Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HOO, n.2 Also how, hou.

1. A coif, a hood, a nightcap (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, how; n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); a covering. Comb. hooding-how, ? a sheet to cover a corn rick or stook (Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 144, erron. hoodling-).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 61:
Break my Head, and draw on my Hoo.
Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caled. (Thomson) II. 100:
An auld Band, and a Hooding-How, I hope (my Bairns) ye're a' well now.
Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. 70:
The heads of the matrons are enveloped in large pieces of cloth of a tawny colour, which they term Hoos.

2. The caul or membrane which sometimes covers the head of a newly-born child, looked on as an omen of good fortune, found only in combs. halyhow (hoo), hal(l)i(e)-, he(e)lie-, hely- (Rxb. 1825 Jam.), halowhou (Sc. 1818 Sawers), hullie-; happie-; se(e)ly-, sillie- (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., haly-; Abd., seely-, Fif. 1957). For halie in this sense, see note to Hellie-lamb.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
In Scotland the women call a haly or sely How . . . a film or membrane stretched over the heads of Children new born, which is nothing else but a part of that which covers the fœtus in the womb; and they give out that children so born will be very fortunate.
s.Sc. c.1830 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club XXIII. 72:
The Halihoo', membranes which some children are born with, surrounding the head, are esteemed by most people sacred, and are kept, and much used in cures of various diseases.
Gall. 1882 J. Douglas Bk. Gall. 1745 6:
And he had a heelie how on his heid.
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 396:
The child may be born with a caul (“coolie,” “happie-hoo'” “sillie-hoo'” or “hallie-hoo”) over its face. This is a sign of good luck, and is still frequently preserved.
wm.Sc. 1925 D. Mackenzie Macmorro's Luck 19:
Ane o' them [twins] wi' a hully-hoo Was born.

3. A roof rafter (Sc. 1808 Jam., how, hou, hoo). Gen. in pl.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 148:
Unlocket the Barn, — clam up the Mou, Where was an Opening near the Hou.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 14:
The couples were placed first, and consisted of five or six parts — . . . the two arms of the couple, called hoos, fixed to the top of the upright posts or legs.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (12 March):
Da wattermills is no run aboot . . . an' da maist o' dem ye can see da höus o' da couples.

[O.Sc. has how, in sense 1., from a.1400, O.E. húfe, a hood, cap. For sense 3. cf. cogn. Norw. dial. huv, ridge of a roof, O.N. húfa, a hood.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Hoo n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: