Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A licenced beggar.

Etymologies

From medieval Scots gaberlunȝie. Gaelic gabair talker + lunndair idler. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "A gaberlunzie is a license to beg, Sassenach," Jamie explained.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • -- except snow in winter, and -- well -- a little in summer just sometimes, and a 'gaberlunzie' or two stalking about here and there, if ye may call them dangerous.

    Archive 2004-04-25

  • -except snow in winter, and--well--a little in summer just sometimes, and a 'gaberlunzie' or two stalking about here and there, if ye may call them dangerous.

    UK Commentators

  • Better say naething about the laird, my man, and tell me instead, what sort of a chap ye are that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler?

    Redgauntlet

  • But you forget that the affront descended like a benediction into the pouch of the old gaberlunzie, who overflowed in blessings upon the generous donor — long ere he would have thanked thee, Darsie, for thy barren veneration of his beard and his bearing.

    Redgauntlet

  • Latterly, Nicholson assumed the character of a gaberlunzie; he played at merrymakings on his bagpipes, for snuff and whisky.

    The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume III The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century

  • Page 237 collected some few men's garments for the gaberlunzie who owns the flock.

    A Woman Rice Planter

  • Before I could answer the poor gaberlunzie spoke up and said: "Oh, yes; she stood for these," waving his hand over the thin little objects.

    A Woman Rice Planter

  • Nobody ever found the place out except an old gaberlunzie, and I gave him tuppence not to tell. '

    The Convert

  • My estate there was but a small one, and was forfeited thirty years ago; so unless I become a gaberlunzie and sit on the steps of St. Andrews asking for alms, I don't see how we should get porridge, to say nothing of anything else.

    Bonnie Prince Charlie : a Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden

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Comments

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  • "At one point, Jamie jabbed a thumb at the rectangular bits of lead that adorned Munro's strap.

    'Gone official, have ye?' he asked. 'Or is that just for when the game is scarce?' Munro bobbed his head and nodded like a jack-in-the-box.

    'What are they?' I asked curiously.

    'Gaberlunzies.'

    'Oh, to be sure,' I said. 'Pardon my asking.'

    'A gaberlunzie is a license to beg, Sassenach,' Jamie explained. 'It's good within the borders of the parish, and only on the one day a week when begging's allowed. Each parish has its own, so the beggars from one parish canna take overmuch advantage of the charity of the next.'"
    —Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (NY: Delacorte Press, 1991), 325–326

    January 2, 2010

  • A beggar. A good Scots word this, of the medieval period, though sadly nobody has much idea where it comes from. The first part looks as though it might have something to do with gaberdine, originally a garment worn by a pilgrim. This may well be, because another name for a gaberlunzie in medieval times was bluegown. Taken from the colour of his dress, this was the name in medieval Scotland for a person who was a king's licensed beggar or beadsman, a person who was paid to pray for the souls of others by telling his beads. (Beadsman comes from the original meaning of bead, a prayer; it was only later that it took on its modern sense through association with the rosary.)

    You will find it many times in Scots literature, especially in the old ballad The Gaberlunzie Man and in James Ballantine's story The Gaberlunzie's Wallet. But if it's Scots we're after, we had best turn to Sir Walter Scott. He doesn't fail, and here it is in Redgauntlet: ìBetter say naething about the laird, my man, and tell me instead, what sort of a chap ye are that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler?î (Cleik, a version of cleek, from a noun meaning a hook, so to link oneself with somebody.) It's also in several other of Scott's books, so he probably must be given the credit of having popularised it to readers outside Scotland.

    (from World Wide Words)

    May 22, 2008

  • another usage on thrawn

    March 20, 2008

  • "'Davy Hume was of your opinion,' said Graham. 'I mean with regard to Monsieur Rosseau. He found him to be little more than a crackit gaberlunzie.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, Treason's Harbour, 11

    February 15, 2008