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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FISH, n., v. Sc. usages:

I. n. Specif. applied to: 1. the salmon. Gen.Sc. in all salmon areas; “includes sea-trout” (Bwk.2 1952). Hence comb. fish-money, a bounty given for a certain number of fish caught (Bwk.3 1952).Sc. 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 388:
You're a gran' par-fisher, sir; but you're nae Thorburn either at troots, morts, or fish.
s.Sc. 1843 W. Scrope Salmon-Fishing 93:
That's no fish ava. . . . Do ye no ken a troot when ye see it?
Abd. 1936 T. H. White England have my Bones 29:
When people talk about salmon here they call it “a fish.” Trouts are just trouts.
Sc. 1950 Scotsman (1 Feb.):
By the way, only salmon are fish in the Borders.

2. White fish, as opposed to herrings (Cai.7, Ags.17, Fif.1 1942).

3. In combs.: (1) fish(y)-bee, a bluebottle fly (Sh. 1952); (2) fish-cadger, a fish hawker. Gen.Sc.; †(3) fish-carle, a fisherman; †(4) fish-currie, = Currie, n. (Per. 1825 Jam.); (5) fish-flee, the bluebottle fly. Also fishy-flee (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.10 1952); (6) fish-hawk, the osprey, Pandion haliaetus (Sc., Sh. 1885 Swainson Brit. Birds 141). Also fishing-hawk, (Ib.), fish-hawker (Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Sh. Trad. Lore 199); (7) fish-side, the flesh side of a split fish as opposed to the skin side (Sh.10 1952); (8) fish-staff, a gaff, fish-hook. See Huggie-staff; (9) fish-toun, a fishing village (Abd.27 1935). Also fish town.(2) Edb. 1803 in R. Sibbald Fife & Knr. 119:
It was a general officer . . . who first taught the people of Fife that [turbot] were eatable, and astonished the fish-cadgers by offering a shilling apiece for the largest of them.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls ii.:
Rival fish-cadgers . . . screamed libels at each other over a fruiterer's barrow.
(3) Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 143:
Ye fish-carles never lift an oar, In codlin greed.
(5) Sh. 1927 Shet. Times (23 April):
Loard, joost tell me whats da oose O' mudjicks, mochs, and fishy flees?
Sh. 1937 J. Nicolson Restin' Chair Yarns 9:
Da room was swarmin' wi' folk, as tight as ever you saw fish-flees on a codlin' head i' da summer.
(7) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Nov.):
[To] staand at a widden box foo o' fresh watter, an' taer awa' apo da fish side o' a ling wi' a kiaar brush.
(8) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 31:
Hae da fish-staff clair.
(9) Abd. 1781 Caled. Mercury (21 July):
At the Fish-town of Colliston, there is a commodious and safe harbour.
Abd. 1795 Aberdeen Journal 9 Jun 24:
Wanted immediately several steady fishermen for the new fish town at Rattrayhead.

II. v. To endeavour, to contrive (Arg.3, Ayr.8 1952).Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie I. xiii.:
If I dinna get my dinner noo, thae deevils, our clerks, will be back; and, if they fin' out that I'm toom, they'll fish to famish me.

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"Fish n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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