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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HINT, adj., n.1, adv., prep., v.1 Also hent (Ags., Bwk., s.Sc., Uls.); hin (n., w. and sm.Sc.); hen, hunt (Arg.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. hind. See P.L.D. §§ 63.1, 64 and D, 2. and 5. and cf. Ahint. [em. and s.Sc. hɪnt, hɛnt; n., w. and sm.Sc. hɪn(t)]

I. adj. Belonging to, or at the back, rear (Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 52; Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 69; Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxiv.; Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 244; Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) i.; Ork. 1938 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 376; Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.). In combs.: (1) hind-birth, the anus (Fif. 1899 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 39). See Birth, Suppl.; (2) hin-dool, a ball going over the goal-line. Phr. to kep hin-dools, lit. to stop balls from going over the goal-line (in the game of shinty); used fig. in quot. = to keep in the background, fill a humble role; (3) hin-door, the removable back-board of a box-cart (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. Add. 226). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (4) hin(t)-end, the extremity or rear part (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 168; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), the latter portion (of a period of time), the hindquarters, posterior. Gen.Sc. Also attrib.; (5) hin(d) frock, see Frock, n.1; (6) hin(t)-hairst, -harvest, -harrest, the period of the year after harvest and before winter (Ags., Lnk. 1957). Also attrib. and fig.; (7) hin(t)-han(d), (a) last, hindmost, applied esp. in the game of curling to the last stone played in a rink (Cld. 1825 Jam., hindhand; Per. 1957) or the players of such a stone (Ayr.4 1928); also used as a n. (Dmf. 1830 R. Brown Mem. Curl. Mab. 107); (b) fig. dilatory, slack, careless, late (Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1957); (8) hin-hoch-haugh, a hind leg; (9) hint-side, the rear (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai; Ags., m.Lth., Rxb., Uls. 1957); hence, hin'side afore, back to front; hint-side foremost, id., backwards (Watson; Ork., Kcd., Ags., Dmf. 1957).(2) Lnk. 1818 A. Fordyce Country Wedding 185:
To use a youngster's shinty phrase I'll “kep hin-dools.”
(3) Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 45:
Their noses amaist touchin' the bottom o' the hin' door.
Arg.1 1932:
Aal at wance she [the mare] gied a lape farrat unknowinst tae Jock an' he was cowpit oot richt ower the hin-dawr.
(4) Sc. 1851 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 171:
The last furrows ploughed in the open furrows, are named the mould or hint-end furrows. [Phs. a mistake for hintin. See v. 1.]
Ags. 1957 People's Jnl. (7 Dec.):
That's whaur ye'll find Scoatland's young fitba' players — sittin' on their hin' en's in front o' a TV.
(6) Wgt. 1713 Session Rec. Kirkinner MS. (19 April):
The guilt was committed in hind harvest in her own bed.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 88:
After the bees are smuiked in the hinharrest time.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 27:
Then, by the wan licht o' the hint hairst moon, The auld Guidman gaed roun' aboot the toon.
em.Sc. 1913 J. Black Gloamin' Glints 64:
A'e day in hin'-hairst, when craps were gey late.
em.Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (May) 148:
She sat there afore the fire, a little-buikit auld wife i' the hin-hairst o' her days.
Ayr. 1936 Scotsman (29 Oct.):
The “Hin Hairst” feeing fair was observed at Cumnock yesterday.
(7) (a) Lnk. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 57:
A fow hillhead, the winner guarded, Is what our hin'-haun never fear'd yet.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 269:
Hin-han-Players — For common, the best players at the game of curling of their party; they play after all the others have played, and their throw is always much depended on.
Dmf. a.1844 Wilson's Tales of the Borders (1859) XVIII. 111:
The laird played hind-hand in beautiful style.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 64:
Our hinhaun, unrivall'd at drawin', Sen's up a tee-shot to a hair.
(b) Sc. 1859 C. S. Graham Mystifications 10:
This comes of fore-hand payments — they make hint-hand wark. I gae a hackney-coachman twa shillings to bring me here, and he's awa' without me.
(8) Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 1:
Twa hin-hochs o the Raj's rump ... the tail-eyn o its reign
Milkin siller ooto rubber trees - the Fite Man's gravy-train.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
Hingin thro the sinnons
O its hin haughs
Harrigals fleitin in watter
The swine swayed
And the bern bauks creaked.
(9) Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie l.:
Whether he gaed wi' cwite hin'side afore or no.

II. n. 1. The back, rear (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Now gen. of time = the end, the period immediately following (Bnff.12 1860; Abd., Fif., Gall., Dmf. 1957). Phr. tae the hent, in the rear, behind (Ags. 1957).Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 81:
It's dowie in the hint o' hairst At the wa'gang o' the swallow.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 4:
O, for a day at the Hint o' Hairst, When the crap's weel in an' stackit.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 194:
This warl'-taster stan's at the hint o' the year an' — — thinkin back — won'ers what's wrang.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 46:
In hint o' Mairch it maun hae been . . . The plooman cuist abreid The haver-seed.
Ags. 1955 Forfar Dispatch (1 Sept.):
They're far t'ee hent that darna follow.

2. In ploughing: the furrow left between two ridges, the mould furrow (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; wm.Sc., Dmf., Uls. 1957, hint; Arg. 1990s, hunt). See v. below and cf. Mids.Arg. 1952 Scots Mag. (July) 297:
The starlings were mobbing an adder which was progressing rapidly up a “hunt.”

3. In association football: a by-kick behind the goal-line (Ags. 1958).

III. adv. Behind, in the rear (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 75:
The mains are passed, baith slap and style, His troop o' Tartars hint a mile.
Peb. 1838 W. Welsh Poems 33:
The auld fowk frail, that hint did trail.

Hence hentasfore, (1) adj., having the back and front identical or so much alike as to be readily mistaken for one another (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); (2) adv. of a garment: back to front (Ib.).

IV. prep. Behind (Cld., Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Ags. 1957).Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 138:
Hint a' the shearers, wi' Peggy, I bindet the buttles o' grain!
Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 67:
Something hin' her, wi' a skyte Gat up, an' gied a fuff!
Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems 68:
'Hint the stacks, amang the strae, Wi' their ain joes were kissing.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 182:
. . . the pack That hint his buirdly shouthers hung.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 10:
For Tammy's breeks were gapin' 'hint 'im.

Hence phrs.: (1) hint-the-fire, see quot.; (2) hin(t)-the-han', stored for future use (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.; Bnff. 1957).(1) Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 73–4:
Besides the fire in the grate, which was ribbed in the back as well as in the front, there was a bench of forms all around it which in the evenings was generally well occupied. . . . This “hint-the-fire” or “yont-the-ingle” apartment . . . is taken notice of in that humorous, ancient ballad . . . called The Gaberlunzieman.
(2) Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 25:
Aw wat, it is a bare sair time . . . Less fowk hae something hint the han'.

V. v. 1. To plough up the green or mould furrow which is left till the last between two ridges, to finish a ridge in ploughing. Gen. found as vbl.n., hintin(g), this furrow (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 270; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ‡Abd., Slg., m.Lth., Kcb., Rxb. 1957), freq. attrib. Also in Eng. dial. as hent. Also fig. = the end, last portion.Abd. 1759 Gordon's Mill Farming Ctub (1962) 102:
Two large furrs and the hinting on which the last crop stood.
Sc. 1774 Sc. Farmer II. 27:
The Hintings on which the last cropt stood, are thrown out by the double-mold-board plough.
Dmf. 1822 W. Bennoch The Sabbath 113:
“Sir, is not Jock the best?” — “I scarce can tell. He opens straight but does not hint so well.”
Gall. a.1848 R. Kerr Maggie o' the Moss (1891) 93:
Our ploughman, with fun on his phiz, Clean lifted the hinting of every fresh glass.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 29:
An' steady action to proceed Thro' hintin' furs.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lads' Love vi.:
They care just as little as they know, about “hinting” or “opening,” or any other variety of artistic ploughcraft.
Slk. 1925 Scottish Farmer (7 Feb.):
Hoo mony o' them kent a fierin' frae a hintin.
Dmf. 1946–7 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 29:
The custom is to plough diagonally across the field so that the “hintins” occur in the N.-E. and S.-W. ditches [of a Roman camp].

2. With back: to start back, to draw the body backwards with a quick movement (Ags. 1902 E.D.D.).Ags. 1896 Barrie M. Ogilvy vii.:
His lithe figure rose and fell as he cast and hinted back from the crystal waters.

[Not found in O.Sc.]

Hint adj., n.1, adv., prep., v.1

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"Hint adj., n.1, adv., prep., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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