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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BACKINGS, BACKENS, BAKINS, Also used attrib. Refuse of tow, wool, etc. So far as we know obs.Sc. 1879 Jam.5:
Backings. Refuse of wool or flax, or what is left after dressing it. . . . In the manufacture of flax, it is properly the tow, that is thrown off by a second hackling, which is denominated backings.
Abd. c.1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 207:
The woft was chiefly spun by old women, and that only from backings or nails.
Ags. 1820 J. M. Beatts Municipal Hist. of Dundee (1873) 139:
On market days frugal and industrious housewives might have been seen at the west end of the High Street exposing for sale bundles of yarns of various descriptions, from the finest flax to “backings” and “grunt.”
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute (1890) 30:
Aald Tamy shood wi Hemp — what sootirs shoo wi now Is spun frae Rottin lint — or bakins pob — or Towe.
Armagh 1780 A. Young Tour in Ireland I. 174:
The rough stone, after hackling, will produce 8 lb. flax for coarse linen; and 4 lb. of dressed tow, and some for backens.

[Back (see Backs, n.1) + ing, a suff. of which the original function was to form nouns of action from verbs, but which was extended later to form derivatives from nouns.]

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"Backings n. pl.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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