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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

HURLIE-HACKET, n.comb. Also hurly-, hurley-hackit, -et, hurly haaky.

1. A game in which the participants slid down a steep slope on a trough or sledge (Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Peb. 1817 R. Brown Lintoun Green 18). Curtailed form hurlie, applied to the slope used for the game.Sc. 1810 Scott L. of the Lake v. xx. note:
The boys of Edinburgh, about twenty years ago, used to play at the hurly-hacket, on the Calton Hill, using for their seat a horse's scull.
s.Sc. c.1830 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 118:
The game of Tip and Hurle, or as it is more commonly called Hurlie-hacket, is common among all young boys and girls. A sloping bank is selected for the hurlie or sliding ground.

Specif. a kind of follow-my-leader game of this sort played communally in Biggar during icy weather. Also attrib.Lnk. a.1861 in W. Hunter Biggar (1862) 21:
Syne fancy leads me back to some . . . Tremendous hurley-hacket rowe.
Lnk. 1861 J. Brown Horae Subs. (1882) 337:
As were the saturnalia to old, and the Carnival to present Rome, so was their short insanity to the staid town — its consummation being the Hurley-hacket, a sort of express train, headed by one or two first-raters . . . One fellow was generally the leader . . . behind came the lads and lasses, scudding on their hunkers; then their elders on their creepies, turned upsides down, and then the ruck.
Lnk. 1888 R. Young Love at Plough 186:
Hurly hacket, wild and free, Gaun rushin' ower the Preachin' Brae. ¶Hence construed as pa.t. of a v., *hurly-hack, to slide down a hill in this manner.
Lnl. a.1895 Poets Lnl. (Bisset 1896) 189:
King James the Fifth sat on this throne, And hurley-hackit doon its brae.

2. A name given to the Gowan Hill in Stirling (see quots.), associated by Scott with the game.Slg. 1777 W. Nimmo Hist. Slg. 258:
It is highly probable that Hurly Haaky [sic] was the mote hill of the castle of Stirling.
Sc. 1810 Scott L. of the Lake v. xx. note:
This “heading hill” [at Stirling], as it was sometimes termed, bears commonly the less terrible name of Hurly-hacket.

3. The trough or sledge used in this game (Sc. 1828 Scott Works Gl. 408). Also applied fig. to an ill-hung carriage. Only in Scott.Sc. 1800 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) XII. 160:
The Seller must be careful in packing the Hurly hacket & I shall remit the price by a Bill on London.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. xv.:
I never thought to have entered ane o' their hurley-hackets [post-chaises], . . . and sic a like thing as it is — scarce room for twa folks!

4. Fig. A violent, noisy descent, like the onrush of a sledge.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin viii.:
The divots tint their grip, an' doon we rowed, them an' me thegither, wi' an awfu' hurlie-hacket richt on the croon o' Mr Gowlanthump's head!

[O.Sc. hurly-hakcat = 1. from 1529. The first element is from Hurl, v.1, 2., the second is obscure.]

Hurlie-hacket n. comb.

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"Hurlie-hacket n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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