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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FINNAN, n. The local name of Findon, a small fishing village in Kcd., near Aberdeen, noted for its smoke-cured fish.

Hence combs. Finnan haddock (haddie), Finnan speldin (see Speldin), a haddock (or whiting) cured with the smoke of green wood, peat or turf. Gen.Sc. Also in forms Findon, Finden, Fin(n)on; ¶Finzean (Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 134), and, by confusion with Findhorn in Mry., Findhorn, Findram, -rum, Fintrum; findron (m.Lth. 1811 G. Bruce Poems 107). Transf. usage of Finnan haddie, a special constable in Edinburgh (see 1868 quot.).Sc. 1707 G. Miege Pres. State Gt. Brit. II. 15:
Those, called Findon-Haddocks, which abound at Aberdeen, being dry'd, eat with a marrowy Taste, and are much admir'd by strangers.
Abd. 1735 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 21:
To Finnan haddocks and a Lobster 0 0 4½ [Ib. Finden]
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 36:
The Buchan bodies thro' the beech Their bunch of Findrums cry.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
Findhorn haddocks (that is, haddocks smoked with green wood).
Sc. 1860 E. B. Ramsay Reminiscences 122:
The lang-tongued hizzies skirling out “Ael a [yellow] Findram Speldrains,” and they just ca'ed it that to get a better grip o't wi' their tongues.
Edb. 1868 St Andrews Gaz. (8 Feb.):
In like manner the Edinburgh special constables are designated "Finnan Haddies." . . . Being embodied to suppress the "Fenians," and using staves or batons similar to the truncheons of the police, the gentlemen "bobbies," were easily traduced into "Fenian bobbies," and by the next move into "Finnan Haddies."
Fif. 1898 “S. Tytler” Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses ix.:
He had ceased . . . to be aware that the Finnan haddies or mince collops were cooked for his special benefit.
ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Vertebrate Fauna of “Dee” 236:
“Finnan Haddies” are now made in Aberdeen . . . they are not the “Finnans” of thirty years ago. . . . The real “Finnan” was cleaned and smoked on the day it was caught, and the smoking was done with peat fuel.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 130:
There was work too for curers, making the smoked white fish called finnan haddocks after the little village of Findon where the art was perfected long ago.

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



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