Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLECK, Kleck, Cleik, Cleak, v.2 and n. See also Claik, n.1, v.1, Clack, n.1 and v., and Clock' n.1 and v. The forms cleik and cleak are doubtful, but the sense in the respective quots. points to an association with this word rather than with Cleek, v.1 [klɛk]

1. v.

(1) To hatch, litter, bring forth young. Used gen. of rabbits, cats, etc., less frequently of hens and ducks. Hence cleckie, “prolific” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 25). Transferred also to human beings, gen. in pa.p. cleckit = born. Also found in n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). Sc. 1912  A.O.W.B. Fables frae the French 26:
I ettle to buy five-score eggs wi' the price; I'se get them a' cleckit, syne nae doot I'll see Four score o' wee chookies.
Abd. 1865  G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. xxxii.:
“Curly, wha has ony rabbits to sell?” “Doddles's cleckit aboot a month ago.”
Ags. 1833  J. S. Sands Poems 89:
The pelican o' the wilderness, That clecks ance in a thousand years.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xii.:
I never got such a fright since the day I was cleckit.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Parish xiii.:
Some thought . . . it was the natural way for such like ducks to cleck their young.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
The cat's cleckit.

Ppl.adj. cleakit, in adj. comb. ill-cleakit, “misbegotten” (Edb.3 1929). Ags. 1891  J. M. Barrie Little Minister (2nd ed.) xxxviii.:
It's that ill-cleakit witch, Effie McBean.

(2) fig. To invent; conceive (Lnk.3 1937). Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. II. i.:
I have cleikit a particular fancy to this lad.
Ayr. publ. 1892  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc., and Poems 243:
He's cleckit a plan to break up the clan.

(3) To gossip, talk loudly and idly. Not known to our correspondents. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act II. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
Ah! Symie, ratling Chiels ne'er stand To cleck and spread the grossest Lies aff hand.
Edb. 1915  T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 122:
An', as I jaloos't, Caum'ell's never appear't; Na, na! 'twas eneuch that he'd kleckit aboot it.
Rnf. 1815  W. Finlayson Simple Rhymes 109:
Auld teethless wives when ye forgether, At ither's doors to cleck an' blether.

Hence cleckin', (a) ppl.adj. loquacious; (b) vbl.n. noisy, animated talking (Kcb.1 1937). (a) Kcb. 1894  S. R. Crockett Raiders xxxii.:
Na, an auld cleckin' wife canna look for ocht else at this time o' day.
(a)   Ib. xxi.:
What's a' that cleckin' aboot? Am I to wait a' day for you to licht my fire, Sammle Tamson?

2. n. Pert chatter, idle talk, insolence (Arg.1, Kcb.9 1937). wm.Sc. [1835–37]  Laird of Logan (1868) 172:
Sin' ye hae set my birse up, I'll stop your cleck.
Ayr. 1875  A. L. Orr Poems 20:
Oh, bairns! my very heart is like to break Wi' stan'in' aye sae muckle o' his cleck.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
Gie's nae mair o' eer cleck, ye yip!

[O.Sc. clek, cleck, v., of birds: to hatch (young) from eggs, (also used absol.), to give birth to, fig. to invent (D.O.S.T.), from O.N. klekja, to hatch (Zoëga).]

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"Cleck v.2, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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