Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HAIL, v.2, n.3 Also hale, haile; hile. [he:l]

I. v. In games such as shinty, football (obs. exc. I.Sc.), or handball: to drive (the ball) through or over the goal or boundary, to score a goal (Per. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1956). Orig. in phr. to hail the dool(s), to reach or strike the goal, mark, etc., to score a goal; also used fig. = to be the winner, celebrate a victory, hence = to drive care away, keep the fun going (Abd.14 c.1915). Also deriv. hailer, a scoring player or ball (see Rxb. 1919 quot.). Cf. Dool, n.2, v.2 Also found in Nhb. and Cum. dials. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 23:
Gar the Kirk-Boxie hale the Dools Anither Day.
  Ib. Note:
Hale the Dools is a Phrase used at Football, where the Party that gains the Goal or Dool is said to hail it or win the Game, and so draws the Stake.
Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 505:
Fy Sirs, quo' he, the bonspale's win, And we the Ba' have hail'd.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (1925) 37:
The races o'er, they hale the dools, Wi' drink o' a' kin-kind.
Ayr. 1789  D. Sillar Poems 97:
For sic as hail Apollo's dool, Maun persevere wi' vigour.
Slk. 1815  Lockhart Scott xxxvi.:
The first ball was hailed by Robert Hall, mason in Selkirk.
Per. 1836  J. Shearer Antiq. Strathearn (1881) 82:
With another stroke of his brawny arm [the smith] made it hail.
Rxb. 1893  Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) VI. 161:
The west had no difficulty in pulling off the match, all the four balls thrown up being “hailed” in the Coble Pool.
Bwk. 1897  R. M. Calder Poems 236:
[We] never heeded clours or fa's sae lang's we hailed the tee.
Rxb. 1919  Jedburgh Gazette (14 Feb.) 3:
Balls were provided by New Zealanders, Canadians, returned prisoners of war, and several of the factories, premiums for the “hailers” ranging from 10s 6d to 20s and 50s.
Rxb. 1955  Scotsman (3 Feb.):
All the seven balls were hailed by mid-afternoon.

II. n. 1. The cry of “Hail” raised when a goal, etc., is scored (Cai. Edb. 1902 E.D.D.; Ork., Rxb. 1956). Sc. 1783  W. Tytler Poet. Remains James I. 187 Note:
When the ball touches the goal or mark, the winner calls out, Hail!
Rxb. 1802  J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry II. 370 Note:
In the game of golf as anciently played, when the ball reached the mark, the winner, to announce his victory, called, Hail dule.

2. The act of hailing or driving the ball through the goal; a goal scored (Slg. 1911 per Abd.14; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also transf. = the goal or mark itself (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 29; Ork. 1929 Marw., also in pl. hailse; Sh., Ork., Cai., Rxb. 1956); the ball used in the game. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 64:
Naething I got, seek for them what I list, But a toom hale, an' sae my mark I mist.
Bch. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 65:
The hails is set, an' on they scud.
Sc. 1815  Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) IV. 143:
The best player in the country declared that for his band they should play holding hales i.e. goals between Carlisle and Berwick.
Per. 1836  J. Shearer Antiq. Strathearn (1881) 82:
The muckle smith o' Muthill carried the hail clean before him until it came in contact with . . . [a] stock of eatables.
n.Sc. 1840  D. Sage Mem. Domest. (1889) 158:
Two points were marked out, the one the starting-point, and the other the goal, or “haile.”
Bwk. 1843  Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club II. 58:
The hails, or boundaries of the game, were the . . . fishing hamlet of Headchesters as one terminus, and the conical height of Hoggeslaw . . . as the other.
Sth. 1897  E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 116:
Shinty . . . more commonly called Clubs, the ball is termed a “shiney,” and the goals and goal-posts “hiles” and “hile-posts.”
Ork. 1940 1 :
In Sanday, when the ball goes right over the goals [in football], that is called a “hail,” and counts as 5 goals or “rows.”
Rs. 1936  C. Macdonald Echoes Glen xxii.:
A timid little “back” but an adept with the caman, had twice prevented his scoring a hail.
Rxb. 1955  Scotsman (3 Feb.):
The first of Jedburgh's time-honoured street games, “Candlemas Handba'” . . . ended in a victory of four hails to three for the Doonies.

Phr. and combs.: (1) hail-ba, a variety of handball played by boys (Dmf. 1825 Jam.; Ork. 1956); (2) hail-door, used fig. in phr. coman (gettan) near the hail-doors, “coming to an end of supplies of potatoes, ale, meal, etc.” (Ork. 1929 Marw.); (3) hail-lick, the last blow or kick given to the ball, driving it into the goal or to the boundary (Knr. 1825 Jam.); (4) hail-line, boundary, goal line; (5) hail-post, goal-post (Ork. 1956); (6) hail-stick, a shinty-stick, a caman; (7) Torryburn hail, see quot. (Fif.14 1912); (8) to win a hail, to score a goal (Ork. 1956). (4) Kcd. 1900  “W. Gairdner” Glengoyne I. iv.:
Many a time I have played at the ba' here . . . When the ball came up to him he used to give it such a stroke as . . . finished the game at once by sending it over the hail line.
(5) Rs. 1936  C. Macdonald Echoes Glen iv.:
Then off went jackets — which were piled to form “hail-posts.”
(6) Ags. 1887  J. McBain Arbroath 331:
They had to procure “hail-sticks”, stout cudgels with a good hook or knob at the end.
(7) Fif. 1890  A. J. G. Mackay Proverbs 28:
“Torryburn Hail” is a modern Dunfermline saying for a one-sided game, as the Torryburn lads usually won every game in the shinty matches.
(8) Bch. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 66:
The hails is wun, they warsle hame, The best they can for fobbin.
Sc. 1862  J. F. Campbell Tales W. Highl. III. 1:
They went to play shinny and Iain won three hales.

3. The place where the “kick-off” at football or “bully-off” at hockey, etc. takes place (Sc. 1808 Jam.). This seems to be erroneous.

4. (1) The game of shinty. Ags. 1887  J. McBain Arbroath 331:
No old Arbroathian of the male persuasion but remembers the royal game of hail.

(2) In pl. A game similar to hockey or shinty but played with flat wooden bats (clackans) in place of sticks, still played at Edinburgh Academy. Edb. 1885  “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny 32:
Great was the variety of games played with the ball, both by boys and girls, from “Shintie” and “Hails” to “Stot-ba” and the “bannets.”
Edb. 1953  Bulletin (17 March):
Senior boys of the preparatory school play Hailes in front of the Academy building.

[A special use of hail, v., to salute with the exclamation hail! The phr. to hail the dule, etc., is found in O.Sc. from c.1500.]

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"Hail v.2, n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2017 <>



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