One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in Scotland) a man or boy who attends someone on a hunting or fishing expedition.
- ‘My gillie did once report seeing some character walking along a shallow burn in wellington boots, waving a couple of coat hangers.’
- ‘In maybe three more minutes it would have been netted by the gillie, knocked on the head, to be displayed later on outside the hotel dining room.’
- ‘After a while I was joined by Kenny, the local ghillie.’
- ‘The gillie's lodge to the east of the original manor consists of a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and bathroom.’
- ‘The committee decided not to take evidence from the Crofting Counties Fishing Rights Group, which represents some 500 gillies, river bailiffs and other river workers in the Highlands.’
- 1.1historical A Highland chief's attendant.
- ‘Queen Victoria ‘inherited’ the gillie John Brown when she bought the Balmoral estate in 1848 and he became a close personal confidante, particularly after her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861.’
- ‘The next year the Royal Family bought the 17,400-acre Balmoral for 30,000 guineas, and in 1858 John Brown took Archibald Frazer Macdonald's place as personal gillie to Prince Albert.’
2usually ghillieA type of shoe with laces along the instep and no tongue, used especially for Scottish country dancing.
Late 16th century: from Scottish Gaelic gille ‘lad, servant’. The word was also found in the term gilliewetfoot, denoting a servant who carried the chief over a stream, used as a contemptuous name by Lowlanders for the follower of a Highland chief. gillie (sense 2) dates from the 1930s.
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