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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HA, n. Also haa, haw, †hau. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. hall. See P.L.D. § 78.1. [hǫ:, hɑ:]

1. A farm-house, the main dwelling of a farm, a house, esp. on a farm, occupied by the farmer himself as opposed to the cottar houses, less commonly with Eng. sense of a manor-house (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Cai., Ags., Rxb. 1956); hence, more gen., a house, home, dwelling (Mry.1 1925). The usage survives in farm names, e.g. Knockha, Gowkha, Laverockha, etc. Phr. house and ha', one's all, see also House, I. 3 (2). Only hall, pronounced [hal], a (community) hall used as a port of call of the Uphellya (s.v. uphalie n.) procession (Sh. 2000s).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 316:
The Hen Egg goes to the Haa, To bring the Goose Egg awa. Spoken when poor People give small Gifts to be doubly repaid.
Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 178:
Neist morning Dick is fashen to the Ha', An' bidden take the youth to help to ca'.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 11:
When Mersa left her father's ha', And frae her mither's arms She wends . . .
Bwk. 1809 J. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 503:
The farm house is often named the ha, or hall.
Ags. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 127:
The ha' or dwelling-house is stob-thatched.
Gall. 1832 J. Denniston Craignilder 56:
O haste ye, gather friens in store, To guard your house an ha', man.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 67:
O I'll ay mind yestreen, And sae merry's I've been Wi' friends that I met in your ha', man.
Abd. 1870 J. B. Pratt Buchan 23:
The Cot-town was, generally speaking, near “the Ha',” or farm house, so that the cottars were always within call.
Sh. 1898 J. Burgess Tang 45:
The laird's house, always called “Da Ha',” although it had another name.
Abd. 1904 W. A. G. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 118:
Her tongue sae guid at plaguin' Wad reach to Copenhagen, And syne come hame stravaigin' By ilka gossip's ha'.
Lth. 1916 J. Fergus Sodger 11:
In days gone by the meenister was foremost o' them a' That liv'd within the Parish bounds in cottage or in ha'.
Sh. 1990 Sunday Times 28 Jan :
They burn it, singing romanticized songs of Viking derring-do. Then they set off around a dozen "halls", where huge parties rage through the night, performing skits ranging from the salacious to the satirical.

2. The principal room of a house (Sc. 1825 Jam.): (1) the parlour where the master and his family sat apart from the servants. Also used attrib.; (2) the kitchen or living-room of a farm-house where the family and the servants sat together; often in phr. farmer's ha'.(1) Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs (1750) 8:
A' that's said in the kitchen shou'd na be tald in the haw.
Sc. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballads 142:
But atween the kitchen and the ha', There he lute his cloutie cloak fa'.
Bnff. 1882 W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars 78:
Her place is nae in the kitchie, nor yet i' the ha'.
(2) Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' (1794) i.:
In winter nights, whae'er has seen The farmer's canty Ha' conveen.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 77:
In winter nights at farmer's ha', Knives, sheers, and razors he would shaw.
Sc. 1852 H. Miller Schools v.:
The “Ha'” in the autumn nights, as the days shortened and the frosts set in, was a genial place.
Rxb. 1871 H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. I. 37:
The wanderers that . . . . . . beak by the kitchen-ha' ingle-side.

3. Combs.: (1) Divinity Hall, a theological college of the Church of Scotland or one of the Free Churches (Sc. 1956 C. of Scot. Year-Bk. 41), sometimes simply the Hall; †(2) ha-bible, ¶haus-, a large family Bible, one which formerly was used in the ha' (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (3) ha'-bink, fig. a seat in a great man's house. See Bink, n.1; †(4) ha' board, the table in the farmhouse at which farm servants had their meals; (5) ha' door, (a) the main door in a manor or farm house (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 190; Sh., Ags. 1956); †(b) a kind of apple; (6) ha' en', the end or gable of a house; (7) ha' folk, servants; (8) ha' house, -hoose, = 1. (Sc., Abd., Gall. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1956). Now only arch.; (9) ha' ingle, the fire or fireplace in a farm kitchen; (10) hall chamber, = 2. (1); (11) ha-maiden, (a) “the bride's-maid at a wedding; the ‘maiden kimmer' who lays the infant in the father's arms at a baptism” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (b) a farmer's daughter. Cf. 1; (12) ha-man, a farm servant resident in the farmhouse (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 102; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (13) ha' rig, the first ridge of a field to be cut in harvest, reserved for the members of the farmer's household as being the most experienced reapers (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam., Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (14) ha' toon, = (8). See quot.(1) Sc. 1777 Acts Gen. Assembly 31:
Who have given close attendance on the divinity-hall for the space of four years.
Sc. 1825 Aberdeen Censor 60–61:
Boys of twelve or thirteen years . . . sauntering away their time in expectation of an easy life at the Divinity Hall.
Sc. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland xvi.:
Mr Mavis was a young man no long out of the Hall before Claud.
sm.Sc. 1928 R. W. Mackenna Rowan Tree viii.:
Three years at the college, fower years at the hall, an' ony sumph can be made a minister.
Sc. 1931–2 Abd. Univ. Calendar 579:
All Candidates for the Ministry are required to attend at the Divinity Hall either three full and regular Sessions . . . or two full regular Sessions and three partial Sessions.
(2) Ayr. 1731 Sc. Journal I. 223:
A muckl haus bible.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Cottar's Sat. Night xii.:
The big ha'-Bible, ance his Father's pride.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xix.:
The big ha' Bible was accordingly removed by Mrs Walkinshaw from the shelf.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxxiii.:
It's in your hand o' write that the name o' Janet Geddes stands in the big ha' Bible.
(3) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 133:
Hall Binks are sliddery. Great Men's Favour is uncertain.
Ags. 1897 “F. Mackenzie” Sprays North. Pine 85:
Nans was a privileged person, and was as welcome at ha'-binks as at cotters' firesides.
(4) Ags. 1822 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 658:
Turn to your left and enter the kitchen in the front of which stands the ha' board, three feet by twelve, with a form on each side.
Kcb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XI. 42:
That vile and demoralizing system of banishing male servants from the ha' board to bothies, or apartments where they must eat as well as sleep by themselves.
(5) (a) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 305:
There is a slidd'ry Stone before the Hall Door. A slippery Stone may make one fall; signifying the Uncertainty of Court Favour, and the Promises of great Men.
Gsw. a.1815 W. Glen Poet. Remains (1874) 121:
A wee bird came to our ha' door, He warbled sweet and clearly.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
He knocked at the ha' door, just as he was wont.
(b) Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 174:
There is an apple provincially called the Hall-door, and another called the Baking apple.
(6) Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 75:
What step is that by our ha' en', Which treads sae light o' spauld?
(7) Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 61–62:
Tho' the gentry first are steghan, Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their peghan.
(8) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.T.Misc. 38:
He keepit ay a good Kail-yard, A Ha' House and a pantrie.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 127:
Within the ha'-house, now, the strains of joy Are chanted by ilk' heart.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 142:
The cottage built on an inferior scale differed in no other respect from the farmer's or ha' house.
Sc. 1815 Scott Waverley x.:
There were mair fules in the laird's ha' house than Davie Gellatley.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 12:
Hellsness wus at that time a ha' hoose, wi' a great wide ha' rinnan' de whole lent' o' the biggan'.
Mry. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 78:
Bauld Jamie Blunt wi's reekin runt Ben cot an' ha'-house blaws.
Sc. 1939 Abd. Press and Jnl. (19 June):
Dr Simpson said . . . the ha' hoose was not built on the conception of a tower or fortress at all, but on the conception of a large hall raised on cellarage.
(9) Sc. 1730 Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 363:
Spread a clean servite on the table, And syne, frae the ha' ingle, bring ben A piping het young roasted hen.
(10) Wgt. 1702 Session Bk. Sorbie MS. (26 July):
She was twice guilty of adultery with him, once in the Hall chamber of Barnbarroch about mid harvest and another tyme in the Barn of Barnbarroch.
(11) (b) Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 102:
A ha' maiden and a hind's cow The tane's ne'er pleas'd, and the tither's ne'er fow.
(12) Sc. 1931 Gsw. Herald (6 July):
The ha'-man was ane honest man — He lo'ed his maister's daughter.
(13) m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1794) 11:
The ha-rig rins fu' fast awa', For they're newfangle, ane and a'.
Ags. 1818 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 238:
One party of shearers is termed the ha'-rig, being composed of servants resident in the farmer's house.
(14) Abd. 1952 W. M. Alexander Place-Names Abd. (S.C.) 68:
Hatton stands for Hall-town. In the old rural economy the farmer's house was the Ha', Ha'-hoose, or Ha' toon; as distinguished from the Cot-town (now Cotton) and other dwellings.

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"Ha n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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