One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small ball of coloured glass or similar material used as a toy; a marble.‘your knuckles are skinned from shooting marleys’
- ‘When my mother forced me and my brother to wash the dishes or vacuum our room, we managed to break a dish or two and suck marlies up the cleaner.’
- ‘Marlie season was most popular in the summertime but extended all year long.’
- ‘Take the marlies out of yer mouth and give us all a game.’
- ‘There are no cheap options of 'marlies' or 'conkers'; today it is all games consoles and music players!’
- 1.1marleys" or "marliestreated as singular A game in which marbles are rolled along the ground with the aim of hitting those of one's opponent.‘she had a flair for marleys’
- ‘Spitting, marleys, fights, and rolling down hills are the ingredients that make up the lives of these two accidental friends from different parts of town.’
- ‘They just can't help spending our money on receptions for anything from the synchronised swimming team to the world-acclaimed left-handed marlies champions.’
- ‘We gathered on a dusty patch in front of the playing fields for a game of marlies.’
- ‘The rules and regulations of marleys, for instance, were fairly simple.’
one's head is a marley
informal One is foolish or stupid.‘I love you but your head's a marley’
- ‘"Our teacher's head's a marley; he's put George in for the eleven-plus."’
- ‘You want me to stay here? Your head's a marley.’
- ‘"Catch yourself on, wee girl. Your head's a marley."’
- ‘Your head's a marley; I could climb it, no bother.’
- ‘"Tony, your head's a marley. Just for once, do the right thing."’
Late 19th century: from dialect marl contraction of marble + -y.
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