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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Abak, Aback, adv. Also: abake, abaik. [ME. abak, a bak, reduced form of OE. on bæc: see Bak sb.]

1. Aback, backwards; back again.

a. With verbs of motion.c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2835 (sche eschewede sumquhat abak). c1420 Wynt. viii. 6771 (gais abak). ?1438 Alex. i. 1663 (had put abak the Turkis). 1456 Hay I. 267 (the syn puttis him abak). a1500 Henr. Fab. 429 (to fle abak); 1034 (abak he socht). a1500 Seven S. 220 (he drewe abak). c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 180 (thay went abak). 1513 Doug. v. xiv. 8 (thai threw the ra abak). 1535 Stewart 2436 (thai skalit bayth abak). a1540 Freiris Berw. 349 (kest abak his hude). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 187/22 (his purpois was put abak). 1583 Wemyss Corr. 81 (to bring yow abak word). 1614 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 223 (returne them abak agane). 1622-6 Bisset I. 112/25 (to repell and beir a bak utheris).

b. With verbs of looking.c1460 Thewis Gud Wemen 108 (to kek abak). c1515 Asl. MS. I. 304/21 (his wyf luking abak). 1513 Doug. ii. xi. 100 (neuer abak blent I agane).

2. In a backward position or state. (Esp. with hald.)c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 223 (hald abak!). 1513 Doug. ii. ii. 97 (the north wynd held thame abak). 15.. Clar. ii. 60 (thay stand abake). 1570 Sat. P. xii. 156 (ȝe ly abak). c 1582 Waus Corr. I. 264 (I vas euer the farder abak). 1596 Dalr. I. 78/16 (to keip aback slachtir). 1622 Elgin Rec. II. 174 (to hald abak the beggeris).

b. Abak and afore, in back and front. 1574 Rec. Earld. Orkney 351.
[Their] tenement of land … abak and affoir
1578 Reg. Great S. V. 773/1.
My tenement of land abak and affoir, with the yaird and pertinents

c. Abakwritten, written on the back (of a document). 1566 Bk. Edinb. Club VI. 83.
For expensis maid be the dekin abak wrytin
1599 Conv. Burghs II. 66.
Collectour and vnder ressauear of the impost abakwrittin
1606 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 58.
The submissioun and designatioun abakwrittin

3. Back; in return. 1574 Prot. Bk. T. Lindsay 70.
Ay and quhill the aris … content and pay abak agane … the said soume
1605 Edinb. Test. XL. 229.
The said Gilbert delyuerand to him abak ane cloik

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"Abak adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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