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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MAISE, n. Also mase, maze, mease, and more freq. in dim. forms: maisie, maizie, -ey; mazie, mazy; mesi, mezzi(e); meissi; measie; meazie; mais(c)hie; meshi(e), maeshie, maezhi; meashie (Sh. 1930 Shet. Almanac 195); meeshie. [′mez(i), ′meʃi]

1. A barrel-shaped basket of wide-meshed netting made from straw or heather ropes, slung from a pack-saddle to carry peats, straw or similar bulky articles (I.Sc. 1825 Jam., 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1962). Comb. line-mesi, a basket of rope or straw for holding a coiled fishing line (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Cai. 1962).Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. (1923) 65:
One small hammer, seven pairs of meases, three pair old meases, with so much bent as make Eight pair meases.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 431:
Maiseys . . . are made of ropes prepared from “floss” or rushes, these being reticulated in meshes of some inches in width. A net of this kind is passed round the horse, so as to secure the hay or other light substance that rests upon the boards of the klibbar.
Bnff. 1852 A. Harper Solitary Hours 45:
[He] had been seen wi' e'en sae glazie, And gaping mou' like ony meazie.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 179:
Winding . . . simmonds or gurdastöries for his maeshies and rivakessies.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 36:
The maizie was sometimes made of bent cord, very rarely of rope, but for the most part of heather woven like a net, with large meshes about six inches square. It was of oblong shape, and had a loop of cord at each end by which it was suspended from the horns of the clibber. Sheaves, peats, and other such like articles of burden which could not be accommodated in the hauf-laed, were placed in the maizie; and when disloading, all one had to do was unhook the upper loop of the maizie from the horn of the clibber, unfold the net, and let the load drop to the ground.
Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. (Tait) I. 13:
He was carrying the huge load [of stones] in a meshi.

2. A measure of herrings, denoting five hundred, usually the long hundred of 120 (see Hunder, n., 3.) (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Arg. 1930). Common in Isle of Man and s.w. Eng.Gall. c.1700 A. Symson Descr. Gall. (1823) 45:
[Herrings] are sold for five groats, or two shillings the maze, (each maze contains five hundred, at six score to the hundred).
Gsw. 1815 Caled. Mercury (24 July):
Friday, the supply of fresh herrings at the Broomielaw, Glasgow, was uncommonly large; twelve boats, some of them with nearly forty maze (a maze is five hundred), having arrived in the morning.
wm.Sc. 1884 R. J. Munro Herring Fisheries 21:
A Troon boat came into Ayr Harbour loaded to the gunwale with a take of herring. It was estimated that she had forty maise (or 20,000 herring) of medium size and quality.

[O.Sc. mese, of herrings, 1597. Meaning 1. is direct from Norw. meis, basket carried on the back, O.N. meiss, basket for carrying a load. Meaning 2. comes through O.Fr. meise, a (herring) barrel, M.L.Ger., Mid.Du. mese, id., from the same ultimate source.]

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"Maise n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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