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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Quhit(e)-fis(c)h(e, n. Also: quhyt(e)-, quhytt-, whyt(e)-; quheit- and -fysch, -fissch. [Late ME and e.m.E. whitfishe (1461–2) ‘a general name for fishes of a white or light colour, (esp. those having silvery scales without spots or ornamental colours)’ (OED) (1461–2). Cf. MDu. witvisch river-fish.] Whitefish (as, e.g., ling and cod). Cf. Red(e)-fis(c)h(e n.Also attrib. with taking, trie.Also pl.sing. 1264 Exch. R. I 4.]
[In albo pisce empto
(a) 14.. Acts I 329/2.
Fyscharis of salmond and quhyt fysch
Ib. 335/2. 1456 Hay II 137/27.
And quhite fische of tender degestioun
1482 Edinb. Chart. 168.
Of ilk laid of quhitefisch or hering … and of the ic grete fisch as keling [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I xxxvii.
Quhit fische
1540 Acts II 373/1.
That na … persoun in this realme … send … ony … quhite fische furth of the samyn
1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 343. 1585 Reg. Privy C. IV 17.
Certane Actis of Parliament … maid anent paking and peilling of hering and quhyte fishe
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 152b. 1624 Conv. Burghs III 161.
Quhytt fisch
c1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 530.
1671 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 27 May.
Ther are gros transgressiouns committed be the inbringers and sellers of whyt fish within this burgh for ther not bringing of ther fishes to the troan
(b) 1584 Acts III 302/2.
The measure of salmound, hering and quheit fish
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 152.
Quheit fish are forbidden gudes
Ib. 154.attrib. 1584 Acts III 302/2.
That all … quheit fish treis … salbe of the measure and gage foirsaid
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 75.
Gude for fisching [v.r. excellent for all sorte of quhyte fishe taking]
pl. 1550–1 Perth Guildry MS 273 (20 Feb.).
And that ne hugstair top nor sell the forsaidis gudis … except [on] the mercat day alanerlie and siclike quhite fisschis & hering
1573 Acts III 82/2.
Be pakking of salmond, hering and quhyte fisches be the merchandis [etc.] … thair is greit hurt … sustenit be the byaris thereof
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 73.
And abundante of fisching of keiling ling and uther quhyte fisches
1613 Reg. Great S. 317/1. 1626 Stirling's Royal Lett. I 85. 1636 Elgin Rec. I 253. 1663 Edinb. Test. LXXI 132b.
Fyftene dussone of whyte fishes at four pounds the dussone

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"Quhit-fish n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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