Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YOKIN, vbl.n. Also †yokeing, yoken (Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 332), yokeen (s.Sc.); yoak-, yock-. Sc. usages. [′jokɪn]

1. The act of yoking horses for work; hence more gen. the commencement of a spell of work of any kind, e.g. in a mine (Lth. 1974). Hence yokin time, time to start work at ploughing, carting, or in gen. Gen.Sc. Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw xxxvi.:
You'll have it all done before yoking time yet.
Bnff. 1930:
Breek noo; it's yokin' time.
Abd. 1972 D. Toulmin Hard Shining Corn 22:
It was too near yokin' time at the farm.

2. (1) The period during which a horse is in harness at one stretch, gen. representing half a day's work (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 189, 1825 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson). Gen.Sc., obsol. A large or lang yokin was freq. substituted for two ordinary daily yokins in winter extending throughout the hours of daylight. For mornin yokin see 1858 quot. Mid yokin, a break in the middle of a yokin. Slk. 1724 Session Papers, Rutherford v. Rutherford (1 June) 6:
The said Oxen were used by fotching, changing four Oxen after each Yoaking.
Abd. 1744 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 134:
2 yoakings in long days and large ones in short.
Sc. 1755 Caled. Mercury (22 May):
The new invented two Wheeled Ploughs . . . its ordinary Work in the Spring being an Acre at a Yoking, or two Acres a-day.
m.Lth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 584:
The hire of a plough, with a man and two horses during winter, for what is called a long yoking, is 4s. In spring, when there are two yokings, the price is 3s. each yoking, or 6s. a day.
Slg. 1835 Trans. Highl. Soc. 23:
They [horses] have two yokings a-day, summer and winter.
Ags. 1858 People's Journal (16 Oct.):
We rise at five o'clock. We then go to what is called “a mornin' yokin!”, that is, spreading dung, or turning it. We go at these “mornin' yokins” until half-past six, then come in, swallow our brose, and out again at seven to the yoke.
Per. 1902 D. J. T. Gray Wild Nature 167:
The evolutions of the young, as they chased each other during resting-time, at mid-yokin.
Sc. 1905 E.D.D.:
There are two yokins: from 7 a.m. to noon; and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. or thereby, in summer: in winter the yokins begin with daylight, and end with it.
Abd. 1960 Huntly Express (27 May):
Those who went there went with the very definite object of giving the farmer “a yokin'.”
Ags. 1971 Dundee Courier (6 Jan.):
The feeds we yist tae hae efter a hard yokin'.

(2) A spell of any kind of work, a stint, shift (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 25; n.Sc., Fif., Ayr., Wgt., Rxb. 1974). Also fig. Phr. to gae throu the yokin, to do a piece of work in a perfunctory fashion (Fif. 1954). Ags. 1832 Whistle-Binkie 60:
His yokin dune, cheerie kyth't the body.
Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep Head 97:
Auld Charlie's deid, his yokin's out.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 24:
The mill-yins war toavin hyimm efter ther simmer-efternuin's yokeen.

(3) The beginning, commencement, entry upon. Knr. 1895 H. Haliburton Dunbar 108:
The yokin o' anither year.

3. Harness. Cf. Yoke, v., 1. Arg. 1902 N. Munro Shoes of Fortune xix.:
The yokings of the cattle, the boynes, stoups, carts and ploughs about the places altogether different from our own.

4. A bout or spell at some leisure-time activity, a stretch (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; n.Sc., Fif., Ayr., Wgt., Rxb. 1974). Gall. 1704 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 144:
Janet M'Gioch said to her, What a yocking it was that ye and Alexander Wither wrought that night quherin William Thomson was married.
Ayr. 1785 Burns To J. Lapraik vii.:
At length we had a hearty yokin At sang about.
Sc. 1916 Scott O. Mortality viii.:
Sitting amang the wat moss-hags for four hours at a yoking.
m.Sc. 1827 A. Rodger P. Cornclips 111:
It's something like a boyish yoking, At battledore and shuttle cocking.
Sc. 1882 G. Cupples Mem. Mrs. Valentine 88:
“A double yoking”, as was the phrase for a service when two successive sermons were preached without any mid-day interval.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws iii.:
Stretching their limbs with the keen zest of those who for three hours at a yoking have sat their saddles.
Abd. 1925 A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 27:
Could heaven hae ta'en sae mony in At ae short yokin'?

5. A contest, scuffle, set-to (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–5 Wilson; ne.Sc. 1974); a rough handling, a severe dressing-down (ne.Sc. 1974). Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry II. 229:
A bonny yokin we'se hae o't, Atween us twa.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 8:
In Anster kirk, he'd gat a yokin' . . . that wou'd hae cow'd his croakin'.
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders III. 277:
They had a tremendous yokin — a' aboot the rebels.
Sc. 1837 Tait's Mag. (Sept.) 573:
Ye ne'er wi' messin pups could 'gree, And, when their yokins thou could see, Thou skailt the byke.
wm.Sc. 1888 Anon. Archie MacNab 88:
I sat doon by his snug fire, ill prepared for the yoken I then got.
Sc. 1843 Whistle-Binkie (1890) II. 238:
In my life I ne'er gat sic a yokin'.

6. A measure of land, prob. orig. the amount ploughed in one yoking. Ayr. 1709 Arch. and Hist. Coll. Ayr. & Wgt. IV. 240:
The persewer to prove that ilk yokeing of land gave 7 merk, cropt 708.

[O.Sc. yoking, a spell at ploughing, 1516, a fight, 1594, a measure of land, 1658.]

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"Yokin vbl. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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