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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Hek, Heck, n. Also: heke, heac. [ME. (chiefly northern) heke, hecke, hekke, hek, OE. hec in fódder-hec; also MLG. heck, LG. and Du. hek, fence, rail, gate. See also Haik n.2]

1. A rack for fodder in a stable.Usually coupled with manger. Also attrib. 1497 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 64.
Al stabillaris to haue sufficient stabillis, hek, manger, corne, foder [etc.]
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 363.
For making of hekkis and mangeris to the cart hors in Striuelin
1539 M. Works Acc. VI. 9.
For … betand the trevesis, hekis, mengeris, and hopperis in the gret stabill
1563 Reg. Cupar A. II. 280.
For reparatioun of the queinis stabillis with hekkis, mengeris, and all vthir necessaris
1601 Treas. Acc. MS. 90.
Travesis, heckis, and mengeris within his hienes stabillis
1651 Stirling B. Rec. II. 307.
For 100 naillis [etc.] … to mend the [stable] hekis quhen they fell doune
1673 Stirling Common Good MS. 82.
Naills and dressing of hecks and mangers

attrib.  1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 104.
Ane hunder hek ringis to the stabill

2. A grating or frame of vertical and horizontal bars in a river, to obstruct the passage of fish or other solid bodies, without impeding the flow of the water. 1518 Dunferm. B. Rec. 297.
That thar be vndir the myll qwel ane hek, swa at the muk stuf … cassyn in at the clovs may be keppit thare

b. One of the bars of such a framework; also, chiefly, one of the open spaces or interstices between the bars. 1424 Acts II. 5/2.
That ilk hek [v.r. heke] of the forsaidis crufis be thre inche wyde
1553 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 573.
The heckes of the saids cruves should have hein fyve inshes wyd
c1575 Balfour Pract. 543.
All sic cruives and maskis and heckis thairof sall have at the leist twa inche in lenth and thre inche in breidth
1623 Peebles Gleanings 43.
For ane scoir of stairtes and heacs, 26s. 8d.
For ane uther scoir of heacs quhen the iys come downe and brak thame, 36s. 8d.
1639 Acts V. 281/1.
That the actis anent Setterdayis slop, midstreame, and distance of heckis may be ratified
1664 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 572.
That all cruves sett upon fresh watters shall be fyve inshes wyd in the hecks

3. A rack or grating, generally. 1683 Reid Gard'ners Kal. 12.
Destroy wasps, straiten the passage by putting on the hecks to secure from robers

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"Hek n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2024 <>



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