Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HANK, n.2 Also (ha)ank; and erron. hag (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44).

1. The place on each side of a boat where the side-boards come together at the stem or the stern, the counter, gen. in pl. or compounded with fore or aft (eft(er)) (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., aft-hanks, 1908 Jak. (1928), (efter-), (fore-) hank(s); Ork. 1929 Marw., efter-, fore-; Sh. 1956); the stem or stern compartment of a boat (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); “the place in the stern of the boat where the steersman's feet rest” (Rs. (Avoch) 1911 per Mry.2, (h)ank). Also used attrib. Sh. 1899  Shetland News (3 June):
He laid da peerie taft across da haanks o' da fower[er]een, an' set him [it] up.
  Ib. (4 Feb.):
I see da black lump o' da boat noo. Shü's juist baerin' apo' wir haank yonder.
Sh. 1902  E.D.D.:
“Takkin' her up in hank,” pulling strongly on the leeside to lie nearer the line.
Sh. 1914  Angus Gl.:
Commonly in the plural hanks, because there is a hank on each side: “Eft hanks,” “Fore hanks.”
Mry. 1914  Trans. Bnff. Field Club 24:
There were the hank baak, the pump baak or midship baak, the byock baak, and the head-steel.

2. A rower seated in the stern of an open boat immediately in front of the helmsman. Hence hank(oar)sman, id. (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. Add. 75, hank-oarsman; Mry.1 c.1925, hanksman). Bnff. 1886  Folk-Lore Jnl. IV. 11:
Counting from the stem [read stern], the first man on the left is called “the aivran hank,” or “hanksman,” whilst his companion on the right is called “the farran hank,” or “hanksman.”
Mry. 1928 1 :
The faran hanksman was the aftmost oar and had a turn on the main halyards. The faran midshipman rowed the mid oar and turned the ballast. The faran byocksman rowed the foremost oar and worked the sprit.

[O.Sc. hank, a.1605 = 1. Of same origin as Hank, n.1, from O.N. hanki, an eye or ring on the edge of a sail or on the side of a boat, used in transferred sense for that part of the boat to which such a ring was fitted.]

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"Hank n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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