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PENDICLE n. an adjunct or appendage

Ultimately derived from Latin pendere, to hang, a pendicle is something that is a dependent or subsidiary part of something else.  Its most common use is in relation to land or property, when it means property subsidiary to a main estate. In this context it often occurs in the phrase ‘pendicles and pertinents’, as illustrated by this 1588 quote from the Burnisland Burgh Court book: “In … his tenement off land with yeard pairtis pendiclis and pertinentis”.

Other examples from the Dictionary of the Scots Language ( show pendicles as not only subsidiary but separate from the main property, as shown by this from the Statistical Account of Scotland from the late 18th century: “It was a parsonage, having four churches belonging to it which were called the pendicles of Stobo”.  Small areas of land forming part of a larger holding might be sub-let to tenants, which led to the term pendicler - a smallholder or tenant of a pendicle.  This is shown in the following extract from a 1965 edition of the Scots Magazine: “Fowlis Wester was a community of ‘pendiclers’, each with a small piece of land for which rent was paid in labour to the farmer to whose farm the piece of land was appended”.

In Trades incorporations, a pendicle was a trade or tradesman not fully incorporated, and having limited rights.  We can see this usage in the following quote from William M Morison’s The Decisions of the Courts of Session (1805): “The wrights [of Dundee] along with two other crafts, are denominated ‘The Pendicle Trades’, to distinguish them from those that are regularly incorporated”. 

In older times pendicle could refer to a cloth hanging used as a valance, as shown in this from  Memorials of the Montgomeries (1596): “About my bed … sex pair of courtingis with thair pendicles”.


Scots Word of the Week is written by Ann Ferguson of Scottish Language Dictionaries, 9 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7AL, For £20 you can sponsor a Scots word.