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Of obscure origin. Perhaps from Middle English *antel, *antæl, from Old English *antæl, *andtæl, equivalent to and- + tale (number); or more likely of North Germanic origin, related to Danish and Swedish antal (a number, multitude), Dutch aantal (a number, a great many), German Anzahl (a number, quantity, multitude). The addition of initial h is believed to be due to influence from Middle English handfull (handful).


hantle (plural hantles)

  1. (Scotland, northern Britain) A considerable number or quantity; a great many; a great deal.
    • 1932, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song, Polygon 2006 (A Scots Quair), p. 15:
      An Irish creature, Erbert Ellison was the name, ran the place for the trustees, he said, but if you might believe all the stories you heard he ran a hantle more silver into his own pouch than he ran into theirs.