Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SUNK, n.1 Also sonk and dim. forms sunkie, sonkie. [sʌŋk]

1. A seat made of turf, a kind of settle or sofa made of sods laid in layers, freq. constructed at the fireside or against a sunny gable (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 155; Uls. 1904 E.D.D.); a bench or long seat, in gen. Dim. sunkie, a little bench or stool, e.g. a milking-stool (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. 1747  Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) I. 205:
The Prince sat at the cheek of the little ingle, upon a fail sunk.
Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 184:
A butt an' ben, Wi' earthen sunks a' round about the wa'. Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 129: Cosily on the green sunk they sat. Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 156: I threw my pen upon the sunk. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxii.: Mony a day hae I sat on my sunkie under that saugh.
Ags. 1848  W. Gardiner Flora Frf. 88:
A turf-built sofa by the fire, termed a sunk.
Mry. 1866  J. Shanks Elgin 172:
The old stone, called in Morayshire a sunk, which sat by the old fireplace.

2. A bank or wall, esp. of earth or turf. Comb. sunk-dyke, a wall built of stone or turf at one side and earth at the other, a face-dyke (see Face, n., 2. (3)) (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 186). Bnff. 1812  D. Souter Agric. Bnff. 143:
Forming the sunk or bank of earth in a proper manner, at 3d. per ell.
Abd. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XII. 361:
26,900 ells of double ditch and sunk or mound between the two ditches.
Abd. 1875  A. Smith New Hist. Abd. II. 925:
The larger farms are enclosed . . . with earthen sunks and hedgerows.

3. (1) A pad or cushion formed by stuffing sacking with straw or the like and used esp. as a substitute for a saddle (Sc. 1808 Jam.), gen. in pl. as forming a pair slung on either side of the horse. Comb. Sunk-pock, a bag tied to the sunks in which a tinker may carry his “goods, baggage and children” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Sc. c.1714  Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 47:
He'll ride nae mair on strae sonks, For gawing his German hurdies. Slg. 1767 Caled. Mercury (21 Nov.): Her horse, feeding in a field hard by, the sunks not wet.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 12:
My father left me when he died, fifty merks, twa pair of sunks.
Peb. 1793  R. Brown Comic Poems (1817) 129:
Jock, the Laird's brither and guide, On yad and sunks astraddle. Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality i.: A ‘sunk', or cushion of straw, instead of saddle.
Dmf. 1830  W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life II. 140:
When the ladies ride abroad, their steeds are caparisoned in straw sonks and hair halters.
Per. 1835  J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. (1887) 44:
A lusty dragoon, lifted him from his sunks on the pony.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 90:
Lay the sunks on your yellow mare.

(2) Fig. a hefty corpulent person, with a sack-like figure (Kcd., Ags. 1971). Dim. sunkie, id. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 430). Abd. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. vi.:
“Because I tauld that sunk, Lumley — ” “Ca' naebody names, Robert.”
Ags. 1882  Brechin Advert. (24 Oct.) 3:
Lord Panmure wis a great sunk o' a man. Ags. 1957: A great sunk o' a wuman. A sunk o' a bairn.

[Orig. obscure. O.Sc. sonk, straw saddle, c.1500, turf seat, 1513.]

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"Sunk n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sunk_n1>

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