Definition of carlin in English:


(also carling)


  • 1A witch.

    ‘the old carlin had done all the evil’
    • ‘An old carlin came to the cottage where she lay on her bed.’
    • ‘The carlin was calling, "'Tis myself that's in it."’
    • ‘A carlin undertook to carry a large hill from Ayrshire to Ireland, but she dropped it on the way to form what is now Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde.’
    • ‘The terrible carlin put her step-children under eternal spells.’
    • ‘Had these cauldron carlins been armed with clubs I've no doubt they would've pulped me on the spot.’
    1. 1.1 An unpleasant or disliked old woman.
      ‘one would think you were an auld carlin to hear you talk’
      • ‘The old carlin stretched out on the floor with her two feet and two hands quivering.’
      • ‘His wife was a shrewd old carlin as cunning as himself.’
      • ‘The auld carlin was advancing across the drive with a view to entering.’
      • ‘The cankered old carlin flustered out at him.’
      • ‘“If you will forgive an auld carlin,” she said.’


Middle English: from Old Norse kerling ‘old woman, woman’.