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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Sek(e, Seik(e, Sik, adj. Also: seyk(e, seyik, seick(e, siek, seak(e, seek(e, seck, sick(e, sike, syk, sic. [ME and e.m.E sic (c1200), seoc, sick (both Layamon), sek (c1250), syk, sijk (both c1290), seke (Cursor M.), sike (a1320), seek (14th c.), OE séoc.]

A. adj. Suffering from illness, or disease; ill, unwell.Also qualified by various intensifiers, and seke and sare (sare and seke, seik sore).Also, in various legal contexts (e.g. wills), specif. of a person's physical, as opposed to mental, state. Also transf. and fig.For silver seke, see Silver n. 14 c.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxi 322.
& to the abbot, that wes meke, Send to tel quhou scho wes seke
c1420 Liber Calchou II 448.
Gif the sekman covet greatly to drynk vyn gif hym ther for venager mengyd wyt mekyl water
14.. Burgh Laws c. 32 (A).
Quhat burges beis nocht at thai mutis or essonȝeis nocht him lauchfully bot gif he war sek or vtouth the countre … sal gif iiii d.
?14.. Ship Laws c. 25 (B).
Of a schipman falland seke … the maystyr … aucht to get hym a woman or a man to kepe hym
1456 Hay I 152/5.
Gif a man of armes becummys seke in the weris, gif he suld be payit of his wagis
1456 Hay II 116/2.
Gif he takis mare of syk lyflade [sc. food and drink] na nedefull is till his nature, he will be seke
c1508 Ch. & M. Prints p. 192 colophon.
Quod Dunbar quhen he wes sek
1517 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 99.
Ane child … is fallin sek and is suspectit to be the boche
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 228.
To … charge all and sindry maisteris, skipparis, [etc.] … cumin furth of Burdeaux, Scherand [etc.] … that cognitioun be takin be thame giff ony of thame be seke
(b) 1375 Barb. ix 112 (C).
And vist that swa seik wes the king That men doutit of his coueryng
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2535.
?1438 Alex. II 5719.
Throw brount of hors and chad-melle Quhare sum salbe vnsound and seik
c1420 Wynt. v 1096.
Quhethyr evyr hale or seyke thai were
1460 Newburgh B. Ct. fol. 4b.
Thar was sertane wmfrutfulle personis seyik to be baniswvt out off the ton
1460 Hay Alex. 2377.
He wist King Philip was sumparte seik
1460 Hay Alex. 17436, 17437.
That foul that was sa sle Quhilk wald neuer luke on seik men that wald de Bot and ane seik man suld worth hale and fere Scho lukit till him blythlie
1498 Acta Conc. II 196.
1513 Doug. vi iv 80.
Pail Maladeis that causys folk be seik
1541 Reg. Cupar A. II 209.
[He] sall haif his meit of the conwentis lewingis … and sall mak seruice … to the seik brethir gif he be chargit
15.. Dum Wyf 62.
Ewill mot ȝe fair That wald not lat me rest And I sa seik this nicht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2357.
To walkin ȝow of ȝour first sleip, ȝe wald Bene seik the morne, and wonder ill disposit
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3847.
Ane mekill well Of quhilk thair rais ane foull smuke and a reik That wald haue maid a man baith blind & seik
a1568 Bann. MS 144a/32.
Fy on him fowmart now is he fled And left the madin swownyng seik
a1568 Bann. MS 255a/16.
Sum for his ladyis luve lyis seik
1576 Crim. Trials I ii 54.
Thom … layit doun to hir ane grene silkin laise … and baid hir tak it to thair wylie coittis and knit about thair left arme and incontinent the seik woman suld be deliuer [sc. of a baby]
1593 Conv. Burghs I 417.
Johnne Guthre, generall clark … being now seik and diseasit
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 10.
The said Kaithrein brocht of the wattir that scho makis … quhen thai had seik ky … and hailled thame
a1605 Montg. Sonn. xxv 5.
Syn I am subject somtyme to be seik, And daylie deing of my auld diseis
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 64.
For ane mask to ane seik hors vi s. viii d.
(c) 1563-72 Ferg. Answer in Tracts 31.
Seicke swine and fearsy horses
1684 Jervise Memor. Angus & Mearns II 300.
To John Sturrock officer quhen he was seick at the magistrats command
1685 Elgin Rec. I 338.
Williame Brodie, smyth, ane seick sojor
(d) 1580 Cath. Tr. 46/22.
Is any seake amang you lat him call for the preistes of the kirk
1651 Johnston Diary II 55.
It is a strainge nik of providence that when this airmy should goe to the feilds, their head should fall seake
1654 Laing MSS 293.
Alexander Jaffray is lying seake and so is Mr. Jhon Meinȝeis bedfast and not aible to goe up
(e) 1468 Acts II 92/2.
Gif ony … hapynnis to be seeke or absent in the kingis seruice in ambaxat
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 126/87.
Till he became so seeke as he fell doune where Neptune fand him fawen
1640 Baillie I 281.
So soon as he heard of the lieutenant's committment to the Black-Rod, he fell seek
1662 S. Ronaldsay 37.
The minister seeke, being heavily pained and bedfast by ane dolour in his arme
(f) a1400 Leg. S. ix 21.
The tempil of syk mene [L. languentibus] Wes fillit ful
1560 Breadalbane Lett.
I am als sik as ony other man may be and tinkis [sic] nocht to schepe parrall of my lyf
1696 Cramond Kirk S. IV 24 April.
[She] saw the said Jonet Linn after she had taken her pottage at breakfast turn sicke & vomitt her breakfast three dayes together
(2) 1545 Douglas Corr. 154.
The Frenche king hes bein sore seyke; hie is veille amendit
1566 Anderson Collect. Mary II 271.
And the king was now departit to Glasgow quhair he fell deadly seck
1571 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 654/2.
I hawe beyne wery extreme seik
1597 Crim. Trials II 26.
Bessie Inglis in the Kowgait, being deidlie seik
c1610 Melville Mem. 20.
Bischop Jhon Hamiltoun … had bene sa extream seak that his speache was tint, with all hope of lyf or recouery
1623 Hawick Ann. 256.
Robert Hereis, minister at Dryfsdaill, that he was bedfast seik aucht or nyne oulkis befoir
1604-31 Craig v 21.
I pray and beseike, … On your man haue remorse; … For hee is sore sicke
1655 Annandale Corr. 305.
George hathe beine verrie sike thir 3 weikes, and not lyke to recover
1665 Blairs P. 60.
Our old man is verye seek for the present and haes euer been deteened in his bed since Christmesse
a1700 Mare of Colinton 710.
Shew to John Smith, my master dear, That I am sair siek lying here, At point of death
(3) a1400 Leg. S. vi 367.
Al that euire ware sek & sayre [L. debiles et infirmos], He gerte disseuire fra them thare
1535 Stewart 5109.
All his knichtis that wer seck and soir, Quhilk in the feild had bene hurt of befoir
Arundel MS 253/446.
Help me, saif me, confort me, kepe me, hele me, that is baith seke and sair
1567 G. Ball. 30.
To day ane man is fresche and fair, To morne he lyis seik and sair
c1590 Fowler I 148/6.
I leiue, yet deid, seik sore, I find me sound
(4) 1456 Misc. Bann. C. III 96.
I, Alexander of Suthyrland of Dunbeith, seyk in body, hayl in mynd, makis my testament in this manner
1525 Misc. Bann. C. III 107.
I David Sincler … , seik in my bodye nevir the less hail in to my mynd
1562 Carte Northberwic 86. 5621637 Grant Chart. 230. 1672 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct.) 4 April.
The testament … of William Keawen … giwen doun be his avin mowth … lyeing seik of bodie … but of ane reassonable remembrance
1699 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 746 (20 Feb.).
Being weakly and seak of body but of ane perfect memory
(5) transf. and fig. 1490 Irland Mir. III 6/1.
The synnar is the seik man, the prestis and kyrkmen ar seruandis to this noble medycinar [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 178/10.
The stait of man dois change and vary, Now sound, now seik, now blith, now sary
1513 Doug. iii ii 153.
The seik grond denyis hys fruyt and fudis
1596 Dalr. I 109/31.
Nochtheles mony was seik of ane vice; to wit, immoderat libertie of lyfe
1685 Recs. of Old Tolbooth in Bk. Old Edinb. C. XI 46.
Phisitians … to give their ansyr of his seek conditione

b. Seke folk(is), seke men, (the) sick or ill people, the sick. Also possess. in seikmenis, seikmannis ȝeardis (hous, croft) and seikmennis saule.Freq. used collectively of a community of (? chiefly chronically) sick people (as lepers, plague victims, etc.).For further details of the seke men's yards in Dundee, see Old Dundee I 375.(1) 1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 15.
That na man inhabitant … commoun or intromet witht the sic folk of Kingcase
1488 Treas. Acc. I 98.
To the seke folk at Crawmond Brig
1504 Treas. Acc. II 267.
To by ane cheldir of mele to the seik folkis in Strivelin
1505 Treas. Acc. III 161.
The xx day of September, be the kingis command, to the seik folkis of Leith, vij s.
1507 Treas. Acc. IV 75.
At the port of Strivelin to the seik folk thare
1545–6 Treas. Acc. VIII 444.
To certane seik folk on the Linkis of Leith
1546 Aberd. B. Rec. I 244.
That Sanct Nicholace braid siluer be given to the sustentatioun of the seik folkis of the pest
1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I 203.
Thomas Hammill, cleinger of the seik folks in tyme of pest
possess. 1522 Dundee B. Ct. I fol. 117 (16 Dec.).
Sande Pottar is adiugit to other plenes the grownd of the hous that he was assignit to pay the maill of to the seykfolk annuall or [etc.]
1595 Aberd. B. Rec. II 110.
Betuixt the landis of Sanct Peteris hospitall on the north, the seik folkis myre at the south … and [etc.]
1595 Aberd. B. Rec. II 110.
James Leslye … pretendit present occupear of the croft callit the seik folkis croft
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i 117.
For men sais he heilys sek men And quyknyse dede
a1400 Leg. S. viii 35.
Gyf thu oure sekemen [L. infirmi] wil ger hafe To parfyte hele
a1400 Leg. S. xli 9.
Al sekmen [L. infirmi] of his tweching Of verray heile gettis mending
1444 Ayr B. Ct. 19 Oct.
The inqueist ordanit that na wyf na man suld cum to the mercat without cop or clapper entercommand with the sek men
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. x 8.
Heile ye seekmen [W. seke men, P. sike men], raise ye deidmen, clenge ye lepirmen, cast ye out deuilis
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Mark vi 55, etc. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 11.
Medicinaris and chirurgeraris that begylis the seik and hurt men
possess. c1567 Thomson Hist. Dundee App. xxx.
The land callit the seikmenis ȝeardis
1596 Conv. Burghs I 494.
The commoun landis vnderwrittin to witt: the Cruikis, the Mylne … , the Seikmannis ȝaird [in Inverkeithing] [etc.]
1605 Dundee B. Rec. in Old Dundee I 241.
George [Lindesay] … willingly renuncit all richt … quhich he had … to the Seikman's Yaird and crofts lying under the town of Craigie
1641 Reg. Great S. 379/1.
Cum croftis vocatis Ruidcroft, Seikmaniscroft et Seikmanishous [sc. in Stirling]
1579 Dickson & Edmond Ann. Sc. Printing 293.
vii Seikmennis Saule, unbund

c. Const. by, in, of, with (an illness, etc.).(a) 1497 Treas. Acc. I 336.
Gevin to Watte Sangstar … quhen he lay seke in the feueris
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. ix 2.
And, lo, thai brocht to Him [sc. Jesus] a man seek in parlasie
1570 Leslie 296.
Hir majestie become seik of ane fevir terrce
1575 Edinb. Test. III 430b.
The said Helene … being veseit & seik in the pest … maid hir latter will
1576 Crim. Trials I ii 51.
Hir husband and chyld that wer lyand seik in the land ill
1600-1610 Melvill 172.
[The] guidman of the hous was lyand seik of manie deadlie wounds
1605 Crim. Trials II 478.
For cureing … Elizabeth Craufurdis bairne in Glesgow, quha had bene deidlie seik of ane strange incureabill diseise
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 131/152.
Sadd hairtid flakkeuorte that doth makke us of hidroprisie seike
1645 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII 71.
The counsell finding the abuse of the inputting of the seik folkis of the contagioun within the Sheynes wallis to be neglectit and oversein be the keiper of the Sheynis
c1650 Spalding I 260.
Vtheris of the English soldiouris fell seik in the flux
1657 Laing MSS 306.
James very seek with defluction. Sandy is not weell
1687 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XXVII 145.
I smoak a pipe of tobacco and was seek with it all forenoon
(b) 1659 A. Hay Diary 225.
Lambert was exceeding sick by a fall on the yce
1678 Kirkton Hist. 358 n.
Our onest Bishop Lindsay is laying sick of the gutt in his knies, and down to his futt
a1686 Turner Mem. 203.
I found my deare wife … sicke of a lent feaver
1692 Pitcairne Assembly (1752) ii iii 29.
That's a healsom disease to be troubled in spirit; I wish there were mony mae sick of that disease
1697 Cramond Kirk S. IV 14 March.
They had all of thaim thair children lying sicke of the meaxells

d. Of a part of the body: Diseased, sick, affected by disease or illness. Also in fig. context. c1515 Asl. MS I 155/12.
Sa is Affrica departit fra Asya and … Europia as a member that is seike fra the memberis that ar hale and sound
a1568 Bann. MS 134b/7.
Quhen the falt is in the heid The menbaris ar seik
a1568 Bann. MS 257b/37.
Ilk fair apill is not gude, Ane seik heid in a skarlet huid

e. transf. Of a period of time: Troubled (by sickness, anxiety, etc.). 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 490.
I grant that many are blinded, in rejoicing in a good-cheap conversion, that never cost them a sick night

B. absol., or as noun. 1. coll. The sick. 1490 Irland Mir. I 28/1.
That we all … ȝonge and auld, haill & seik … are sonnis and dochteris of a fadere
c1515 Asl. MS I 304/15.
The watter movit be the angell curit all seike & saire
a1500 Rois Garlandis 82.
Jesus … the quhilk helit the seik, clengit the liper [etc.]
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 373.
As seik vnthankfull to the medicinar. With all thair mycht thai schup him for to hald
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 16/28.
The hungry, meit, nor thristy, drink I gaif, Vesyit the seik, nor [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 161/19.
He left nowthir seik nor sair Unslane
1562-3 Winȝet I 90/2.
Qvhy neclect ȝe to ministrat this haly sacrament to the seik, afoir thair departing of this lyfe
1567 G. Ball. 163.
Go, hart, as leill and trew seruiture, To him that heill is for all seik
1567 G. Ball. 67. a1568 Bann. MS I p. 26/61.
To peuer and seik gif thow succour
1596 Dalr. I 90/14.
To restore to thair health seik and waik
1598 St. A. Kirk S. 874.
Mr. Robert Ȝule is appointit to visie the seik this ouk
1587-99 Hume 42/28.
Na mirth nor earthlie vanitie is pleasant to the seik
1602 Conv. Burghs II 137.
Than sall the skipper send the seik and deceissit to land

2. A sick or diseased person.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ix 90.
The seke wes heylit of his care
a1400 Leg. S. xl 297.
Thane went he to the sek … & on his hede … mad The takine of the croice
c1450 Cr. Deyng (STS) 136.
And sua the sek suld say in the payne at he tholys, now byrne, now schere [etc.]
1587-99 Hume 41 title.
Thankes for deliverance of the sicke
c1600 Montg. Suppl. vii 10.
For as the seik in dainger oft is sene, Lang tyme he hoipis for help of medecein
1655 Logie Par. Hist. 107.
His neglect to visit the seck, when he wes desyrit
(2) 1585 Glasgow Prot. IX 152.
Cawsing mony peple gader for wondring … quhilk mycht have tendit to infecting of mony persones incace ane seik had bene thair

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"Sek adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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