Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLEEK, Cleik, Click, v.1 Also found in forms kleek, kliek, klick, klikk in Sh. Pa.t. and pa.p. gen. claucht, claught, but the weak form is also found. [klik, klɪk, klɛk; pa.t. and pa.p. klxt, klɑxt]

1. To seize, snatch, catch, clutch; to steal, pilfer (mostly I.Sc.); also with to = to snatch up. Edm. Gl. (1866) and Angus Gl. (1914) give the form klikk. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 35:
Cleek a' ye can be Hook or Crook Ryp ilky Poutch frae Nook to Nook.
Sc. 1827  Scott Surgeon's Daughter ii. in Chrons. Canongate II.:
The old Cameronian spirit began to rise in me, and little thing would have made me cleek to the poker.
Sh. 1888  Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 294:
She would have been virtuously indignant if you had accused her of dishonesty when she klickit sugar or cake.
m.Sc. 1917  J. Buchan Poems 47:
I claucht him in baith airms and peched Ashore — he was a michty wecht.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Parish vii.:
I think to this hour, how I saw her at the window, how the fire came in behind her, and claught her like a fiery Belzebub, and bore her into perdition before our eyes.
Slk. 1818  Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck, etc. II. 134:
Down comes there a great majestic eagle . . . an' cleeks ye away up to the lowne bieldy side o' a sunny hill.

2. To hook, to catch or fasten with a hook (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., kliek; 1914 Angus Gl., kleek); to gaff (salmon). Gen.Sc. With doon: to unfasten from a hook (Bnff.2 1937). Mry.(D) 1927  E. B. Levack Stories Old Lossiemouth 42:
A gaed intil that cerriage ahin there an' niver noticed 'at it wisna cleeket on.
Abd. 1926  L. Coutts Lyrics, etc. 39:
The wife his cleekit Doon the kettle.
Ags. 1892  D. Tasker Pastime Musings III. 163:
They wad fish doon the lum, an' a pat whiles they cleekit.
m.Sc. 1925  J. Buchan John Macnab viii.:
That fush was cleekit. . . . It was never catched with a flee.
Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 205:
They've click'd some chaps upo' the woodies.
Slk. 1818  Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck I. 158:
He . . . cleekit out a hantle o' geds and perches wi' his toum.

3. To link arms (with), walk arm in arm. Vbl.n. cleekin'. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1826  Scott Diary I. 82:
(15 Jan.): I cannot cleik with John. . . . I mean, that an ordinary menial servant thus hooked to your side reminds me of the twin bodies mentioned by Pitscottie.
Sc. 1887  R. L. Stevenson Underwoods 91:
The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks The sonsie missis.
m.Sc. 1928  “O. Douglas” Eliza for Common v.:
Phemie Brown . . . walked away with such a satisfied smile, ‘cleeking' with her young man.
Ayr. publ. 1892  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc., and Poems 334:
Are there cleekin's i' the kirk gates An' loans for lovers still?
Rxb. 1917  Kelso Chron. (10 Aug.) 2/6:
She did not hesitate to “cleek” through the Square with her sweetheart.

Hence a-cleek, linked together. Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 117:
Who hung together with arms a-cleek, Tho' floods went over head and cheek.

4. In dancing: to link arms and whirl round (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Arg.11937). Edb. 1895  J. Tweeddale Moff vii.:
What with reeling, and wheeling, and cleeking, and shouting, the din became boisterous.
Ayr. 1791  Burns Tam o' Shanter (Cent. ed.) ll. 146–147:
The dancers quick and quicker flew, They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit.

5. (1) tr. To ensnare in the bonds of matrimony (Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.2, Fif.11937). Cf. Eng. slang to hook, in the same sense. Ags. 1820  A. Balfour Contemplation, etc. 261:
But Katharine fand the way to cleek him.

(2) intr. With wi': to take in marriage, to marry. Sc. c.1802  R. Lochore in Book Sc. Song (ed. Whitelaw 1866) 208:
Sae I'm put in a puzzlin' strait Whilk o' the twa to cleek wi'.

6. “To wheedle, to cajole” (Uls.2 1929).

7. To cheat, deceive. Sometimes with in. Cf. Eng. catch. Bnff. 1927  Bothy Songs in Bnffsh. Jnl. (16 Aug.) 3:
But Mr McGock was nae gowk, Wi' our dainty bit plan to be cleekit.
Ayr. [1836]  J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 238:
James cleekit in many, and justly the grim Old Snap with his own snare has cleekit in him.

8. Phrases: †(1) cleek-the-pursie, adj., thieving; (2) to cleik in (or up) wi(th), to associate with, be intimate with (Abd.19, Lnk.3 1937); †(3) to cleik the cunȝie, cleek in gain, etc., to seize or gather in money avidly. (1) Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 199:
Robin Hood an' a' his band, O cleek-the-pursie gentry.
(2) Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Tell me . . . what sort of a chap ye are, that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler?
Sc. 1893  R. L. Stevenson Catriona i.:
Eh, but ye're a green callant! an' a veecious, tae! Cleikin' up wi baubee joes!
(3) Sc. 1814  Scott Waverley (1817) xviii.:
Wanting to cleik the cunȝie (that is, to hook the siller), he cannily carried off Gilliewhackit.
Ags. 1824  Literary Olio (10 Jan.) 3/3:
Yet mark the laird cleek in his rent.
Dmf. 1823  J. Kennedy Poems and Songs 81:
Nor stick't at aught to cleek in gain To keep him bousin'.

[O.Sc. cleke, cleik, cleek, pa.t. and pa.p. claucht, claught (c.1470–1480), to catch or snatch, pull out quickly or forcibly, lay hold of (D.O.S.T.), n.Mid.Eng. cleke, id., corr. mid and southern cleche, pa.t. cla(c)hte, pa.p. claht (mod.Eng. dial. cleach), apparently from O.E. *clcan (cf. tcan, Mid.Eng. teche, pa.t. in n.Mid.Eng. ta(c)hte).]

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"Cleek v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jan 2020 <>



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