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or carlin

[kahr-lin, ker-] /ˈkɑr lɪn, ˈkɛr-/
noun, Chiefly Scot.
an old woman.
a hag; witch.
Origin of carline
1350-1400; Middle English (north) kerling < Old Norse: old woman, equivalent to kerl (mutated variant of karl man) + -ing -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for carline
Historical Examples
  • Then smiled the carline and said: “Yea, he is thy foster-father, and yet a fond one.”

    The House of the Wolfings William Morris
  • “Go on, carline Dodge,” ordered the tall ghost imperturbably.

    Betty Wales Senior Margaret Warde
  • But the carline looked him hard in the face, and again made that muttering and the passing of her hands to and fro.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • Now there were the Maiden and the carline at their house, and nought easy was the rede for them.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • "Beware suits at law," said the carline again, and she turned to go.

  • But however that might be, the carline and the Maiden never saw Brookside again.

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • "Yes; we shan't shrink before the carline (guillotine)," added Calabash, with savage excitement.

  • Dat's what I tole carline—leastwise dat's what I'st gwine tell her.

    A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill Alice Hegan Rice
  • One variety—the carline—is esteemed in some parts as a barometer, as it closes up when rain is approaching.

    Storyology Benjamin Taylor
  • Then said the carline, "Nought will I do for thee if thou sufferest me to rule in no wise."

    The Story of Grettir The Strong Translated by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris
British Dictionary definitions for carline


a Eurasian thistle-like plant, Carlina vulgaris, having spiny leaves and flower heads surrounded by raylike whitish bracts: family Asteraceae (composites) Also called carline thistle
Word Origin
C16: from French, probably from Latin cardō thistle


(mainly Scot) an old woman, hag, or witch
a variant of carling
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse kerling old woman, diminutive of karl man, churl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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