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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

-LE, suff. Also -l, -al, -el, -il(l); rarely -ol, -ul, -yl. This suffix is used in much the same way as in Eng., but is on the whole more freq.:

1. (1) in ns., to form a diminutive, as Dottle, n.1, Pickle, Posel, Rickle, Rumple, Strabble; as an instrumental suff., = “a thing for”, e.g. Gangils, Guidal, Snibble, Stapple, Supple, Whittle, Windle; and with less precise force, Bauchle; (2) in adjs., with the sense of “having a tendency to, liable to”, gen. formed on verb stems, as Bruckle, Cripple, Dottle, adj., Findle, Forgettle, Smittle. Bedal, Fodgel are prob. extensions of such an adj. formation; (3) most commonly, in vs., with a freq. or sometimes dim. force: e.g. Bummle, Croodle v.1, n.1, Croodle v.2, n.2Daddle, Driffle, Fissle, Gurl, Hoddle, keuchle s.v. Keuch, Knuzle, Jabble, Jeegle, Papple; often added to imit. or echoic words not used in the simple forms, e.g. Diddle, Guddle, Mushle. In these senses the suff. freq. alternates with -er; cf. Cuiter, Cuittle, v.; Hagger, Haggle; Hotter, Hottle; sottle s.v. Sotter v.; whiddle s.v. Whidder; and, esp. in ne. and sm.Sc., has often the further suff. -ich, -ach, -Ock added, as drabblich, fushloch, gabblich, hushloch, knurlock, giving extra dim. or sometimes intensive force; (4) as an adv. suff. in Eastle, Wastle;

2. In forming nouns, gen. with a pejorative or contemptuous connotation, e.g. Skybal, Trypal; Hastrel, Haverel, where the -r is part of the principal word. This ending fell together with the Romance suff. -erel and appears as -rel, with similar disparaging force, as in Bed(d)ral, Dotterel, Gangrel, Gomerel, etc.;

3. As a reduced form of -ful (alternating with -fu. See Fou, Full), esp. common in ne.Sc., e.g. Cairtle, Cogill, Platle, Pottal, Seckle, and phs. also Hantle.

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"-le suffix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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