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Rhymes: -ɒtəl

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English dottel, dottelle (a plug or tap of a vessel), a diminutive of Old English dott (> English dot (a point)), equivalent to dot +‎ -le. Related to Old English dyttan (to stop up, clot), Dutch dot (a knot, lump, clod), Low German Dutte (a plug). More at dit.

Alternative formsEdit


dottle (plural dottles)

  1. A plug or tap of a vessel.
  2. A small rounded lump or mass.
  3. The still burning or wholly burnt tobacco plug in a pipe.
    • 1957, Lawrence Durrell, Justine, Faber p. 96:
      one hand guards the burning dottle of my pipe from the force of the wind
    • 1981, John Gardner, Freddy's Book, Abacus 1982, p. 38:
      I clenched my pipe in my right fist and poked at the dottle busily with various fingers, first one then another, of my left hand.
    • 1984, Alan Dean Foster, The Hour of the Gate, page 89:
      He tapped out the dottle on the deck, locked the steering oar in position, and commenced repacking his pipe.
    • 2010, Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles:
      I fiddle and scrape and poke for a while, banging out the dottle from my previous pipeful into an ashtray and puffing down the stem like a horn player warming up his trumpet.
  4. (Geordie) A baby's dummy, pacifier.
  • Newcastle 1970s, Scott Dobson and Dick Irwin, [1]
  • The New Geordie Dictionary, Frank Graham, 1987, →ISBN
  • Northumberland Words, English Dialect Society, R. Oliver Heslop, 1893–4

Etymology 2Edit

Related to dote, dotard.


dottle (comparative more dottle, superlative most dottle)

  1. (Scotland) Stupid or senile.
    • 1893: David Herschell Edwards, One Hundred Modern Scottish Poets: With Biographical and Critical Notices, volume 15, page 403
      When days and years proclaim you’re old —
       A dottle, cripple, gouty fellow,
      Then for support you can lay hold
       O’ the upright of your umberella.


dottle (plural dottles)

  1. (Scotland) A dotard.