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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Rak, n.1. Also: rack; raik;Ruk. [In early use, chiefly north. Eng. and Sc. ME rac (a1300), rak (14th c.), rake (c1400), rakke (c1440). Cf. Norw. and Sw. dial. rak (Sw. vrak, Dan. vrag) wreck, refuse, rubbish, etc., f. reka to drive.]

1. A rush or onset; the shock of onset.To makrak (aganis), to assail, to assault; to invade destructively.(1) c1420 Wynt. iii 331.
Thare he [Samson] made than rak for rak [W. sa huge a rak] Quhyll conyhe and rabet bath he brak
1570 Leslie 103.
The Lord Hwme … maid invasiones and rack aganis Scotland, and brint sindre townes and spulyeit the cuntrey
(2) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 918.
The bernys bowit abak Sa woundir rude wes the rak
1513 Doug. xi xii 41.
Thai meit in melle with a felloun rak
1535 Stewart 9030.
Cesus Nausica … with his raikis all that land ouir raid
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 956.
It is a sewr raik quhair the gude wife dings the gudeman

b. A noise, as of a shock or explosion; a crash. — c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 240.
Thai fyrit gunnis …, The rochis all resownyt wyth the rak

2. a. A rush of wind; a gale, storm. b. Driving mist or fog. 1513 Doug. viii iv 128.
The ryver wolx effrayt with the rak, And, demmyt with the rokis, ran abak
Ib. x v 127.
The dyrk clowdis … Thai fle the weddris blast and rak of wynd
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 131.
The mornyng bla, wan and har, With clowdy gum and rak ourquhelmyt the ayr

3. Applied (hyperbolically) to a series of farts. Cf. 1 b and 2 a above. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 155/155.
Ane rak of fartis lyk ony thunner Went fra him blast for blast
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4356 (B).
Syne all turnd till a rak [Ch. rickill] of fartis

4. As a place-name element. = A ford.Cf. later southern Sc. dial. rack, in this sense (1705). 1659-60 A. Hay Diary 149.
I left Mr. Robert at Thankertoun rack

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"Rak n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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