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hasp, n.

Brit. /hɑːsp/
U.S. /hæsp/

α. OE hæpse, OE hepse (rare), 15 happys (singular); chiefly English regional (southern) and Newfoundland 16– hapse, 18 heps (Cornwall), 18–19 haps, 18– apse.

β. ME happis (plural, transmission error), ME–16 haspe, ME– hasp, 15 heaspe, 15 hosp; English regional (midlands) 18 'asp, 18 asp.

γ. ME hesp, ME hespe; English regional (northern and north midlands) 18 esp, 18– hesp; Scottish pre-17 gesp, pre-17 heispe, pre-17 hesse (transmission error), pre-17 17 hespe, pre-17 17– hesp, pre-17 18 heisp, 17 hisp.

(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with Middle Dutch haspe   bolt, clasp (early modern Dutch hesp  ), Middle Low German hespe  , haspe   hinge (especially of a door or window), Middle High German haspe  , hespe  , in the same sense (German Haspe  ), Old Icelandic hespa   fastening,
of uncertain origin, probably the same word as Middle Dutch haspe   reel, skein of yarn (Dutch hasp  ), Middle Low German haspe   (rare) silk thread reeled off a cocoon, Middle High German haspe   reel (German (regional: Swiss) Hasp   strand, e.g. of yarn), Old Icelandic hespa   skein of wool, further etymology unknown.
If the two groups of Germanic words are of the same origin, the original sense development is not entirely clear; a semantic connection might be the shape of an implement for reeling yarn.
Branch II.   may show the reflex of this second group of words in English. However, it could alternatively show influence from Scandinavian languages (or perhaps Middle Dutch and Middle Low German), a hypothesis perhaps supported by the East Anglian provenance of the Middle English examples in sense 4.
With branch I.   compare ( < English) post-classical Latin haspa  , hespa  , hapsa   contrivance for fastening a door or window (frequently from 12th cent. in British sources), and Anglo-Norman haspe  , hespe  , apse   clasp for fastening a garment (early 12th cent.), contrivance for fastening a door or window (13th cent.).
With by hasp and staple   compare Anglo-Norman par le haspe ou par le anel del uihs  , lit. ‘by the hasp or by the door-ring’ (late 13th cent.) and post-classical Latin per haspam vel per anulum  , lit. ‘by the hasp or by the ring’ (mid 13th cent. in a British source), both with reference to seisin, which may reflect a similar legal phrase in Middle English.
Form history.
In Old English a weak feminine (hæpse  ).
The α. forms   show metathesis of sp   to ps  , a sound change characteristic of late West Saxon Old English.
Spurious sense.
N.E.D. (1898) cited 19th-cent. dictionary evidence for the sense ‘a scarifier’, which appears to be an error for hash n.1 6.
 I. A hinged metal plate forming part of a fastening, and related senses.

 a. A hinged metal plate with a hole which fits over a staple and is secured by a pin or padlock; a similar metal plate on a case, trunk, etc., with a projecting piece which is secured by the lock; any similar device or mechanism for fastening a door, lid, window, etc.

OE   Ælfric Lives of Saints (Julius) (1900) II. 328   Sum sloh mid slecge swiðe þa hæpsan [L. serae aut pessulo], sum heora mid feolan feolode abutan.
OE   Aldhelm Glosses (Brussels 1650) in L. Goossens Old Eng. Glosses of MS Brussels, Royal Libr. 1650 (1974) 402   [Arcarum] clustella [reserantur] : i. serra, hepse uel loca.
lOE   Laws: Gerefa (Corpus Cambr.) xviii. §1. 455   Ne sceolde he nan ðing forgyman, ðe æfre to note mehte: ne forða musfellan ne, þæt git læsse is, to hæpsan pinn.
c1330  (?a1300)    Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) (1973) l. 5677   Fast oȝain þe gate he leke Wiþ lockes haspes and mani pin Wiþ mani bar and mani gin.
1338   in W. Greenwell Bp. Hatfield's Surv. (1857) 203   Item in iiij bordis empt. pro fenestris dressuræ faciendis 8d... In hespes et staples pro eisdem 1d.
c1405  (c1390)    Chaucer Miller's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 284   To the chambre dore he gan hym dresse..And by the haspe [c1415 Lansd. hespe] he haaf it vp atones.
a1450  (c1412)    T. Hoccleve De Regimine Principum (Harl. 4866) (1897) l. 1104   Vp is broken lok, hasp, barre, & pyn.
1463   in Manners & Househ. Expenses Eng. (1841) 219 (MED)   Item, payd to a smeyt ffor haspys and semewys for koferys for bowys and arwys, xx d.
1515   in E. Hobhouse Church-wardens' Accts. (1890) 70   For mendyng off a happys..ijd.
1560   in T. Wright Churchwardens' Accts. Ludlow (1869) 96   A stapulle and a haspe for the..chest.
1572   in W. H. Stevenson Rec. Borough Nottingham (1889) IV. 145   Stapyles, hespes, and brages.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Targette, a kind of snacket, or haspe, wherewith casemates, &c., are closed.
1631   Accts. St. John's Hosp., Canterbury (Canterbury Cathedral Archives: CCA-U13/5)   For charnells and haspes for the two chests in our hall.
1680   London Gaz. No. 1537/4   One Sugar-Box..with a Hasp to fasten it on one side.
1735   W. Pardon Dyche's New Gen. Eng. Dict.   Hasp, a small Iron or Brass Fastening to a Hatch or half Door.
1796   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 86 340   The hasp and staple made use of for the padlock were of wood.
1852   H. B. Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin I. xv. 232   ‘This trunk has got to be shut and locked’... The hasp snapped sharply in its hole.
1886   G. M. Fenn Master of Ceremonies I. vi. 63   The spring of the window hasp.
1916   Jrnl. Amer. Water Wks. Assoc. 3 228   A lead seal securing the hasp of the box insures the sterility of the bottle.
1966   A. MacLean When Eight Bells Toll x. 207   The doors, instead of bursting open at their central hasps, broke off at the hinges.
2014   S. L. Carter Back Channel (2015) xiii. 98   In addition to the usual swivel clasp, the window was secured by a metal hasp with a padlock threaded through it.

OE—2014(Hide quotations)


 b. Nautical. An iron clamp for fastening a spar, esp. the bowsprit or jib boom, in place. Now somewhat hist. and rare.

1830   P. Hedderwick Treat. Marine Archit. iii. i. 326   Dimensions of the hasp for the bowsprit.—This hasp is fastened to the inside of the stem or apron at one end, and to the hass-timber at the other.
1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk.   Hasp, a semi-circular clamp turning in an eye-bolt in the stem-head of a sloop or boat, and fastened by a forelock in order to secure the bowsprit down to the bows.
1874   T. Stevenson Design & Constr. Harbours (ed. 2) viii. 152   They [sc. the booms] are also warped down or fixed with an iron hasp at the coping course.
1926   C. G. Davis Ship Model Builder's Assistant iv. 78   The other, outer jib-booms, were fastened in a similar manner,—butting the cap and fastened with an iron bale or hasp on ships after about the year 1812, or lashed with rope on ships of an earlier date.
1968   Naut. Res. Jrnl. Autumn 108   The heel of the jibboom was built out square below to a point above the inboard end of the bee-seats; at that point there was an iron strap or hasp securing the jibboom to the bowsprit.

1830—1968(Hide quotations)


 2. A clasp or catch for fastening two parts of a garment, the covers of a book, etc., together.

c1300   Body & Soul (Laud Misc. 108) (1889) 59 (MED)   A develes cope for to bere Al brennynde on him was kest, With hote haspes imad to spere.
c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy (2002) f. 82   The haspis of his helme heturly brast.
1657   W. Rand tr. P. Gassendi Mirrour of Nobility v. 120   Pictures and representations of divers kinds of Fibulae, buttons or hasps to perfect that work, which he had taken in hand, touching the apparel of the Ancients.
a1685   M. Evelyn Mundus Muliebris (1690) 4   A curious Hasp The Manteau 'bout her Neck to clasp.
1715   tr. G. Panciroli Hist. Memorable Things Lost I. iv. ii. 155   Shoes..either lac'd close..or else clasp'd with Taches or Hasps.
1777   P. Thicknesse Year's Journey France & Spain II. li. 146   The silver hasp, and some of the ornaments of these garments, are still perfect.
1829   T. Hood Dream Eugene Aram in Gem 1 110   He strain'd the dusky covers close, And fix'd the brazen hasp.
1882   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Agric. & Prices IV. 735   Book hasps, brass.
1912   J. A. Green Wildwood Homes 25   The photograph album and fifty-pound family Bible with those gilt hasps.
2007   Y. S. Wilce Flora Segunda viii. 80   A gilt hasp kept the book closed, but the hasp opened easily when I tugged on it.

c1300—2007(Hide quotations)


3. Apparently: a handle on a trunk or case. Obsolete.

1770   O. Goldsmith Let. to Sir J. Reynolds in Wks. (1900) XI. 222   Four [men] got under each trunk, the rest surrounded, and held the hasps.
1868   W. Collins Moonstone I. xv. 254   An old jappaned tin case, with a cover to it, and a hasp to hang it up by.

1770—1868(Hide quotations)

 II. A quantity of yarn; a reel.

 4. A skein or hank of yarn, thread, or silk; (also) a definite quantity of yarn or thread, usually consisting of 12 cuts or the fourth part of a spindle. Also in figurative contexts. Chiefly Scottish in later use (frequently in form hesp).

1390–1   in W. Hudson Leet Jurisdict. Norwich (1892) 75   Robertus Tytell invenit x hespys de Irlondyern pretii iiij d.
▸ 1440   Promptorium Parvulorum (Harl. 221) 238   Hespe of threde, mataxa, haspum,..filipulus.
1468   in J. C. Tingey Rec. City of Norwich (1910) II. 99 (MED)   It is ordeyned by the assent of the comon counseile that hens forward ther shall be no persone selle withynne this cite any lynen warp..but if that warpe..bere at the leest withynne the bowt of euery haspe a yard by the Kyngges standard.
a1500  (a1375)    Octavian (Calig.) (1979) l. 1442   Þe brydel was made of chaynys, Of grete haspys wer þe reynys.
c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy (2002) f. 61   Hore huet on his hede as haspis of silke.
1603   in J. Harland House & Farm Accts. Shuttleworths (1856) I. 152   Delivered to her xxviij haspes or slippinges of line yearn,..and v haspes or slippinges of canves yearne.
1629   in J. D. Marwick Rec. Convent. Royal Burghs Scotl. (1878) III. 284   That the magistrattis trye the lenth of the hesp and caus nomber the threids thairof.
1693   in Rec. Parl. Scotl. to 1707 (2007) 1693/4/105   Their majesties prohibite and discharge the selling any linnen yarne not put up into hesps, each hesp containing twelve cutts, and each cutt containing six score threeds, and that no reele be made use of under the measure and length of ten quarters.
1717   in A. H. Millar Select. Sc. Forfeited Estates Papers (1909) Introd. p. xxvi   Yarn, 20 Spindles, 1 Hasp, and 3 Heer, at 2s. per Spindle.
1768   A. Ross Fortunate Shepherdess ii. 86   Among us a' a ravell'd hesp ye've made, Sae now, put too your hand, an help to red.
1793   J. Sinclair Statist. Acct. Scotl. VI. 43   About 30 years ago..a hesp or slip, which is the fourth part of a spindle, was thought a sufficient day's work for a woman.
1824   Scott Redgauntlet I. xi. 238   A tangled hesp to wind.
1873   J. Wood Ceres Races 6   And thrice his dearest nearest gear—Maun through the hasp o' green yarn pass.
1903   D. Thomson Weavers' Craft ix. 105   Counting slowly over the threads in a haer or hesp of yarn.
1971   D. J. Jeremy in Business Hist. Rev. 45 347   The statutory Scottish linen reel of 90 inches together with the 300 yard cut (skein) and 3,600 yard hesp (hank), legally established in 1693, were preserved after the Act of Union by a Westminster statute of 1726.

1390–1—1971(Hide quotations)


5. A reel for winding yarn, thread, or silk. Obsolete. rare.Apparently only in dictionaries.

1671   S. Skinner & T. Henshaw Etymologicon Linguæ Anglicanæ   Hasp, alabrum seu Instrumentum Textorium in quod filum fusi evolvitur.
1724   N. Bailey Universal Etymol. Eng. Dict. (ed. 2)    An Hasp,..a reel to wind Yarn on. [Also in later dictionaries.]

1671—1724(Hide quotations)



Scots Law. by hasp and staple: according to a custom by which an heir is formally entered to property held in a burgage tenure (see quot. 1861). Obsolete.Entry by hasp and staple became obsolete following the Conveyancing and Land Transfer (Scotland) Act, 1874 (37 & 38 Vict. c. 94 §25).

1530   in R. Renwick Abstr. Protocols Town Clerks Glasgow (1897) IV. 27   Jhon Wan..gaif stait and saesing, be hesp and stapyll, of x schilling of anwell.
1569   in J. Balfour Practicks (1754) 175   Or he sould be saisit be hesp and stapill, as the commoun use is within burgh.
1681   Visct. Stair Inst. Law Scotl. xiii. 242   Seasines within Burgh, for serving of Heirs by Hesp and Staple, by the immemorial Custom and Priviledge of Burgh, being given by the Town-Clerk.
1762   Information for Capt. W. Livingston 10   Cognition by Hasp and Staple is held to be a sufficient Service in Burgage-tenements.
1861   G. Ross W. Bell's Dict. Law Scotl. (rev. ed.)    Hasp and Staple is the form of entering an heir in a burgage subject... The claimant alleges his title, and proves it by witnesses; on which the bailie declares him to be heir, and makes him take hold of the hasp and staple of the door as a symbol of possession, and then enter the house and bolt himself in.

1530—1861(Hide quotations)




  General attributive (in branch I.), as hasp lock, etc.

1775   Daily Advertiser 10 June   A large flowered Waggon-Box, with a Hasp-Lock.
1898   Railroad Gaz. 25 Nov. 850/3   The box cars will have Wagner doors with common hasp fastenings.
1905   56th Ann. Rep. Central Indiana Hosp. for Insane 252   1 dozen pair 6-inch hasp hinges.
1935   Pop. Mech. Feb. 293/1   Remove the hasp pin and grind the parts back for insertion of a small coil spring as indicated.
2016   Loughborough Echo (Nexis) 6 Apr. 14   Crime prevention advice includes; having a sturdy lock on your shed such as a hasp lock and staple.

1775—2016(Hide quotations)