A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Gall (verb active)

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To Gall. v.a. [galer, French.]

  1. To hurt by fretting the skin.

                I'll touch my point
    With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
    It may be death.
    Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    His yoke is easy, when by us embrac'd;
    But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis cast.

    A carrier, when he would think of a remedy for his galled horse, begins with casting his eye upon all things. Locke.

        On the monarch's speech Achilles broke,
    And furious thus, and interrupting spoke,
    Tyrant, I well deserv'd thy galling chain.
    Pope's Iliad.

  2. To impair; to wear away.

    He doth object, I am too great of birth;
    And that my state being gall'd with my expence,
    I seek to heal it only by his wealth.

    If it should fall down in a continual stream like a river, it would gall the ground, wash away plants by the roots, and overthrow houses. Ray on the Creation.

  3. To teaze; to fret; to vex.

    In honour of that action, and to gall their minds who did not so much commend it, he wrote his book. Hooker, b. ii.

    What they seem contented with, even for that very cause we reject; and there is nothing but it pleaseth us the better, if we espy that it galleth them. Hooker, b. iv. s. 9.

                When I shew justice,
    I pity those I do not know;
    Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall.

    Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
    That I extend my manners: 'tis my breeding,
    That gives me this bold shew of courtesy.
    Shakesp. Othello.

        All studies here I solemnly defy,
    Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke.
    Shak. H. IV.

    No man commits any sin but his conscience smites him, and his guilty mind is frequently galled with the remembrance of it. Tillotson's Sermons.

  4. To harrass; to mischief.

    The Helots had gotten new heart, and with divers sorts of shot from corners of streets and house-windows galled them. Sidney.

    Light demilances from afar they throw,
    Fasten'd with leathern thongs, to gall the foe.
    Dryd. Æn.

    In our wars against the French of old, we used to gall them with our long bows, at a greater distance than they could shoot their arrows. Addison on the State of the War.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Denham, John (75) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (39) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · Shakespeare's Othello (60) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Ray, John (59) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Tillotson, John (68)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Gall (verb active)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 5, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/gall-verb-active/.

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