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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Half-lang, adj. and n. Also: halve-lang, half(e)-long. [Half adv., Lang adj.]

1. Of half the full or usual length; half-length, short.(1) 1474 Treas. Acc. I. 27.
For a halue lang gowne to the King, ix½ elne of chamlote silk
1488 Ib. 135.(2) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 458.
Thay brocht … cccc half lang swordis
1540 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS. XIV. 75.
Ane jak of plate, … ane halflang swerd
1548 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 259.
Ane halflang swerd, price xl s.
a1578 Pitsc. I. 205/11.
Ane thowsand halflang swordis and haberjouns
1580 Perth Hammermen xxxii.
[Any kind of swords, either] twa handit halflangis or ane handit
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 188.
Braggand Ferguson, Vith halflang sword
(3) 1577 Edinb. Test. V. 197 b.
Five pair of halflang hiltis … or gairdis
(4) 1596 Ib. XXIX. 303.
Tuelf barkit hydis, … ten halflang hydis

b. fig. Incomplete, imperfect. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 676.
Thir twa forsaid [judgements] … Quhilkis ar bot halflang, misty & secret
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 199.
Thou vith thy scripture callit halflang

2. n. a. As a tanners' term: A hide of half-length. 1586 Edinb. Test. XV. 362 b.
Thrie daiker of hydis in the lyme pott, … mair half ane daiker of halflangis
1653 Ib. LXVII. 113 b.
Ane daiker of kyne; … Item, … sex halfe longs
Fourtie thrie calff skins, … four daiker & thrie halflongs

b. A youth not fully grown. = Halflin n. Also attrib. 1660 Ure Hist. Rutherglen 95 (J).
A man servand, of younger yeires, commonlie a halflang, is to have … ten merkes … and no more
1666 Dunkeld Presb. II. 66.
His boy, a gay halfe long lad

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"Half-lang adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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