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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.

HUNDER, n., num.adj. Also hundir (Slk. 1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 574), ¶hunthir (Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (18 Jan.)); hunder(e)d, hundert, hundret (s.Sc. 1856 H. S. Riddell St Matthew xiii. 8); †hunirt; hun(n)er (Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 157; Edb. 1839 W. McDowall Poems 198; Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 48; ne.Sc., Ayr., Dmf., Uls. 1957); hund(e)reth (Ags. 1702 Montrose Burgh Rec. (24 June); Wgt. 1704 G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 31), hundredth (Sth. 1708 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 253). Sc. forms of Eng. hundred (Sc. 1700 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 270, Gsw. 1701 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 339; I.Sc., Cai., em.Sc., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1957). The form hun(d)ert is also used as the ordinal (Sh., Abd. 1957). [′hʌn(d)ər]

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. A century, one hundred years (Ags. 1957).Sc. 1883 Longman's Mag. (Oct.) 638:
It was a terrible wind the night of the Tay Bridge disaster. There had been nothing like it since the last year of the last “hunner”.

2. Weaving: a unit for denoting the fineness of a web, being the section of reed which contains 100 splits. The number of hundreds in a reed of standard length determines the gauge of the splits and hence the fineness of the cloth itself. Freq. used attrib.Sc. 1734 Letter to Author Interest of Scot. 6:
She obliges her Weaver, who by this Time is glad of Employment, to lay eighty Yards of it for an eight hundred Reed, whereas it should only make seventy two Yards in a nine hundred Reed.
Abd. 1778 Aberdeen Jnl. (6 April):
The Hundreds marked in the Advertisement is to be understood as Payable to the Weaver, according to the Number of them contained within the Space of Forty Inches.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 153–4:
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!
Sc. 1807 J. Duncan Weaving 23:
In Scotland, the reed is divided into hundreds, and these hundreds again into five parts, each containing 20 splits, which are called porters.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 66:
To cheer his Jenny at the spinnin' Her web o' twice six hunder linen.
Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm lxii.:
There was a twal-hunner shift upo' the bairn, rowt roon 'im like deid-claes.

Hence combs. and phr.: (1) hundred-end, the end of a piece of cloth where the fineness of the weave is marked in hundreds; (2) hundermark, v., to mark on (a cloth) the fineness of the weave in hundreds; (3) to haill a hundred, see s.v. Hale, v.(1) Sc. 1746 Caled. Mercury (Oct.) 6:
All the Cloth is marked H with Lampblack before it went to the Bleaching, and will appear when holden betwixt and the Light. The Mark H is in the Hundred-end of the Cloth.
(2) Abd. 1758 Aberdeen Jnl. (14 March):
All weavers are desired to hunder-mark each piece of linen they weave, which will prevent all disputes.

3. A definite number of sheep, fish, plants etc. which is greater than five score, usu. equal to six score or 120, gen. known in Eng. as a long hundred, but the exact number sometimes varies (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., lang hunder; Ork. 1957).Sc. 1725 St Andrews Cit. (21 March 1903):
For each hundred or six scoir keilling . . . For each hundred consisting of six scoir and eight codlings.
Sc. 1726 Edb. Ev. Courant (31 Mar.):
The Lands of Spittal . . . holding in Winter 1000 Sheep of the Masters, at six Score the hundred.
n.Sc. 1818 in E. Burt Letters I. 98:
In numeration, also, they had the long score, of 25, and the long hundred, of 125, by which herrings, haddock, etc. are still sold in some places. This manner of calculating came to us with our Scandinavian forefathers, by whom it was adopted before the use of letters.
Ags. 1855 A. Douglas Ferryden 8:
They've ta'en halfcrown for a hunderd (144) o' my big haddocks the day.
Sc. 1886 Gsw. Herald (13 Sept.) 4:
A mease [of herring] . . . is five hundreds of 120 each.
Arg.1 1930:
The “hunner” of herring differs from the ordinary “hunner”: it consists of 41 casts of 3 each = 123.

4. A unit of land rented for growing cabbages or kail (see 1887 quot.). Also hundersgrund, id. (Ork. 1929 Marw.).Ork. 1770 P. Fea MS. Diary (28 Feb.):
Ane ancker ¾ of ane Hund[er].
Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 6:
What was formerly the palace-garden is now rented in small patches, or hundreds (as much ground as will raise 100 cabbages).
Ork. 1887 Jam.:
A measure of garden-ground in Orkney, 15 ft. by 18 ft. in extent: ground sufficient for the growth of a hundred plants of kail. In each plot or hundred the plants are set 18 inches apart, or in ten rows of twelve each. Hundred, therefore, means the long hundred or six score.

5. A section of a fishing-line, specif. one having 100 hooks attached. See Tie, n.1, 3. Fif. 1879 G. Gourlay Fisher Life 102:
At that time the crew carried eight "ties" or "hundred" of line to a hand.

6. An indeterminate large quantity. Sc. 1998 Big Issue 9-11 Apr 32:
"Mind you, if they offered me hunners of money then of course I'd grab it!"
Edb. 2005:
Ye dinnae need tae make mair coffee - there's hunners in the poat.

II. num.adj.

Sc. form of Eng. hundred.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 8:
Because yon yin weel-kens whit side his breid is buttered
And hoo to herry money oot o' maister by a hunner ploys
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 168:
'Seven hunner pound.'
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 20:
Aw, hunnerz a miles. Ah'm pure sweatificated.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 50:
Poother tae mak yer whiter,
lipstick tae mak ye ridder,
a hunner assortit smells tae droon oot the stink
o common humanity.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 34:
Ah've tellt ye a hunner times...
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 223:
A taxi can make a hunner pound in an hour.

Sc. usages:

1. Combs. and Phr.: (1) hundred-fald, a hundredfold, used as a n. = lady's bedstraw, Galium verum. Also in n.Eng. dial.; (2) hunder-leafed rose, the peony (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 143, Rxb. 1957); (3) hunirt-leaft girss, hunder leif (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) H. 52), the common yarrow, Achillea millefolium; (4) to get a hunder pound, to get a piece of good fortune, often applied to a birth in a family (Abd.30, Slg., m.Lth. 1957).(1) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 100:
As the flowers are exceedingly numerous and clustered, our common people call the plant A Hundred-fald.
(3) ne.Sc. a.1897 M. M. Banks Cal. Customs Scot. II. 231:
On the 1st of May, “atween the sin an' the sky” the girls went to the fields where Milfoil Yarrow or “hunirt-leaft girss” grew.
(4) Fif.3 1920:
He's gotten a hunder pound this mornin', i.e., there has been a birth in the house.

2. Used in place of the ordinal number, hundredth (ne.Sc., m.Lth.1 1957). Obs. in Eng.Abd. c.1700 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick (1955) i.:
The hundred pairt whereof, payable be the tennents is . . . £0. 12s. 0d.

Phr.: the Auld Hunder(t), the long metre version by Wm. Kethe, with its well-known tune, of the 100th psalm in the Scottish Psalter. Gen.Sc.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xvi.:
He . . . stack in till the Auld Hunder like the Jook o' Wellinton at the battle o' Waterloo.
Bwk. 1949 M. Patrick Sc. Psalmody 146:
“What are they singing?” he whispered to his neighbour. . . . “I no ken; I'm at the Auld Hundert.”

[O.Sc. hunder, from 1375, hundreth from 1381. For the loss of d after n see P.L.D. § 64. For the loss of the final d and th (O.E. -red, O.N., -rað), cf. Brander, n., Brandrith.]

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"Hunder n., num. adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 May 2024 <>



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