Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
HILL, n., v.1 Also hull (ne.Sc. 1746 Origins of the '45 (S.H.S.) 142; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 126; ne. and wm.Sc. 1957). [Sc. hɪl, ne. and wm.Sc. + hʌl]
I. n. Used as in Eng., but with wider application to include e.g. high mountains, artificial mounds, etc. Dim. and deriv. forms: (1) hillag, a little hill, heap, small mound (Cai. 1957); applied in perjorative sense to a stout, untidy person (Ib.); (2) hillan, id., a mound, heap, hillock, esp. a mole hill (Edb. 1957); (3) hiller, = (1) (Cai. 1902 E.D.D., 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 75, Cai. 1957). Also huller (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 75) and pl. form hullerz (Cai. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (29 March)) with hullerie, adj., of a stone wall: loose, ill-built, crumbling (Cai. 1902 E.D.D., Cai. 1957); (4) hillikin, a small, rounded hill; (5) hillock, †hallak (Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 133), †hilloc (Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 26); hullock, -ick (ne.Sc.), as in Eng., a small hill, mound, heap; fig. a fat, sluggish person (Sh., n.Sc., Ags., Dmf. 1957); a large quantity (Cai., ne.Sc., Ags. 1957). Also used as v. in pa.p. hillickit, heaped up, loaded.
(1) Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 66:
'Ey wir a' in ae carrywattle on ma brither-sin's shillin' hillag. (2) Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 6:
And frae his hillan the poor mowdy whups. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 383:
Pishminnie tammocks, or hillans, ant-hills. Sc. 1897 L. Keith Bonnie Lady vi.:
Every hollow and hillan was familiar to his feet. (3) Cai. 1957:
A huller o' beins — a rickle of bones. (4) Ayr. 1866 Trans. Highl. Soc. 26:
All the moundish hills, or hillikins rather lying within the basin, such as the Dalry Hills. (5) Sc. 1784 A. Wight Husbandry III. 669:
For your satisfaction, I will send a sample of the contents of the hillock you inquire so particularly about. Abd. 1912 J. Stephen Donside Lilts 10:
A'e day she in a hullick fell As we cam' in the glen. Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 49–50:
Owre mony o' you chaps hiv stucken t' yer ain hullock-heid an' hivna rubbit shooders wi' the ootside wardl. Cai. 1929 John o' Groat Jnl. (22 Nov.):
Thou's the most uncouth hillock o' a lass ever called at me hoose. Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 31:
Ye bood on yer knees an' keekit throu' the keyhole, ye muckle hullock o' queesitiveness! Mearns6 1953:
Aa'll tak a hillock o thae scones wi's fan aa ging hame. Abd. 1956 Bon-Accord (8 Nov.):
Andra wis lyin', hillickit up wi' blankets . . . oot o' fitch he skookit at's like a hoolet.
1. Sc. combs.: (1) hill-ane, a hill fairy. Cf. (20); (2) hill-clap, a rumbling noise in the upper air over the hills said to be caused by an upper air current (Sh.10 1957); sometimes applied to thunder (Per. c.1905); (3) hill-clickie, a hill shepherd's crook. Cf. 1911 quot. s.v. Cleek, n.1, 1. (2); (4) hillfit, the ground at the foot of a hill, foot-hills, freq. in pl. and in place-names; specif. the district at the foot of the Ochils in Clackmannanshire running eastwards from Stirling to beyond Dollar (Slg., Fif., Knr., Clc. 1957); (5) hill-folk, -fouk, -fowk, (a) the inhabitants of a hilly region; people who dwell among the hills; (b) the name orig. applied to the Covenanters of the period c.1670–1688, who because of persecution worshipped secretly in the hills, and later to their successors, the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Now only hist. See (10) (c); (c) the hill fairies (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1957). Cf. (1). Hence hillfolk's cairds, a name given in Sh. to the fern (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). See Caird, n.2, Fairy, n., 1.; (6) hill-gait, -gaet, hilly road, hill track (Sh. 1957). See Gate; (7) hill-grin(n)d, see Grind; (8) hill-head, (a) the summit or top of a hill (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Very common as a farm place-name (Sh., ne.Sc., Ayr. 1957); (b) in curling: the area round the tee and the stones, collectively, lying within it; (9) hill-leuk, a shy, elusive aspect; (10) hill-man, (a) a hill shepherd; (b) a gillie, a man in attendance on a shooting party; (c) = (5) (b); (d) see 7.; (11) hill-minister, a clergyman ministering to the hill-men, a Cameronian minister; (12) hill-moss, brown peaty soil washed down from the hillside, discolouring the water; (13) hill-preaching, a secret, open-air service of the Covenanters, a Conventicle. See (5) (b); (14) hill-run, (a) hilly, upland, esp. of uncultivated wild moorland (Cai., Inv., ne. Sc. 1957); (b) fig. of persons: uncultured, rough, boorish (Abd.27 1920; ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1957); having a vacant, sheepish look (Fif.17 1951); (15) hill-scaur, see Scaur; (16) hill-scrow, see Scrow; (17) hill-shither, fairy folk (Ork.5 1957). See Shither; (18) hill-skip(p)er, a contemptuous name for a Highlander; (19) hill-teacher, = (11); (20) hill-ting, a hill fairy (Sh. 1957). Cf. (1), (5) (c); (21) hill-trow, id., = (5) (c) (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 152; Sh. 1957); (22) hill-wife, a fairy woman (Sh. 1957).
(1) Ork. 1895 Longman's Mag. (Nov.) 39:
Here is a man, bowed and crippled with rheumatism, who will tell how he was shot in the back by a “hill-ane” when ploughing. (2) Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 234:
Till he gae mony a faerfill spulder Wi da grit torment dat he bore, His sprickles caused hill-claps an earth-quakes. (3) Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxvii.:
He had hardly spoken to Absalom, but he had extended to him a hand — no longer that of a herd hard with the leaping-pole and the hill-clickie. (4) Slg. 1769 Session Papers, Drummond v. Erskine (30 June) 47:
When travelling betwixt the Hill-foots and Stirling. Clc. 1835 Trans. Highl. Soc. 20:
An exception must, however, be made in favour of the Hill-foot, from Dollar to Airthrey. Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 118:
This is a place nae oonlike the hillfits o' Morens. There's plenty o' heather here, an' I see rashes at the sides o' the burnies. Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 136:
We hae aye looked upon ye as a main stoop o' the pairty up by roun' the hill-fits, Maister Inwick. Clc. 1956 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 1:
Blairlogie and Menstrie villages and the towns of Alva, Tillicoultry and Dollar. The term “Hillfoots,” refers as often to these places themselves as to the region. (5) (a) Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 98:
You're the long-lost son For whom the hill-folks' sorrow ne'er was done. Kcd. 1899 W. Andrews Bygone Ch. Life 43:
The eight o'clock bell is . . . to gar the hill-folk mak' thirsel ready or the Kirk win in. Dmf. 1921 J. L. Waugh Heroes 14:
I've aye liket hill-fouk — they're a' thinkers, a' workers, kindly as the sun that cheers them, an' free as the bracin' wind that tans them. (b) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality x.:
It's Tam Halliday . . . that was wounded by the hill-folk at the conventicle at Outerside Muir. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 268:
These truly religious and independent people, the Covenanters . . . . They are called the hill-fowk, from their love of the primitive plan of worshipping the Creator, as his son did, amongst the hills and mountains in the open air. Sc. 1826 Aberdeen Censor 187:
A body of Cameronians, or Hill-fouk, had formed themselves into a conventicle beside his tent. Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xiv.:
He carried the banner at Ayrsmoss, a battle in Scotland where many were slain, and after which he was the only man of the Hill folk left alive. (c) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 6:
I aye keep a sherp e'e aboot me in da mirkinnen whin I'm passin' crubdykes, muckle grey stanes, or hill-folks' knowes. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 39:
Places that from time immemorial have been associated in the public mind with trows or hillfowk. (6) Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sk. and Poems 115:
He wis gaa'in ta bide a' nicht, fur his ain hoose wis tree mile o' hill-gaet frae Hendry's. (8) (a) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 58:
Now by this time the evening's fa'ing down, Hillheads were red, an' hows were eery grown. Abd. 1924 M. Angus Tinker's Road 48:
There's a queer, low lauchin' on the grey hill-heids. (b) Lnk. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 57:
A fow hillhead, the winner guarded, Is what our hin'-haun never fear'd yet. (9) Sh.10 1957:
To hae a hill-leuk aboot een is to appear shy, backward, fairy-looking. (10) (a) Sc. 1957 Scottish Farmer (19 Jan.):
A good horn crook put on a good hazel shank is by far the best stick for the everyday hillman. (b) Per. 1838 W. Scrope Deer-stalking 242:
Crerer and Moon set forward on the following morning before day-break, each attended by a hillman, and provided with a horse. Ib. 311:
The hill-man or gillie who leads the dogs should be a very steady clever fellow, and, moreover, a strong man. (c) Sc. 1702 T. Morer Acct. Scot. 113:
The disaffected [in Glasgow] . . . sometimes call the Hill-Men or Field Conventiclers to assist 'em. Sc. 1705 Case of Episc. Clergy III. 159:
The honest, sincere well-meaning People in the West, who go under the name of the Hill-men, Mountaineers, or Cameronians are the only persons who stand firm to the Covenants. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 297:
Weel, uncle, I shall never wed The Cameronian Hill-man. sm.Sc. 1922 R. W. Mackenna Flower o' the Heather viii.:
You are a minister of the Kirk, a Covenanter, a hill-man in hiding. (11) Sc. 1714 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report (Mar and Kellie MSS.) 501:
Thomas Mair, sone to the minister of Culross, and — Hepburn, a hill minister's son. (12) Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 186:
The hill-moss in spate defiles our brook. (13) Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Tales (1874) 218:
She trod on my foot returning from a hill-preaching. (14) (a) Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 34:
The place I bide at wad chairm yer he'rt in a bonnie simmer's mornin' wi' its fine bracin' air, tho' it's a gey oot o' the wye hull-run place. (b) Bnff.7 1929:
Yer new neeper, Mains, is a gey hill-run lookin' billy. (18) Sc. 1745 Woodhouselee MS. (1907) 24:
Lord Weems his sone Lord Elcho on his left, and all the hill skipers in rank and file. (19) Sc. 1710 Answer to Mr J. Hog 9:
The unsoundness of the Hill-Teachers and the Ignorance of the people that followed them. (20) Sh. 1951 Sh. Folk Book II. 2:
Whit sud he meet bit a company o' Hilltings carryin' his sister wi dem. (21) Ork. 1929 Marw.:
A fairy, a supernatural being supposed to live in the hills. According to local tradition there were two classes of trows or trolls — hill-trows and sea-trows. Ork.1 1930:
The hilltrows pulled a wife oot o bed by the leg, singing, “Gaunt horse and riven saidle.” (22) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 8:
Wha sud shü [a midwife] meet bit da man o' da hill wife dat shü wis aside.
2. Combs. denoting animals, birds and plants: (1) hill-bark(s), tormentil, Potentilla tormentilla (Ork. 1914 M. Spence Flora Orcad. 103; Sh. 1957), used for dyeing; (2) hill-berry, the crowberry, Empetrum nigrum (Cai. 1957); (3) hillbird, (a) fieldfare, Turdus pilaris (Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 6); (b) missel thrush, Turdus viscivorus, “in Scotland and Ireland the names of the missel thrush and fieldfare . . . are often interchangeable” (Ib.). Cf. hieland pyat, s.v. Hieland; (4) hill-blackbird, -blackie, the ring-ouzel, Turdus torquatus (Borders 1911 A. H. Evans Fauna of Tweed 54); (5) hill chack, id. Cf. Chackart; (6) hill-eel, the adder, Vipera berus; (7) hill-lintie, the twite, Acanthis flavirostris (Ork. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 66; Cai. 1887 Harvie-Brown and Buckley Fauna of Cai. 132, 1907 in County of Cai. (Horne) 375; Fif.1 1935; Cai., Ags. 1957), from its haunting hillsides and mountain pastures; (8) hill-merle, = (4) (ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna of “Dee” 76); (9) hill-moose, one of the varieties of Shetland field-mouse, Apodemus fridariensis (Sh. 1955 L. Venables Birds 74); (10) hill owl, the short-eared owl, Asio flammeus (Lnk. 1897 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. 211); (11) hill plover, the golden plover, Pluvialis apricarius (Ags. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 180); (12) hill sparrow, -sporrow, the meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9; Sh. 1899 Evans and Buckley Fauna of Shet. 81, Sh. 1957, sporrow).
(2) Sc. 1822 A. Sutherland Cospatrick I. 251:
Gin I ware to rin naked, an' eat naething but hill-berries. Ork. 1891 Buckley and Harvie-Brown Fauna of Ork. 225:
The Curlew eats quantities of the “Hill-berry.” (3) Sc. 1905 A. N. Simpson Familiar Sc. Birds 11:
Along with the Fieldfare, this bird [the mistle thrush] is known in some districts as the “Hillbird.” (4) s.Sc. 1884 T. Speedy Sport in Highlands 161:
“'Deed no, sir,” replied Donald, “they're naether groose nor black-cocks — they're just thae hill blackies.” (5) Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9:
The Ring-ouzel has received the name of Hillchack from its note, and from its frequenting hilly places. (6) Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 119:
We're intae anither tonnel, wi' the train rumlin' like thunner, an' fissin' like a score o' hill eels a' in a boorach. (12) Sh. 1864 Zoologist XXII. 9316:
The meadow pipit is known here as the “hill sparrow.” Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 25:
An see da hill-sporrow rinnin Ta hoid her among da floss.
3. Phrs.: (1) hill abeen 'e cairnie, articles piled up confusedly in reversal of natural order, topsy-turvy. Also fig. of events or troubles piling up (Cai.9 1946, Cai. 1957). Hence applied in contracted form hillie-cairnie, to a boys' game in which the players throw themselves on top of one another and the player at the bottom of the heap strives to reach the top (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (16 June); Mry. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 18); (2) oot o' hill-an'-heap, from whatever lies to hand, by one's own resourcefulness, from odds and ends, from one's imagination, out of one's own head (Ayr. 1825 Jam.); (3) (to gae) doon the hill, see Doon, adv.1, III. 31; (4) to tak the hills, to take to the hills, become a fugitive, go into hiding; (5) to the hill, in an upward direction (Abd., Kcb. 1957).
(2) Ayr. 1821 Scots Mag. (April) 351:
Gin thae ramstamphist prickmedainties . . . ware stentit to the makkin o' a tale out o' hill-an' heap, I wadna fairly tho' it ware baith feckless an' fusienless. Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xii.:
Because ye've been sax months in Edinbro, an' can coin a wheen lees oot o' hill an' heap. (4) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
I doubt I'll hae to tak the hills wi' the wild whigs, as they ca' them. (5) Abd. 1825 Jam.:
To the hill, with a direction upwards; as, “He kaims his hair to the hill.”
4. Flocks pastured on a hillside (Dmf. 1957).
Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 155:
He lay down upon his plaid to await the hour which had been agreed on for “gathering” the hill. Arg. 1954 D. Mackenzie Farmer in W. Isles 147:
It was possible to gather the hill with Bessie alone.
5. A common moor where rough grazing rights are enjoyed jointly by neighbouring farmers (Ork. 1822 A. Peterkin Notes 5; I.Sc., Dmf., Rxb. 1957); extended to mean any piece of rough grazing on a farm. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Hence combs.: (1) hill-cart, a small, low-wheeled cart used by hill shepherds (Kcb.10 1957); (2) hill-dyke, -d(a)ek, -dike, the wall dividing this land from the neighbouring lower arable land (Ork. 1825 Jam.; I.Sc. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., -dek; I.Sc., Dmf. 1957); (3) hill-girse, grazing on the hill common as opposed to that on the crofts (Sh.10 1957); (4) hill-part, an individual share of the common moorland.
Fif. 1883 St. Andrews Cit. (24 March) 1:
Wemysshall. 10 Excellent Parks, including Hill, to be Let. Sc. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Report App. A. XLIII. 183, 186:
Four hundred and fifty-seven crofters have at present by this calculation 140 acres each between arable and hill. . . . The tacksman's tack stretches from his own door without interruption, right up from arable around his own door to the hill beyond, so that he can leave his milk cows about his door, or out in the hill as he likes, and can leave the most of his stock out in the hill summer and winter, thus getting the use of the hill grazing without break by season or intervening lands. (2) Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 412:
The towns or districts of this parish [Orphir] are each of them surrounded by one common dike of feal, called the Hill-dike. Ork. 1814 J. Shirreff Agric. Ork. 55:
The arable and waste lands are divided from each other by what is here called a hill-dike. Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 1:
Da Deil he cam doon ta da hill-daek o Scranna, Bit grinnd, or sma openeen, or slap dere he saa na. Ork. c.1912 J. Omond Ork. 80 Years Ago 7:
The old hill dyke can still be seen in various parts of the county. The farmers united to keep it in repair, and as soon as seed time was over, cattle, horses, geese and pigs were turned out in the common hill helter skelter. (4) Bwk. 1903 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XIX. 12:
Part of said common [of Lauder] is laid off into what is called “hill-parts,” and cultivated by the proprietors of burgess-acres.
6. A piece of rough moorland where peats are cut, a peat moss (Cai. 1884–1957; I.Sc., Inv., Abd. 1957); hence, by extension, (the elevated site of) a peat stack (Abd. 1911 S.D.D., hull; Cai., Abd. 1957).
Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. (Spring, 1956) 13:
His niece did the work of the farm in great part; she harrowed and went to the hill. Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 155:
Dat'll gie dem time ta . . . be at da hill at six, whin every man sood begin wark — at least, every man at casts paets. Ork. 1949 “Lex” But-end Ballans 13:
De land I laaboured a' me days tae mak' An breuk oot wae de spade Fae brecks an' hill.
Hence combs.: hill-fire, peat for fuel; hill-gaen, a journey to a moss, hence peat-cutting; hill-kishie, a creel for carrying peat from the hill (Sh.10 1957); hill-midden, a midden composed partly of wet peat carried from the hill common as opposed to one of ordinary manure (Ib.); hill-wark, work among the peats or getting peat mould for bedding animals (Ib.); hill-wedder, weather when one can work on the hill (Ib.).
Abd. 1768 Abd. Journal (22 Aug.):
Some hundred of acres of uncultivate ground, of a fine natural mould and bottom, and well accommodate for pasture, moss, and hill-fire (if properly managed) inexhaustible. Sh. 1931 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 337:
The peat-cutting, or “hill-gaen” as it is locally called, is always a time of feasting and fun-making for the island folk, and takes place about the beginning of May.
7. Mining: the pithead where the piles of hewn coal accumulate, “the surface at a pit” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 36; Fif. 1957). Also coal-hill, id. (see Coal, n., 5. (6)). Phr. to gae tae the hill, “to go to the surface” (Edb.6 1944; Fif. 1957).
Gsw. 1723 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 178:
The working the said coal or digging and setting down of pitts or by the coall hills, roads, wayes and passages. Edb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVIII. 371:
Many of them are compelled to stand all night, and sometimes all day to boot, upon the hills, waiting their turns for loading. Clc. 1808 Farmer's Mag. (Dec.) 525:
When the coals are in great request and no stock of them upon the hills they go in crowds to the different coaleries. Edb.6 1952:
Each bearer had a fauld to herself and at the end of the pay period the miner was paid by the number of loads deposited in it. The whole collection of faulds was known as the coalhill and hence “the hill” meant the surface, the pithead.
Also used attrib. in combs.: (1) hill-cart, a small cart with low wheels used for carting coal (Ayr.4 1928); (2) hill-clerk, “the person who weighs the mineral despatched, whether at the pit or depot connected therewith” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 36); (3) hill-gaffer, = (5); (4) hill-grieve, = (5). See Grieve, n., 2.; (5) hill(s)man, a man who works at the pithead (Ib.), a colliery official who formerly supervised the pithead and the sale of coal there; †(6) hill-sale, a retail sale of coal at the pithead in carts (Ib.); (7) hill woman, a female worker at the pithead.
(3) Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 22:
But when hill-gaffers ran red wud, An' mony shippers' orders stood For want o' man an' beast to ca' Sic orders to the Broomielaw. (4) Sc. 1812 R. Bald Coal-Trade Scot. 46:
The weight of the cart having been previously ascertained, the weight of the coals are adjusted on a steel-yard, by the hill-grieve, and thus delivered to the consumer. (5) Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 333:
The total value is 2750 l. Sterling, of which the coalliers receive 1375 l.; the remainder goes for lordship, and to support the hills-men and gin-boys. Fif. 1841 Trans. Highl. Soc. 320:
The remaining 45, grieves, banksmen, hillmen, enginemen, shippers. Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Among the Miners 33:
It was evident the hillmen were anxious to avoid speaking to her, and the foreman could be heard warning them, “watch an' no let her doon the pit na.” Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 43:
Gin oor hutches were licht — 'twas tae'n oot o' oor skins; The hillsman condemned them, sent back doon oor pins. (7) Fif. 1952 B. Holman Diamond Panes 13:
The committee come next and the procession marches a few paces forward to allow the “Hill Women,” pithead girls, all dressed in white, arm in arm and in threes, to take their places.
II. v. To graze cattle, etc. on hill pastures or common land. Found only as vbl.n. hillin', grazing (Sh. 1957).
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Feb.):
In respeck o' da kye, I really tink 'at less hillin' wid 'a been better.
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