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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HATTOCK, n. Also hadick (Sh. 1902 E.D.D.), haddock. A little (sc. fairy) hat. Found now only in phr. horse and hattock, a call to be covered and ride, used as a conjuration by witches. An arch. revival by Scott of the phr. as recorded in early witch trials.Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf viii.:
Now horse and hattock, speedilie; They that winna ride for Tellfer's kye, Let them never look in the face o' me.
Sc. 1833 Scott F. M. Perth vii. Note:
Horse and hattock, the well-known cry of the fairies at mounting for a moonlight expedition, came to be familiarly adopted on any occasion of mounting.
Sc. 1866 W. Henderson Folk-Lore 159:
The victim provoked his destiny by echoing the cry of “Horse and hattock,” the elfin signal for mounting and riding off.
Sh. 1875 Old-Lore Misc. v. i. 17:
One of the Trows exclaimed, “Horsick up haddock, weel ridden bulwand,” and in an instant all the bulwands were transformed into horses.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 101:
Then they would put a strae between their legs, cry — “Horse and hattock in the Devil's name!” and flee awa owre the muirs and fells.
Mry. 1949 Abd. Press and Jnl. (19 Oct.) 2:
“Horse and hattock”, shouted the laird. When he came to himself he was in Paris, in the wine-cellar of the King of France.

[Hat + dim. -ock. O.Sc. has huttok, 1501, a small hat, and phr. horse and hattock, 1662.]

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"Hattock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Dec 2023 <>



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