Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HIDLINS, adv., n., adj. Also hidlance, hid(d)lin(g)s, hiddlens (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.)), hidelins; hodlins; howdlins (Fif. 1825 Jam.); huddlins (Arg.1 1935). See also Hiddle.

I. adv. Secretly, stealthily, in secret (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 263; Mearns 1877 Jam., hodlins; m.Dmf.3 c.1920; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls.2 1929; Ags., em.Sc.(b)., Rxb. 1957). Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems 101:
Damon . . . Right true, but hiddlens, lang had loo'd the Fair.
Ayr. 1821  C. Lockhart Poems 49:
Shou'd typhus fever come amang us, . . . Or inflammation, hiddlens, stang us, They'll nail us a'.
Ags. 1826  A. Balfour Highland Mary I. x.:
Flunky Tam sat hiddlings behind a birken-buss.
Slg. 1885  W. Towers Poems 57:
The frichtsome tryst, She hiddlins held yestreen.
Lth. 1928  S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 182:
I creepit hidlins thro' the whins to see whaur the licht came.

Hence ¶hiddlinslie, secretly. s.Sc. 1856  H. S. Riddell St Matthew i. 19:
Than Joseph hir husban' bein' ane just man, an' unwullin' til mak' hir ane publick example, was mindet til pit hir awa hiddlinslie.

II. 1. Hiding places, places of concealment or refuge, shelter (Uls. 1924 North. Whig (9 Jan.); Ags., m.Lth., Bwk., Arg. 1957). Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings 36:
The hills look white, the woods look blue, Nae hiddlins for a hungry ewe, They're sae beset wi' drift.
Abd. 1868  W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 210:
Wisht, birdies, there's cairds 'neath yon whin buss, Tak' hiddlins — they raise a light.
Sc. 1936  J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 60:
Far ben there are crypts that smell o' the mools (The hiddlins o' tods an' hoolets an' ghouls).
Abd. 1955  Huntly Express (11 March):
A heavy fall of snow like the one now disappearing very slowly, gives no hiddlins for hungry sheep.

2. Concealment, secrecy, clandestine operations (Sc. 1825 Jam.); secrets (Uls.3 1930). Sc. 1823  E. Logan St Johnstoun III. 19:
I dinna ken what a' this hidlings is about.
Dmf. 1957  :
I tellt him I was gaun — there was nae hidlins.

Hence phr. in hidlins, in secret, in a clandestine manner (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., in (a) hidlins; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; em.Sc.(b)., Arg., Kcb. 1957). Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd ii. i.:
Will gar our vile Oppressors stend like Flaes, And skulk in Hidlings on the Hether Braes.
Rxb. 1875  Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 32:
There were even instances of cartloads of whisky being taken in hidlance right up into Yorkshire.
Fif. 1894  J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 101:
Dae ye expect folk to drive a horse and cart fu' o' furniture alang a street at twa in the mornin' — and in hidlin's — withoot the risk o' comin' to grief.
Ags. 1914  I. Bell Country Clash 221:
A man or wumman that has to coort their mate in hodlins.
Lnk. 1926  W. Queen We're a' Coortin' 24:
They tak' a bit dram, noo an' again in hiddlin's.

III. adj. Secret, clandestine, underhand (Kcb.4 1900; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em.Sc.(b), Kcb., Dmf., Rxb. 1957). Rnf. 1806  R. Tannahill Poems (1875) 178:
He ne'er kept up a hidlins plack To spend ahint a comrade's back.
Sc. 1818  S. E. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.:
I wud nae count mysel married i' the hiddlins way they gang aboot it noo.
ne.Sc. 1836  J. Grant Tales 19:
It can be nae ither thing, noo whan I consider — just a hiddlins courtship.
Lth. 1856  M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xvi.:
Glancing up from their books, in a hidelins and secret way, when they thought nobody was looking.
Ags. 1897  Arbroath Guide (19 June) 3:
We can sit doon in some hidlins corner.

[Ppl. stem hid- etc., from Hide, v.1, q.v. + adv. suff. -lin(g)s; cf. Backlings, Stownlins.]

Hidlins adv., n., adj.

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"Hidlins adv., n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Mar 2018 <>



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