Definition of carlin in English:


(also carling)


  • 1A witch.

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


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