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Works 144:
The pistol made Napier to wintle With double charge shot in their een.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 173:
He wi' his prickin' gude pyk-staff Made them rebound and wintle aff.
Lnk. 1883 A. R. Fisher Poems 84:
If the body wintles through, most likely that you will expect to be paid for your pains.

2. tr. and intr. To tumble, capsize, upset, go headlong, freq. with ower. Vbl.n. wuntlin, a tumbling, a fall.Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick II. xiii.:
An' ye tak thae wuntlins and tireevies this way, we'll hae to get the road postet tae haud ye up.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 183:
The toils o' the day, Wintled Robin clean owre 'mang the rashes and hay.
Ayr. 1868 A. McKay Ingleside Lilts 137:
She claucht my coat, and owre the brae, Gude sauf's! I wuntled headlang wi' her.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters xxi.:
At a quick turn o' the road they wintled owre.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 82:
I thocht they would have wuntled aff their chairs in a fit.

3. To wriggle, writhe; to dangle, flutter.Ayr. 1785 Burns A. Armour's Prayer vii.:
May she wintle in a woody, If she whore mair!
Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
He'll wintle in a widdie yet.

4. To wind round (Cld. 1825 Jam.). Ppl.adj. wintled.Dmf. 1810 in Hogg Jacob. Relics (1821) II. 201:
The worm of hell, which never dies, In wintled coil writhes up and fries.

II. n. 1. A staggering, pitching or rolling motion (wm.Sc. 1808 Jam.).Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xix.:
He by his shouther gae a keek, An' tumbl'd wi' a wintle Out-owre that night.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 127:
With rocking wintle near the shipping quay, The Granton steamboat at our service lay.

2. In phr. in a wintle, in a trice, “in a brace of shakes.”Kcb. 1898 A. J. Armstrong Levellers ii.:
She'll hae us awa ayont the mune in a wintle.

[Mid. Du. wintelen, wentelen, to roll.]

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"Wintle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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