Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLOCK, Cloak, Klok, n.1 and v. Also found in n.Eng. dials. (E.D.D.). See also Clockin', vbl.n. [klɔk Sc., but m.Sc. + klok]

I. n.

1. “The cry or noise made by hens when they wish to sit on eggs, for the purpose of hatching” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Cai.7, Abd.22, Ags.2, Edb.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1937.

2. Applied to a person: “a croaker” (Cai.9 1939, clock).

II. v. Gen.Sc.

1. To make the noise of a brood hen. Eng. cluck. Used fig. in quot. Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 59:
When wi' glancin' han' and pow It [the kettle] sits clockin o'er the low — Oh! the goudspink on the timmer Is naething to thy simmer.

2. Of birds: to brood, sit on eggs, hatch.

(1) intr. Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 230:
“Maybe they'll clock, like hens, dae they?” “Yes; I could name a serpent that enfolds its eggs for two months, and eats nothing.”
Abd. 1928  J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 14:
Fan hens that shud be layin' 's clockin'.
Edb. 1895  J. Tweeddale Moff ix.:
But I wud hae them tae lay better and cloak less.
Wgt. 1877  G. Fraser Council of Crows in Sketches, etc. of Wgt. 184:
We're not to flit this term, so we may gang on wi' oor wark — you mither-birds clockin' as usual.

(2) tr. Rnf. 1815  W. Finlayson Simple Sc. Rhymes 14:
Nae mair he'll tell how Ostrich eggs Are clocket amang stanes and seggs.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 133:
Ye micht at least hae the gumption . . . to byde till the eggs were clockit.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 117:
The wa'fu' ra'en Must, ere she clock them, travel to the east.

Hence (1) clockin, clocken, strong pa.p., sat upon; (2) clockin', klokkin, ppl.adj., brooding, disposed to hatch (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., klokkin). See also Clocking Hen. (1) Kcb. 1914 6 :
Eggs long sat upon are “hard-clockin (clocken)” or “clockin hard.”
(2) Sh.(D) 1899  J. Spence Sh. Folk-Lore 240:
Da klaag o' wir klokkin flukner waukened me.
Gall. c.1870  J. Heughan in Bards of Gall. (ed. Harper 1889) 238:
Love owre him sits like clockin' doo.

3. Fig.: (1) “To sit idly by the fire” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.; also Cai.7, Abd.2 1937); to sit for a long time; to crouch; (2) to “hatch” (of a project, etc.); (3) of persons: to desire marriage (with someone). (1) Mry.(D) 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches xvi.:
It wis fae her 'at Meg borra't the cosy. . . . A heard the neebors lauchin' aboot hoo Meg keepit it clockin' on the teapot on the bink owre near the fire an' scaum't it a'.
Bwk. [1826]  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 119:
A' the lads o' our town clockin' in a shell.
Kcb. 1893  S. R. Crockett Stickit Minister 144:
It's better than sittin' clockin' an' readin'.
(2) Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 40:
This new schule . . . was now at length clockit, and carried to maturity.
(3) Lnl. 1936 1 :
When asked of the progress of a love affair, they answer: “Oh, they're fair clockin' noo.”

III. Comb.: kloksmidder, “a hen with chickens” (Sb. 1914 Angus Gl.).

[O.Sc. clock, clok, to cluck, hatch, from 1513 (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. clokke, clocke, O.E. cloccian, of echoic origin. Most of the other Gmc. langs. have a u form, as in Mod.Eng. cluck (cf. M.H.Ger. glucken, klucken, Mod.Ger. glucke, klucke, a broodhen, Norw. klukke, Sw. klucka), but Du. has klokken, and Sw. dial. klokka (M.E.). Cf. also Lat. glocire, to cluck like a hen.]

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"Clock n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2017 <>



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