from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To slide or move by pushing one's self along on the back or haunches; also, to move forward with a rustling noise along a rough surface.
  • n. . A multitude; a throng: applied to living creatures of any kind.
  • n. Specifically A flock of sheep.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Martin the shepherd — and he wrung his hands in the bitterness of agony, “the thieves, the harrying thieves I not a cloot left of the haill hirsel!”

    The Monastery

  • 'Effie that was marrit on puir Jock Ord -- a fine laddie he was -- verra knowledgeable wi' sheep, wha perished in a snowstorm, mindin 'his hirsel.

    Border Ghost Stories

  • Now three figures emerged from the inn; a tall, thin man came first -- a collie at his heels -- that was at once sent off to round up a hirsel of ewes on the hill.

    Border Ghost Stories

  • A considerable portion of another _hirsel_ lying contiguous, and which my elder brother herded, was for the summer season of the year added to mine, so that this already large was made larger; but exempted as I was from attending to aught else but my flock,

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

  • Through the friendly partiality of our employer, I was made principal shepherd at an age considerably younger than it is usual for most others to be intrusted with so extensive a _hirsel_ [1] as was committed to my care.

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

  • When by and by I went to herd the _hirsel_ which my father formerly tended, like most other regular shepherds I delighted in and was proud of the employment.

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

  • And I’ll take care o’ the bits o’ claes, and what spending siller she maun hae; so the hundred pound may rin on in your hands, Mr. Protocol, and I’ll be adding something till’t, till she’ll maybe get a Liddesdale joe that wants something to help to buy the hirsel.

    Chapter XXXVIII

  • Besides, I behooved to be round the hirsel this morning, and see how the herds were coming on—they’re apt to be negligent wi’ their footballs, and fairs, and trysts, when ane’s away.

    Chapter XXV

  • 'She thowt she heerd soombody fleytin' and callin '-- it was t' wind came skirlin 'round t' place, an 'she aw' but thrown hirsel 'oot o' t 'bed, an' aa shooted for Jim, and they came, and they and I-- it's bin as much as we could a 'du to hod

    Robert Elsmere

  • The black man answered never a word; he got upon his feet, an 'begude to hirsel to the wa' on the far side; but he aye lookit at the minister; an 'the minister stood an' lookit back; till a 'in a meenute the black man was ower the wa' an 'rinnin' for the bield o 'the trees.

    Stories by English Authors: Scotland (Selected by Scribners)


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  • In sudden pastoral reversal

    The congregants suffered dispersal.

    The shepherd's de-flocked

    As all of them walked

    And left hm without any hersil.

    September 26, 2015

  • A herd of sheep

    November 16, 2007