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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BAUK, BAAK, BACK, BAK, n.3 Also baulk. A rope, esp. the head rope in fishing lines and nets; also applied in salmon-fishing to a row of fishermen with Halve-nets. See 1962 quot. See also Back-rope. [bɑ(:)k]Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai.1 1932:
Baak, . . . the principal rope to which nets or fishing-lines are attached.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Bak, piece of a long-line of a certain length, a line-b[ak], de b[ak] o' de line.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Baak, the bolt-rope of a herring-net.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Back, . . . a rope from which nets are hung — also called back-rope — the “headline of fishing net.” . . . the main line of a fishing “long-line” — from which the hooks are suspended by short snoods.
Crm. 1834 H. Miller Scenes & Leg. 284: 
The crew that first hauled applied the knife to their neighbours' baulks and meshes.
Mry. 1894 J. Slater Seaside Idylls (1898) 44–45:
I've been thinkin' tae hing mine wi' shorter headbaaks this year.
Mry.1 1927:
Bauk, baak, a thick fishing line, the rope holding the bottom of the herring nets.
Dmf. 1962 Stat. Acc.3 156: 
The haaf-net fishermen occasionally fish on their own but as a general rule they prefer to join together to form a "back"-a line at right angles to the bank, so that the whole fishable area is systematically covered.

[Cf. Norse bakka, a fishing line with many hooks, deriv. by Torp from Low Ger. through Jutish. The back was first the board on which the hooks were placed and then the line to which they were attached. Thus, according to Torp, back, a line, or rope, is of the same origin as our Sc. Back, n.2, Backet, Baikie, n.1, q.v.]

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"Bauk n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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