Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOCKIE, Boki, Bokie, Boakie, Bukki, n. Hobgoblin, scarecrow. Given for Abd. in Jam. (1808) s.v. boakie. [′bɔk, ′bok I.Sc., Mry., Bnff., Abd., but Sh. + ′bʌk] Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Boki, ghost, bogey for frightening children; also occas. used contemptuously of a person one cannot bear: “a de'il's b[oki].”
Sh. 1931 L. Fenton in Scots Mag. (Aug.) 339:
“Bokies” are said to be the spirits of sailors wrecked on or near the island, and they are destined to haunt the shores and cliffs until their bodies receive a Christian burial on land.
Ork.(D) 1910 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. III. i. 29:
Hid's no for 'is guid wark at he's minded on, na 'deed, bit jeust cis he waas aye seean bockies, he caad dem ferries.
Abd.(D) 1920 C. Murray In the Country Places 20:
That's a bokie weel-a-wat, an' a peer attemp' at that, Your ringel een were bleared afore, but noo they're gettin' gleyed.

Combs.: (1) Bokie-blindie (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.), bukkiblindi (1908 Jak. (1928)), bōkiblind, “the game of blindman's buff” (1914 Angus Gl.). [Cf. Norw. dial. blinda-bukk, Dan. blinde buk and Eng. dial. blind-bucky-davy (E.D.D.).] (2) Tattie-bokie, “a scarecrow” (Bnff.2 1935). Abd. 1930 D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 16:
Ye should seek a len' o' yon rig-oot Haugh's tattie-bokie's weerin' noo. The craws winna ging near't.

[Cf. O.N. bokki, a buck, fellow (Zoëga). The word seems to be confined to n.Sc. and the Islands. If of Norse origin it must have been influenced by Eng. bogy.]

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"Bockie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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