Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
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.

HOCH, n., v.1 Also hoach, houch: hauch, haugh (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); ho- (Sh.), how(Cai.); hawk (Rxb., Uls.) may be a variant of Eng. hock. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. hough. [Sc. hɔx, hox; s.Sc. hʌux; s.Sc., Uls. hǫ:k]

I. n. 1. The joint in the hind leg of an animal between the tibia and the metatarsus, the hock; a joint of beef, mutton, pork or veal cut from near this point, corresp. to Eng. shin. Gen.Sc. Now obsol. in Eng.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 113:
The shank-bane o' an auld dead mare, He frae the houghs an' cutes did tear.
Edb. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xvii.:
Cut the houghs of the creature whase fleetness ye trust in!
Ags. 1836 Arbroath Argus (1 Feb .) 23:
Away I went head foremost down the stair, like a pockle o' horns, stick and hat, hoch and horn.
Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 74:
The hoch gaed skytin' oot o' his plate an' landit richt in the lassie's lap.
Cai. 1929 John o' Groat Jnl. (13 Sept.):
Princie hes nae time til think whether his houchs is wide or nairow.
Gall. 1931 D. L. Sayers Five Red Herrings v.:
The portion of the animal which I have been accustomed to call shin of beef is termed in these parts the — -er — hough.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
Hingin thro the sinnons
O its hin haughs
Harrigals fleitin in watter
The swine swayed
And the bern bauks creaked.

Comb.: potted hoch, a dish similar to brawn made with meat from the hough boiled and shredded and served cold in a jelly made from the stock (Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Sc. Kitchen 139; Abd., m.Lth. 1957).Abd. 1929 Abd. Wkly. Jnl. (31 Jan) 6:
I socht a slicie o' pottit hoch for m' supper.

2. Of human beings: the hollow behind the knee-joint, the back of the thigh; the thigh itself, the upper part of the leg. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1700 D. Hume Punishment of Crimes (1797) I. 359:
Several marks of stripes, from the small of his back to his houghs.
Sc. 1716 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 68:
Where clever Houghs like Willi-wands, At ilka blythsome Spring Lap high that Day.
Gall. 1832 J. Denniston Craignilder 13:
They took the brae wi' souple hough.
Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 49:
Draw in a chair, An' rest yer hochs awhile.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 41:
I'm linkin' a tottum the heicht o' yer houch.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 324:
Me leg's swalled fae me ceut tae me houch.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick i.:
An old piece of plaiding was first wound round the “het pig” to keep it “fae scaamin 'er hochs” during her hours of slumber.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 72:
Weill, they sat an they spied, an the derk drew in, an their lang lyart bairds raxed doun tae their hochs, an on they sat, an a bit haar crap up on their sax auld buits, ...

Deriv. hochums, a playful epithet for a young child newly put into trousers (Abd.15 1924); hence applied to any vain swaggering person (Abd. 1957). For the formation and meaning, cf. Breekums, Hodrums.

3. In pl. Of a plough-sock: “the three points into which the upper part of a plough-share is divided, and by which it clasps in the wood” (Ags. 1808 Jam., hauch).

4. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) hoch-ban(d), -bend (Sh.), -bind (Dmf.), a strap or cord by which the hough-sinew of an animal is tied or constricted to curb its movement, as of a cow to prevent her kicking while being milked (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 273; s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Ags., Kcb., Dmf. 1957); a hobble for a horse (Watson) or a straying sheep (Kcb., Dmf. 1957). Also used as a v., to hobble an animal in this way (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1957). Ppl.adj. ho-banded (Sh.12 1894); fig. in phr. a hough-bandit laird, a landowner who is completely in the hands of his creditors (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 80); (2) hoch bar, the rail or bar across the shafts of a horse-lorry immediately behind the horse's legs (Abd., Ags. 1957); (3) hoch-deep, adj., up to the thighs, thigh-deep; (4) how-girth, a strap or girth used to secure a load on a horse's crupper; (5) hoch-hiech, adj., as tall as a man's leg (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 79); (6) hough side, adj., reaching down to the thigh. See Side, adj.; (7) hough up, adv., as far as the thigh; (8) knee-hoch, the hollow behind the knee joint (Sh.10 1957); (9) to be on hoch, to wander idly about; (10) to boo one's hough, to sit down, see Boo, v.2, 3. (2). Cf. (12); (11) to cleeck one's hoch, to draw up the thigh, sc. in walking smartly; (12) to cruick a (one's) hoch(s), to bend the knee-joints, in order to sit down, kneel or dance. See also Cruik, v., 3. (2); (13) to faud one's hoch, to sit down (Ags. 1957). See Faud, v.1, 3.; (14) to fling one's houghs, to dance (Ayr. 1957). Cf. (12); (15) to gie (somebody) a hoch on, to give one a leg up (Abd., Bnff. 1957); (16) to shak one's houghs, = (14) (Ayr. 1957); (17) to streek one's houghs, to stretch one's legs, make haste (Mry., Ags., Ayr. 1957).(1) Abd. 1786 Aberdeen Jnl. (7 Aug.):
There were other six wedders, all hough-banded with small new pack-thread.
(3) Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 65:
An' at the very trons in toons, It's hoch-deep lyin'.
(4) Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (14 April):
The “how-girth” is used for keeping the load down when built “hinnerly.”
(6) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 145:
In the days they ca'd yore, gin auld fouks had but won, To a surkoat hough side for the winning o't.
(7) Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 14:
But look, the dirt hough up has flown; The lads will see my legs Sae black this day.
(9) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 112:
He (or she) is like the dogs o' Keith, he's aye on hoch.
(11) Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 214:
Cleeck your hoch, we'll owre the loch.
(12) Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remark. Passages 60:
I have often wondered thorow my Life, how any that ever knew what it was to bow a Knee in earnest to pray, durst crook a Hough to fyke and fling at Piper's and Fidler's Springs.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Wool-Gatherer (1874) 68:
I'll sooner see you an' her, an' that little limb, a' hung up by the links o' the neck, than ony o' ye sal crook a hough or break bread wi' me.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xvii.:
Having a timber leg, he could not well creuk his hough to the shop-board for our trade.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 60:
To boo your backs an' crook your hochs Afore your sovran leddy!
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 2:
A cruikeet ma hoach an clappeet masel doon a meenint on ov a foggie bank.
(14) ne.Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 13:
When a' the daily wark is dune, An' youth are fidgin' houghs to fling.
(16) Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 62:
When he shakes his bowed houghs to the sound o' Rab Murray's creaking catgut.
Abd. 1841 J. Imlah Poems 177:
To shak' their hochs and knack their thooms, At the Bridal o' Balgownie!
(17) Ags. 1815 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1883) 166:
He judg'd it far his wisest scheme, To streek his houghs and scamper hame.

II. v. 1. Found only as ppl.adj. hough(e)d, hought, with adj. or adv. complement, having — thighs, — -thighed. See also bow-houghed s.v. Bow, v.3Sc. 1715 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 70:
Up raise Willy Dadle, A short Hought Man.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 139:
A' the sherney hought hizies in the parish maun hae the like.
Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 175:
Handsome weel-hough'd lassies.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (13 Aug.):
Aet girse, doo ill-triv'n slootid haugh'd haeth'n.

2. tr. To hamstring or disable by cutting or striking the tendons of the hough (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.) . Gen.Sc., obsol. Also used fig. = to overthrow, cause to fall, defeat, get the better of.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
Deel hough you, is an ordinary imprecation.
Sc. 1769 Erskine Principles iv. iv . § 18:
Slaying or houghing horses or cows in time of harvest.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Sherramuir ii.:
They hough'd the clans like nine-pin kyles.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 106:
Fatrakes o' that, there's naething tint, Tho' ye ware fairly hought.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 96:
We yokit, and on me tryin to hough him, we tumbled again' the mantel-piece.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xxiii.:
I ran forward like a lion, and houghed the whole concern — Tammie Bodkin, the three faithful apprentices, Cursecowl and all.
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull 54:
I had heard o' assassination societies amang the Irish, the hochin' o' cattle, an' sic like things.

Hence †hougher, one who maims or hamstrings cattle.Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute iv. iv. § 62:
Houghers of oxen or of horses in the time of carrying the corns to the barnyard.

3. To throw a stone from beneath one's upraised thigh (Sc. 1825 Jam., n.Sc. (hough), Rxb. (haugh) Ib.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Ags. 1957). Hence hawker, one who throws a stone thus (Watson).

4. To throw one's leg over a person or thing, gen. as a gesture of contempt. Also hoch-hicht, id.; to place under one's thigh or knee joint, specif. of an oar-handle, in order to rest after rowing (Sh. 1868 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 79:
“A'm hich eneuch to hoch-hicht that dyke.” It is a notion amongst boys that if a taller one hoch-hicht a smaller one, the smaller one is stinted in his growth.
Abd. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.:
He's sic a little creatur' you could easily hoch him.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 92:
Houghin' his aer, an' hövin' aff his waeskit.

5. tr. To traverse on foot, trudge; to cause (another) to walk, gen. implying difficulty (Abd. 1914 Rymour Club Misc. II. 113). Rare.Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 168:
We houghed the glen awa' to Scone.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 45:
If crippled, or blin', then the custom in use Was to cairrie, or lead them, unto the next hoose. Nae maitter hoo weariet or far we'd to gang, We'd to buckle and at it and hough them alang.

[O.Sc. how, howch, later hoch from 1508, how-band, 1561, E.Mid.Eng. hoȝ, id., O.E. hōh, heel. The form how- derives from disyllabic cases of the n. Cf. Eneuch and Enow.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Hoch n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: