Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

DOCK, n.1, v. Also doak and dim. docky. [dɔk, dok Sc., but Rxb. + duk]

I. n.

1. The buttocks (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd., Ags. and Fif. correspondents 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. 1718  Ramsay Chr. Kirk iii. xxiv. in Poems (1721):
The Rim O' 'er Wame he clapt his Dock on.
Abd. 1873  J. Ogg Willie Waly 123:
Say “Na” to me, ye little brat! Gin I were at yer docky!
Ags. c.1828  in A. Laing (ed.) Misc. Pieces 24:
I tried the door for to unlock, Whan four cauld fingers touch'd my dock.
Per. 1900  E.D.D.:
I'll whip yer dock to ye.
Lnk. 1877  W. Watson Poems 199:
They'll sen' him hame wi' British balls A-rattlin' at his dock, man.

Hence †dock-mail = buttock mail s.v. Buttock, n., 2 (2). Edb. a.1730  A. Pennecuik Poems (1787) 26:
For twenty shillings, as dock-mail, Each night I got.

2. A push or hoist up (see v., 1 (2), below), gen. used with up (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., dock, dook), also dookie up. Also fig. = a help (Ib.). Edb. 1940 5 :
“Gie's a dookie up” says one boy asking another to help him climb a wall or tree.

3. A clipping, cutting, gen. of hair (Sc. 1880 Jam.5); a hair-cut (Bnff.2, Ags.17, Fif.13 1940).

4. The butt-end of anything, as (1) of a top: the iron peg on which it spins (Sc. 1873 N. and Q. (4th Series) XII. 415); †(2) of a scythe: the part by which it is attached to the Sned; (3) of the old wooden plough: appar. the rear part of the beam, cf. Gael. màs a' chroinn, id. (lit. the posteriors of the plough), and docknail; (4) in comb. docknail, the nail used to fix the blade of a scythe to the shaft (Abd.20 1920) or the handle of a plough to the beam (Abd. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); hence in various fig. usages: (a) the ploughman (Ib.; Abd. 1948 (per Abd.27); Mearns 5 1949); (b) any person or part indispensable to the efficiency of a job, tool, etc. (Bnff.2 1940; Abd.27 1948). (2) Sc. 1715  P. Rae Hist. Late Rebellion (1718) 272:
The Magistrates and Council [of Dumfries] bought up 100 syths, caus'd streight their Docks and fixed them . . . on Shafts, delivering them to such of the Inhabitants as had least skill at Fire-Arms.
(4) (a) Abd. 1929  P. Baxter in Scots Mag. (March) 449:
My great grandfather's grandfather wis docknail tae the twal' owzen plough that broke it in.
Abd. 1949  Buchan Observer (25 Oct.):
A little by-play on such topics as the Horseman Word, and that essential pin of the plough, the “docknail,” without which the implement was quite inefficient. But all young hands were not quite so green as they might be cabbage looking!
(b) Abd. 1910 13 :
The ploughman is the docknail of the plough and the drainer is the docknail of the spade or whatever tool he is working at the time.
Abd. 1940 9 :
Come awa an' get a dram. A bargain's aye the siccarer wi' a docknail in.

II. v.

1. Meanings from n., 1, above.

†(1) To beat on the posteriors. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Woo'd and Married and A' 141:
Or else ye deserve to be docked.
Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 346:
And tell you that I sud be docket For what I do.

(2) “To hoist or push up (as e.g. when assisting a person to surmount a wall) by stooping and placing the head or shoulder to the climber's buttocks, and then gradually rising” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also dox, dockniss (Bwk. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.), docks, dooks (Rxb. 1942 Zai). Rxb. 1916  T.S.D.C. II.:
A dookit 'im up on the wa'.

2. As in Eng., to clip, cut short. Lit. and fig.

†(1) Of the hair: to cut, crop. Sc. 1880  Jam.5:
I'll dock yer hair for ye.
Fif. 1897  “G. Setoun” George Malcolm iv.:
I was waitin' my turn to get my hair docket.

(2) Of clothes: to shorten; to put (an infant) into short clothes. Gen.Sc. Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) viii.:
Ye wudda thocht they'd kent ane anither sin' ever they were doakit.
Lnk. 1858  G. Roy Generalship (1862) vii. 84:
When her claes we dock, Will, Ye'll learn her to toddle.

(3) Of an animal's tail: fig. in phr. to be on the docket mare, — on dockie (see Dockie, adj.), to be short in the temper, to be curt (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 39, — on dockie; Abd.8 (Upp. Deeside) 1917).

(4) Of speech or temper: in ppl.adj. dockit, -et, clipped, minced (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940), short, testy (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.). Ayr. 1822  Galt Provost xxxi.:
With all his well dockit words.

(5) Of appearance: †(a) “to go about in an exact and conceited sort of way; always applied to persons who are rather under the common size” (Fif. 1825 Jam.2); (b) with up: to spruce up, dress up, put in trim. (b) wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 80:
I didna dock mysel' up like some o' my neighbours, and gang to the market for a man.
Gsw. 1920  in “O. Douglas” Penny Plain 108:
Two sisters . . . with . . . ample leisure after they have, what Mrs McCosh calls “dockit up the hoose” to entertain and be entertained.

[O.Sc. has dok, dock, the fundament or rump of a person, from a.1508, Mid.Eng. dok, the solid fleshy part of an animal's tail, of which the later meanings in Sc. and Eng. are extensions. The Rxb. form dook found in sections 2 of the n. and 1 (2) of the v. may be influenced by Dook, n.2, v.2]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Dock n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down