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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HOTCH, v., n. Also hoatch, hoach, hootch; ¶hatch, with freq. hatchel. Cf. Hodge. [hɔtʃ]

I. v. 1. To move jerkily up and down, to bob (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Fif., m.Lth., wm.Sc., Kcb., s.Sc. 1957), in 1721 quot in an indecent sense (cf. Hoddle, v., n.1, Hodge); to bump or jog along on horseback (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); to move in a series of hops like a frog (Slk. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 326:
The fison of your Hips is loupen to your Lips, you dow not hotch for Hunger. An immodest Expression of young Girls to young Fellows.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poet. Wks. (1844) 288:
A sonsier dame, or sappier wame, Ne'er hotcht alangst the cawsey.
Lnk. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 140:
To pay the bygane towmont's rent, John Dubs cam hotchan east.
Sc. 1835 Sc. Song (Whitelaw 1844) 203:
The haggis was bockin' oot bluters o' bree-fat, An' hotch'd to the piper its lane!
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 318:
Horsemen are hotchin like Bonaparte's cavalry.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 187:
And the door swings open. But does he see a horrible sicht, some twisted, deformed craitur wi green een and slevvers running fae a bloody jaw, some further depth o Hades as black as the Earl o Hell's waistcoat, is Auld Nick there himself hotching on the pipes wi maybe a wee tam o'shanter on his heid atween the twa horns?

Hence hotchin-hippit, having hips that bounce in walking (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.).

2. To fidget, to hitch about with impatience or discomfort, to shrug (Dmf. 1925 Proc. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 29; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 248). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Hence ppl.adj. hotchin, restless with impatience, extremely eager.Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 185–6:
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain, And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 92:
The nasty, clatty, fiery stuff, It gart me snifter, hotch, an' puff.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 131:
There anger, wi' the hotchin' knife Ground shairp in Hell.
em.Sc. 1898 H. Rogers Meggotsbrae 176:
It made him feel singular and uncomfortable. So after some “hotchin' an' hoastin',” he said. . . .
wm.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs McCraw 103:
Maist fowks is aye hotchin' tae get at what's nae concairn o' theirs.
Abd. 1906–11 Rymour Club Misc. I. 145:
Puir happie stood hotchin' an' scratchin' his pow.
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown 96:
I min' hoo my faither used tae hotch aboot in his sate, like a waukrife wean wi' the colic till the minister wad mention the de'il.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 19:
"Nae hotchin [Gael. gluaiseadh] an nae yabberin nou,
That aw mey lairn, baith wee an great,
The fairins that tae each is due.

3. To heave with laughter (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Kcd., Slg., m.Lth., Lnk., Slk. 1957).Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 89:
Spin a crack, or crump his bread, An' hotch, an' gigle.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 162:
An' to mysel I hotch'd, an' leugh good speed, To see their noses baffl'd by the Tweed.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 108:
They [recollections] carry us back; an' that on the hotching shouthers o' right humour.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iii.:
[She] hotched an' leuch like wild at the idea o' the triumph she had obtained.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters xi.:
And they hotched with glee to think that Gourlay had another enemy.
Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 15:
She was holding her sides and hotching with convulsive laughter.

4. tr., sometimes with up: to cause to move jerkily, to shrug, hitch up; refl. to shift along in a sitting position to make room for others (Sc. 1825 Jam.; m.Lth., Slk. 1957). Also fig.Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. xv.:
Are ye sure ye hae room eneugh, sir? — I wad fain hotch mysell farther yont.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 265:
But that disease reserved by death For hallions sic as he, Which works by lice, hotch'd out his breath.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xii.:
Their sleeves hotched up ower their shouthers.
Sc. 1897 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 406:
Ye gar that puir nag gang far owre hard, Sandy, . . . I'm like to be hotched aff.
Kcb. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 230:
Then he would stop an' scart his croon, Hotch up his shou'der an' look roun'.
Fif. 1952 E. Fife Observer (29 May):
When cauld winds blaw, and snaw shooers freeze, . . . They hotch their shoothers.

5. To swarm, to be infested, to seethe, to be overrun (with), to abound; fig. to be in a ferment, to be angry. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 106:
Our Sannock's head is a' hotchen, and our John's is little better.
Dmf. 1797 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 458:
The floor i' now is just a hotchin' thrang.
Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 6:
When there's sae strong a spirit of life hotchin ower yearth and sea in this very century.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 19:
There's a wheen Ayrshiremen gotten inta the Stewartry noo, an it'll sune be hotchin wi them.
Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 132:
Da wives waar juest hotchan hereaboot dan, an' waar rightly blide tae deu onyting for a bawbee or twa.
Ags. 1947 J. B. Salmond Toby Jug vii.:
The manse is juist hotchin' wi' flannen claith and worset.
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth ii. vii.:
An' ye ken, Mrs Muldoon, what some hoaspitals are like . . . hoatchin' wi' students.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 65:
Mebbe the morn or next day ....
Mebbe it will lift a wee
the hotchin wraiths, the blae skyscape o my heid.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 35:
hoachin or hotchin Full of, infested with: 'The toon's hoachin wi wine baurs noo.'
wm.Sc. 1988 Scotsman 30 Jul 4:
"Yon stingin-adders - that's whit we ca'd them - are gey scarce these days bit I can mind when a roon about Airdrie was hotchin wi them at this time o year ...."
m.Sc. 1989 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay The Guid Sisters 30:
Ah've nivir seen sae mony burds in the wan hoose. The place wis hoatchin wi thum. The hoose is mair like a big doocot.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 197:
Even the woods around were hotching with soldiers, all training and preparing for invasion.
Sc. 1990 Scotsman 5 Nov 9:
But with greenbelt meddling, fenlands that once hotched with birds are not more tranquil. Birds are becoming, literally, thinner on the ground.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 216:
Every leaf, every blade, every stalk. Hotching wi sap and peedie chloroplasts, aa sooking in water and air and belching oot carbohydrates ...
Edb. 1992:
That wee burn in Stow wiz aye hoachin wi troot.
Arg. 1992:
Yon bey's hoatchin wi bunnies, ye winna believe it: hunners o them.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 4:
aye hingin
hootchin wi clart
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 1:
He likit a ceilidh on a Setterday nicht, wi the heid aff the bottle an the hoose hotchin wi fowk.
em.Sc. 1997 Ian Rankin Black & Blue (1999) 186:
'Times got tougher. I was surplus to requirements.'
'I hear the rigs are hoaching with dope. Did you ever see any?'
m.Sc. 1999 Rachel Yule in Moira Burgess and Donny O'Rourke New Writing Scotland 17: Friends and Kangaroos 161:
When A got hame last nicht
Ma yaird wis hoachin wi Polis...

II. n. 1. A jerk or jolt, a bounce, hitch, a shrug (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., hotch; m.Lth., Kcb., Rxb. 1957); a twitch, fidget. Also used fig., a clash, a hostile encounter (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 79:
Carry a Lady to Rome, and give her one Hatch, all is done. A Reflection upon the Humours of great Persons, whom if you oblige in a hundred Things and disoblige in one, All the Fat is in the Fire.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 124:
For whin-stanes, howkit frae the craigs, May thole the prancing feet of naigs, Nor ever fear uncanny hotches Frae clumsy carts.
Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Works 142:
So, so, thou braw naigy Pegasus, Come gie's a wee hotch on your back.
Ayr. c.1827 Galt Howdie (1923) 121:
Giving at every pause a judicious hotch from the one side to the other, which showed that he understood it.
Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 267:
'Tis the poet alane, sir, that can speak . . . about sic an association o' ideas as that, sir; he kens at every hotch amang them, whilk is about to start up.
Lnk. 1884 J. Nicholson Willie Waugh 60:
The whilk the warehoose porter, wi' a hotch, Gat on his back, an' bure aff to the coach.
Ayr. 1896 H. Johnston Dr Congalton i.:
Whiles he wud gie a hotch o' a laugh.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road ii.:
She never mentioned it, but every time I did, I saw her give a hotch upon her chair.

2. A swarm of vermin; fig. a state of dirt and disorder, a mess. Also found in Yks. dial.Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 182:
Man d'ye no' think shame, To make . . . Yer hoose a hotch, Yersel' a man forsworn?
Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 244:
Or marchin', mountin', snigglin', seekin', A hotch, gay sair in want o' smeekin'.

3. A big, fat, ungainly woman (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth., wm. and s. Sc. 1957); an untidy female, a slut (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Dmf. 1957). Cf. Hodge.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 100:
Heelan Toorietap . . . is noo, I'm tell't, a fat muckle hotch.
Gsw. 1912 Scotsman (9 Jan.):
An old woman, in talking of the distant past, described a woman of a byegone generation as a “big, fat, muckle hotch of a hizzie.”

[O.Sc. hotch, to move jerkily up and down from a.1550, Mid.Eng. hotchen, a.1400, similar in formation to Du. hotsen, to jog, jolt, M.H.Ger. and Ger. dial. hotzen, to move up and down, in most of the senses of the v. Orig. mainly onomat. Cf. Hod, Hoddle, Hodder, Hodge.]

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"Hotch v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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