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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

YAGGER, n. Also yagar, -er, yauger, jagar, jag(g)er, jaager. [′jɑgər]

1. In reference to the Dutch herring-fishing off Shetland: a vessel which acted as a tender to the fishing-fleet, bringing stores and equipment from Holland and carrying back the catch (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), now hist.; a tender in gen. (Sh. 1974). Comb. jager-steamer, id.Sc. 1711 Earl of Cromarty Proposals to a Further Union 3:
The Hollander must keep yagers to wait on their fishing.
Sh. 1750 Scots Mag. (July) 348:
There has been in this harbour [Lerwick] since my arrival 130 Dutch, Swedish, and French fishing vessels, with 50 jaggers.
Abd. 1762 Abd. Journal (27 Sept.):
This Vessel was built for a fishing Yagger, is Schooner rigged.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 499:
The doggers attached to them [herring boats] named also Jaggers or Yaggers, were swifter sailers, being intended to run home with the herrings first caught.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (25 June):
There might have been from 100 to 120 of the Dutch craft in. No Germans at that epoch, and no booms, nor jager steamers.

2. A pedlar, hawker (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1868 D. Gorrie Orkneys 332; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1974); specif. one who buys up fish on the sly in order to corner the market, a forestaller of fish (Sh. 1785 Observations on Sh. (1802) 13, 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928)).Sh. 1806 P. Neill Tour 137:
They complain bitterly of what they call yaggers, i.e. pedlars, who surreptitiously pass through the islands, and, by giving a much higher price than the lairds, obtain the best articles of produce from the little farmers.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate v.:
I would take the lad for a jagger, but he has rather ower good havings, and he has no pack.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 571:
They [the tenants] sold their fish to Yaggers, by which cant phrase, derived from the vessels that attended the Dutch busses and took home the first herrings, an enterprising set of young men were designated, who having few or no boats themselves employed at the Haaf, purchased fish from the natives at a higher price than that which landlords paid.
Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 166:
Probably some itinerant merchant or yagger introduced them [pamphlets] among the gaieties of Kirkwall Fair.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (15 July):
Dey wir sic a hubble wi' boys, jaggers, an' men.

[1. is from Du. (haring)jager, a herring-fleet tender, and 2. is an extended use of this.]

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



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