Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GLEEK, v., n. [gli:k]

I. v. †1. To jeer, jibe (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 85, 1845 T. Brown Dict.); to dally teasingly. Obs. in liter. Eng. since 17th c. but still found in Yks. dial. Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 109:
Auld folks, that scarce could girn or gape, At Papistry did gleek and jaip.
Bnff. 1853  Bnffsh. Jnl. (11 May):
The th[r]umy-tailed weaver, He'll gleek and glaik wi' ilka dame.

2. To look (Tyr. 1931 North. Whig (7 Dec.) 9; Uls.4 1954), to peep. Abd. 1911  Kenilworth Mag. (Oct.) 86:
It hod itsel' in a holie in the feal-dyke an' gleeked oot whan the smith gaed awa'.
Tyr. 1929  “M. Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey 88:
He wud run roun' till the back of the crowd an' gleek out.

II. n. †1. A gibe. Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 22:
Blasphemin' with a valiant zeal Twa ne'er-do-weels, the Paip and deil, Wi' gleeks at Guise and Mary.

2. A glance, a peep. Cf. Glaik, n., 6. Tyr. 1929  “M. Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey 16:
I tuck a gleek out av the kitchen windy.

[Origin obscure: phs. conn. with Gley and Glaik. For sense 2. of the v., cf. Cotgrave (1611) s.v. limer: “to gleeke, or looke askew at.”]

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"Gleek v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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