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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Net, n. Also: nett(e, nete, neth(t, (neit(t), (natt). [ME. and e.m.E. nett(e, neth, nete, OE. n et(t.]

1. A net.a. A fishing net.See also, for further examples, Cobill n. 1, Coup n.2 1, Crele n. 2, Cruve n. 1, Fisch n.1, Huke n.1 2, Lake n.2 4, land-raip, -toll, Land n.1 1 e, Line n.2 1 c, Lowp n.2Net(tis) fisching, the right of taking fish by one net in a particular stretch of water: see also Half n.1 1.The proverb to fisch (also, to seke the fisch) befoir the net = to be premature in anticipating something, ‘to count one's chickens before they are hatched’.(To have) sum fisch in one's net, to have something to offer or to be wealthy.(1) 1375 Barb. xix. 652. a1500 Henr. Fab. 741 (Bann.). 1467 Reg. Dunferm. 359.
As for the nettis of the Calate
1480 Liber Melros II. 695.
Since there are two cobills and two netts that ther are two draughts for ilk cobill and ilk nett a draught
1489 Acts II. 221/2. 1501 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 428.
Quhilkis wrak nethis saile takill and towis and ale stuf being with the saide schip
1508 Reg. Cupar A. I. 274.
And thai sal vphald the net for our fischin, … that is to say, at the said net be xxxiiij fawdome of lintht [etc.]
1550 Breadalbane Doc. No. 73.
The said Johne sall haue leife to sett foure nettis within the Dowloch
1565 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 603/1.
In aqua de Dovern vulgo Thanis Net nuncupatum
1580 Edinb. Test. VIII. 241.
Fyve nettis pryce of the peice viijs.
1590 Ib. XVII. 200 b.
Sax nettis at iiij li. the pece
1590 Thanes of Cawdor 193. a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 277. 1633 Acts (1870) V. 65/2.
Thaines Nett
1640 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 621. 1643 Galloway P. 22 May.
With a guid & sufficient new net ane currock and threttie faddome of towis
1651 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 894.
For the libertie of the fishing of ilk boatt and nett of four that they ar to putt in the saidis pooles
(2) 1501 Acta Conc. III. 107.
[The Lords ordain] the Kingis hienes til remane with the sade net fyching on the wattir of Spey
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 330/2.
To sell, analy or wedset the nyne part of ane nettis fischin of the watter of Ythane
1672 Aberd. Council Lett. v. 171.
In reference to the holding of ane nets fisheing of the foords [etc.]
(3) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1763 (Bann.).
The lark, lauchand, the suallow thus coud scorne And said, ‘Scho fischit lang befoir the nett’
1535 Stewart 33847. Ib. 40284, 49825.
Traistand … that all sould be thair awin Tha socht the fische rycht far befoir the net, Quhilk causit the les gardone to get
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 633 (L).
Quhan ȝe haif done. it is tyme to crak; Ȝe fysche befoir the net
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 379.
He that fishes afore the net, lang or he fish get
(4) a1568 Bann. MS. 81a/54.
Thow art nocht tane in cumpany Bot thair be sum fisch in thy nett

b. A net used to trap birds or animals.See also Foular n. for further examples. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1527 (H).
The mair he flang, the faster wes the net
Ib. 1516, 1873. 1507 Treas. Acc. III. 392.
For threid to be nettis to tak halkis
1513 Doug. x. xii. 57. 1533 Boece vi. v. 194.
Gif thai [deer] evadit the nettis
1557 Digest Justiciary Proc. B. 140.
With nettis and staiffis for slauchter of cwnings
1568 Sempill Sat. P. xivii. 71.
Ȝe latt rukis and ravynis rin throw the nett And saikles dowis makis subiect to the law
1592 Acts III. 614/1.
To slay … the saidis solane geis be casting of neittis and hwikis

c. A net for other purposes. — 1566 Treas. Acc. XII. 19.
lvij elnis of natt of gold weyand foure vnce and ane quarter the vnce iij li. x s.
1638 Peebles Gleanings 319.
For laying on of the net to skar away the kees
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 46.
The great pheisses with the pheisses, stangs and nets thairof [in the public weigh-house]
Ib. 47.
A pair of litle barrowes with sex staffis and aucht nets

d. With defining terms.Also draucht-, feith-, half-, haring-, laverok-, lax-, salmond-, trammel-net, etc., for which see the first elements. 1503 Treas. Acc. II. 407.
The deir nettis
1505 Ib. III. 171.
For deir nettis quhilk ȝeid to Faulkland
1594 Edinb. Test. XXVI. 346.
Tuelf doubill nettis price of the pece ourheid iiij li. … tua lapstar nettis price of the pece v merkis
1670 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. III. 176.
Holland nettes … to be imported … for the said fisheing
1705 Acts XI. 293/2.
Dutch nets … [to] be free of custome

e. Attrib. and comb. 1398 Aberd. B. Rec. (S.H.S.) 40.
vii libras de netthrede
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 294 b.
Four pound of net ȝarne at vjs. the pund
1619 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 182.
John hes receauit 8 lib. for nettis Item 8 lib. 1 merk he hes receauit … quhilk makis compleit payment of the outred of the half fraucht, net sylver and grund leif
1657 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 1039.
The sowme of thrie pundis xiij s. for nett ȝairne and tobacco
1654 Rothesay B. Rec. 1.
With aught schilling for the netraip acclamit
And for tuell schilling for a netroup
1678 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 11 Dec.
Mair thrie shilling four pennies for ilk fathoin of aucht fathom of net working

2. Common in fig. contexts: A mental or spiritual snare or trap; a means of amassing riches.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 183.
I haf bene dissaweful nete That the feynde sere sawlis has gert gete
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 374.
Hir [sc. woman's] hart the netis of syne and handis the fetteris of lust to hald men in hir bandis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1911 (Bann.).
The feind plettis his nettis stark and rude And vnder pleasaunce priuelye dois hyde
Ib. 1929. 1492 Myll Spect. 274/17. Ib. 287/25. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 420.
Fetterit in the net of lufe prophane
Id. Seven S. 2684, etc. 1567 G. Ball. 100.
Richt priuelie is thair communicatioun To set thair nettis with cloikit craftines
1567 Sat. P. iv. 117. a1568 Kennedy Bann. MS. p. 39/26.
Pryd is the nett and cuvatice is the trane
Id. Maitl. F. cxvii. 8.
Haue eye to God and brik the devillis net
c 1571–9 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxvi.
Bot you deliuerit of ane wyfe castis your self in the samyn nette
c1590 Fowler I. 149/12. 1651 Laing MSS. I. 267.
Amongst many netts and ginns and snaires to flesh and bloode
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lviii. 17.
Riche befoir puir spreidis ay thair nett To fische all wateris
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4752.
Bot they [sc. priests] haif spred thare net … On rentis ryche, on gold and vther graith

3. transf. A spider's web. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 54.
As attircop fechtis to fang a fle makand hir net
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 171.
Full bissely Aragne wevand was To knyt hir nettis

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



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