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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.

ALAN, ALLAN, ALLEN, AULIN, ALLAN-HAWK, n. The Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus (L.). (Also: Aulin-scouty, Scouti-alan, -aulin, and many other names.) For other meanings of Allan-hawk see s.v.Sc. 1887 Jam.5:
Allan Hawk. The aulin . . . prob. called hawk from its habit of pursuing smaller gulls till they disgorge their food. Hawk, however, may be a corr. of awk.
Sh., Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl. 4:
Aulin-scouty, the arctic gull.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Alan, alen, a species of gull, skua, . . . also named skuti-alan.
Sh.4 1931:
Scouti-alan.
Sh. 1938 M. Powell 200,000 Feet on Foula 138:
"Bonxie" is only our name for the Great Skua and the Allens are the smaller ones.
Sh. 1992 Bobby Tulloch A Guide to Shetland's Breeding Birds 45:
ARCTIC SKUA
(Stercorarius parasiticus)
SHET: Skooty Aalin or Shooi.
Ork. 1774 G. Low Tour thro' Ork. and Schet. (1879) 13:
In the Pightland Firth saw vast numbers of Gannets . . . also the first Scoutiaulin.
Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour through . . . Ork. and Sh. 201:
This bird is sometimes simply named the Allan; sometimes the Dirten-allan. . . . They pursue and harass all the small gulls, till these last disgorge or vomit. . . . The common names are derived from the vulgar opinion that the small gulls are muting.
Ork.(D) 1908 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc., Ork. Shet., etc. I. viii. 319:
Hid's aneuch tae scunner a scoottie allan.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn. 2:
Allan-hawk. . . . The skua was also so called in Mourne, co. of Down.

[Origin uncertain. Cf. alle, Sw. dial. = auk.]

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"Alan n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jun 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/alan>

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