Definition of carlin in English:


(also carling)


  • 1A witch.

    ‘the old carlin had done all the evil’
    • ‘The terrible carlin put her step-children under eternal spells.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An old carlin came to the cottage where she lay on her bed.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘His wife was a shrewd old carlin as cunning as himself.’
      • ‘“If you will forgive an auld carlin,” she said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cankered old carlin flustered out at him.’


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