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Gillie or ghillie is a Scots term that refers to a man or a boy who acts as an attendant on a fishing, fly fishing, hunting, or deer stalking expedition, primarily in the Highlands or on a river such as the River Spey. In origin it referred especially to someone who attended on his employer or guests.

A ghillie may also serve as a gamekeeper employed by a landowner to prevent poaching on their lands, control unwelcome natural predators such as fox or otter, and monitor the health of the wildlife.


The origin of this word dates from the late 16th century, from the Scottish Gaelic gille, "lad, servant", cognate with the Irish giolla.

Historically, the term was used for a Highland chief's attendant.

A ghillie-weetfit, a term now obsolete (a translation of "gille-caisfliuch", from the Gaelic cos foot/leg and fliuch wet), was the ghillie whose duty it was to carry his master over streams. It became a term of contempt among the Lowlanders for the "tail" (as his attendants were called) of a Highland chief.

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