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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SILLOCK, n. Also sil(l)a(c)k, sil(l)ek, -ick, -ik, -ok, -u(c)k; ¶-ich; sillo (Ork.); sello(c)k, -a(c)k; sellag, sillag (Cai.). A coalfish, Gadus virens, in its first year of life (Ork. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw., sillo(ck); I.Sc., Cai. (sellag), Mry. 1970). [′sɪlək; Ork. + ′sɪlo: Cai. ′sɛləg]Sh. 1701 J. Brand Descr. Zet. 130:
Silluks and Seths, which are judged to be the same kind of Fish, only the Seths are a greater and older Silluks.
Sh. 1753 True and Exact Descr. Sh. 23:
This is called a Sillag, they have a fine Liver of which thev make Pyes.
Cai. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 249:
Sellacks (which are no other than the young of saiths, and some species of the cod), frequent the shores.
Sh. 1829 Scott Journal (1890) II. 291:
[Shetland's] long isles, its deep caves, its smoked geese, and its sour sillocks.
Sh. 1856 E. Edmondston Sketches 48:
An old man tottering under the weight of his keyshie of sillacks.
Ork. 1904 W. T. Dennison Sketches 26:
Mansie geed tae fish sillo's aff o' a oot-lyan' rock.
Cai. 1930 Spectator (2 Aug.) 166:
A vast shoal of young coal fish sellags in Wick Harbour the other day.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 16. 11:
Da eela fishing for sillicks and pilticks on the inshore grounds is also carried on by men and boys in open boats, using waands and flees.
Ork.5 1962:
Three drinks o' the Mey fluid turns a sillock intae a cuithe.
Rs. 1991 Bess Ross Those Other Times 145:
Her pool was that way. And she learnt about where the grey trout lay sleeping. She didn't know grey trout. She knew salmon, and haddies and sooyans and sellacks. Even the juntie. But she didn't know grey trout.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 216:
Food for ilka manner o creeping thing - worm, klock, flech, bluebottle, dragonfly, shonnag, shitey-flee. For the whaup on the brae, the hare and the fox on the hill, the grilse in the burn, the sellag and the whale in the sea.

Attrib. in sillock boat, eela, fast, flee, waand, where see second element. Special Combs.: (1) sillock bru, fish soup made with coalfish. See Broo, n.1; (2) sillo heuk, a bait-hook for sillocks; (3) sillock oil, oil made from the livers of sillocks; (4) sillock pock, a bag-net for catching sillocks. Hence sillock-pocker, a maker of these; (5) sillock rod, an angling rod for sillocks.(1) Sh. 1931 Manson's Sh. Almanac 193:
Da hinder pert o' my anatomy as weel as my speerits, considerably damped wi' sillock bru.
(2) Ork. 1912 Old-Lore Misc. V. i. 7:
If glowrie gets you in his cleuks, He'll grind you as sma' as fower an' twenty sillo' heuks.
(3) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (15 Oct.):
Girzzie wis geen ta fill da collie wi' a aire o' sillock oil.
Ork. 1912 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 10:
Hard cotton hats, shaped like straw hats, and made hard and water proof with brunt sillock oil, ashes or soot till they were shining black.
(4) Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 21:
He taught us to make troot-huvies and sillick-pocks.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (5 Feb.):
Thomas was a carpenter and sillock-pocker.
(5) Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Sh. 122:
It is to the sinewless arm of youth, or to the relaxed fibres of old age, that the light task is resigned of wielding the sillock-rod.

[Appar. a dim. form in -Ock, from sill s.v. Sile, n.2, q.v. Cf. Swed. dial. sil, the young of fish.]

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



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