Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HOE, n. Also ho (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Ork. 1929 Marw.), hoa. An I.Sc. name for the piked dog-fish, Squalus acanthias (Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1957). Cf. Blaho, blind-hoe s.v. Blin, adj., 4. (17), Koly-ho. Also fig. as a nickname for a native of Birsay in Orkney (Ork. 1931 J. T. Leask Peculiar People 280). Sh. a.1711  R. Sibbald Ork. & Zet. (1845) 52:
Seaths, Sea-dogs (here called Hoes) and Podlocks (here Piltocks) which three last are very beneficial, by reason of the oyl, which they make of their Livers.
Ork. 1806  P. Neill Tour 2:
We saw many boats engaged in the fishery of dogs or hoes.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 178:
Dere wis kippocks o' haddocks an' weel-speeted hoes.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 74:
Ken you, da haethins ir juist as bad as da hoes fur gluffin da herrin.

Combs.: 1. hobran(d), -brin, -brun, hoeborn, (a) a species of large shark, esp. the blue shark, Carcharinus glaucus (Sh. 1825 Jam., 1914 Angus Gl., ‡Sh. 1957). Also the basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); (b) fig. a big ugly fellow, a miserable animal (Jak.). Comb. hobrand-slunk, hoeborn slunge, a tall, bony fellow (Ib.). See Slung; 2. hodry, a very large kind of dog-fish (Ork. 1929 Marw.; ‡Sh. 1957). [Norw. drøi, big, bulky]; 3. ho(e)-egg, the spawn of the dog-fish (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1957); 4. Hoe-fish, the piked dog-fish Squalus acanthias (Ork. 1808 Jam.); 5. hokel, -killin (Sh.), -kettle (Ork.), a species of large dog-fish (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.). Hence dim. hoketling, a young dog-fish (Ork. 1929 Marw.); 6. hoe-midder, -moder, -mother, one of the Lamnidae, the basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus (Ork. 1805 G. Barry Hist. Ork. 296, 1866 Edm. Gl., ¶-mother; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), -midder, 1914 Angus Gl., -moder, 1932 J. Saxby Trad. Lore 201, ‡Sh. 1957); 7. homer, id. (Ork. a.1795 G. Low Fauna Orcad. (1813) 174; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1957); 8. ho-mooth'd, adj., having a protruding upper jaw, like that of a dog-fish or shark (Jak., Sh. 1957); 9. hoskerri, hoasker, a species of shark (Jak.); 10. ho(e)-tusk, hotask, -tosk (Jak.), a species of small shark, the smooth hound, Mustelus mustelus (Sh. 1809 A. Edmonston Zetland II. 304, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1957). 1. (a) Sh. 1809  A. Edmonston Zetland II. 303:
Hobrin, Blue Shark — This I conceive to be the shark most commonly met with on the coast of Zetland.
(b) Sh. 1892  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 242:
I rowed tree year in a yole fir twenty-five shillins o' a fee whin muckle hoeborn slunges, a lock o' years younger den mysel', wir gettin' der thirty-five in a saxherrin'.
Sh. 1897  J. Jakobsen Dial. 51:
A muckle hōbran, a great ugly hōbran, is in some places in Shetland . . . applied to a big repulsive looking person.
3. Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 179:
Dere wis langies o' turbot 'at hang i' da reest, An' hoe eggs resemblin' a truncher o' beest.
9. Sh. 1733  T. Gifford Hist. Descr. Zetland (1886) 24:
Vast numbers of hoas, a kind of smaller shark; . . . also a big sort of them called hoaskers, with skins like shagreen.

[Norw. haa, O.N. hár, dog-fish, shark. For the combs. cf. Norw. haabrand, haakall, haakjerring, O.N. hákarl, hákerling (the corresp. fem.), Norw. haamerr, haaskjæring, O.N. háskerðingr, Norw. haataska, all names of various species of dog-fish or small shark. The Ork. form hoketling, lit. “hoe-kitten” (see Kitlin), is due partly to the influence of Norw. havkatt, sea-cat, dog-fish, and to the fact that in West Norse and some mod. Norw. dials. -ll- is sounded -dl-, cf. Faer. hákelling [′hɒ:tʃædlɪŋg]; the second element in ho-midder arises from a misinterpretation of -merr, lit. “mare”, in haamerr.]

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"Hoe n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Mar 2018 <>



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