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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.

Balk, Bauk, n. Also: balke, ballk, baulk; bawk, bawke; bak, baak, bakke, back(e; bake, baik. [ME. balk, balke (c 1300), OE. balca ridge, ON. bálk-r beain, low wall, MDu. balke, balc beam.]

1. A ridge or unploughed strip lying between two portions of ploughed land.In Latin form occurring c 1320 in the Liber Calchou 199: Usque ad antiquam balcam quæ est antiqua marchia ad pedem del Whitelawe. Ib. Versus austrum per balcam lapideam.(a) a1500 Henr. Fab. 184.
Throw mosse & muir, throw bankis, balk, and breir
1535 Stewart 16532.
Byding on this oist Endlang ane balk quhair that he gat sum beild
1549 Ann. Banff I. 24.
No man to putt … ony hors vpone ony balk without he have corne of bayth the sydes of the balk
1576 Orkney & Sh. Rec. I. 209.
Anent the possessing of gras, outbrekis and balkis
1590 Lanark B. Rec. 98.
To sycht the tounes landis, balkis, heid roumes and landis within the tounes landis
1595 Bamff Chart. 144–5.
To the south end of ane balk quhilk devydis the saidis landis, and swa passand north be the said balk … to the heid of the said balk, and … north west to ane uther grene balk lyand alswa betuix the saidis landis
1607 Melrose R. Rec. I. 33.
Thay … decernis the said balke of land to perteine to the said Johne Hall
1649 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 688.
The pendicle of the landis of Argethin callit the Auldtoune balkis
1667 Melrose R. Rec. II. 178.
Fower furrs of ane balk perteining to the said parties
1691 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 195.
Another croft lying … under the great balk, called the Long Rigg
(b) 1539 Crim. Trials I. i. 220.
Ȝe had fled … , war nocht ȝe war hurt, and passit to ane bauk
1542 Lanark B. Rec. 19.
Syklyk of tham that tha fynd scherand wther menis corne or baukis
1561 Monymusk Writs No. 16.
The gryit stane in the bauk
(c) 1549 Ann. Banff I. 23.
Act anent putting hors in bakis
1576 Rec. Earld. Orkney 139.
The assese ordaneis … [he] sall haiff his bak to the hill
1595 Bamff Chart. 141.
Passand northe ane reisk bak linalie To the waster dyk
1654 Lamont Diary 95.
The rest of the cariers left him by the way … in a bakke amonge the corne
1679 Ann. Banff I. 158.
Anent hors and key eatting in bakis interjected betuixt tua menis cornes
(d) 1576 Orkney & Sh. Rec. I. 270.
Anent the fredome of ane baik … as the marcheis was settled within the dykis
1582 Protocol Bk. J. Scott 125.
To ane greyin baik that lyis betuix thir saidis persones landis
1585 Rec. Earld. Orkney 306.
The hous … biggit upoun the Kingis baik outwith the auld bow

2. A wooden beam.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 538.
Ymang vthyr was a tre, Quhare-of a balk mad suld be
1456 Hay II. 156/24.
That he se … nocht a grete balk in his awin eyne
c1500 Fyve Bestes 217.
All this sawe the cok apon the balk
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 88.
For vjc xxxvj corbellis and balkis
1513 Doug. xii. x. 121.
At ane hie balk teyt vp scho has … a stark cord
1532 M. Works Acc. II. 54.
To the said kechin ruf … xiiij cupillis … with baulkis, angularis, & ryn pan
1549 Compl. 93/12.
He gart hang … tua and tua ouer ane balk
1596 Dalr. I. 61/31.
Mony ane sawe the balkes of the same schip cleine consumed
1601 Crim. Trials II. 360.
Thay band ane tedder about his nek, and hang him vp vpoune ane balk
1629 M. Works Acc. XX. 30 b.
Ane balk and soull for ane grit buket of the well
1666 Alford Rec. 98.
The hall and chamber consisting of eight cuples, of one balk
(b) c1475 Wall. vii. 201; Ib. 212.
A bauk was knyt all full off rapys keyne
1504 Treas. Acc. II. 285.
vj bawkis and ix ouerloft bawkis to the said schip
1513 Doug. ix. vii. 86.
At … Thy haly tempillys rufe, or bawkis hie
1554 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 161.
For ane greit bauk of ane schip to be ane upstandart
1659 Melrose R. Rec. I. 228.
Ane bauk of wood
1638 Bk. Pasquils 40.
A whyted bauk of rotten timmer
(c) 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 150.
Twa greit bakis to be stullis to the malt myln
1543 A Common Good Acc. MS.
For bringing vp of the bakkeis and the pauilȝeoun to the tolbuith
1695 Ann. Banff I. 98.
For … ane back to be steps to the gallowes
(d) 1538 Soc. Ant. II. 403.
A pair of clipis, a baike, a great towe
1602 Shetl. Sheriff Ct. 60 b.
Ane baik of ane schip cum in at Skeawik

3. The beam of a balance or pair of scales.(a) 1417 Exch. R. IV. 273.
Pro costagiis factis super tronam, videlicet, pro uno ligno, et ferro pro le balke
1425 Ib. 385.
Pro … le balk et broddis novis
14.. Acts I. 387/2.
The mesure of the balk that men weyis with sal be … an elne and j quartar
1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 279.
To the pyonars that tuk doun the balk at the over Trone, [and] mendit and justifeit the samyne
1586 St. A. Test. II. 60 b.
Ane balk and ane pair of broddis
1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I. 167.
Aik tymber … to mak new balkis and hingaris at the melting furnace
1654 Stirling B. Rec. I. 214.
To send … for a steill bark [sic] and wechtis to the said weyhous
1681 Lanark B. Rec. 205.
Tuo balks and tuo pair of brods
1695 Ib. 253.
Tuo great baulks with broads
(c) 1651 Stirling B. Rec. II. 306.
For ane new baak & brods to the tron
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 47.
Thrie baaks, ane of thame yron and tua of tree
Thrie great yron cleikis for hinging of the bak
1666 Rec. Old Aberd. I. 107.
Being chairgit for having vnfamous wechtis and the bak therof being teine from him
(d) 1538 Aberd. Reg. MS. XVI. (J).
Ane pair of baiks of woll wyis
1548–9 A Common Good Acc. MS.
Item for ane bake ij s.
1573 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 10.
A pair of weyis witht baikis

4. Attrib. with nail, spar. 1494 Treas. Acc. I. 254.
jm bauke nales
1497 Ib. 331.
ix schort balk sparris
1513 Ib. IV. 496.
iijm jc bauke naile
1534 Ib. VI. 235.
For iijc balk nalis

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



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