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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.

HOSHEN, n. Also hoshin(g); hoeshin; †hushion; dim. hoshie. [′hoʃən]

1. A stocking without a foot used (gen. by outdoor workers) to cover legs or arms in cold weather (Ayr. 1808 Jam., hoeshin; Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 203, hoshing; Lnk., Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 107; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 149; Ayr. 1906–11 Rymour Club Misc. I. 45, hoshie; Cai., Ayr., Kcb. 1957). Also used as a pl. and in comb. snahoshen, gaiters worn in snow (Dmf. 1950).Ayr. 1792 Burns Willie Wastle iv.:
But Willie's wife is nae sae trig, She dights her grunzie wi' a hushion.
Sc. 1824 Scots Mag. (April) 404:
His legs were still farther intrenched in a pair of hoshins, which their wearer suffered to hang down in huge folds.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 447:
Throwing the hoshen — At weddings, when the time of bedding comes on, the young fowk are surrounded by the people at the wedding, to witness the ceremony; one part of which is, that the bride takes the stocking off her left leg, and flings it at random amongst the crowd, and whoever it happens to hit will be the first of them who will get married.
s.Sc. 1840 Tait's Mag. (Dec.) 785:
She's sair fash't wi' the teethac, and 's obleiged to hae her chafts row'd up wi' a hoshen.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 29:
A hushion is the last stage of a stocking, which when entire, is a scabbard for the leg and foot; when the sole of the stocking is worn off it becomes a hugger; when the leg is sore worn and darned past redemption for footing, and the foot cut off, it then takes the name of a hushion.
Dmf. 1933 Scotsman (12 Jan.):
The “hoshen” was drawn up over the forearm and served to protect the sleeve when “liftin'” corn, and later in the season kept the arm and wrist warm.

2. The foot of an old stocking worn in place of a slipper; hence, anything in which the feet are muffled to deaden the sound of footsteps.Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness viii.:
Stoor and me put the “hoshens” on the great beasts — waterproof railway sheetin' stuffed wi' felt — never a sound, never a mark.
Ayr.9 1947:
Early in the war . . . some pupils . . . brought old stocking-feet to save their wearing stockings [when doing P.T.] . . . a south Ayrshire gentleman noticed this and remarked that most of the pupils wore “hushions” now . . . The word, as he had heard it, meant to deaden sound. The weans took off their “clampers” . . . and put on their “hushions.”

3. A stocking leg used as a purse (Cai. 1957) or container.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 120:
Great was the rustlin' din — an' fast The lads their hoshens panged.
Ayr. 1882 J. Hyslop Dream Masque 157:
I've twenty red guineas row'd up in a hoshen.

4. Fig. A term of abuse applied to one considered of not much account, a worthless character.Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xlvi.:
It wad be a lang time or ever he howkit a dreel o' my tawties. He's fitter at eatin' them, great fushionless hoshen that he is!

[A deriv. of Hose of somewhat uncertain formation. Phs. simply from ho, Hose, n. + shin, or, less probably, *hosing. N.E.D.'s suggested deriv. from O.Fr. huseau, a kind of boot or legging is unlikely from phonological and semantic reasons and from the absence of the word from O.Sc.]

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"Hoshen n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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