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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

BELL-HOUSE, -HOOSE, n. Any erection containing a bell, including the belfry of a church. In fishermen's sea-taboo usage: a church (Sc. 1950 P. Anson Sc. Fisherfolk 36, e.g. in describing landmarks).Sc. 1708 Records Conv. Burghs (1880) 465:
The convention appointed the burghe of Kirkalde and Kinghorn to visit the harbour and bellhouse.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Echo of Olden Time 64:
He had recourse to a circumlocution and called . . . the kirk, the bell-hoose.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 48:
For in his bell-house, David Barclay Ne'er flourished his tow mair starkly.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 244:
... kirks were bellhouses (the bells muffled during the herring season in case they scared away the fish), the minister was the man in black or the queer fellow ...

[Arch. and dial. according to N.E.D. Not given in Concise Eng. Dict. nor in Un. Eng. Dict. Found in O.Sc. bel(l) hous(e) and bellus.]

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"Bell-house n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jun 2022 <>



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