Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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QUICKEN, n.2 Also kwikkin, hwikkin (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)), whicken (Rxb.); quiggan; whigga (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). Gen. in pl.

1. The couch-grass, Triticum repens (Bwk. 1758 G. Ridpath Diary (S.H.S.) 182; s.Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica II. 1131 App.; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 5; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; ‡Sh., em.Sc., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1967); rarely applied to the creeping soft-grass, Holcus mollis (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Combs. quicken (ing) grass (Lth. 1765 A. Dickson Agriculture 106; Sc. 1830 Scott Demonology Letter ix.); quickens-scutch, id. Abd. 1735  J. Arbuthnot Buchan Farmers (1811) 12:
If the field be pestered with quicken, swine-arnot, or other such spreading roots.
Sc. 1743  R. Maxwell Select Trans. 13:
The little strength that remains is devoured by Coutch-grass, or Quickens, and other Trumpery, that has got possession of the Ground.
Ayr. 1793  W. Fullarton Agric. Ayr. 34–5:
We are, however, extremely inattentive to clean the lands from root-weeds, couch-grass, or quickens.
m.Lth. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 I. 50:
The light soils are much infested by quickens and tussilago.
Abd. 1877  G. MacDonald M. of Lossie lviii.:
Quittens as plenty as quicken.
Dmf. 1889  Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 152:
In Dumfriesshire Quickens is the name for couch-grass, a grass possessed of wonderful vitality.
Bwk. 1885  Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XI. 18:
It is Holcus mollis, or “Whin Rack,” called here “Quiggans.”
Sc. 1898  Trans. Highl. Soc. 88:
It is a common belief that quickens-scutch belongs to couch-grass. This is far from being always the case.
Mry. 1950  Scotsman (16 Sept.):
Couch-grass — locally “quickens”.

2. A quick-set (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., a hedge o' quickens).

[O.Sc. quickens, = 1., 1661, deriv. of North. Mid.Eng. quik, id., northern form of quitch, O.E. cwice, couch(-grass), from cwic, quick, full of vitality. The Sh. forms derive from corresp. Norw. dial. kvika.]

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"Quicken n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Oct 2018 <>



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