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[weyl] /weɪl/
a streak, stripe, or ridge produced on the skin by the stroke of a rod or whip; welt.
the vertical rib in knit goods or a chain of loops running lengthwise in knit fabric (opposed to course).
the texture or weave of a fabric.
  1. any of certain strakes of thick outside planking on the sides of a wooden ship.
  2. gunwale.
Also called breast timber, ranger, waling. Engineering, Building Trades. a horizontal timber or other support for reinforcing various upright members, as sheet piling or concrete form boards, or for retaining earth at the edge of an excavation.
a ridge on the outside of a horse collar.
verb (used with object), waled, waling.
to mark with wales.
to weave with wales.
Engineering, Building Trades. to reinforce or fasten with a wale or wales.
Origin of wale1
before 1050; (noun) Middle English; Old English walu ridge, rib, wheal; cognate with Old Norse vǫlr, Gothic walus rod, wand; (v.) late Middle English, derivative of the noun


[weyl] /weɪl/ Scot. and North England
something that is selected as the best; choice.
verb (used with object), waled, waling.
to choose; select.
1250-1300; Middle English wal(e) < Old Norse val choice, velja to choose Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wale
Historical Examples
  • Vertical staving was used to carry the wale around the stern.

  • wale put the lid on in case his employer might hear any more of his sentiments.

    The King of Diamonds Louis Tracy
  • With two weavers of blue and one of natural, weave two rows of wale.

    Practical Basketry Anna A. Gill
  • That chap that disna speak is ane o' the wale o' the Ha's: I ken him weel for a' his half visor.

  • Neea whaar sooa far south, Mrs. wale, ma'am; but ma father was off times down thar cuttin' peat.

    J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3

    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • His business was to wale dismal, and bow his head down, the band (a barrel organ and a wiolin) playin slow and melancholly moosic.

    The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Charles Farrar Browne (AKA Artemus Ward)
  • Armstrong fell back, against the bench, perfectly livid, with the wale of the blow standing out red and distinct across his cheek.

    The Air Trust George Allan England
  • Mr. Quintus Slide, when he was really anxious to use his thong earnestly, could generally raise a wale.

    Phineas Finn

    Anthony Trollope
  • Mind thy latter end, Paul, and reverence the old, without axing what they has been before they passed into the wale of years.

    Paul Clifford, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The weather is cruel, but the place 323 is, as I dare say you know, the very “wale” of Scotland—bar Tummelside.

British Dictionary definitions for wale


the raised mark left on the skin after the stroke of a rod or whip
  1. the weave or texture of a fabric, such as the ribs in corduroy
  2. a vertical row of stitches in knitting Compare course (sense 14)
  1. a ridge of planking along the rail of a ship
  2. See gunwale
verb (transitive)
to raise a wale or wales on by striking
to weave with a wale
Word Origin
Old English waluweal1; related to Old Norse vala knuckle, Dutch wäle


a choice
anything chosen as the best
(transitive) to choose
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse val choice, related to German Wahl
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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Word Origin and History for wale

Old English walu "ridge," as of earth or stone, later "ridge made on flesh by a lash" (related to weal (n.2)); from Proto-Germanic *walo (cf. Low German wale "weal," Old Frisian walu "rod," Old Norse völr "round piece of wood," Gothic walus "a staff, stick," Dutch wortel, German wurzel "root"). The common notion perhaps is "raised line." Used in reference to the ridges of textile fabric from 1580s. Wales "horizontal planks which extend along a ship's sides" is attested from late 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wale in Medicine

wale (wāl)
A mark raised on the skin, as by a whip; a weal or welt. v. waled, wal·ing, wales
To raise marks on the skin, as by whipping.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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