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or carlin

[kahr-lin, ker-] /ˈkɑr lɪn, ˈkɛr-/
noun, Chiefly Scot.
an old woman.
a hag; witch.
Origin of carline
1350-1400; Middle English (north) kerling < Old Norse: old woman, equivalent to kerl (mutated variant of karl man) + -ing -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for carline
Historical Examples
  • “Go on, carline Dodge,” ordered the tall ghost imperturbably.

    Betty Wales Senior Margaret Warde
  • Then smiled the carline and said: “Yea, he is thy foster-father, and yet a fond one.”

    The House of the Wolfings William Morris
  • Now there were the Maiden and the carline at their house, and nought easy was the rede for them.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • The other men laughed, but the carline answered them nought.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • But lo, now the Maiden, when she looked about for the carline, might see her nowhere.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • But however that might be, the carline and the Maiden never saw Brookside again.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • But now they went back to their folk, and the carline followed them in a little while.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • But every dog has his day, and carline may be as grate a airass as no other guess parson.

    Manners, Vol 2 of 3 Frances Brooke
  • "Beware suits at law," said the carline again, and she turned to go.

  • Dat's what I tole carline—leastwise dat's what I'st gwine tell her.

    A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill Alice Hegan Rice
British Dictionary definitions for carline


a Eurasian thistle-like plant, Carlina vulgaris, having spiny leaves and flower heads surrounded by raylike whitish bracts: family Asteraceae (composites) Also called carline thistle
Word Origin
C16: from French, probably from Latin cardō thistle


(mainly Scot) an old woman, hag, or witch
a variant of carling
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse kerling old woman, diminutive of karl man, churl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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