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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLINK, n.1

1. A bright and cheerful glance. Gen.Sc. N.E.D. says chiefly Sc.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 103; Abd.2, Abd.9 1935:
She met my lad, . . . An' gar'd her lips on his gee sick a smack, . . . An' then wi' sick a blythsome blink she took it.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller of Deanhaugh 129:
Ye dinna swither to cast down a blythe blink o' your ee on me.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 63:
But ne'er a blink o' Fortune's e'e E'er comes my airt ava'.

2. A glimpse, a hurried view. Gen.Sc. N.E.D. says chiefly Sc.Sc. 1883 R. L. Stevenson Silverado Squatters 7:
There was a view on a bit of empty road, . . . houses . . . and a blink of sea.
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 19:
And May-month decked the shaws There was scarce a blink o' the wa's For the flower o' the gean.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxi.:
Gang and bring me your books, and when I have ta'en a blink of their contents, I'll gie you an answer.
Kcb.1 1935:
Hursle forrit yer creepie an' get a blink o' the ingle.

3. A short time, a moment. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary (1818) xl.:
An' ye will sit a blink, somebody will be in.
Fif. 1896 “G. Setoun” R. Urquhart xviii.:
Eesie'll see the fun o' this in a blink.
w.Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne ii.:
Ay, but — but hover a blink, Miss Airmstrong.

4. A very short distance (as measured by the glance or blink of an eye).Sc. c.1680 Hogg Jacobite Relics (1819) I. 21; Abd.22 1935:
There cam' a fiddler out o' Fife A blink beyond Blaweary. [This sense is not given by D.O.S.T.]

5. A wink of sleep.Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
He's ta'en him a b[link], he has had a short or (ironically) a good sleep . . . no a b[link] I got.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.7, Bnff.2 1935; w.Lth. 1935 (per Edb.1); Kcb.1, Kcb.9 1935:
I got no a blink destreen.

6. (See quot.)Sc. 1825 Jam.2, s.v. blenk; Sh.7, Bnff.2 1935:
Applied to the momentary use of borrowed light; as, “Gi'e me the blink o' a candle,” give me the use of a candle for a moment.

7. A light band of fog; a haze.Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.7 1935, obs.:
A blue b[link] alang de shore.

8. Phr.: to gie the blink, “to give the slip” (Abd. 1825 Jam.2). [See Blink, v., 2.]Ags. 1897 J. H. S. Grant in A. Reid Bards of Ags. and the Mearns 536:
Yon sailor birkie's gi'en the blink To a' oor expectations.

9. A gleam or glimmer of light, esp. of sunshine between clouds. Gen.Sc. Rare and chiefly dial. in Eng. Adj. blinkie, of a day of alternating sunny spells and overcast skies (Fif. 1975). For hairst blink see Hairst, I. 2. (2). Sc. 1716 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1837) II. 1777:
The sune was shyning on them but the blink was wattery, lyk that befor rain.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xi.:
Like blue-bottle flies in a blink of sunshine.

[O.Sc. blenk, blink, a glance or look, a short or sudden gleam (also fig.), from O.Sc. blenk, v., see etym. note to Blink,v.1]

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"Blink n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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