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Selch, Selchie, Sele, n. Also: selche, selcht, selghe, selquh, sealch, sealghe, saylche, selich, seleich, selyh, selck, seall, seleché, seilché, selké. [ME and e.m.E. sele (Havelok), sely (? = selȝ (1383, north.), ceel (1409, north.), zele (1416, north.), sel (c1420, north.), seele (c1460, north.), seale (1579), OE seol(h. Also in the mod. north. dials. as (Shetl., Orkn., Caithness, Moray) selkie, silkie, and (Cromarty) sealchie.]

1. A seal. b. attrib., comb. and possess. See also Selch-skin. Also in place names. (1) De seliches quae ad Kingorn capientur postquam decimatae fuerint, concedo ut omnes septimos seliches habeant; c1128 Reg. Dunferm. 4.
Et de selyhes qui ad Kyngorn capiantur; c1277 Reg. Dunferm. 47.
Vyst, … ubi de helchis [Fordun (ed. 1722) cetis], Anglice selquhis, ceterisque belluis marinis habetur abundantia; Fordun (1747) I 46.
The carle was fat as ony selch [C. selche, W. selghe]; Wynt. iii 48.
Ane medecyne for the maw, … With the snowt of ane selch, ane swelling to swage; Henr. Practysis 33.
Henr. Practysis 55.
To a man that brocht a selcht to the king; 1488 Treas. Acc. I 91.
To ane man brocht ane quyk selch fra Pittinweme … to the king; 1502 Treas. Acc. II 342.
That the said Robert byis hering, keling, selchis and uthir fisch cumand in at the said port of Leith and saltis and pelis the samin; 1518 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 129.
Merchandice … As selch and salmone [etc.]; Stewart 4996.
The selcht, quhilk sum men callis the see volue; Compl. 60/22.
Pro uno lie seleich 4 solidos; 1561 Reg. Episc. Morav. App. 404.
Balfour Pract. 51.
As selchis haif milk & young onis laik in graunis; James VI Lusus Reg. 26.
Daulphins, seahorse, selchs; James VI Poems I 12/11.
Descr. Isles 431.
Upon the quhilk banks upon eb sea lyis infinite selchis [Orig. Par. II 273, selecheis] quhilks are slane with doggis; Monro W. Isles i (1961) 56.
Ane ile … callit Haifsker, quhairin infinite slauchter of selchis [Orig. Par. II i 375, seilcheis] is maid at certane times in the ȝeir; Monro W. Isles (1961) 77.
The saids Stewartis ressaves thair maillis [sc. from Hirta] in maill and reistit muttonis, wild reistit foullis and selchis; Monro W. Isles (1961) 78.
Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 329.
c1630 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 181.
There are no hares in these isles. There are no foxes. There are abundance of selches and otters; Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 22.
Upon the west side of the bay there lye several rocks, or skerries, which selches [Descr. Zetland 76 selcks] frequent in the moneth of November, and the inhabitants neglect not to wait upon them to kill them, the skins they sell, but the bulks they salt, and in time of Lent, they eat them as sweetly as venison; Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 75.
1659 Craven Caithness Diocese 107.
The Kintaill men had the killing of them like selches; 1667 Highland P. II 45.
I haue found a great selch at the shore … we may flea the selch and secure the fatt in such a place; Fraser Polichron. 516.
c1680 Coll. Aberd. & B. 97.
The sealchs, and meersvoyne and poirpoises devour a great many of them [sc. skate]; 1700 Anal. Scot. II 136.
(b) Ther is … upon all the cost of Sutherland a great quantitie of pealoks, sealghes or sealls and somtymes whaills of great bignes; Gordon Geneal. Hist. 4.
(c) Sey calues or saylches; Dalr. I 57/33.
(d) Seall; Gordon Geneal. Hist. 4 (see (b) above).
(e) With ane rottin selchie comprysit to thrie schillingis Scottis; 1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 2.
Ane selchie fund of twa leispund spick comprysit to ane gulyeoun; 1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 63.
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 112.
(2) viij bronoscopj, j quarta selch; 1525 Household Bks. Jas. V 43.
This firth [of Forth] is richt plentuus of coclis, osteris, muschellis, selch, [etc.] Bell. Boece I xxxvii.
In this … isle is incredible noumer of selch, pellok, and meirswine; Bell. Boece I xlvii.
b. attrib. (1) iij dozen selch beltis at iiij l. x s.; 1588 Cal. Sc. P. IX 671.
[The] selch bone [with which she stirred her milk to divine the product]; 1616 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 135.
[He] did bring a great kirk-bible with ane selch covering thairon; 1646 Ayr Presb. in Scott Fasti (1868) III 128.
Ane parsell of selch skines … vi selch trunckes; 1671 Edinb. Test. LXXIV 140b.
(b) [He] ordanis that nane frequent ony of my lordis holmis with ony selchie nets without leife; 1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 83.
Being accusit for the wrangous intromissioun with fyve selchie fisches; 1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 145.
(2) Cum haulknests et selkenes pertinentibus ad dictas terras; 1696 Retours I Inq. Spec. Caithness (36).
Near to this is another isle called Selch-Skerrie … There they kill many seales; 16… Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III 7.
(b) & super Selestede ade duas acras & dimitias; 12… Liber Melros 131.
possess. Send to William Davidsone younger the selches skyn almry with the hempseid; 1610 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 137.
For a trunk coverit with selches skyn, coft at London to the townes use; 1631–2 Misc. Spald. C. V 149.

2. ? A seal as depicted on a playing card or ? an example of Sele n.2 in the same sense. Cf. Sow n.1 1 d. Item tua dussone pacok cairtis price xl s. Item tua dussone cairtis of the sow and the seill price thairof xl s.; 1597 Edinb. Test. XXXI 176.

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"Selch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/selch>



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