Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SILE, n.2 Also seill, soil; sil(l). [səil, sɪl]

1. The newly-hatched fry or young of fish, esp. of herring (Abd. 1880 Jam.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Abd. 1733  Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 211:
Killing of black fish, smouts and salmond seill upon the river of Don.
Fif. 1863  Chambers's Jnl. (11 July) 29:
Fishermen often find in autumn their nets and ropes covered with herring spawn. This is hatched in three weeks, and becomes their fry or sill.
Sh. 1897  J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 20:
In Shetland ‘sil' or ‘sile' is applied to the herring-fry.
Ags. 1904  J. M. Campbell Notes on Bell Rock 89:
Those [fish] that were caught were seen to be gorged with soil half an inch in length, resembling a piece of white thread with a black dot on either side at one end representing the eyes.
Bnff. 1956  J. Wood Seine Fishers iii.:
We had been able to see the bottom where the partan crabs crawled, and the sile were swimming.

2. In form sill: the milt of a fish (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1970). Comb. sill-fish, a male fish, a milter (Edm., Jak.).

[The diphthongal forms are from O.N. síld, the short vowel forms from later borrowing, e.g. Norw., Dan. sild, herring, or reduction of sítd, through *sll. Cf. Swed. dial. sil, the young of fish, Norw. dial. sil, a sand-eel, and Sillock.]

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"Sile n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Sep 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sile_n2>

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