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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.

HALFLINS, adv., adj. Also hauflins, -lans; haf(f)lin(g)s (Sc. 1808 Jam., hafflins), haflens (Ayr. 1809 W. Craw Poet. Epistles 53), halflands, †hafflines (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 133); haulins, hal(l)ins, hallans; haffins (Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) ix.), halfins (Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 30) and †haflen.

I. adv. ‡1. Half, partly, partially, nearly, almost (Abd. 1956).Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iv. ii.:
Duty, and haflen Reason plead his Cause.
Sc. 1750 Scots Mag. (March) 113:
I held my breath, and, gaping, glowr'd awhile. She saw that too, and haflins 'gan to smile.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 56:
[She] haflings wisses she had never seen The bony lad she loo'd, atweesh the eyn.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (1925) 41:
The leaden God fa's heavy on their ein, And hafflins steeks them frae their daily toil.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Cottar's Sat. Night vii.:
With heart-struck. anxious care enquires his name, While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 149:
And sair sair did be plead for my consent, Which halflins maist did gar my heart relent.
Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1885) I. 72:
The cool airs are playing amang their halflins-covered bosoms.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 148:
Thou'rt bauld, I ken, because ye think that I Did jeer the thing I now do ha'lins seek.
Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts and Larks 14:
The fruit's no hauflans grown.

Hence †haf(f)lin(s)-wise, -ways, in a half measure, partially.Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xvii.:
Altho' his carnal Wit an' Sense Like hafflins-wise o'ercomes him At times that day.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
She haflin-wise consented.

2. Half-way, mid-way (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 250, hafflins; Sh., Ork., Abd., Kcd., Ags., Per., Slg. 1956).Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 22:
An' when the night 'bout hafflins 'gins to pass, Ilk lad gaes out, an wi' him taks his lass.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 114:
My hair tied haflins down my back.
Edb. 1839 W. McDowall Poems 88:
And Rab, lean'd haflins oure aboon, Anxious to hear the droning croon, O' Meg below.
s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 217:
I gat the glisk o' something mair like a red stirk than ought else muve aff the redd, and hallans down the water.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 14:
The day was mair nor hafflins thro', But Tammy thocht he'd time enoo.

II. adj. Half, partial, half-grown, young.Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 98:
For me, I hae a haflins swither, Howe'er Sectarians girn at ither.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xiv.:
To win from yonder young hafflins gentleman with the crimson velvet doublet, and the cock's feather in his bonnet [cf. 1705 quot., s.v. Halflin, II. 3].
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) x.:
Nobody was there but a touzy, ragged, halflins callant of thirteen.
Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 293:
A hafflins laddie . . . who, though no aboon seventeen years o' age, I observed was very fond o' oor bonny Janet.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems & Sk. 103:
A hafflins thaw is come at last.

[Half + adv. suff. -lings. O.Sc. halfling, adv., to the extent of half. 1423–a.1586, halfling(i)s, etc., 1501–1618, id. ]

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"Halflins adv., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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