Measgaichte / Miscellaneous

John O’Henley
South Uist, Kildonan
A. O’Henley
  • [NOTES: some notes added (most probably by K. D. MacDonald?). See below for details.]
dùsgadhin the sense of unearthing rocks, stones, boulders. “A’ dùsgadh chlach.”
beathach air a’ racadhwhen an animal had been laid low by a cold or some other illness. More than an actual cold. [NOTES: ‘racadh’ corrected to ‘ragadh’.]
abaltaapplied to a forward, bold person.
a mhacraich-shìna shower of rain and wind. Would pass quickly. [NOTES: corrected to ‘macraich-shìn’.]
Cùl-na-Druinnicha place-name in Kildonan. Thought to be druidical in origin. [Cf. Loch-na-Druinnich.]
Loch-na-Druinnicha place-name in Kildonan. Thought to be druidical in origin. [Cf. Cùl-na-Druinnich.]
clach-fhairachaidh‘fh’ is silent. A special slab rock which formed a road made of stepping stones leading to an offshore island. The slab in question was always left loose so that when you stepped on one end, the rock rose and clattered down again. This noise acting [as] a warning device for the inhabitants of the island.
Aird-a’-Sculapraiga place-name near Kildonan. The word ‘sculapraig’ came about since stolen cattle were gathered on this bit of ground.
biunndadhto steal, rob.
Boinne-Siarachtraditional name for Bornish in South Uist which describes how the village was split into two. [Cf. Boinne-Suarach.]
Boinne-Suarachtraditional name for Bornish in South Uist which describes how the village was split into two. [Cf. Boinne-Siarach.]
aird shìlused of a bit of land which was renowned for good crops. On a higher level than other land.
an stadconstipation. [NOTES: ‘an’ put in brackets.]
eolas-an-déididhprior to the era of dentists a certain member of the community would write some words on a small bit of paper. Thereafter the afflicted person was not to look at this paper but to secretly place it under a rock. As the elements eroded the paper the toothache was supposed to wither away simultaneously.
fìlainnleaves which were found in a loch. Gathered and given to cattle to prevent illnesses. [NOTES: corrected to ‘fìlein’.]
bun-deargif these yellow like pansies were eaten by cattle they would pass blood instead of urine.
sgurrananther word for ‘lòt’ meaning a share of land.
a’ sìneadhto plough, e.g. “An do thoisich thu air sìneadh am bliadhna?” neo “An do shìn thu fhathast?” [NOTES: “a’” put in brackets.]
buathallan-boirionna stalk which does not flower. When building cornstacks these were placed in the stack every three or four layers. This kept rats from eating the corn. [NOTES: ‘boirionn’ corrected to ‘boireann’.]
air an aon ghlòighto keep things even, e.g. when cutting corn with a scythe, the stubble ought to be left as even as possible. [NOTES: ‘ghlòigh’ corrected to ‘dhlòith, (*dlòth)’.]
breac-an-t-sìla little speckled bird with a long tail seen in spring when the ploughing was done.
an gearra speckled grey bird with a red beak seen on croft land. [NOTES: corrected to ‘an geàrr’.]
bòthagangrey and white birds. Seen on the water’s edge on the shore. Ringed plover?
gabhdanachpoking at something.
Airigh nam Banin Locheynort, South Uist. This place was named after Buckie and Banff who used to live temporarily in shielings. Whilst there they dried their fish on the neighbouring rocks.
Tròthasaichfishermen from Montrose.
Cha do sheothain mi airfailing to achieve a target.
[Caimbeulach]“Fhad’s a bhios cabar càm an goill bith an fhoill ’sa Chaimbeulach.” [NOTES: ‘goill’ corrected to ‘coill’ and ‘bith’ to ‘bidh’.]
tacharana small, mischievous person.
mealtreachsubmerged roots used to make ropes. [NOTES: corrected to ‘mealtrach’.]
gasganproper Gaelic word for a rope.
builleagana long ruffle of seaweed. Frilly on each side with bubbles in its centre.
cruageinnshort stubby seaweed which could be eaten. [NOTES: corrected to ‘cruaigein’.]
cnodhan-air-staimhlittle or large nuts which fell off the heavier end of a tangle. The centre of these nuts were [sic] white. When taken out they could be cleaned and polished and used as trinkets.
cnò-snaoisainone of the aforementioned nuts [i.e. cnodhan-air-staimh (q.v.)] used to store snuff.
airne-Moirethese nuts could be shaped into heart or kidney shapes. Carried around as charms. Could be added to a rosary.
goileabadhto scoff or gulp.
fainne-a’-cholairthe rounded part of a horse’s collar.
spliachda big spread, e.g. a large spread of food at a wedding or other social function. Also used for extensive news coverage of an incident.
a’ togail a chìp on tochainna feat of strength whereby two men sat opposite each other both holding onto a bit of wood between them. Both sat with their feet pressed against each other. The first person to lift the other person was the winner. [NOTES: ‘tochainn’ corrected to ‘tochain’ and note added above the phrase – ceap-an-tochain, which was most probably meant to be the headword.]
moulltaira mould. [NOTES: corrected to ‘moultair’.]
luirgeachanthe part of a tether nearest to the animal.
cleas-na-sgithinna speed trick involving a knife with three bits of paper on one side. The person performing this moved his hand so quickly that at times he would only have one bit of paper on the knife or two, three pieces.
sùil-cheapguessing game which involved hiding something in a cap. Had to guess what the object was.
crùganan amount of flour for example which you can lift with your fingers closed together.
coileach-FrangachA variant on the ‘golan gaoithe’ previously described by R. O’Henley. Feathers stuck into a potato and then taken outdoors and used as a spinning top. Required wind assistance. [NOTES: ‘golan’ corrected to ‘gobhlan’.]
gille-millainspinning top. Variant on ‘gille mirain’. [NOTES: ‘millain’ corrected to ‘millein’ and ‘mirain’ to ‘mirein’.]
crannlacha small duck.
eoin-bhealltainyoung curlews seen in May. [NOTES: corrected to ‘eòin-Bhealltainn’.]
cearc-chomainlike a snipe but has a larger beak and is generally bigger than a snipe. Usually seen on moorland but during snow they will come to machair land. Moorhen?
seasgann neo bogannachgrew in boggy land especially near rivers. Used for thatch. Long grass – green. [NOTES: ‘neo’ crossed out. Not clear if this means that rather than being two different names of the same plant the two words should be treated as one name ‘seasgann bogannach’.]
a’ gounaigeadhnot having anything to do with a certain person or persons. [NOTES: corrected to ‘ag ounaigeadh’ and ‘ag’ put in brackets.]
coilleach coillewoodcock. [NOTES: ‘coilleach’ corrected to ‘coileach’.]
dunnaltasdirt and slime attached to an expectant cow. [NOTES: corrected to ‘dunaltas’.]
sodalanapplied to a two-faced person.
[sgàdach]“’S toill le bò sgàdach, bò sgàdach eile.” – two of a kind enjoy each other’s company. Birds of a feather flock together. [NOTES: ‘toill’ corrected to ‘toil’.]
bruchda-dubhnear spring cartloads of rotten seaweed would be taken ashore.
cuir-ma-dhruimdescribes furrows falling over each other.
rannaghalreeling off a string of words.
lomadairapplied to someone who sheared sheep. Also used in a wider sense indicating that the majority of people in a village were involved in crofting.
goirtaireanmiserly people.
sgeigeiremocker, fond of mocking. “Bleideire (blether) Baoghlach is sgeigeire Barrach.”
sheafaraidhhorses tied on a tether in this bit of land which could be on the croft. Would be tethered here at night. [NOTES: corrected to ‘seafaraidh’.]
comhnaidheana cluster of dwellings or dwellings in general. [NOTES: corrected to ‘còmhnaidhean’.]
botrachanbit of wood under a horse’s tail which was used as a brake. [NOTES: corrected to ‘bodrachan’.]
gliogaireapplied to a useless person.
saic mhònadha load of peats carried in creels.
[fead]Bheir e fead ort. – would be said prior to someone undertaking a difficult task indicating that it would be achieved easily.
geothaa small narrow bay.
ceann-duinna natural landing place for boats. Like ‘lamaraig’.
druime-griana sloping bit of land exposed to much sunshine. Rich and fertile.
snaosalana flat piece of machair land. Thinks it was a measure of land. Example of this on the machair between Stoneybridge and Penenerine [sic] [Peninerine?]. [NOTES: question mark added next to Penenerine.]
clisnea high plateau of land in a village.
ceannachrana strong support pole running from the top of the wall to the highest point of the gables. At both ends of a house.
maide-feannaigenabled ropes and thatch to be secured.
falaidleftovers after baking.
mìn-fheasdrachbrown flour which was mixed with hot water like brose. When it thickened it was eaten like porridge. [NOTES: corrected to ‘min-pheasdrach’.]
Sgeir-an-Teambuillnow under water but at one time not surrounded by water. One hundred yards from the water’s edge at Kildonan. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century people used to come from the neighbouring Ben Mor once a year at Halloween.
clumhraiga small, snug bay, naturally formed and used as a harbour.
sgàira large, wide bay. Example at Stoneybridge.
[sgiallt]Gu de bu sgiallt dha – what was the cause of that. [NOTES: note added – from ‘ciall’.]
sùil-air-ròpeye on rope.
lamhradhapplied to someone who was renowned for shouting. [NOTES: corrected to ‘làmhradh’.]
feachankidding on.
tacharraa small, grey man.
cearc-ghreannacha hen with its feathers curled up. Same as ‘coilleach Frangach’.
bigein bainndeansmaller than a sparrow. Black-chested, brown, grey back and a black collar.
eoin-mhùchainspeckled with a long tail. Loud shrill similar to its name – woo, woo. [NOTES: ‘mhùchain’ corrected to ‘bhùchain’.]
godhachanblack birds similar to ‘ducair’. Seen on lochs and had its nest near ‘lus-nan-laogh’. [NOTES: ‘ducair’ underlined, probably to show that it should be a separate entry as well.]
iomasgladhextra, surplus.
tàidheanstringy roots as in thatch which has developed into clumps of turf. Difficult to extract these turfs due to stubborn roots.
meannthe young of a goat.
anathadhdrawing your breath.
at braghadtonsillitis.
splòicmumps. Traditional word instead of ‘at busach’.
a bhreac-otraichchickenpox. [NOTES: ‘a’ put in brackets and ‘bhreac’ corrected to ‘breac’.]
cnothadanlarge whelk.
còbrana small yellow limpet which could be used for bait. Shells could be used for decorative purposes.
lamp-eolainncandle placed on a saucer. [NOTES: ‘eolainn’ corrected ‘eòlain’.]
sàilllayer of fat between the pelt and flesh of a seal.
leumairemale whale.
mucan-biorachsmall whales. Balla de mhucan biorach – a mass of whales moving together.
clomhana wooden latch on a door. Bit of wood, twelve inches or more in length placed across the the [sic] door. String attached to this and pushed through a hole in the wood. Latch could be lifted like this. Others call this a ‘gliongag’.
stanga small drain to carry water from land which was being ploughed. Prevented the seed being carried away in the water.
stapalan iron latch with an eye in one end. Slipped onto a similar eye in the door frame and secured by a wooden wedge.
ceathdubhana beast seen in autumn. Black and purple in appearance. Larger than a bee. Had a nest in hay ricks where it stored dead earwigs. [NOTES: note added – variant of ‘ceardubhan’.]
daolan-carghuislarger than the usual beetle and had wings, which were speckled. Only seen at the later [?] season. If killed its insides had an obnoxious smell. [NOTES: ‘carghuis’ corrected to ‘carghais’.]
lòchranvessel in which incense is placed during a benediction service.
tuisincense. [NOTES: corrected to ‘tùis’.]
[cat]“Miann a’ chait ’san traigh, ’s cha toir e fhein as e.” Applied to someone who desired something but was not prepared to get it himself. Literally, although the cat likes fish it does not hunt it himself.
culaidh-aifroinnpriests’ vestments.
stòlstole. Round a priest’s neck. From the Latin ‘stola’.
làir-aoila bricklayer’s hod.
fàlaireachdanother word for ‘marcach’. [NOTES: note added – riding.]
struidearachdusing flat stones and trying to achieve a skimming effect on the water’s surface. [NOTES: note added – ducks and drakes.]
sgollaireachd aodaicha quick washing of clothes. [NOTES: ‘sgollaireachd’ corrected to ‘sgolaireachd’.]
ramh-sgollaidhhaving lost one oar the remaining oar was placed in a V shaped indentation at a boat’s rear. The oar would be moved from side to side bringing the boat to shore. [NOTES: corrected to ‘ràmh-sgolaidh’.]
driuchcainnchaffing between the toes caused by walking barefoot in warm sand. Cured by putting tufts of wool between the toes. [NOTES: corrected to ‘driùchcainn’.]
[bannadh]Tha mise a bannadh dhut. – I bet you.
gathanthick bits of wood which came ashore. Not as thick as ‘sailthean’. [NOTES: ‘sailthean’ corrected to ‘sailean’ and underlined, probably to indicate that it should be a separate entry.]
[raith]Mios ro gach raith a coltais – the month prior to the onset of a new season is always like the impending season. [NOTES: ‘raith’ corrected to ‘ràith’.]

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