Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

CHUCK, Chack, n.2 Dim. chuckie. See also Chuckie-stane.

1. “A marble used at the game of taw” (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2); “a water-worn quartz pebble” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif. correspondents, Slg.3, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940, mainly in form chuckie. Edb. 1926 A. Muir Blue Bonnet 53:
They weren't worth bunging a chuckie at.
Gsw. 1933 F. Niven Mrs Barry 163:
The big house . . . stood at the top of a broad avenue strewn with little stones (chuckies).
Rxb. 1833 A. Hall Sc. Borderer (1874) 24:
Little urchins . . . selecting sets of chucks [for the game] from the heaps of cow-lady-stanes . . . by the water side.

2. In pl.: “A game with marbles played by girls” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 134); “game played with these [pebbles] and a rebounding ball” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Curriehill (a.1868) says that it is “played with small whelk shells,” and Kcb.3 1931 says: “now always played with small pebbles.” Known to Bnff.2, Ags.17, Lnk.11 1940 in form chuckies, to Fif.13 (for Clc.), Arg.1, Kcb.10 (for Ayr. and Kcb) 1940 in form chucks and to Ags.2, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940 in form chacks. Also found in n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v.:
When a wise man is with fules and bairns, he maun e'en play at the chucks.
Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 187:
The Chuckies. A few pebbles were placed in the palm of the hand, thrown lightly in the air and caught on the back of the hand between the fingers and repeated until one failed to have any left. A variant of this and much more difficult was at the moment of casting the chuckies the player had to lift one or more chuckies from the ground.
Fif. 1897 “S. Tytler” Lady Jean's Son iv.:
For she's off this afternoon to the Baillie's, to play at the chacks with Lilias and Bess, wearing out their carpet and crushing her own gown tails.
Fif.10 1939:
The game of chacks was played with chacks (= chackie-stones) by children (usually girls), who sat round a heap of six small rounded pebbles. The one whose turn it was to play scattered the heap, picked up one stone, threw it in the air, and caught it. Another pebble was taken and the two thrown up and caught; then three, four, and so on. All this had to be done quickly, and whoever failed in a catch dropped out. The player who got through the series successfully was winner.
Kcb. 1929 (per Kcb.1):
Chucks. At Carsluith (Creetown) this term means the “dog whelk” because children use them instead of rounded pebbles in the game of “chucks.”
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar I. ii.:
Let me see if you have influence to turn aside ane o' the hailstanes that the deils are playing at chucks wi' in yon dark chamber!

[Prob. from Eng. chuck, to throw or toss.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Chuck n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jan 2022 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: