sett [eel sett]

yolocoloco

New Member
English-USA
Undocumented meaning: "fyke net." Arthur Ransome, The Big Six, Chapter III, "Eel Sett at Night," "'Got to raise the sett first. Give the ebb time to run.' ... Up it came, a long tube of netting, keeping its shape because of rings of osier fastened inside it. Bill and the old eelman lifted the end of it aboard, Tom thought it was empty, but then, suddenly he saw the narrow tip of it was swollen and shining and white, and he knew that the light of the lantern was reflected from the glistening bellies of the eels."
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The text refers to an eel sett. What is the connection with "fyke net"? "Fyke" is in the Wordreference dictionary, as an AE local dialect word, but an eel sett is not "a bag-shaped fish trap".
     

    yolocoloco

    New Member
    English-USA
    I take the "narrow tip" full of eels to be a bag-shaped fish trap. I googled "fishing nets," and the one that appears to resemble graphically the one described in the text is labeled "fyke net." I didn't find a dictionary entry for "sett." and the picture in the googled site fits the description in the text. You appear to know what an eel sett is exactly. Please elaborate.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The OED has this in its entry for eel:
    eel-set n.
    [...].​
    1882 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Jan. 97 Eelsets..are nets set athwart the stream for the purpose of catching a..species of eel.​
     

    yolocoloco

    New Member
    English-USA
    London calling is quite mistaken. Just read Ransome's text. I'll bow to the OED (which I don't have ready access to). I was working from what's available on this site. Indeed, in the text cited the Old Eelman winches the sett off the bottom of the river and then, hand over hand, pulls the boat out to the trap proper, from which he and the boys remove the eels. Does "sett" (vs. set) need a separate entry? Not my call.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ah, were you wondering whether it would be a good idea to add eel set(t) to the WordReference English dictionary? If so, there's a separate forum for suggesting additions: Dictionary Additions.

    I suspect, incidentally, that set and sett are just alternative spellings.
     
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