One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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.’
- ‘The carlin was calling, "'Tis myself that's in it."’
- ‘An old carlin came to the cottage where she lay on her bed.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.1 An unpleasant or disliked old woman.‘one would think you were an auld carlin to hear you talk’
- ‘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 old carlin stretched out on the floor with her two feet and two hands quivering.’
- ‘“If you will forgive an auld carlin,” she said.’
- ‘The cankered old carlin flustered out at him.’
Middle English: from Old Norse kerling ‘old woman, woman’.
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