Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Scots A woman, especially an old one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Carline thistle.
  • n. A woman; a hag or witch.
  • n. A piece of squared timber fitted fore-and-aft between the deck beams of a wooden ship to provide support for the deck planking.
  • n. A line of automobiles awaiting access to the same building or similar location.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A silver coin once current in some parts of Italy, worth about seven cents.
  • n. A short timber running lengthwise of a ship, from one transverse desk beam to another; also, one of the cross timbers that strengthen a hath; -- usually in pl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Belonging to the genus Carlina: as, the carline thistle.
  • n. A kind of thistle, Carlina vulgaris or C. acaulis. See Carlina.
  • n. See carlin.
  • n. Same as carlino
  • n. A piece of timber in a ship, ranging fore and aft from one deck-beam to another, and forming with the beams a framing for the deck-planks to rest upon.
  • n. A transverse iron or wooden bar placed across the top of a railroad-car from side to side to support the roof-boards. Sometimes called a rafter.
  • n. A Russian game of billiards which employs five balls, one of them blue and another black or yellow.

Etymologies

Middle English kerling, from Old Norse, from karl, man.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old Norse karling, feminine of karl ("carl"). (Wiktionary)
car +‎ line (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It keeps me out of the arduous "carline" that threatens to define the lives of so many suburban parents, and it gets my boys home an hour earlier than if they rode the bus the entire way.

    Molly Baker: The Bus: That Magic Buffer Between School and Home

  • There also an abundance of plants is found called carline or Caroline which is a cure for the plague. "

    The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi

  • There also an abundance of plants is found called carline or Caroline which is a cure for the plague.”

    The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi

  • The reopening of the final segment of the same (ph) street carline took place on Sunday.

    CNN Transcript Jun 23, 2008

  • As she spake, she heard the carline chuckle softly, and at last she said: Why, Birdalone, my dear, dost thou not know me after all these years?

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Then again spake the carline: Now my will is that ye sleep; and ye have cushions and cloths enough to dight you a fair bed; and this bidding is easy for you to obey.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Now the sun was down, and dusk was at hand, and the carline spake, and drew a bright-gleaming sax from under her raiment:

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Birdalone stayed a minute, and her legs nigh failed her for fear, and then because of the very fear she hastened on till she came within ten paces of the said witch; and sore she missed her bow and arrows, and the cutting blade of her feigned squirehood, lest the carline should arise and come raging and shrieking at her.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Hearken to the lovely lady! quoth the carline, how she deemeth me to be none other than the great God himself, to hold the winds in the hollow of my hand, and still the waves with a word!

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Then she smiled and her eyes danced for merriment, and she said: Yet thy thanks meseemeth for this while are more due to the wise carline who brought thee through the woods two days ago, and only left thee when the way was easy and clear to thee.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

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  • "'He was a carline, was Johnnie Howlat, and folk went wary near him—but they went. Some went by day, for grass cures and graiths, and some went by night, for to buy charms. Ye'll ken the sort?' ...

    I knew the sort of person she meant; some Highland charmers dealt not only in remedies—the 'graiths' she'd mentioned—but also in minor magic, selling lovephilters, fertility potions ... ill wishes....

    Was that what Mrs. Bug was getting at? 'Carline' was not a word I was certain of, though I thought it meant 'witch,' or something like it. She was regarding me thoughtfully, her normal animation quite subdued."
    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 540–541

    January 21, 2010