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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HAINCH, n., v. Also hench; hinch (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.); h(a)insh; heinch; and freq. forms henchle, henchil, hainchil. [henʃ, hɛnʃ, hɪnʃ]

I. n. 1. The haunch. Gen.Sc. Also attrib. Phr. in one's haunch, at one's hip, in one's entourage.Sc. 1706 Sc. Pasquils (Maidment 1827) II. 72:
Ther's Johnston, Daniel Campbell, and Stuart, Whom the court hes still in their hench.
Wgt. 1714 Session Bk. Wigtown (1934) 193:
The foresaid Agnes looked bowky about the henches as one with child.
Abd. 1739 Caled. Mag. (1788) 503:
Came a' at anes athort his hinch A sowph.
Ayr. c.1827 Galt Howdie (1923) 17:
Lucky Nanse stood with her hands on her henches and dared her to approach.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xvii.:
The tail of my Sunday's coat was fairly off and away, docked by the hainch buttons.
Fif. 1853 J. Pringle Poems 202:
An' mony braw mantle, an' mony silk gown Hae hung ower the hainches o' Maggie McAuld.
Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.):
Ochanee, me, wi' 'e rheumatics in ma hench.
Bch. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 28:
An' then a stoon cam' in my hench The like wis never seen.
Uls.2 1929:
But hide, boys, they cudn't, or move from the hinches, (That seem'd till be glued to the creepies an' binches).

2. An underhand throw made by striking the lower arm sharply against the thigh at the moment of release (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Ork., Bnff., Wgt., Dmf. 1956).Bwk. 1843 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club II. 54:
The bowl . . . launched in the manner which in Scotland is called a hainsh, being precisely the fashion after which the Greek discus was impelled.

3. A halt or limp in one's walk, lameness (w., s.Sc. 1887 Jam., h(a)inch, hench; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ‡Abd., Rxb. 1956).

4. “A leg-up, as upon horseback, a heave-up, a help-up with a heavy object” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Bnff., Abd., Rxb. 1956).

5. The side of an arch between the crown and the piers, the flank. Cf. Eng. hance, haunch, id.Gsw. 1724 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 185:
Hewing and laying of a sayre at the back of the grammar schooll, dressing the tuo henches of the tuo bridges at Modies yeard and straking throw ane door at the tolbooth stair foot.

6. Combs.: (1) hench bane, haunch-bone (Inv. 1902 E.D.D., hinch-bane). Gen.Sc. Also henchle-bane (Slg. 1956); (2) h(a)inch-deep, haunch-deep. Gen.Sc.; (3) hench-hoop, a hoop worn under a dress or crinoline; (4) hainch-knot, a bunch of ribbon worn on the hip; (5) hench vent, a triangular piece of cloth or gore inserted in the tail of a shirt (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 259).(1) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 49:
Lichtin' on the cauld flure-stane Maist dislocate her henchle-bane.
Ags. 1893 Arbroath Guide (30 Dec.) 3:
I gae my hinch bane a rub.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xlvi.:
Kennedy thinks no more o' tellin' a whud than o' slappin' a cleg that nips him on the hench bane.
Sh. 1931 Shetland Times (14 March):
Whin I feel me hench-bens kinda soar laek; . . . ye kin aye tell hit's gja'in' ta be a shenge a waadir.
(2) s.Sc. 1821 A. Scott Poems 51:
Whan we hainch deep then i' the waters stood.
Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 165:
In scutter holes hinch-deep I've been Wi' dirt a' mertered to the e'en.
(3) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail i.:
The last Leddy Kittlestonheugh, your ain muckle respekit grandmother, and her twa sisters, in their hench-hoops.
(4) Edb. 1824 R. Chambers Trad. Edb. (1856) 195:
There were the breast-knots, two hainch-knots, (at which there were also buttons for looping up the gown behind).

II. v. 1. To throw or cast a stone, etc. by jerking the arm against the thigh (Sc. 1808, Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 226, hinch; Mearns, Cld. 1880 Jam., hinch; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., hinch; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Ork., Ayr., Wgt., Dmf., Rxb. 1956). Vbl.n. hainchin(g) (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 251), and combs. henchin-bullet, -stane and phr. hainchin' the bool. Also used fig.Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 75:
They're aye sae weel acquaint aboon, They aften hae the conscience To hainch a chield ayont the moon.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 42:
He was the best at hainching a stane . . . that I ever saw.
Ork. c.1893 W. R. Mackintosh Peat-fires 174:
The malingerer took the coin in his hand, turned it carefully over, and then declared it would make a fine “henching” stone.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xii.:
There were few places about the Isle Rathan from which I could not reach an erring youth with pebble cunningly “henched.”
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 391:
A game played in the earlier half of the nineteenth century amongst the Fifeshire miners was called “hainchin' the bool.” The “bool,” which weighed about 4 lbs., and was somewhat larger than a cricket ball, was chipped round from a piece of whin-stone with a specially made small iron hammer. The game was played on the high-road where a suitably level piece could be got. The ball was held in the hand, and the arm brought up sharply against the haunch, when the ball was let go. Experts are said to have been able to throw it over 200 yards.
Abd. 1918 C. Murray Sough o' War 28:
We henched an' flang, an' killed a curn.
w.Lth. 1947 per A. M. Bisset:
I have seen “hainchin bullets” in use within the past eight years, but the practice is fast dying out.

Hence haincher, one who hainches or casts a stone; hinchie, the game of hainchin' the bool (Ayr. 1956).Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Jock's a guid haincher, but Tam's a better hawker.

2. To jerk the haunches; to walk with a limp, to hobble (Gall., Rxb. 1825 Jam., hench; w., s.Sc. 1887 Ib.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Edb., Rxb., Uls. 1956). Also freq. forms hainchil, henchil, to rock from side to side in walking (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.) and phrs. to hench awa', to move forward haltingly (Fif., Rxb. 1825 Jam.), to hench roon, to shift round in a sitting position.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
Mrs Williamson . . . grainin' under a back-birn o' whun cowes, cam' hainchin' bye the winnock.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 226:
The aul' currack o' a carle cam hinchin' up the green.
Sc.(E) 1868 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 7:
Or hench awa' to Forfar jail, To displenish and to dispone.
Per. 1904 R. Ford Vagabond Songs 219:
The gudewife says, “Ye'll a' hinch roun', An' let Auld Eddie lean him doun.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 36:
When Gidden Scott cam heinchin' ower the muir.

Hence ha(i)ncher, hencher, a lame person (w., s.Sc. 1887 Jam.), and combs. hippity-, id. (Ib.); and hinch-cuddy-hinch, see quot. and Hunch, v.Ayr. 1953:
A game Hinch-Cuddy-Hinch in which boys jerked their way forward over the bent backs of their companions to reach the boy at the top of the line.

[O.Sc. hench, a.1586, hanch, c, 1470, O.Fr. hanche, the haunch.]

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"Hainch n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2022 <>



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