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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.

YOLDRIN, n. Also -ing, yowdrin (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); yeldrin(g) (Sc. 1808 Jam.); yaldrin(g), -en, -an (Cld. 1882 Jam.); yelerane (Ayr. 182 Galt Last of the Lairds ms. xxvi.) and reduced and dim. forms yeldrick, -ock, -och (Sc. 1825 Jam., Slg. 1867 Zoologist (Ser. 2) II. 892); yaldie (ne.Sc.), yolty. [′joldrɪn; em.Sc. ′jɛldrɪn; ne.Sc. ′jɑldi]

1. The yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella (Sc. 1808 Jam., yeldrin(g); Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 276; Ayr. 1929 Paton & Pike Birds Ayr. 30; ne.Sc. 1974, yaldie), very freq. prefixed by Yella. Cf. Yite, Yorlin.Rnf. 1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 158:
While weary yeldrins seem to wail Their little nestlings torn.
Ags. 1813 J. Headrick Agric. Ags. App. B. 44:
Emberiza citrinella; the yellow hammer. This beautiful and innocent bird is terribly persecuted by the young children in many parts of Scotland, under the name of Yellow-yite, or Yaldring.
m.Lth. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (27 March):
The nest of a bird commonly known by the name of Yellow Yeldrick.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 227:
I saw three yellow yoldrin's chittering on the tap o' a fa' dyke.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 279:
In contempt for effeminate or missyish boys — Half a laddie, half a lassie, Half a yellow yoldrin.
Dmf. 1887 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq Soc. 12:
The yeldrock and the sparrow are the Devil's bow-and-arrow.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 84:
A “yaldie” perched within easy range.
Bnff. 1968 Banffshire Advert. (20 June) 8:
A water oosel's nest, or maybe a yaldie's or maybe a blaikie's.

2. In dim. form yolty: a nickname for a first-year student at Aberdeen University, a bajan. For the semantic development see etym. note s.v. Bejan.Abd. 1833 Tait's Mag. (May) 186:
He no longer allows the evil-minded fry on the streets to insult his hat, or tug the yolty's gown with impunity.

[Variant of earlier yowlring, in Eng. dial., from mid. 16th c., from youlow, yellow + ring.]

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"Yoldrin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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