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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.

HODDEN, n. Also hod(d)in, †hoding, ¶hoden (Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 213), hoddan (Sc. 1841 Tait's Mag. (June) 361); †huddin(g), †hudden (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 213), huddem; hidden (Dmf. 1891 J. Brown Hist. Sanquhar 328); †howden (Edb. 1851 A. MacLagan Sketches 144). [′hɔd(ə)n]

1. Coarse homespun, undyed woollen cloth, of a greyish colour, due to a mixture of white and black wool. Gen.Sc. Also used attrib. and fig. = rustic, homely (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.; Fif. 1957).Bnff. 1706 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 2) II. 75:
Ten pair of hudding plaid wherof two old plaieds.
Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 176:
The rost was teugh as raploch hodin, With which they feasted Jenny and Jock.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186:
Wi' new kam'd wig, weel syndet face, Silk hose, for hamely hodin?
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IV. 242:
Hodden, which is mostly used for herds cloaks, and is sold at 1s. 8d. the yard; plaiding, etc.
Rxb. 1811 A. Scott Poems 10:
What tho' hard poverty's your lot, To work out bye in hodden coat.
Sc. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. III. i. vi.:
The hodden or russet individuals are Uncustomary.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 23:
Ere I had cuist my hodden coat, . . . A tremblin' hand, wi' waefa touch, was on my shouthers laid.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 38:
Claid was he in honest hodden, Woven in his ain true leem.
Sc. 1907 D. Macalister Echoes 27:
Hap me in my hodden goon, An' my tartan plaidie.
Fif. 1985 Hamish Brown in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 50:
Clothe me with hodden solitude,
Step me, peace-shod, to the west.
Sc. 1991 Roderick Watson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 106:
It's passed, it's passed, an I'm hodden
Here wi my wits an my senses gane,
Trauchled, sair, an soure as a rodden,

Combs.: (1) hodden-clad, dressed in home-spun; (2) hodden gray, (a) homespun woollen cloth of the natural undyed colour. Gen.Sc. Freq. used attrib. and fig. to describe one dressed in simple rustic fashion, or a homely unaffected individual; (b) with def. art.: used as a nickname for the London Scottish Regiment which orig. wore tunics and kilts of this colour. See 1925 quot. under (a).(1) Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair ii. xx.:
Tenant and laird, and hedger hodden-clad.
(2) (a) Sc. 1705 Dialogue between a Country-Man and a Landwart School-Master 6:
A few Websters to Work our Plaiding and Hoding Gray.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. v. ii.:
But Meg, poor Meg! maun with the Shepherd stay, And tak what God will send, in Hodden-gray.
Abd. 1749 Aberdeen Jnl. (26 Dec.):
He had on when he made his Escape a Hudden-grey Vest, no Coat, and a blue Bonnet.
Ayr. 1795 Burns A Man's a Man ii.:
What though on hamely fare we dine, Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Rxb. 1825 R. Wilson Hist. Hawick 268:
The blunked blue or hoddin gray, which the outer garments of our forefathers displayed.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 141:
Droll Will Dunbar was a rhymer they say, Whas hurdies were happit wi' gude howden grey.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 134:
A plain man was John Smith of Arkland — as plain and hodden grey as his name.
Per. 1910 W. Blair Kildermoch 112:
Whatever relevance the poet's words had to a rough hodden-grey shepherd.
Sc. 1925 J. H. Lindsay London Scottish 4:
[Lord Elcho] clothed his Battalion in hodden grey, relieved however by facings of royal blue.
(b) Sc. 1929 Aberdeen Press & Jnl. (27 July):
The Mackintosh extended traditional Highland hospitality to the men of the “Hodden Gray”.
Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (July) 315:
St Columba's [Church in London] is the spiritual home of the Hodden Grey.

2. A coarse homespun woollen blanket; stockings worn by children (Per. 1825 Jam.).n.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 107:
And make us a bed o' green rashes, And covert wi' huddins sae grey.

[O.Sc. hodding, from 1579, hodding gray, from 1586. Orig. unknown.]

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



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