Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SKINK, v.1, n.2 Also skynk; skeenk; skjenk (Sh.). [skɪŋk; Sh. skjɛŋk]

I. v. 1. tr. To pour out liquor for drinking, to draw, decant (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); absol. to fill glasses from a bowl of punch, etc. (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 465). Hence skinker, a butler; a toper, a tippler. Arch. or dial. in Eng.; skincheon, a hearty pull (of drink), the form being prob. orig. the vbl.n. altered after luncheon (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 67:
Like Dub-water skink the Wine.
Wgt. 1804  R. Couper Poetry II. 89:
The nourice skinks the sonsy cup.
Rxb. 1815  J. Ruickbie Poems 38:
Faith we sude skink the ale in bowies.
Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality xi.:
“I am an old soldier, sir, I thank Heaven.” — hiccup — “An old skinker, you mean, John.”
Abd. 1820  A. Skene Poems 14:
Immortal Bacchus, prince of drinkin'; Wha mang thy brither gods sit'st skinkin'.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 121:
Our master-skinker first shall draw.
e.Lth. 1899  J. Lumsden Poems 130:
Stout Scots drink to me skynk.

2. Specif. to pour (liquid) from one vessel or from a spoon or ladle into another in small quantities, to mix (liquids) in this way (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1929). Also fig. Sc. 1736  Mrs. McLintock Receipts 15:
Take a Pint of White or Claret Wine, and as much sweet Cream, and skink it in the Wine.
Gsw. c.1780  J. Strang Gsw. Clubs (1856) 121:
A half-mutchkin of rum, with a due proportion of hot water and sugar, poured out and skinked in a quart mug.
Sc. 1837  M. Dods Manual 402:
The Scotch retain the word “to skink” in defining the process of continually lifting high a sauce or gruel by spoonfuls, and rapidly letting it fall back into the pan.
Lnk. 1866  G. Mills Beggar's Benison xxii.:
He “skinked” the whole with a mighty wooden ladle.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (15 May):
A'm tellin' da truth, an' doo can edder skjenk aboot hit or tak' hit by da glunch.
Gall. 1904  E.D.D.:
“Yaitmeal and water skeenked atween twa bowls.” The oatmeal, mixed with water, is poured rapidly from one vessel to another until a milky fluid results, the solid portion being rejected.
Ayr. 1938  Scotsman (10 Feb.) 13:
My father used to tap the sugar against the glass with his toddy ladle till it was dissolved. He used to call that “skinking the toddy.”

3. Fig. To pour out in gen., to lavish, spend recklessly, to “splash” (Kcd. c.1850; Ags. 1970).

4. intr. Of a liquid: to pour, run freely, splash in streams. Ppl.adj. skinkin, easily poured, liquid, thinly diluted. Skinkin ware, thin clear soups, potages, consommés or the like, liquid food in gen. Ayr. 1786  Burns To a Haggis viii.:
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware, That jaups in luggies.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (June) 682:
The wine skinking about like dub water.
Sc. 1894  Stevenson St Ives xxvii.:
A pint of skinking claret.

II. n. 1. Drink in gen., liquor (Sc. 1825 Jam.), esp. of a weak, wishy-washy kind (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.); a drink or draught; a bout of drinking, a spree (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Rare or obs. in Eng. Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. xxxii.:
The wine! — puir thin fusionless skink it was.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 115:
Weel you may see that siegin' host Had skaff and skink withouten cost.
wm.Sc. 1837  Laird of Logan 19:
It's really a wonderfu' ransom o' siller to pay for a mouthfu' o' fresh air and a skink o' saut-water.
Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Miller xvi.:
Jail beer was poor, thin skink for gentlemen who had drank claret after dinner every day for twenty years.

2. Specif. A kind of thin gruel of oatmeal and water (Uls. 1904 E.D.D.). Sc. 1887  Stevenson Underwoods 129:
I'll mebbe have to thole wi' skink In Kingdom come.
Uls. 1951  E. E. Evans Mourne Country 188:
The old drinks — crowdy, posset and skink — made with water, sweet milk, buttermilk and oatmeal.

3. A splash, a splutter of water. Dim. skinkie. Sc. 1878  Royal Caled. Curling Club Ann. 283:
What wild deuks gar the water flee Wi' aggravatin' skinkie.

[O.Sc. skynk, to make a present of, 1508, to pour wine, 1513, Mid.Eng. skynk, to draw wine, Mid. Du. schenken, schinken, id., to make a present of. The n. is from the v.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Skink v.1, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down