Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KICK, v., n. Also kik, keek (Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 89), keik, kiek (Sh.). Sc. forms and usages. [Sc. kɪk; I.Sc. kik; Mry. kəik]

I. v. 1. To show off, to walk haughtily (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; ne.Sc. 1941). See n., 2.; to toss (the head) disdainfully. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 94:
Fin she got on 'ir new bonnet, she geed kickin' up the street t' lat a' bodie see't.
Ags. 1895  F. MacKenzie Glenbruar 218:
She kicks her heid an' has as mony airs as Andra Wilson's cockytoo.

2. To play tricks, to tease (Bnff. 1880 Jam.). Hence kicky, provoking, teasing (Ib.). Abd. 1910 13 :
Isna' that kicky 'at I canna min' fat comes neest.

3. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) kick-at-the-benweed, see Benweed; (2) kick-ba(ll), the game of football (Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 156; n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Edb., s.Sc. 1960), the ball itself (Cai., Abd. 1960). Also fig.; (3) kick-bonnety (-kick), a game played by kicking a cap or bonnet seized from a boy's head, until the owner can lay hold of another boy's cap, which in turn is kicked about (Ags. 1902 E.D.D.; Cai., ‡Fif. 1960). For other bonnet games see Bonnetie; (4) kick-doss, = (3) (Ags. 1911). See Doss, n.1, 1. (2); (5) kick-oot, a fuss, disturbance; (6) kick the block (Kcb. 1898 A. B. Gomme Trad. Games II. 438; Abd., Ags., Per. 1941), — bucket (wm.Sc.1 1900), — can(nie) (Ork., ne., em., wm. and s.Sc. 1960), — keddie (Fif.13 c.1880), — nacket (Edb. 1941). See quots.; (7) to kick the cork, see Cork. (2) Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) v.:
I saw the whole hobble-shaw coming fleeing down the street, with the kick-ba at their noses.
Edb. c.1870  Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) VI. 212:
Oor schules may teach knowledge, but what o' it a', If our youth o' discretion will mak' a kick-ba'?
Per. 1879  P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 461:
Lady Market came in April and the great kick-ball match came off.
Ags. 1894  A. Reid Songs 85:
For mony a lass, an' bairn an' a', Took turn aboot as his kickba'.
Gsw. 1910  H. Maclaine My Frien' 10:
Mairrit men are resolved to gang to nae mair kickba' matches.
Abd. 1950  Buchan Observer (21 Feb.):
The young men of the farm, as well as the village apprentices would join in the great kickba' event.
(3) Ags. 1887  J. McBain Arbroath 341:
But these quiet games had to give place to something more exciting, such as kick, bonnetie, kick. In this game, the unfortunate who was “It” stood astride of his own bonnet, which was placed on the ground. The others swarmed around endeavouring to grab it, and, if they grabbed it without being “touched” by the one who was “It”, away they went merrily kicking the poor fellow's half-crown glengarry, until someone was caught in the act, and had in his turn to undergo the penalty of seeing his “doss” abused.
Fif. 1897  G. Setoun G. Malcolm v.:
Adam Blair, as a reward for their labours, proposed a game. “Kick-bonnety,” he suggested, and George's balmoral was the one selected.
(4) Ags. 1890  A. N. Simpson Muirside Memories 158:
Playing at bools, or quarreling over the minute points in the law of “kick-doss.”
(5) Dmf. 1954  :
There was an aafy kick-oot when I got hame.
(6) Abd. c.1890 18 :
The boy who was “it” in the game of kick the block took his stand at or near some large stone; the others hid. He then “spied” the others one by one, leaving the stone as far as he dared. When he saw one he rushed back to the stone and kicked it and as he kicked it he shouted — “John Smith blockit” or whatever the name might be. The object of every hider was to reach the stone and kick it before “it” could get back to it from some of his excursions.
Abd. 1938  Abd. Press & Jnl. (26 March) 6:
Another [game] was Kick the Can. The boys hid themselves severally while one, with his eyes shut, and standing beside a can or block of wood, counted so many and then went in search. If a boy could steal out and kick the can or block while the searcher was hunting, the latter had to begin all over again.
Sc. 1951  Sunday Post (15 July):
Kick The Can — One lad is “down” and another kicks an empty can as far as he can. While the “down” lad runs after it, the rest of the players hide round corners. Then he tries to spot them. The fun begins when some daring lad darts out and kicks the can away again, so that all the rest go free.
Bnff. 1956  Banffshire Advert. (7 June) 6:
Cricket, which he regards as on the same level as marbles or kick-the-cannie.
Gsw. 1958  C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 56:
They were the old street games; but when we dispersed and hid ourselves for Leave-oh or Kick-the-Nacket we could lose ourselves in the back gardens instead of up closes.

II. n. 1. Dismissal, rejection, the sack, in phr. to get or give the kick. Cf. Eng. slang to get the dirty kick out. Kcd. 1844  W. Jamie Muse 100:
She was soon to get the kick.
Wgt. 1885  G. Fraser Poems 50:
Should a brither be sick, They'll no gie him the kick.

2. A novelty, something new-fangled, esp. in the mode of dress, the height of fashion (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1960); a showily dressed person (Sh. 1960). Hence kicky, aspiring, aiming above one's station (Sc. 1808 Jam.); showy, particular in matters of dress, dandified (Ib.; Gall. 1902 E.D.D.; ‡Abd., Kcd. 1960); novel, tricky. Phr.: a kick by the common, in advance of others in the fashion of dress (Abd.16 1942). Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 213:
Clad in a bran-new hudden gray, And in't, I wat, she look'd fu' gay, And spruce and kicky.
Mry. 1806  J. Cock Simple Strains 93:
Fu' mony a witty touch and kicky line, Wad won the praise o' langer heads than mine.
Abd. 1942 9 :
“Sandy Broon wis a great swell in a fite floo'ert weiskit an' a fite lum hat.” “Oh! ay, Sandy aye liket t' be a bit kick by the common.”

3. A trick, contrivance (m.Lth. 1960); a caper. Abd. 1832  W. Scott Poems 55:
Some bit boxie wi' a puzzlin' kick, That pauls the lasses to get aff the sneck.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 94:
He tried on's kicks wee me; but I ga' 'im in's chynge agehn.
Abd. 1942 9 :
Fat new kick is this ye're at noo?

4. A habit, whim, crotchet (Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1960). In pl., airs, manners (Abd.13 1909; Bnff.2 1941), a fuss. Ayr. 1833  J. Kennedy Geordie Chalmers 142:
We're no vera weel up to their high-flown kicks a-sooth the Tweed.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 94:
She cam in t' me wee 'ir kicks; bit I seen leet 'ir ken fahr she steed.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
He has so many kiks aboot it.
Abd. 1931 4 :
That 's a queer kick ye're intae, takin' yer tay wintin sugar.

[For v. and n., 1., cf. 19th c. Eng. slang kick, the vogue, the fashion. Cf. also Gig, n.1, v.1]

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



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