Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PELLOCK, n. Also pelloch, -uck, -uch, -ach, -a(c)k, -iak, -eck, -ick; paillag; paelag (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.); pallack, -ach, -ick, palach, -ek; pullock; erron. form penak (Mry. 1844 G. Gordon Fauna Mry. (1889) 21). Dim. and reduced forms pallackie (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 258), pallo (Ork. 1880 Jam.), paalo (Marw.). The porpoise, Phocaena phocaena (wm.Sc. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 V. 535; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 378; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw., pallick). Gen.Sc. Also attrib.

Comb. pellack-whale, id. (Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. (1891) 267; Ork.1 1950, pallo-whaal). Ork. 1701  J. Brand Descr. Ork. 72:
Little Whales . . . which they call spout-whales or Pellacks.
Fif. 1710  R. Sibbald Hist. Fife 53:
A Palach, a great Destroyer of Salmond.
Sh. 1732  Old-Lore Misc. IV. iii. 119:
Pellick boats paid each 3 cans of oil or ¥1 4s. Scots.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 17:
Gib's now gane for the Western seas Whare selchs an' pellucks whamble.
Sc. 1816  Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) IV. 176:
The charms of the sea-nymphs . . . must have fallen off very much since the days of yore, if indeed there is any similarity between a mermaid and a pellock.
Dmf. 1823  Edinburgh Star (22 Aug.):
The pellochs had followed the fish amaist up to the town, and heaps of them was catched at the Castle dykes.
Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 27:
He turned as fat as a tiestie, and as round as a pellick.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 105:
His lomos wap like pallo fins.
Ayr. 1885  J. Meikle Yachting Yarns 9:
A lass that the maister's awfu' taen up wi', or I hae nae mair gumption than a pullock.
Abd. 1925  A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 5:
He shot a big pellack when he wis afloat.
Cai. 1955  Edb. John o' Groat Lit. Soc.:
A “Paillag” came up an' awa' wi' wur nets.

2. Fig.: anything bulky and clumsy; a short fat person (Ork. (pallo), Bnff. 1965). Also attrib. Abd. 1754  R. Forbes Jnl. from London 13:
The second chiel was a thick setterel swown pallach.
ne.Sc. 1791  Caled. Mercury (29 Sept.):
Yon pellac swo'n, powsoudy wife Wha brews the fusky.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928) s.v. pall:
“A pallek o' a seth”, a plump coalfish.
Ork. 1949  “Lex” But-end Ballans 7:
Might as weel try tae meuve a hill As trail yin pallo roond de fleur.

[O.Sc. peloka (Latin MS.), 1331, = 1. Of unknown orig. Borrowed into Gael. as péileag.]

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"Pellock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Mar 2018 <>



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