Meaning of marley in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmɑːli/

nounplural noun marleys, plural noun marlies

(also marlie)
  • 1Northern Irish informal A small ball of coloured glass or similar material used as a toy; a marble.

    • ‘your knuckles are skinned from shooting marleys’
    • ‘Marlie season was most popular in the summertime but extended all year long.’
    • ‘Take the marlies out of yer mouth and give us all a game.’
    • ‘When my mother forced me and my brother to wash the dishes or vacuum our room, we managed to break a dish or two and suck marlies up the cleaner.’
    • ‘There are no cheap options of 'marlies' or 'conkers'; today it is all games consoles and music players!’
    1. 1.1marleys or marliestreated as singular A game in which marbles are rolled along the ground with the aim of hitting those of one's opponent.
      ‘she had a flair for marleys’
      • ‘We gathered on a dusty patch in front of the playing fields for a game of marlies.’
      • ‘The rules and regulations of marleys, for instance, were fairly simple.’
      • ‘They just can't help spending our money on receptions for anything from the synchronised swimming team to the world-acclaimed left-handed marlies champions.’
      • ‘Spitting, marleys, fights, and rolling down hills are the ingredients that make up the lives of these two accidental friends from different parts of town.’


    one's head is a marley
    Northern Irish informal
    • One is foolish or stupid.

      • ‘I love you but your head's a marley’
      • ‘"Tony, your head's a marley. Just for once, do the right thing."’
      • ‘Your head's a marley; I could climb it, no bother.’
      • ‘"Our teacher's head's a marley; he's put George in for the eleven-plus."’
      • ‘You want me to stay here? Your head's a marley.’
      • ‘"Catch yourself on, wee girl. Your head's a marley."’


Late 19th century from dialect marl contraction of marble + -y.