Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
HERLING, n. Also hir(r)ling; †hirline (Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 13); herlin (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). A name given to immature sea-trout, Salmo trutta (sw.Sc. 1808 Jam.; sm.Sc. 1957).
Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 I. 19:
Herlings are a small kind of trout, a little larger than a herring, and shaped like a salmon; its flesh is reddish, like that of the salmon or sea trout, but considerably paler. Dmf. 1818 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) V. 179:
We . . . had our share . . . of a capital breakfast almost as good as the Castle morning meal excepting the lack of herlings. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 291:
Get ye into water deep Ye hirrlings, and therein sleep. Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales, etc. (1837) I. 271:
She at length appeared with a fish in her mouth, something like a large hirling. Kcb. 1931 P. Castle Where to fish in Scot. 70:
About the end of September, a run of short deep built “black nebs” arrive much heavier and more sporting than the early herling, from ½-lb. to 1½ lbs. in weight. Dmf. 1955 Scotsman (5 April):
Several Miles good Salmon, Sea Trout, and Herling Fishing to Ratepayers at Low Charge.
Combs.: herling bosom, -house, -net, a net in which herling are caught. Also used fig.
Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 159:
They syle its current through their herling nets 'tween yule and yule. Dmf. 1834 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club I. 51:
They are caught . . . in the Frith [Solway] by the stake-nets of small mesh, or, as they are called, herling-houses. Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. ii.:
We'll find it a close herling-bosom, out of which there's nae chance of escape. Sc. 1893 Scottish Leader (10 July) 4:
Ten men were arrested by the Annan water bailiffs on a charge of poaching, herling and small-meshed herling nets being found in their possession.
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"Herling n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Mar 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/herling>
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