Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEEK, n. Sc. usages:

1. In deriv. and phrs.: (1) as clean as a leek, whole, wholly, complete(ly), thoroughly (m.Lth. 1960); ¶(2) leek-rife, of soup: full of leeks; (3) like a new leek, like a new pin. Cf. (1); (4) sour leek, the common sorrel, Rumex acetosa (Rxb. 1876 Science Gossip 79; Kcb. 1960). Also in Ir. dial.; (5) to chowe the leek, to submit to the inevitable, to make the best of a bad job. (1) Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
For now, as clean's a leek, Ye've cherish'd me since ye began to speak.
Ags. 1833  J. S. Sands Poems 90:
He had sic power intil his tail O' magnetism, he drew ilk nail, … Out o' our ship as clean's a leek.
Abd. 1851  W. Anderson Rhymes 34:
Ye did your wark as clean's a leek — Ye'd split a hair.
Clc. 1870  Alloa Advert. (7 Jan. 1922) 3:
John's heart was aye as clean's a leek, But noo he's dead.
(2) Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 50:
O quegh o brose! wi' milk, or fat, An' leek-rife kail, wi' guid sheep's pate.
(3) Sc. 1876  Bk. Sc. Story 51:
She'll keep yer hoose like a new leek.
(5) Lnk. 1873  A. Murdoch Doric Lyre 76:
Doun mischanter's brae We a' maun trudge, an' chowe the leek.

Adj. leeky, used fig. of the hair: like the leaves of a leek, lank, straight and flat, having no curl (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).

2. A wild plant, phs. of the Allium or garlic family, the roots of which are plaited into a loop or noose to catch small fish. Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Sc. Verses 109:
Where the leek or the haun o' maraudin' skule wean Never kittled the wame o' the wee whiskered bairdie.

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"Leek n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2018 <>



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