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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

(Pok), Pokk, Pock, Poke, n. Also:poik, polk. Plur. also pox(e. [ME and e.m.E. plur. pockes (c 1325), pokkes (14th. c.), pockis (1477), -es, pox(e (1503), etc., sing. pokke (15th c.), pock (1530), OE poc, pocc- (masc.), pustule, ulcer, MDu., MLG pocke, EFris. pok, pokke, all fem.; OF pocque etc. (1400–1574 in Godef.), from LG or Eng.] A pock.

1. A pustule in any eruptive disease. Also comb. c1520-c1535 Nisbet III 318/15
Ewin as anne ewill skabbe or anne poke cann not alwayis be keipit in with … medicynne
. 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 10.
Siclyk quhen pokis or sic pustulis are frequent not onlie amangis barnis [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 310 (T).
The poikis [H. pockes] lyk peis
1661 Elgin Rec. II 294.
She saw the chyld seik in the pocks and being enquired what she thought of the pock she ansuered that it was a lipper pock;
comb. a1646 Wedderburn Voc. 20.
Foveæ variolarum pock-marks

2. plur. usu. with def. art. A disease characterised by pocks or pustules, as small-pox or chicken-pox, also syphilis.Also Spanȝie pokkis, French pokkis, syphilis, qq.v. below; and see also small-pokkis, swine-pokkis.For further examples, see Dunb. 1v in Lib v.2 2a and Libbin(g vbl. n. a, in which it has been suggested there may be puns on Poke n. 1.(1) c1500 Rowll Cursing 52 (B).
Emeroidese or the sair hals The pokkis the spaving in the hals
c1500-c1512 Dunb. 1v 5, etc.
Bott than thair wyffis … baid tham … abyd At hame, and lib tham of the pockis [: flockis, cockis, lockis, crockis, rockis, etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. II 191/10.
The kingis grace … was struckkin witht ane gret fever of the pockis
a1578 Pitsc. II 191/10.
His youngest sonne … being new rissin out of the pockis
1630 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III 465.
His youngest sonne … being new rissin out of the pockes
1633 Buccleuch Mun. II 352.
Ther is ane colledg for doctoris erecttit … and pockis curit for nothing
1672 Stirling Common Good 76.
Halfe a muskine of seck to the hangmans bairne when it had the pocks
(b) 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 9.
The pokis, mesillis & siclik diseisis of bodie
1629 Maxwell Mem. II 202.
My haill … howsell hes tane the pokis
1630 Brechin Test. IV 398.
Beinge heveillie diseasit in bodie with the seiknes callit the pokis
(c) 1507 Alloway Baron Ct. 10 June.
[She] allegit that thai deit of the polkis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 105.
The kingis grace … wes lying seik … in the polkis
1602 Treas. Acc. MS 150.
Grene Spanis taffatie to cum ovir hir heid quhen scho had the polkis and sair ene
(d) 1611-57 Mure Son. xii 14.
How punisht with the palsie and the poxe
1629 Dalyell Darker Superst. 491.
Wally fall that quhyt head of thine, but the pox will tack thé away from thy mother
1636 Elgin Rec. II 230.
To haue a fast in suche extreim disease of the poxe among the young children
1636 Old Kirk Chron. 20.
[He adds that eight children] dyit of the poxe this yeir in Tyninghame
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lv 30.
Sum fra the bordell wald nocht byd Quhill that thai gatt the Spanȝie pockis
(3) 1602 Cal. Sc. P. XIII 1017.
[My Lord Home being sore grieved with the French] pokis
1642 St. A. Presb. 6.
That poore woman … fyled by her husband with the French poxe
a1651 Calderwood III 480.
Some houses of the high toun were … plagued with the Frenche pokes
1650 Lamont Diary 14.
Many reported that he dyed of the French pockes, comonlie called the glengore
1669 Edinb. B. Rec. X 61.
Externall or internall medicaments for cureing the viroll or Frensh pocks

b. Latterly also in imprecations, as in e.m.E. (1588–).Also construed as a sing. 1639 Bk. Pasquils (1827) ii 92.
Poxe one the pope his holy watter then
1673 Fugitive Poetry II xxxii 3/100.
Bais slutt, a pox upon her

3. A disease of sheep. In plur., as pox, and ? attrib. sing.Also e.m.E. pockes, poxe, pocke, a disease of sheep characterised by a scab, recorded 1531–1607. 1521 Dundee B. Ct. I fol. 47 b (4 Oct.).
Quhar ony presentis nocht all thar muton to the mercat … or bryngis ony demembret flesch blawyn or infekkit with pokk or lung evyll
1601 Brechin Test. I 215 b.
Ten ȝowes havand thair lambes deid in the pox

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"Pok n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Apr 2024 <>



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