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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HALVE-NET, n., v. Also half(e)-, ha(a)f-, hauve-; and curtailed forms halve (Gall. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 285), haave (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). See also Haav.

I. n. A bag-shaped net set or held to retain fish as the tide ebbs (Gall. 1825 Jam.). Still used by fishermen on Solway Firth (Gall., Dmf. 1956). Also attrib.Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 23:
An acknowledgment of 1s. 6d. to the landlord, from every person wbo uses the haf-net.
Dmf. 1812 J. Singer Agric. Dmf. 590:
Halve Nets are a kind of bag-net, which catch salmon, gilse, and sea trout.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. 51:
Man a boat or dip a haave.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 88:
These [fish] are taken betwixt Wigton and the Ferrieton; some in the halfe-net; some in cups fixt on the sands.
Dmf. 1954 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (2 Oct.):
The number of haaf-net fishermen now was only about a quarter of what it was 20 or 30 years ago.
sm.Sc. 2000 Herald 21 Jul 13:
Practitioners of the centuries-old art of Haafnet fishing in the Solway Firth yesterday suffered defeat in ... the High Court in London to overturn a drastic shortening of their trapping season. ... Since Viking times, at least, trappers armed with their distinctive nets - known as Bourks - have caught sea trout and salmon in the Firth, the largest Haafnet fisher in Britain.

Hence halve-back, part of the frame of a halve-net; see Bauk, n.1 or Bauk, n.3Kcb. 1893 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 80:
Where a fisherman had . . . a run of ill fortune, it was suggested that he should put rowan tree pins in what is known as the “halve-back” — the principal part of the frame of the halve-net.

II. v.  Found in curtailed form haave: to fish with a halve-net, e.g. in phr. to go haavin, to go salmon-fishing, esp. on Solway (Kcb., Dmf. 1956). Also haafnetter, haafnetting. Also found in n.Eng. dial.Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 15–16:
A second mode of fishing, called “haaving” or “hauling,” is standing in the stream, either at the flowing or ebbing, . . . with a pock net fixed to a kind of frame, consisting of a beam, 12 or 14 feet long, having three small sticks or rungs fixed into it. . . . Whenever a fish strikes against the net, they, by means of the middle rung, instantly haul up the mouth of the net above water.
sm.Sc. 2000 Herald 21 Jul 13:
Haafnetters say this means they will miss out on the largest spring salmon and sea trout, and the sight of triangular nets set in Russian pine frames being cast in the Firth may be consigned to history. ... Haafnetting has a museum exhibit dedicated to it in Carlisle ...

Hence halver, a fisherman who uses or shares a halve-net.Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 603:
The halvers, or persons who claim and practise this kind of fishing.
Ib. 606:
The fishing for salmon should be confined to the manly exercise of the leister, to the moveable nets used by the jovial company of halvers, and to the usual mode practised in other rivers by net and coble, or net and trows, or troughs, as our double boats are called.

[O.Sc. has half, n., id., 1612. Of Scand. orig., cf. Norw. dial. haav, Sw. håf, Dan. hov, O.N. háfr, a similar kind of net. The l is intrusive, and merely indicates vowel length. The word is not to be confused with half-net, s.v. Half.]

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"Halve-net n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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