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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
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Quik, adj. (n., adv.) Also: quike, quikke, quick(e, qwik, qwic(k; quyk(e, quyc(k, qwyk; quhick, qwhik, quhyk; superl. also quicest. [ME cwicc (Orm), quic (c 1297), quik (Cursor M.), quicke, quycke, quyk, qwhick (1434), also whik (14th c.), whyke (1456–7), etc., also inflected quica (c 1200), cwike (Orm), quikes (Layamon) (see Queke adj.), OE cwic, cwicu.]

1. That is alive and not dead; living. Variously const. Also ellipt.For further examples see also Mart n.1 1. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxii 484.
That he gert sa rost a quyk man
Ib. xxxiii 91. 1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
All qwyk bestis, ky, oxon, nocht to be brocht in the tovne
1490 Irland Mir. MS fol. 335b.
That Poliphemus the gyant eit quyc men
1496 Treas. Acc. I 287.
To the man that brocht tua quyk herounis to the king
1502 Ib. II 342, 345, etc. 1513 Doug. viii viii 66.
The quyk bodeis … Adionyt to the corps and caryoun ded
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3124. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 10744. 1576 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 696/2.
That ȝe … estimat the valu betuix the deid and the quik ky that wes taken away
1581 Burne Disput. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. 113/23.
And ar maist villing to offer thair quik bodeis to the fyre
1591 Crim. Trials I ii 251 (see Pant v.). 1594 Maxwell Mem. II 6.
Sic quik stuff as ye haif … vennesone and wyld foull
1604-31 Craig ii 86.
Thou seems to be a quick & liuing leid And not an umber
c 1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 516.
A dead worm … or a quick one
1644 Black Sc. Witches 9. 1654 Nicoll Diary 139. 1680 Cunningham Diary 116.
To a boy for a quick partridge, £2
1689 Melville Corr. 143.
They eat all kind of quike creatures, as rats, mice, etc.
ellipt. 1494 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 67.
And at thai sell na powderit geis bot qwik or fresche powlit
(2) a1568 Wedderburn Bann. MS 240b/69.
The bludy sicht gart hir pairt with quick chyild
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 73.
Quhen ane man mareis ane heretrice of lands: procreates vpon hir ane quick barne
1614 Crim. Trials III 270.
Delyuerit of ane quik madin-bairne
1631 Monteith Stewartry Ct. 9 March.
Ane ȝow being with qwick lamb
(3) a1400 Leg. S. iii 476.
The lame … Remanys quhyk and hale I wis
Ib. 503.
How that lame that slane is dwell Quyk in his ryk
Ib. ii 198. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1842.
To se quhidder the barne was quick or deid
1594 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) II 248.
Newir to revele the samin salang as thay wer quik
a1605 Montg. Sonn. xix 6.
He must perforce be ather quik or deid
Id. Misc. P. xxvii 2.(4) a1400 Leg. S. xii 458.
That thai all quyke sal sink to hel
Ib. xxvi 536.
Tho he in his byschepryk Dwelland wes quyk & body-lyk
c1420 Wynt. i 1043.
[The foals] castyn syne ar qwyk [W. qwic] gangand
Ib. vi 64.
Halowys, that war ay plesand To God, quhill thai war qwyk lywand
Ib. vii 3444.
The lordys … That than remanyd qwyk [C. qwhik] lyvand
1531 Bell. Boece I 127.
That scho suld nocht cum quik in hir ennimes handis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1232.
Thow wald rin to get thy intent quick to the Deuill
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xl 163. 1596 Dalr. I 334/3.
Baith quick and deid he was miraculous, canonizet [etc.]
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Wrek.
Quhair an man … escapes quick out of the schip
1622-6 Bisset II 212/26.
1629 Justiciary Cases I 117.
Scho saw ane kat quik in the pannellis aprone
1632 Lithgow Trav. i 37.
There was a gray frier burning quicke at S. Markes pillar
(5) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 271.
For he that quyk sawit Moyses
c1420 Wynt. iv 392.
This Cresus Wes tane and broucht quyk [C. qwhik, W. qwik] tyll Cyrus
Ib. vii 1284.
Bot yhit thai … gert hyr be schorne And wan the barne all qwyk as borne … all kyndly
Ib. v 4406, vi 1075, etc. c1475 Wall. vii 864.
Thai left nane quyk
Ib. ix 1006. a1500 Bk. Chess 933.
Or than to fla thaim quyk
1513 Doug. Comm. i v 81. 1514-6 St. A. Formulare I 270.
And deliveris thame quyk to the devill of hell
1533 Boece 454.
Malcolme … quham thai had apprehendit quyk
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 736.
& gere the erde thare suely me Quik thare
1501 Treas. Acc. II 110.
To tua laddis that brocht ra kiddis quik to the king
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 679.
The Jowis … lousit the theif quik to sla agane
Ib. 728. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 28/83. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 370, 371. 1570 Leslie 81.
Thair wes fund tua scorpionis, ane quik and the uther deid
1581 Burne Disput. 41.
To rase vp Isaac agane quik
1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 378.
Quha wes brunt qwik
1596 Dalr. I 121/6. 1614 Melrose P. 183. 1648 Justiciary Cases III 768.
Quha eftir the delyverie of the said young chyld pat ane claith in his … throte being quik borne, and thairby suffocat him
c1650 Spalding II 170.
Bot the Parliamentaris resoluit … to haue him quik or deid
(c) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 344.
Thow seruis quick to be excoriate
Id. Seven S. 8580.
Sa sone as scho hir awin bird quick culd se
1596 Dalr. II 46/20.
Drawne and quartert quick
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Cvrialitas.
That ane bairne be borne … quick and liveand
1659-60 A. Hay Diary 167.
She found her child quick in her bellie
1668 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 25 (16 June).
He gatt the sheepe quick
(d) a1400 Leg. S. vi 249.
That he vald firste quyke tham fla
Ib. x 234. 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 670.
To bring ȝow quyke to heuin
1622-6 Bisset II 317/9.
Barthelmeo wes slane alyve … his skin pulled our his earis quike and [etc.]
(e) a1400 Leg. S. xvi 688.
That my wyf quhyk haf I mocht
Ib. xxi 428. c1420 Wynt. i 354.
Tane And haldyn quhyk
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 290.
I hald bettir the ded barne that neuir was borne quhyk
1609 Acts IV 420/2.
For I rather be eardit quhick
(6) 1456 Hay II 107/17.
And thus sall thou have honour bathe dede and quyk
1494 Loutfut MS 113b.
To enter thaim … on the peremptour day deid or quyk
a1500 Bk. Chess 1593.
Boith quyk & deid that thai suld neuer twyn
1533 Bell. Livy I 60/17. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 933 (B).

b. Quik and quhiddirfull, alive: see Quhidderfull adj.

c. Applied to devils or persons regarded as devils. 1540 Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 31.
I haif ane quick divill to my wyfe
15.. Clar. v 2354.
Thou art ane quike devill and no man
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 99.
Thow and thi haill sisters ar qwik gangand dewills, and ar becum his servands

d. (The day that a person was) quik and deid, = the day he died. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 13 (B).
Al the landis the qwhilkis he had the day that he was qwyk and dede
Ib. c. 85 (A).
To the heritagis of all tha landis that the fader hade quyk & deid that day that he deit
1449 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 8 May.
Umqhile John of Furde … held … that day that he was quyk & dede, tha fyf ryggs of land liand [etc.]
1454–5 Soc. Ant. Chart. (Reg. H.) No. 7.
1464–5 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 60. 1540 Elgin Rec. I 52.

e. absol. as noun: (the) living (people). a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv 96.
Quhen he sal deme Quyk and ded
c1420 Wynt. v 3958.
To se the qwyk the dede dyspoyle
a1500 Henr. Fab. 522.
Let quik to quik, and deid ga to the deid
c1515 Kennedy in Asl. MS II 273/26.
& [= if] quyk & deid couth wryte
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 17/62. 1531 Bell. Boece II 10. 1533 Gau 50/29. 1567 G. Ball. 41.
Gif ony to the quick ȝeid from the deide
a1568 Bann. MS 8a/311.
Ȝit vertew sowld fra vice be different As quick fra deid
1580–1 King's Confession in Facs. Nat. MSS III lxx.
His prophane sacrifice for the synnes of the dead and the quyck
1650 Elgin Rec. II 275.
Out of a burne where quik and dead goes over

2. In various transf. or fig. applications.(1) 1513 Doug. viii viii 69.
Quhil quyk mowthis dyd ded mowthis kys
(2) 1533 Boece 164.
Nobill Gald … we incall thi beryit corps (bot erare thi quyk and liffand spirit) to [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Devot. P. vi 38.
A bitter battell … Betuixt quick hope and dead dispair
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 319.
& in the mydis the altere A quyk wel sprang
1562-3 Winȝet II 54/3.
The fluidis of the quick springand wattir
(4) 1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. vi 730.
Igneus: lyke the fyre and quicke
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xiii 38.
Love … Quhilk halds the hairt so quik in heit
(5) 1649 Cullen Kirk S. 15 July.
On [grave] she called the dead graue & another the quick grau. … Shee beleved that if the child sould be putt in the quick graue that he vould live, & [etc.]

b. Of a claim: ‘Alive’, still being maintained, that has not lapsed. 1489 Acta Aud. 129/2.
A qwitclame & discharge of the said soume and werrandis of all clamis baith qwik & ded

3. Animate. 1549 Compl. 17/21.
Ther is nocht ane Scottis terme that signifeis al quyk sensibil thyng
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 851 (Wr.).
All quick things have such things. I meane both man and beast

b. Quik gudis (gear), ‘animate possessions’, livestock, cattle.Usu. in contradistinction to dede gudis, inanimate possessions.(1) 1435 Douglas Chart. 66.
The saide abbot … has grantit … al the gudis bath quik and dede
1503 Orkney Rentals i 68.
With the house insycht & all quik guidis that he had
1525 St. A. Formulare I 269. 1549 Glasgow Test. I 49b.
All the gudis deid and quik movables and immovables
1610 Morison Dict. Decis. VII 5408.
An hereȝeld of the best of his quick goods
1640 Maister George Blacke His Masterlesse Men 5.
To be employed about hirding his sheepe, or his cattle, his quicke goods, as we call them
1674 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 10 Sept.(2) 1650 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. LI (1975) 49.
Shoe enquyrit if he had any quick geir
1687 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 7 Oct.
Imprimus thrie kyn [etc.]. … Ther was no mor quick gear

4. Lively, alert, vigorous; prompt, ready, quick to act; keen, acute, smart.Also const. of, in, at an action, and comb. in quik-sichtit.(1) c1460 Consail Vys Man 231.
Be blyth and besy, quyk, & smert
1494 Loutfut MS 129a.
A ȝoung man meit for battell suld be with quyk eene & wpricht crag
1535 Stewart 20515.
Thair curage als that tyme wes so quik
1585 James VI Ess. 41.
Kythe heir and trie your force ay bent and quick
1587 Carmichael Etym. 10.
Lynx, a beast of quick sicht
c1590 Fowler I 108/105.
A quik and gallant lwik
Ib. 140/10.
Scharpe quik reviuer of my slow ingyne
1596 Dalr. II 181/26.
As a noble hors tuechte with the spur is mair quik
1630 Misc. Hist. Soc. II 264.
The quiknes of your sent … is a very quik sent for [etc.]
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 152/78.
In dance thay war so slaw of feit Thay gaif thame in the fyre a heit And maid thame quicker of counȝie
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 810 (T).
Nane quiker in knaverie
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. Pray. 23.
Mak me … quik in ȝour seruice without lichtnes and distraction of mynd
1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 18.
Quhick at meitt quhick at work

b. Of mental ability, and of persons in respect of this. Also adv.(1) 1533 Bell. Livy I 213/17.
The quyk ingyne of Ceso Fabius began to evanis
1533 Boece 61.
Of vive and qwik ingyne of mynde
a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. 56/36. 1587-99 Hume 20/98.
The mightie God He gaue to man a swift and agile thought … A quick revoluing reasone [etc.]
1594 Charteris Wall. Pref. 167.
As in maist quick foresicht & prudence
1619 Garden Elphinstoun 2232.
So highe was his engyne, So quick his naturall
(2) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus Prol. 27.
Quik of ingyne, of lordschip couetous
1596 Dalr. I 251/1. 1600-1610 Melvill 413.
Then the king's man that is quicest of ingyne, man devyse a glose
(3) 1577 Reg. Privy S. VII 189/2.
The avancement of curious and quick spreitis that heirtofoir [etc.]
1585 James VI Ess. 20.
This yle of Brittain, swarming full of quick ingynes
Ib. 39.
With quickest spreits left ley
1596 Dalr. I 341/10.
That quhat he forspak the quickest ingine that lyuet culde neuer perceiue

c. Of literary skill and literary composition: Lively, ‘bright’. Also adv. 1513 Doug. i Prol. 12.
I meyn thy crafty warkis curyus, Sa quyk, lusty and maist sentencyus
1594 Charteris Wall. Pref. 165.
And maist quick and witty craft & inuentioun
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 168/10.
Interteine pleasant, quike, bot honest discoursis
adv. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 180/75.
Merseir … That did in luf so lifly write, So schort, so quyk, of sentence hie

d. Of religious faith or apprehension. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 18.
Quyck remembrance of the passioun of Christ
Ib. 135.
Haiffand a leiffand and quick faith in Him
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 490.
Quyk faith but cheretabyll werkis Can neuer be
1558-9 Godlie Exhort. in Misc. Bann. C. III 318.
To ca[use ȝow] haue quick remembrance of the blyssit P[assioun of] our Saluiour
1562-3 Winȝet I 75/19.
The perfyte, quik fayth be the quhilk we apprehend the grace of God [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I 70/6.
Thair quick receiueng of the Christne religione, and evin vnto this age sa constantlie in it perseueiring

e. Of the content of speeches or manner of speaking: Sharp, caustic, bitter. 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 84.
It was na wounder in case her majestie had gevin thame quike and scharpe answeris
1558-66 Knox II 412 n.
Quick speeches betwix some courteours, barrons and ministers
1558-66 Knox II 413.
For in all those quick ressonyngis he openit not his mouthe
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1685.
A slow soft tongue betokenis modesty. But quik and loud signis of inconstancy

f. Of a person's complexion: Fresh. 1533 Boece 408b.
His coloure was hail & quyk

g. Quik-sichtit, sharp-sighted. 1618 Crim. Trials III 451.
That the Inglischmen ar michtilie blind, fylet and dissauit, (althocht quik-sichtit vtherwayis)
Ib. 586.
Ane natioun full of eyis and quick-sichtit
1652 Nicoll Diary 100.
Or ar they quicker sichted than Elias quho saw not ane of the sevin thowsand that God haid reserved to himself?

5. Of representations: To the life, vivid. Also b. to the quik, to the life. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1438.
Subtile muldrie … Quick imagerie with mony lustie singis
Ib. 1861. Id. Æn. vi xv 6.
Heirefter mony ane Sal hew quyk facis furth of marbil stane
1531 Bell. Boece I 69.
Ane huge stane, gravin to the quik image of Cadall
Ib. II 461.
He commandit ane paintour … to paint hir visage to the quik
Id. Livy I 4/4.
Als quyk as thai war led afore ȝour ee
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 161/438.
Of oure boddies dead so quikke & many mirrouris cleare

6. Speedy. 1600 Crim. Trials II 287.
And the soner the better … and therfor pray his lo. be qwik [Acts quhick]
1611-57 Mure Sonn. 1 Ser. xii 2.
Puir, perjurd palliard, … By quick repentance heavin's just wrath prevents

7. noun. The ‘quick’ or living or sensitive part of a horse's hoof; the ‘quick’ or tender part of a sore.(1) 1478 Acts II 119/2.
Becaus that ignorant smethis … crukis mennis hors throw schoyne in the quyk
1502 Treas. Acc. II 153.
His own hors schod in the quyk
1562–3 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 66.
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 72.(2) 1571 Sat. P. xxvi 168.
Fra tyme the spur and hit him on the quik
(3) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1205 (Wr.).
When Hope was gald into the quick

8. Quasi-adv. Dede and quyke, outhir quyk or dede, in every way, entirely. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 1144.
To gere men wit that he wes wike In al degre [bath] dede & quyke
?1438 Alex. ii 1860.
Outhir quyk or dede, ouris is the land

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"Quik adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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