wurly

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Adjective[edit]

wurly (comparative wurlier or more wurly, superlative wurliest or most wurly)

  1. (Northern England (Yorkshire), Scotland) Of an object: derisorily small, tiny; of a person: puny, stunted.
    • [1825, John Jamieson, “Wurlie”, in Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language: [] In Two Volumes, volume II (K–Z), Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; for W[illiam] & C[harles] Tait, []; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, OCLC 863495133, page 700, column 2:
      Wurlie, 1. Contemptibly puny, or small in size; as "a wurlie bodie," an ill-grown person, Fife, Loth.]
    • 1856, James Ballantine, “The Wee Raggit Laddie”, in [John D. Carrick, Alexander Rodger, and David Robertson], editors, Whistle-binkie or The Piper of the Party: Being a Collection of Songs for the Social Circle, new edition, Glasgow: David Robertson & Co., published 1873, OCLC 894202707, stanza 2, page 158:
      Thy wee roun' pate sae black and curly, / Thy twa bare feet, sae stoure an' burly, / The biting frost, though snell an' surly / An' sair to bide, / Is scouted by thee, thou hardy wurly, / Wi' sturdy pride.
    • [1876, C. Clough Robinson, “Wurly”, in A Glossary of Words Pertaining to the Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire; wth Others Peculiar to Lower Nidderdale. To which is Prefixed an Outline Grammar of the Mid-Yorkshire Dialect (Series C (Original Glossaries, and Glossaries with Fresh Additions); V), London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., 57 & 59, Ludgate Hill, OCLC 458063535, page 158, column 2:
      Wurly [wur·li], adj. A very small portion of anything is of a wurly size; gen. 'What a wurly bit o' bread, and nought on 't!' [], i.e. no butter, or anything on. The r is often strongly trilled in this word.]
    • [1905, “WIRL, sb.”, in Joseph Wright, editor, The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volume VI (T–Z, Supplement, Bibliography and Grammar), London: Published by Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, OCLC 81937840, page 515, column 1:
      WIRL, sb. Sc. Yks. [] A small and harsh-featured person; an ill-grown child; a stunted animal. [] Hence (1) Wirly, adj. puny, small; (2) Wirly-bit, sb. a short time; a little way; a small portion. (1) Sc. There's nae a pilchard in my creel, Nor wurlie sprat … They're firm and fat (Jam.).]
  2. (Scotland) gnarled, knotted; wizened, wrinkled.
    • [1825, John Jamieson, “Wurlie”, in Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language: [] In Two Volumes, volume II (K–Z) (in English), Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; for W[illiam] & C[harles] Tait, []; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, OCLC 863495133, page 700, column 2:
      Wurlie, [] 2. Rough, knotted; as, "a wurlie rung," a knotted stick, S. It is applied to a stick that is distorted, Lanarks. As this sense, however, is considerably remote from the other, the term may have had a different origin. 3. Wrinkled, applied to a person; as, a wurly body, Lanarks.]
Synonyms[edit]
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Variant of wurley.

Noun[edit]

wurly (plural wurlies)

  1. (chiefly South Australia) Alternative spelling of wurley.
    • 1862 February 1, “The Burke and Wills Australian Exploring Expedition”, in The Illustrated London News, volume XL, number 1129, London: Printed & published by George C. Leighton, 198 Strand, OCLC 953800630, page 128, column 3:
      Poor [William John] Wills's remains we found lying in the wurly in which he died, and where [John] King, after his return from seeking the natives, had buried him with sand and rushes.
    • 1875, Robert Bruce, “The Black Boys’ Ride: A True Story”, in The Dingoes and Other Tales, Adelaide, S.A.: Printed at "Advertiser" and "Chronicle" offices, OCLC 82518914, stanza 10, page 74:
      And so those boys with stealthy pace / Returned the saddles to their place; / Then to their wurly quickly hied, / No doubt delighted with their ride.
    • 2012, Maggie Meyer; Joan Small, “Monsters of the Cretaceous”, in Big Foot Adventures Down Under (Spirits Alive Series; 1), [Gordon, N.S.W.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 164:
      Before night fell, they made themselves a shelter like a wurly by collecting large Wollemi pine fronds from the forest floor, leaning them against each other to make a peaked hut and joining them together with vines. It would offer some protection while they slept.