Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HALFLANG, adj., n. Also hauf-, haff-, haaf-.

I. adj. 1. Of half-length, half-long. Ayr. 1786 Burns Brigs o' Ayr 41–43:
Perhaps the robin's whistling glee, Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree.

2. Half-grown, adolescent (Sc. 1808 Jam.), often with ref. to a young farm-worker. Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 2:
The haaf-lang chiels, assemblin there, In solemn council, bent were Wi' utmaist vigour, to prepare For monie a bauld adventure.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin viii.:
Accompanied by Patie Baisler, an' a squad o' half-lang ploughmen chields frae neeborin' farms.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 12:
Yeh haaflang chaap as black as Eppie Suittie.

II. n. 1. A half-grown lad, specif. one engaged in farm work (Sc. 1808 Jam., halflang; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., hauf-, haff-). Cf. Halflin. Lnk. 1708 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 17:
A manservant of younger years, commonly called a half lang . . . is to have yearly for fee and bounty ¥16 Scots.
Ork. 1721 H. Marwick Merchant Lairds (1939) II. 19:
Elsness at present kept of labouring servants at Housbie four men four boys three women and four halflangs.

2. A cross breed of sheep. See quot., Lang, and Short. Sc. 1875 Encycl. Brit. I. 393:
A cross betwixt the Cheviot ram and blackfaced ewe . . . known by the name of Halflangs.

[O.Sc. half-lang, half-length, from 1475, in sense II. 1. from 1660. There has been some confusion of usage with Halflin, q.v.]

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"Halflang adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Sep 2020 <>



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