Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SKRAICH, v., n. Also scraich; skraigh, scraigh, schraigh (Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms iv. 1), skreagh, screagh (Uls. a.1870 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924) 35); skryaach (Abd. 1930); scraik (Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (5 Jan.); Mry. 1925; Ork. 1960), scrake, skraik, screck (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). [skre:ɛ; skre:k]

I. v. Of birds: to screech, to utter a high-pitched cry (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 67); of persons: to shriek, scream, shout (Jam.; Uls. 1923 Northern Whig (31 Dec.)). Gen. (exc.I.) Sc; of a horse: to neigh, whinny. Derivs. scraigher, one who screeches, specif. the mistle-thrush, Turdus viscivorus, so called from its loud cries when alarmed (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (15 Dec.) 10, screagher), ¶scraighton, person fond of screaming. For this formation cf. simpleton, Singleton, etc. Per. 1730  “John o' Blair” Donald of Glenisla (1931) 275:
I and my servant heard a skraiching.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Ep. to J. Lapraik i.:
Paitricks scraichan loud at e'en.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 343, 377:
The ither may go, The auld scraighton sea din, To the regions below. . . . Ned's song, which he gives with a scraigh when fou; indeed, he is the finest scraigher I ever heard.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxii.:
To steik up their scraighing gabs.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xii.:
He wad seize hauds o' the fiddle . . . makin' a skraighin' noise like a score o' gan'ers.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 134:
Scraichin a' she wus fit.
Bnff. 1939  J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 31:
Hark, hoo the pipers skraich.
Abd. 1956  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick iii.:
You smatchets, skirlin an' skryaachin.
Lth. 1966  Scots Mag. (Nov.) 174:
The ice was thrang wi' skaters an' wi' skraichan slidan weans.

II. n. 1. A shriek, screech, shrill strident sound (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 4:
A hoody . . . down on the foe She darts wi' wicked skraich.
Dmf. 1808  J. Mayne Siller Gun 70:
And nought was heard syne owr the green But scraighs and groans!
Ayr. 1821  Galt Annals iv.:
[The parrot] gied a skraik that made my whole head dirl.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 118:
The chiel wi' the skraigh makes a soun', whenever he bursts out a-speakin, like a great big midden pootry fool purshued by a ggem-cock.
Abd. 1868  G. Macdonald R. Falconer xxiii.:
His auld, useless, ill-mainnert scraich o' a fiddle.
Kcb. 1895  Crockett Moss-Hags xxiii.:
That was as naething to the scraich that the fowk aboot the fire gied.
Uls. 1904  E.D.D.:
I'll light on you with a scraigh, as the divil said to the ould seceder.
Kcd. 1932  L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 95:
She began to whistle, and laughed a loud scraich of a laugh.
Gsw. 1950  H. W. Pryde McFlannel Family Affairs 124:
As the scraighs rose in pitch and volume.

2. A puny, shrill-voiced person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 162; Abd. 1970). Kcd. 1932  L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 179:
As though Scotch wasn't good enough now, it had words in it that the thin bit scraichs of the English could never come at.

[Imit. of a high-pitched screech. Cf. Skreich, and Skrauch, which conveys a deeper and more prolonged sound.]

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"Skraich v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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