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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HAUCH, v., n. Also haugh(t), hach(t), hagh(t), haach, hawgh; heauch (Cai.), and freq. forms hauchen, ha(u)chle.

I. v. 1. To cough, esp. to cough up mucus or phlegm in order to clear the throat, to hawk (Sc. 1808 Jam., hawgh, 1818 Sawers, haught; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75; Cld. 1880 Jam., hach; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; e.Sc., Uls. 1956). Vbl.n. hauchin; pl., hauchans, phlegm (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75), also hach(l)ins (Mearns6 1953).Sc. 1786 Three Bishops Dunkeld (Farquahar 1915) VII. 57:
Dr Skene . . . declares my leanness and hauching to proceed from a corrupt digestion.
Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 24:
But a' this while the souter's sittan Gloomin', glowran, haughan, spittan.
Kcd. 1843 J. Anderson Black Book Kcd. (1879) 33:
Eppy Bisset always rose and haughed and spat.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75:
A bit beef stack in's craig; but he seen haucht it up.
Gsw. 1879 A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 67:
Wi' hoastin', spittin', an' wi' hauchin', He e'en was lame for't.
Per. 1911 A. D. Stewart Heather & Peat 247:
When he had removed his pipe and “hauched” noisily, he expectorated.
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 61:
He hauchent an' spat on the grun.
Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (16 March):
Every ither mannie ye wid meet wis hauchlin' an' clocherin' wi' 'e cauld.
Arg.1 1939:
Hach it up, man: hach it up: an' it'll clear yer throat.

2. To hesitate, to hum and haw over anything (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75:
He hauds a hauchan about a' it he diz.

II. n. 1. A soft, loose cough, a clearing of the throat (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 75; Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs., haght; Cai.1 1928, heauch; Mearns6, Edb. 1953, ha(u)chle; ne.Sc., Ags., Knr., m.Lth. 1956).Sc. 1786 Three Bishops Dunkeld (Farquahar 1915) VII. 47:
A continual “hauch” has reduced me to skin and bone.
Mry. 1790 Aberdeen Mag. 31:
Frae the gardy-chair, syne, wi' a hach an' a flyre, Auld fairnyers will soon be begun.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poet. Effusions 98:
Ilk friend and crony prin their mou, Or gies a cough or sober haugh, For fear o' lattin' out a laugh.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 19:
That's him ahint the hedges hoastin' An' sic a hauchle o' a spit — His death we'll live to hear o't yet.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xix.:
Sandy gae a bit hauch, an' swallowed a spittal.
Arg.1 1939:
“Hoo ar ye the day, Erchie?” “Ach, I'm no' that bad, but I hae an aafu hach.”
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 71:
Wracked with a hach and a hoast that put him off his work with pneumonia.

2. A forcible expulsion of breath, a gasp; the breathing strongly on a surface to moisten it before polishing (ne.Sc. 1956).Abd. 1920:
Just gie the gless a hauch an a rub up.

[O.Sc. hauch, 1513, vocal sound expressive of exertion. Onomat. in origin. Cf. Eng. hawk, id.]

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"Hauch v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2023 <>



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