Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SILE, n.2 Also seill, soil; sil(l). [səil, sɪl]

1. The newly-hatched fry or young of fish, esp. of herring (Abd. 1880 Jam.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1970). Also in Eng. dial.Abd. 1733 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 211:
Killing of black fish, smouts and salmond seill upon the river of Don.
Fif. 1863 Chambers's Jnl. (11 July) 29:
Fishermen often find in autumn their nets and ropes covered with herring spawn. This is hatched in three weeks, and becomes their fry or sill.
Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 20:
In Shetland ‘sil' or ‘sile' is applied to the herring-fry.
Ags. 1904 J. M. Campbell Notes on Bell Rock 89:
Those [fish] that were caught were seen to be gorged with soil half an inch in length, resembling a piece of white thread with a black dot on either side at one end representing the eyes.
Bnff. 1956 J. Wood Seine Fishers iii.:
We had been able to see the bottom where the partan crabs crawled, and the sile were swimming.

2. In form sill: the milt of a fish (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1970). Comb. sill-fish, a male fish, a milter (Edm., Jak.).

[The diphthongal forms are from O.N. síld, the short vowel forms from later borrowing, e.g. Norw., Dan. sild, herring, or reduction of sítd, through *sĭll. Cf. Swed. dial. sil, the young of fish, Norw. dial. sil, a sand-eel, and Sillock.]

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

"Sile n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: