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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Pik, Pyk, Pick, v.2 [ME. and e.m.E. picken (Wyclif), pikken (Chaucer, Camb. MS.) to peck, pick, probe (Lydgate), rare till 16th. c., when = to cull, choose, cleanse, etc.; late ON. (13th c.) pikka, pjakka, to peck, prick; MLG., LG., E.Fris. pikken to pick, peck; MDu. picken to pick, peck, strike with beak, cut with scythe (Du. pikken). Cf. Pike v.1, also Norw. pikka, Sw. picka, Da. pikke, to pick, peck, piercewith pointedtool, also throb, mod. Germ. (f. LG.) picken, also pīken, pieken.]

1. intr. To peck (at something). b. tr. To peck (something). 1398 (a 1447) Bower Chron. 423.
I beer a py pykkand at ane pes, quha so pykkis at her I sal pyk at his nese in faith
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 237 (Ruddim.).
The kowschot croudis and pykkis on the ryse
Ib. vi. ix. 136 (C).

2. tr. To cleanse with a pointed instrument.a. To dress (a mill-stone with a mill-pick). b. To pick (the teeth). 1583–4 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 320.
That the said milleris sall pik the said mylnis als oft as neid beis
1650 Brechin Presb. 19.
Quhilk he refused to doe till the mill was picked
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 195.
A turd to pyk your teith withall

3. To pick (a quarrel) (with, at, to another). 1551 Acts II. 482/2.
It sal not be leiffull … to … pik gruge or querrell
a1568 Bann. MS. 157 b/18.
With ane quarrell to riche & to pure ay reddy to pyk
1575 Reg. Privy C. II. 461.
Thay wer not content bot pikkit querrellis [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I. 253/7.
They counsellit the king to pick ane quarrell at the king of Ingland

4. To prick. 1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Pungo, to pick or brod

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"Pik v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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