Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

HALF, n., adj., v. Sc. forms: haff (pl. haves); ha(a)f, hauf; ¶haulf; hawf; hef; dims. haffie, haufie. [n., sm.Sc. hɑ:f; em., wm. and s.Sc. h:f]

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. A part, one of two unequal parts into which a thing has been divided, cf. Eng. larger, bigger half. Gen.Sc. Also, one of three or more divisions or portions (Abd. 1956), now obs. in Eng. but also found in w.Ir. dial. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 46:
Syne out he took the heaviest haff.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 29:
The muckle half of our lang road was gane, And we sat down and restit on a stane.
Arg. 1930 1 :
Gie's yer knife: there's a odd herrin' in the pan an' I want tae cut it in three hafs.

2. A half-measure of a specified amount, esp. of whisky, a half gill; occas. a half-bottle. Hence a wee hauf, a quarter gill, a small whisky. Gen.Sc. Cf. halfyin, id. (see II. 1. (29)). wm.Sc. 1888  Anon. Archie Macnab 30:
Onything I can dae for ye I'll be maist happy. Will ye hae a hauf?
Arg. 1892  Justiciary Reports (1893) 239:
The customer . . . on completing some transaction with the grocer, asks him to give a “half” to his friend.
Ags. 1898  A. H. Rea Divot Dyke 104:
He has ae faut — the extra drappie He canna pass, But drinks it up, be't hale or haufie.
Edb. 1915  J. Fergus Sodger (1925) 16:
He never tak's a freendly “hauf.”
Bnff. 1923  Banffshire Jnl. (19 June) 8:
Come awa' up an' tak' a hauf wi's.
Sc. 1924  R. W. Campbell Spud Tamson vi.:
“Were ye fu' when ye bocht it?” “Na! Of course, I had a hauf, but my heid wis a' richt.”
Cai. 1937  N. Gunn Highl. River xvii.:
Sandy and himself had just finished the halfie.
Bch. 1949  W. R. Melvin Poems 52:
An, hear them speak o' Halfies An' Mutchkins, Nips an' Jills!
Arg. 1950  Scots Mag. (Jan.) 199:
I wass gey badly needing the good glass of whisky the Captain sent through to the bar for me that night, especially as Lachie the Badger and Calum Ban only had wee halfs.
Gall. 1954  Gall. Gazette (18 Dec.):
A crack over a hauf and a pint is surely a good enough excuse for holding up the tournament for an hour or so.

3. In dim. forms halfie, haffie, a half-holiday (ne.Sc. 1880–1956). Abd. 1953  Abd. Press & Jnl. (20 Nov.):
Weelum was that concerned aboot the scythe being broken, and girned sae muckle aboot the cost o' repairs nooadays, I jist hadna the hert tae seek a halfie.

4. A large semi-circular piece cut out of a sheep's ear, as a mark of ownership. Cf. Hemlin. Dmf. 1955  Dmf. & Gall. Standard (2 July) 12:
B. F. Hogg Lost: B near horn, fore half near ear, fore nip far ear.

5. Used in expressions of time prefixed to the following hour to indicate that half the previous one has gone, e.g. half-five = 4.30 (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 47; I.Sc. 1902 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 74). Gen.Sc., but obsol., esp. in m.Sc. Cf. similar usages in mod. Teut. langs.; occas. however = half past (Fif., Gsw., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1956). Sc. 1705  J. Anderson Papers 69, 81:
About half ten I went to church. . . . I . . . examined the scholars till half five.
Gall. 1738  Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 305:
The hours for teaching the school shall be betwixt nine and twelve in the forenoon, and two and five in the afternoon in Spring, Summer and Harvest, and from half ten in the morning till half three in the afternoon during the Winter quarter.
Sc. 1798  Monthly Mag. (Dec.) 435:
What o'clock is it? — what is it o'clock? — the answer would probably be, half-six, which an Englishman would understand to mean three — it is intended for half past five.
Bnff. 1815  Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1930) 136:
At half eight o'clock Wellington perceived the French fire begin to abate.
Sc. 1826  Lockhart Scott lxxi.:
June 19. — This morning wrote till half twelve — good day's work — at Canongate Chronicles.
Sc. 1844  J. G. Kohl Travels in Scot. 87:
“At half two o'clock” — an Englishman would say “half past one,” while the Scots, who have retained many old Saxon expressions, say, even as we Germans would, “half two o'clock” we arrived at the boundaries of the park.
wm.Sc. 1903  S. Macplowter Mrs McCraw 73:
A'm tellt the auld ministers i' the monkeries used tae get up aboot hawf five tae praise the Lord.
Abd. 1909  R. J. McLennan Yon Toon 81:
“Mercy on's,” she exclaimed. looking at the wag-at-the-wa', “it's half eleeven o'clock, an' Tam's nae in yet.”
Ags. 1921  D. H. Edwards Fisher Folks 21:
Jamie So-and-So's compliments and he wishes you to attend the funeral of his wife on Fuirsday at half three o'clock.
Sc. c.1925  R. Thomas Sandie McWhustler's Waddin' 137:
Weel it was hauf-fowre an' her man lowses at five an' insteed o' bein at hame, whaur she should hae been lang syne. gettin' the supper ready for'm, here she was yatterin' awa' like a wud fu' o' cockatoos.
Uls. 1948  D. G. Waring Not Quite So Black 226:
There was hardly one hadn't it all reeled off til me before daylight itself . . . me heart was near til choking me when I come here at haff-seven.

II. adj. 1. In combs. with nouns: (1) half-cousin, the child of one's father's or mother's cousin, a second cousin . Gen.Sc.; †(2) half croun, one of the large stones flanking the crown stone of the causeway. See Causey, 5. (3); †(3) half dike, see quot. Cf. faced dyke, s.v. Face; (4) half-dog, one of a pair of small iron supports placed in a hearth for holding logs, a fire-dog, andiron; (5) half edge seam, in mining: a highly inclined seam of coal (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 34); †(6) half foot, a method of cultivating land in which the landlord supplied the seed, the crop was grown and harvested by the tenant and shared between them; †(7) half-fo(u), -fu(ll). half a Fou, q.v., III. 2., i.e. approx. two pecks or half a bushel (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); †(8) hauf-gable, half gavill, one side of a gable common to two houses; used specif. in Gsw. 1727 quot. in regard to the right to use it. Also adv. and fig.; (9) half gang, a portion of yarn made up during the operation of warping (Slk. 1956); (10) half house, a semi-detached house (Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1956); †(11) half-labour, a system of rent-payment in kind (see quots.). Cf. (6); †(12) half-lade, -l(a)ed, one of a pair of woven straw bags, used as panniers to carry grain (Ork. 1887 Jam., 1929 Marw.). See Laid; (13) half-loaf, a loaf of plain white bread (formerly weighing two pounds, but reduced in size after 1939 to 30 ozs.) which is half the size of the standard quartern loaf (Rxb. 1892 W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 14). Gen.Sc. Also curtailed dim. form haffie (Ags. 1956). †Phr. to loup at the half-laif, to scramble for part of the last loaf supplied to workers in the harvest field, hence, fig., to be satisfied with little, seize on small favours (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (14) halfman, (a) see quot.; (b) a half bottle (of spirits). Cf. Eng. dead man, an empty bottle; †(15) haff manor, land held in partnership between two (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 250). Cf. (6) and (11); (16) half-marrow, a marriage partner, mate, spouse (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags. 1956); (17) half-net, ha'net, see 1782 quot., mostly attrib. Hence ha'netsman, one engaged in this type of fishing. Not the same word as Halve-net, q.v.; (18) half note, a 10/- note. Gen.Sc. See Note; (19) half-nothing, next to nothing, very little (Uls. 1956); (20) half one, (a) see (29); (b) in Golf.: the allowance of a stroke at alternate holes to one's opponent (Sc. 1887 Jam.); now commonly known as “a half” or “half a stroke” (Fif. 1940); †(21) half-parts, see quot.; †(22) halfpenny land, a measure of land equal to half a Pennyland, q.v. (Arg. 1956); †(23) half plow, a measure of land, the half of a Ploughgate, q.v.; (24) half-un, -wan, see (29); (25) half water, adv. (a) mid way in a stream; (b) “half-way between the boat and the bottom of the sea” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1956); (26) ha(l)f-web, the grey phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius (Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl.) or red-necked phalarope, P. lobatus (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9); (27) half whaup, the bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica, “from its similarity to the curlew in flight and colour of plumage” (Ags. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 198); †(28) half-year, hal-, hallier, hellier, hellzier, ha(i)l-yert, a half year, six months (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; m.Lth., Arg., Ayr. 1956); (29) half (hef) yin (one, un, wan), a half glassful of liquor (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Dwn. 1931 North. Whig (5 Dec.) 13, half-un; m.Lth., Uls. 1956); cf. n., 2.: appar. of Irish orig. (1) Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Waugh (1898) xxvii.:
When I was a boy, on a visit to my father's half-cousin, Aunt Heatherwig.
Dmf. 1853  Carlyle in
J. W. Carlyle Letters (1883) II. 231:
Sophy, an orphan half-cousin to whom Uncle John's munificence had been fatherly.
Sc. 1955  J. Craigie Poems James VI (S.T.S.) I. 304:
His father had been a younger brother of King James's maternal grandfather, Matthew, 4th Earl of Lennox, and he was therefore a half or second cousin of James himself.
(2) Gsw. 1777  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1912) 500:
We . . . are of opinion that the croun or midle of the said causway, betwixt the two half crouns, is in great disrepair and ought to be lifted and causwayed of new.
(3) Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 570:
About the town of Peterhead . . . there are a considerable number of inclosures, partly of stone, and partly an earthen fence, called here a half dike.
(4) Sc. 1823  Lockhart Scott (1837) lvii.:
All our grates must be contrived to use wood as well as coal, with what are called half-dogs.
(6) Highl. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. II. 396:
Half foot, is another method of occupying a farm, equally barbarous in itself, and adverse to improvement. It is not so prevalent in the Highlands, as in some of the Western Isles.
Hebr. 1873  Trans. Highl. Soc. 298:
Out or led farms like the metayers of France, or the half-foot tenants of the Hebrides.
Inv. 1884  Crofters' Comm. Evid. I. 270:
The large farmers employed these people to work their farms, and gave them so much land themselves for their work, and so much of what they called half-foot, — that is, whatever they turned besides the land that was laid out for themselves; they cut half the corn and the other half belonged to the tenant, and the tenant gave one-half of the seed and the crofter gave the other half.
(7) Ags. 1708  Court Bk. Regality Kirriemuir (17 Jan.):
Five bolls and ane halfo of meall.
Sc. 1786  Session Papers, Elliott v. Currie (13 Dec. 1805) App. 3:
Thirty bags of good burning coals, at the rate of five half-fous to the bag.
Sc. 1802  Scott Minstrelsy III. 66:
And I brought a half-fou o' gude red goud, Out o'er the sea wi' me.
Rxb. 1843  Jedburgh Magistr. v. Bakers 45:
What was the size of the Roxburghshire boll used for oats and barley? It contained ten half-fulls or firlots.
(8) Gsw. 1727  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 274:
For drawing up of braces and vents on the outside of the west gavill and privilege of half gavill.
Rnf. 1873  D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 25:
The heresy of Arminianism, which he described as an attempt “tae big hauf-gable wi' the Lord.”
(9) Sc. 1807  J. Duncan Art of Weaving I. 8:
These serve to guide the yarn upon the mill, and also to divide it into portions called half gangs, which are useful in the subsequent operation of beaming.
(10) Abd. 1889  Bon-Accord (2 March) 11:
To be sold or let, two half houses at Mannofield.
(11) Sc. 1805  R. Forsyth Beauties Scot. II. 443:
The rent was frequently paid in kind, or in what was called half-labour . . . . One-half of the crop went to the landlord.
Ayr. 1896  J. Lamb Ann. Ayr. Parish 226:
“Half Labour,” i.e. one half of the crop going to the land, the other half to tenant.
(12) Ork. 1908  Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 246:
Oats were carried in the meissie on horse-back in a half-led, a bag made of straw ropes and floss-bands, with loops at the mouth through which a floss-band was threaded to draw the mouth together.
Ork. c.1912  J. Omond 80 Years Ago 20:
The half led . . . was shaped like a joiner's bass for carrying tools, being about three or four feet long and about eighteen inches deep . . . one half led would hold about a sack of oats.
Ork. 1922  J. Firth Reminisc. 36:
When the horse was loaded each hauf-laed was slung in a maizie, and hung on the horns of the clibber, one on each side of the horse.
(13) Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 18:
Be sure that you mind an' tell Nathan no' to sell thae twa yesterday's haffies on the shelf.
Abd. 1903  W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 131:
A half-loaf, a pennyworth o' stamach pills, an' the worth o' a' the lave o' the siller in saft biscuits.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo vii.:
I mind I bocht a dickie when I had mair need o' a hauf loaf.
Lnl. 1954  Bulletin (3 Sept.) 3:
Mr Shields added that his food supplies had consisted of some tins and a half-loaf.
(14) (a) Sc. 1869  D. Bremner Industries 22:
At fourteen, the boy becomes a “half-man”; at sixteen, a “three-quarter-man”; and at eighteen, he assumes the title of miner.
(b) Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xix.:
Fetch us up the stair a halfman of good spirits and a bite of something.
(16) Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. III. 119:
Is this your sweet half-marrow, Luck be wi'm? It is, says Hen. Quoth Bess, I'm glad to see'm.
Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 37:
Come awa hame to thy hauf marrow.
Gsw. 1802  Sc. Songs (Whitelaw 1843) 206:
Will ye be my ha'f-marrow, sweet?
Ags. 1822  A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters III. x.:
There's nae good can come o' putting her out o' conceit wi' her ha'f marrow, whan the matter canna be mended.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 176:
I'll make her lugs stoun wi' her carelessness about her half-marrow — that be might hae been robbed or murdered for ony care she had o' him.
Lnk. 1860  W. Watt Poems 182:
The sun had for thirty times come north the line Since Mirren did first for a half-marrow pine.
(17) Abd. 1757  Session Papers, Maitland v. Magistrates Abd. (12 Nov.) 11:
This Fishing had been distinguished by so many different Names, corresponding to the different Rights granted to the Town's Vassals of a whole Net's Fishing, or half a Net's Fishing, at different Places or Stations in the River.
Abd. 1782  F. Douglas E. Coast Scot. 122:
What they call a hanet's fishing on the river Dee. A hanet, is the privilege of half the fish caught by one net, in the season.
Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 218:
In each cavel there are six shares called, Halfnets, and all the shares are nearly of equal value.
Abd. 1795  Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 105–6:
The two men that work the coble. . . . are called Halfnet's-men.
Abd. 1851  W. Anderson Rhymes 172.:
Growlie, the grieve, or the ha'netsman, Main.
(18) Abd. 1952 29 :
Ma grannie wis aye i' the wey o' giein's a half-note on oor birthdays.
(19) Sc. 1787  J. Beattie Scoticisms 61:
It sold for half-nothing — Far under its value. Half nothing must be less than nothing.
(20) (b) Sc. 1811  Rec. Royal Burgess Soc. Edb. 31:
Butterworth playing with his putter; Hogg to allow him half one.
Fif. 1857  H. B. Farnie Golfer's Manual 69:
The exact proportion of odds may, in many cases, be considerably less than one more; accordingly, a stroke may be given each alternate hole, which is termed “half one.”
Sc. 1896  Scots Mag. (May) 401:
We had played a round of golf together . . . and, though receiving “half one,” I had been ingloriously defeated.
(21) Fif. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 IX. 64:
The remainder of the parish, amounting to 24 imperial acres, is shared among twenty smaller proprietors, called here, as in other parts of the country, portioners. To these latter belong the sections of the out-field land of the Woodriff, which are called half-parts.
(22) Ork. 1766  P. Fea MS. Diary (13–14 March):
In the headrig of Volgar 2 bar[ley]. In the Halfpennie Lands 8½ bar.
Ork. 1779  Ib. (1 April):
The Cart muckeing upon the 3 last rigs of the half pennie lands.
Highl. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 394:
A very ancient valuation of land is still adhered to in a part of the Western Islands and Highlands. By it the whole district was divided into shilling, six-penny, and three-penny lands, Scotch money. According to the English denomination of money, they are termed penny, halfpenny, and farthing lands.
(23) em.Sc. 1794  W. Marshall Agric. Cent. Highl. 29:
Not the larger farms only, but each sub-division, though ever so minute; whether “plowgait,” or “half plow,” or “horse gang”; has its pittance of hill and vale, and its share of each description of land; as arable, meadow, green pasture, and muir.
(25) (a) Inv. 1745  Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XIV. 33:
It is better to turn half water than drown.
(26) Ork. 1806  P. Neill Tour 43:
We saw many birds of the phalarope genus, which the inhabitants very appropriately name half-webs.
(28) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 49:
Fat sall I do? it was almaist brand-new, But scarce a hellier since come aff the clew. [Ib., p.10, hellzier and in 1778 ed. p.16, halyear].
Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 28:
How long was she serving with your mother . . . Just twa hail-yerts.
ne.Sc. 1802  Edb. Mag. (July) 56:
I've dander'd dowf on Morven's tap . . . For hal'yerts twa.
(29) Uls. 1869  D. Herbison Snow Wreath 123:
She has “half-ones” half-a-dozen Swallowed at some dram-house bar.
Uls. 1879  W. G. Lyttle Readings 93:
Weel, ivery coo or pig that wuz ether bocht or sel't, naething wud dae bit rin intil a public hoose tae pie the money, an' stan a halfyin oot o' the luckpenny.
wm.Sc. 1903  S. Macplowter Mrs McCraw 45:
Tae staun' at the beck an' ca' o' ilka sweep, an' be haun'in' hawf yins owre the coonter, furbye.
Tyr. 1929  M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 214:
The oul' masther thinks a quare lot betther when he has a wheen of halfwans.

2. In combs. with adjs. and ppls.: (1) half auld, middle-aged (Abd.27 1956); (2) half-blinded, in Mining: see quot.; (3) half-bred, see quot., sometimes also applied to the progeny of a half-bred male and female of this sort; †(4) half-brooked, of cross-bred sheep: with a mottled black and white face. See Brook, v.1; (5) half-chackit, half drunk (Fif.17 1910, Fif. 1956). Cf. (11); †(6) half-coble, in Salmon-fishing: the privilege of a half-share in a Coble, n.2, 3. (1) (a), q.v.; (7) haufcock(ie), = (5). Nhb. dial. has half-cocked with the same meaning; (8) half-gane, “about the middle period of pregnancy” (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai., Clc., m.Lth., Wgt., Slk. 1956); (9) half-gaun, of clothes: second-best m.Lth. 1956); (10) half-hung-tee, (a) half-witted, “not all there” (Bnff., Abd. 1956); (b) of persons aping their betters: pretentious, affecting gentility (Abd.4 1929, Abd. 1956). Hence used as a n. = would-be gentry (Abd. 1929); (c) “seedy,” off colour (Abd. 1956); (11) half jack(it), -jeck (Arg.3 1956), half witted (Twd. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.; Fif. 1956, -jackit); jack is prob. = Chack, n.2, 2., hence the phr. would mean “half-cracked.” Cf. (5); (12) half-shut(tin) day, the weekly half-holiday, early-closing day. (Abd.28 1948, -shuttin' — ); (13) half-thick, thick-headed, dull-witted, also used absol. for a stupid person (m.Dmf.3 c.1920); (14) half-waxed, of rabbits, etc.: half-grown (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Dmf., Rxb. 1956). Also in Nhb. dial.; (15) ha-, h(e)i-, high-year a(u)ld, -old, applied to cattle: a year and a half old (Lth. 1825 Jam., hei-yearald; Teviotd. Ib., high-year-old; Borders 1869 J. C. Morton Cyct. Agric. II. 723, ha-, hi-). (1) Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 42:
It [drink] soon wad gar his love to me turn cauld, And mak' him daz'd and doited ere ha'f auld.
(2) Sc. 1886  J. Barrowman Mining Terms 34:
Two ends driven off a plane, one on each side and not opposite each other by half their width are said to be half-blinded.
(3) s.Sc. 1897  Trans. Highl. Soc. IX. 220:
To flockmasters in Scotland and the north of England the name of Half-bred is well enough understood as designating the breed derived from the union of the Border-Leicester ram with the Cheviot ewe.
Sc. 1956  Scotsman (9 Feb.):
Half-bred grit ewes to ¥10; Blackface lambs to 60/-; Cheviot lambs to 78/-.
(4) Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 176:
In the parish, are . . . 8543 sheep, mostly what are called here half-brooked.
(6) Inv. 1781  Caled. Mercury (21 March):
To be exposed to public voluntary roup and sale . . . The Half-coble Salmon-fishing on the river Ness.
(7) Sc. 1824  Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 278:
We war a wee haufcock, or maybe mair.
Mry. 1883  F. Sutherland Memories 22:
I met the henie Smith half-cock.
Bch. 1949  W. R. Melvin Poems 61:
Bit she'll lat doon a mou' the nicht Fine I stot hame half-cockie.
(8) Sc. 1825  Willie o Winsbury in
Child Ballads (1886) II. 402:
And her belly was big, and her face pale and wan, And she was about half gone.
(9) Rxb. 1918  Kelso Chron. (8 Nov.) 3:
I wad hev tae first gang hame an' pit on ma hauf-gaun claes as the yins I was wearin' were a shame to be seen.
(12) Bwk. 1956 2 :
Wednesday's half-shut day here.

3. With adv. and preps.: (1) half-gait(s), -gate(s), -gaets, half-way (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., ‡Ags., Fif.3 1956); (2) half-road(s), = (1). Gen.Sc.; (3) half ways, half-way (Sh., Abd., Slg., m.Lth., Ayr. 1956); partly. For the adv. suff. -s, cf. (1) and (2). (1) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 103:
She met my lad, half gates an' mair, I trow, An' gar'd her lips on his gee sick a smack.
Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 50:
Willie and Charlie is to the hill an hour syne, an' haf-gate hame again.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poems 13:
Had learnt to trim his beard wi' grace, Wi' whiskers hauf-gate o'er his face.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi.:
His lifeless corpse . . . was fund lyin' beside the barrels in a wud half-gaits between Burleyrackit and St Andrews. [Ib. xxxv., half-gait.]
Abd. 1865  G. Macdonald Alec Forbes xci.:
I was half-gaits to Portlokie.
Ags. 1896  A. Blair Rantin Robin 67:
I thocht I was sure to find it, as we had left it aboot half-gaits open.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 22:
Whin we wan by yon Baa . . . dan we wid be haf gaits trow.
(2) Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 18:
I wisna hauf road up the braes, When, hech! my heid was in a craze.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xii.:
Doon the stair I floo; but, afore I was half-roads doon, Sandy jamp clean on my back.
Abd. 1903  W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 86:
Am thinkin' I gat a waukin afore I wis half-roads hame.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo vi.:
I lookit at the lang length o' settle that was between us and muttered something aboot meetin' her hauf-road.
Lth. 1914  C. P. Slater Marget Pow xvi.:
I very near stuck half-roads through the handle of my umberelly catchin' a haud of the railin'.
Fif. 1954  St Andrews Cit. (18 Sept.):
I wisna half roads. So I fund ti ma cost I had ta'en Fu' forty-six shots afore I began comin' in.
(3) Lnk. 1873  A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 68:
I'm half-ways gi'en to tak' your part, An' half-ways to abuse ye.
ne.Sc. 1954  Mearns Leader (29 Jan.) 3:
The nicht we stack i' the snaw half-wyes tae Clachmoggin.

4. Phrs.: (1) half an' atween, half and between, neither one nor the other; not quite. Gen.Sc.; (2) half-an(d)-half, half-drunk (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Abd., m.Lth., Ayr. 1956). Also, as in Eng., half of one thing and half of another. Combs. hauf-an-hauf cheese, cheese made from equal parts of skim and new milk (Ayr.4 c.1928); half-and-half plane, a plane running “midway between plane course and end course” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 34); also used adv. and in form half-end-half-plane (Ib.). (1) Rnf. 1848  A. McGilvray Poems (1850) 165:
Take the Radical side, And nae mair be a half and between.
Arg. 1917  A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 96:
“Ye advise quate goin?” questioned Sandy. “Half an' atween,” replied the sage.
(2) Sc. 1716  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 68:
The manly Miller, haff and haff, Came out to shaw good Will.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 8:
Yet still our wooer wasna happy, Tho' fully ha'f an' ha'f wi' nappy.

III. v. 1. To divide into two equal parts, to halve (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 72; Sh., Abd., Fif., m.Lth., wm.Sc., Dmf. 1956); to “go halves” with. Cf. Halver, id. Now obs. or dial. in Eng. Phr. to hauf and snake, id. Lth. 1825  Jam.:
Especially applied to a tavern bill or lauwin; as, “We'll hauf and snake,” we shall pay equal shares.
Ayr. 1848  Edb. Ev. Courant (7 Oct.):
The person spoke to him, and, after some little conversation, the stranger offered to half him for a gill.
Abd. 1876  R. Dinnie Songs 92:
For he wad hauft his hindmost groat, To soothe the needy poor man's lot.

2. To divide into more than two equal shares (Abd. 1956). Cf. I. 1. m.Lth. 1956 1 :
A father might say to his seven children, “Here's a poke o' sour draps. Hauf them and share alike.”

[O.Sc. has half-gait, 1571, half-loafe, 1637, half-marrow, 1586, half-net, 1492, halfpenny land, 1480, halȝar, half-year, 1496; in expressions of time from 1640.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down