Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WINK, v., n. Sc. usages:

I. v. 1. To close one's eyes, keep one's eyes closed. Obs. in Eng. in 18th c. Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf v.:
I thought I saw him still, though I winked as close as ever I could.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 123:
Ye'll fin' I dinna sleep aye when I'm winkin', But, watchin', whyles I see on wha yer blinkin'.

2. As in Eng., to blink. Sc. deriv. n. winker, gen. in pl., the eyelid(s), eyelash(es) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 275). In Eng. now dial. or slang. Sc. 1825  Writer's Clerk II. xx.:
His languid eyes, covered, now and then by winkers.
Sc. 1844  Songs for Nursery 20:
O! its wearie, wearie winkers, Close they'll no for a' my skill.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 167:
The saut tears on her winkers hing.
Fif. 1866  J. Morton C. Gray 70:
An' lang will I for thee, sweet thing, My winkers weet.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxvi.:
Curling upward like the winkers of an old man's eye.

Hence freq. winkle, (i) to wink repeatedly, keep winking (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Agent n. winkler, an eye (Sc. 1930; Cai. 1974). Cf. winker above: (ii) to twinkle, as of a star. (i) Slk. 1807  Hogg Mountain Bard 63:
What though she has twa little winkling een? They're better than nane.
(ii) Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 37:
In vain the starry winkling gleam.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic. Bard 168:
The brightest star that 'mang ye shane, Nae winklin' gleed.

3. ? To appear and disappear fitfully. Abd. 1836  J. Grant Tales of Glens 60:
The south side o' the road whilk crooks and winks aboot wi' the windin's o' the water.

II. n. 1. As in Eng. Phrs.: (1) to let wink, to drop a hint, to divulge something, by confusion with let wit, id., s.v. Wit; (2) to play wink, to wink. (1) Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 94:
I saw the whole thing in a blink, but never lut wink.
(2) Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 347:
He'd speak to her and then to me, Play wink at her his scoundrel e'e.

2. Dim. forms: (1) winkie, (i) an eyelid; (ii) sleepiness. A child's word. Cf. Willie, 2.(31); (iii) a lamp, light, esp. one that is unsteady or flickering, specif. the lighted buoy marking the end of a line of herring nets (e.Sc., wm.Sc. 1974); a street oil-lamp; (2) winklet (from winkle), a faint twinkle. (1) (i) Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 48:
Wi' them 'neath my head, tho' I bou'd nae a winkie, I wadna changed places wi' Willie the Fourth.
(iii) Dmf. 1830  W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life II. 194:
A home-made winkie — a long stripe of linen rag, saturated with the tallow of the last killed sheep, and coiled together like a serpent, with the lighted end projecting upwards in the middle, to serve the purpose of either a lamp or candle.
Ayr. 1832  H. Smith Poet. Misc. 123:
This glimmering blinkie Will lend its aid until respite Is forced by winkie.
Rxb. 1911  J. J. Vernon Pictures 59:
The “wee winkies” gave forth but a very feeble light, not sufficient to reveal the inequalities and uncertainties of the roadway.
Sc. 1956  M. Graham Fisheries U.K. 60:
A lighted buoy or “winkie” on the end of the net first put in the water.
(2) Bwk. 1859  P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 22:
“Weel, weel,” quoth the minister, wi' a slee winklet in his e'e, “What's the meanin' o' that phrase — ‘Opus operatum?'”

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"Wink v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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