Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Skilful; intelligent; experienced.
  • Same as skelly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Scotland skilful.

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • It was what he had been used to see as a boy when his parents were alive, for his father before him had been a "skeely" man in that line.

    Stories of the Border Marches

  • Soon not a boat was left in port; even those whose weather-wise "skeely" old skippers had counselled caution, at length, against their will and better judgment, were shamed into starting.

    Stories of the Border Marches

  • She was a kind woman, and seemed skeely about horned beasts.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • On the last day of the time fixed by him, the skeely man was thatching a cottage at the Woollaw.

    Stories of the Border Marches

  • Ochiltree, is very skeely and auld-farrant about mony things, as the diseases of cows and horse, and sic like, and I am sure be disna want to be at Tannonburgh the day for naething, since he insists on't this gate; and, if your leddyship pleases, I'll drive him there in the taxed-cart in an hour's time.

    The Antiquary

  • Eh, man, Edie! but she was a trimmer --- it wad hae taen a skeely man to hae squared wi 'her!

    The Antiquary

  • I learned shortly, that his father and mother had arrived, which was one comfort; but that matters with poor Mungo were striding on from bad to worse, being pronounced, by a skeely doctor, to be in a galloping consumption -- and not able to be removed home, a thing that the laddie freaked and pined for night and day.

    The Life of Mansie Wauch tailor in Dalkeith

  • I learned shortly, that his father and mother had arrived, which was one comfort; but that matters with poor Mungo were striding on from bad to worse, being pronounced, by a skeely doctor, to be in a galloping consumption -- and not able to be removed home, a thing that the laddie freaked and pined for night and day.

    The Life of Mansie Wauch Tailor in Dalkeith, written by himself

  • She was a kind woman, and seemed skeely about horned beasts.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • She was a kind woman, and seemed skeely about horned beasts.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete

Comments

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  • '...she read the Richard that she knew and loved in these long fingers, stained by his skeely trade and scored with cuts commemorative of adventure and bronzed with golden weather...'

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    September 4, 2009

  • Does anyone know what this means? It's from an ebook so could be an OCR error.

    September 4, 2009

  • Could be a "t" as in "steely", where the "t" was accompanied by an ink-acid stain, woody inclusion or other flaw in the paper that the OCR tried its best to interpret. I found typos like this frequently in pages generated by an OCR that I proofread for the Gutenberg Project via Distributed Proofreaders. Check the context of "his" trade - work with metals or blades" - note the use of "cuts" and "bronzed" in the quote. Perhaps he worked in a foundry or as a smithy or a sword maker?

    September 4, 2009

  • He's a scientist working with explosives.

    But I'm home now and look what OED says:

    "variant of skilly a. Sc. and north."

    September 4, 2009