Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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POUK, v.1, n.1 Also pouck (Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 13), pook, poock (Sc. 1840 Whistle-Binkie II. 73), puk (Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 136), puck; puke, puik; powk. [puk]

I. v. 1. tr. or absol. (1) To pluck, twitch, tug, pull sharply (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 179; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966). Comb. †pouken-pin, in weaving: the cord-handle pulled to move the shuttle across the loom (Rnf. 1846 W. Finlay Poems 222). Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 58:
She pukes her Pens, and aims a Flight Throu' Regions of internal Light.
Sc. 1772  Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 266:
Now I must give yourself and lady her blessings and compliments, otherwise I sud hae my lugs pouked.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Death & Dr. Hornbook xiv.:
The weans haud out their fingers laughin, An' pouk my hips.
Dmf. 1806  Scots Mag. (March) 206:
But frae their clutches I was poukit, An' wi' the clan o' Cain boukit.
Kcd. 1822  G. Menzies Poet. Trifles (1827) 74:
I've poukit corn frae out a stack, To haud me livin.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail lxx.:
Because your uncle is fain that ye should marry his only dochter, and would, if ye did sae, leave you for dowry and tocher a braw estate and a bank o' siller, ye think he has pookit you by the nose.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan 44:
Ye needna expect to get anything . . . but a pouket lug.
Rnf. 1861  J. Barr Poems 226:
I ruggit at the pouken-pin, but couldna mak it pay.
Uls. 1879  W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 22:
Sauny pookit my coat-tail, an' sez he, “here's a peeler.”
Gsw. 1884  J. Johnston M. Spreull 11:
I had naturally a strong feeling against ludgers, hooever I pooked mysel' thegither.
Edb. 1886  R. F. Hardy Within a Mile vii.:
She maun aye be a leddy, an' sit wi' her bit seam, pook-pookin' awa' by the fireside.
em.Sc. 1909  J. Black Melodies 169:
When a man's gettin' on weel, a' thing seems to flow in on him, but when he's gaun back the brae, the very craws are pookin' awa' frae him.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9:
Pookin “cheese-an-breed” aff o the hedges ti nattle at.

(2) to pull out the loose hay at the foot of a rick to let the air in (Per., Lth., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1966). Dmf. 1836  A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. viii.:
The napps wi' apples, to have a dive . . . and I give ilka ane liberty to pouk my stacks.
Arran 1947  :
Ye can start pookin' the ricks.

2. Specif. tr.: (1) to remove the feathers from (a bird), to pluck (a fowl) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966), or wool from a sheep which has died before shearing-time (Slk. 1966). Ppl.adj. pookit, pouked, powkit, plucked; also by extension, of persons or things: having a miserable, emaciated appearance, scraggy and thin-looking, wizened, shrivelled; shabby, thread-bare, poor-looking (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966); also fig. of persons: mean, stingy (Edb. 1825 Jam.). Dmf. 1817  W. Caesar Poems 44:
Hens an' geese a' pooket snod.
Sc. 1818  S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.:
Some o' them had sutten up aw night till hae their heads drest; for they hadnae thae pooket-like taps ye hae noo.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayr. Legatees v.:
What a pookit-like body I must have been, walking about in the king's policy like a peacock without a tail.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 122:
His een are aften a licht grey, like that o' a twa-days-pooked grozet.
Slk. 1823  Hogg Tales (1874) 292:
I'm rather feared that our Maker has a craw to pook wi' us even now!
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 138:
My pookit feckit, buttonless an' bare.
Lth. 1849  M. Oliphant M. Maitland xxii.:
To set up the powkit atomy and his tawse in the place o' our minister.
Sc. 1858  J. W. Carlyle Letters (Froude 1883) II. 385:
I was obliged to put on an additional box at the Gill, to hold the fresh eggs, “pookit fools” and other delicacies.
Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 25:
The best o' wark leuks unco poukit, In ilka thread.
Ags. 1868  G. Webster Strathbrachan I. xi.:
Her man was a puir puikit humphie backit bodie.
Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 121:
Whustlin' Wull was comin' daunerin' alang the Brigen' wi' his Camlachie-mits on, and leukin' vera pookit wi' the cauld.
Kcb. 1893  Crockett Raiders xxii.:
Then your leddyship will hae to come and pook the chucky.
Sc. 1936  J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 69:
By haudin up the keekin-gless To shame oor pookit skultieness.

(2) fig. to pillage, plunder, fleece, rook, cheat, of money, etc. Lnk. 1808  W. Watson Poems (1877) 125:
But hear me yet, there's mony a snare That men o' credit, cash, and lear, Hae been led into, poukit bare.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail lii.:
Pooking and rooking me, his mother, o' my ain lawful jointure and honest hainings.

(3) intr., of a bird: to drop its feathers, moult. Vbl.n. pookin, the moult (Cld. 1880 Jam.; m.Sc. 1966). Cf. II. 4.; ppl.adj. pookit, suffering from the moult, in a moulting condition (Fif. 1949). Gsw. 1872  J. Young Lochlomond Side 42:
Fearin' the Laureate may be poukin' After the fearsome feather droukin' He gat at midnicht.
Dmf. 1925  Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 35:
Oor hens are no layin' the noo, they are a' pookin'.

3. intr. (1) To pluck or tug at, to pull at sharply (Kcb. 1966); fig., to annoy, bother, harass; to carp at, criticize. Phr. to pouk at one's meat, to “play” with one's food, eat with poor appetite (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Rnf. 1815  W. Finlayson Rhymes 92:
What ails ye at weil meaning bodies, Ay pooking at their legal duddies.
wm.Sc. 1837  Laird of Logan 160:
Bravely do I ken ye, Balheggie, you're aye pouking at some ane.
Edb. 1851  A. McLagan Sketches 166:
We kent the time when we micht pook At auld grannie's leather pouch!
Sc. 1851  G. Outram Legal Lyrics (1874) 51:
I jumpt when my hook on I felt something pookin'.
Dmf. 1871  J. Palmer Poems 18:
When schuils they wad scale, how the bairnies wad scrow Around me, and ilka ane pook at my pow.

II. n. 1. A plucking motion, a twitch, tug, a sharp pull (Per., Slg., Ayr., Kcb., Slk. 1966); in fishing: a tug on the line, a bite. Also fig. Phr. to play pook at, to clutch at, try to grasp or tug (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.; Kcb. 1966), fig., to make advances to a woman, “make a pass at”. Sc. 1799  A Butter'd Slice 16:
Now, snarling critic, keep yer nook, I'm fley'd I'll nae can thole a pook.
Dmf. 1810  R. Cromek Remains 118:
There's never a corbie daur play pouk at yere tail.
Kcb. 1815  J. Gerrond Poems 84:
I do confess it makes me fret, When nane plays pook at Fanny.
Gsw. 1863  J. Young Ingle Nook 132:
When Fortune gied a thrawart pouk, To Weelfare's bruckle chain.
Uls. 1879  W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 9:
Thinks I tae mysel' if I cud get my han through that hole I wud gie her ear a pook.
Lnk. 1893  T. Stewart Miners 78:
We Dughie wi' a cauf o'ertook; He drave't wi' mony a push an' pook.
Lnk. 1948  J. G. Johnston Come fish with me 77:
Nothing daunts Billy, even though he has no tale to tell of rise or “pook”.
Sc. 1954  Bulletin (27 April) 9:
To wait for the trout's “pook” is very often to leave things that fraction of a second too late.

2. Fig., a sharp, steep incline, a “pull” (Kcb. 1966). Arg. 1937  :
The brae is no that bad exceptin' juist for a wee bit pook near the top.

3. That which has been or is to be plucked (off), a “picking”, freq. of tufts of wool from a sheep, “down or any similar substance adhering to one's clothes”, fluff (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1966), a tuft of hair; a mouthful, a bite. Hence a small quantity, a little (wm.Sc., Uls. 1966). Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 25:
Wife — fetch my bonnet that I caft last owk, Here, brush my coat, — fey, Jean tak aff that pook.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 24, 32:
Sae many wild unwarldly leuks Inclosed wi' sic brisly puks O' sooty hair. . . . Wee Bawsy will before us nod, And feed on pooks about the hedges.
Sc. 1887  Jam.:
“A pouk o' oo,” a pick or minute tuft of wool. “A pook o' meat,” a very small quantity of food.
Dmf. 1929  :
I dinna like ony o' yer bricht colours, just a wee pook o' red or yellow.
Dmf. 1963  J. Littlejohn Westrigg 47:
Shepherds while walking the hills in the course of their daily work used to gather up the “pooks” (i.e., wisps of wool) that the animals shed and store them.

4. A moulting condition in birds (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 179; Per., Slg., wm.Sc. 1966). Also fig. of human beings in phr. in (on) the pook, not very well, “below par” (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). Deriv. pookie, -y, adj., of birds: patchy and thin in the plumage because of the moult (Cld. 1880 Jam.); of persons, having a dejected ailing appearance, thin and unhealthy-looking, “lean and bony” (Ib.; wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1966). Also n. a shabby, starved-looking person, e.g. a tramp (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 114:
Puir burdie; warslin' wi' the pouk.
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 141:
A bawbee critic gat my book, It pat him in poetic pook.
Dmb. 1894  T. Watson Kirkintilloch 329:
He never liked to see the “tappit-hen in the pook,” i.e., the stoup empty.
Arg. 1901  N. Munro Doom Castle xxxvi.:
The man micht be a carven image, and Leevie no better nor a shilfy in the pook.
Slg. 1929  W. D. Cocker Dandie 46:
An auld bird wi' disjaskit look, A' beak an' claws, an' in the pook.
Dmb. 1931  A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle ii. vii.:
It fair gives me an appetite to see your pookey face.
Per.  41950:
A fell puckle o my hens has got the pook.

5. “The short unfledged feathers of a fowl, when they begin to grow after moulting” (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb. 1966).

[O.Sc. puik, to pluck, 1633. Of obscure orig., ? from pull-, Pou, + -k as in talk, walk.]

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"Pouk v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jan 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/pouk>

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