Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BACKIE, BAU(C)KIE, BAWKIE, n.4 [′bɑ(:)k, ′b(:)k See P.L.D. §§ 85, 93.]

1. A gen. Sc. name for the many species of British bats, the most common of which is the Vespertilio Pipistrellus. Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 339:
The laverock and the lark, The bawkie and the bat, The heather fleet, the mire snipe, How many birds be that?
Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Sel. from Writings 35:
Gie me eident wark To win my daily bread, however scant, Though I shou'd wauk wi' baukie an' wi' lark.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems in Two Tongues 30:
Baukies in the bauks May flauchter.

2. The winged seed of the sycamore-tree, from the resemblance of its flight to that of a bat. Ayr.6 1929:
Bauckie was the name given some years ago in Kilmarnock to the winged seed of the sycamore. “I threw a bauckie into the air.”

3. Comb.: backie-bird, bawkie-bird, the bat. Jam. (1808) gives it for Sc. (s.v. Bak) and Jam.6 (1887) for West and South Scot. Abd.6 1913:
Backie-bird, a bat.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables of Robin Cummell i.:
The hoolets and the bawkie-birds . . . flitted frae turret to tree.

[Back + dim. suff. ie. Bak occurs in O.Sc. Mid.Eng. bakke, prob. of Scand. origin (see Skeat and N.E.D. bat). Cf. Dan. aften-bakke, evening bat, O.Sw. (Ihre) natt-backa, night-bat.]

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"Backie n.4". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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