Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLEUK, Cleuck, Cluick, Clook, n.1 and v.1 [kl(j)uk]

1. n.

(1) A claw (Ags.2, Fif.1, Lnl.11937). Mry.(D) 1806  J. Cock Simple Strains 100:
Else she mith chance her life to lose, 'Mang Pussy's cluicks.
Abd. 1865  G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. xxxii.:
Gin I cud but redd the scoonrel's heid wi' your cleuks, Baudrons! . . . he wadna be in sic a doom's hurry to han'le ye again, Is' wad.

(2) A hand (Abd.9, Ags.11937). Sc. 1774  R. Forbes Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S. 1895–96) III. 321:
I shall not be much at ease until I hear it is come safe into thy cluicks.
Abd. 1912–19  Rymour Club Misc. II. 53:
And fa, think ye, gaed hame wi' her, But the lad wi the crookit cleuk?

(3) In pl.: “clutches” (Cai.3 1931). Occas. also sing. (Abd.19, Ags.11937). Ork. 1915  J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. VIII. i. 42:
Ae day he gaed oot i a boat, an' boy! sheu made ap 'er mind at sheu wad hae 'im i 'er cleuks dan.
Bnff.(D) 1872  W. Philip It 'ill a' come Richt xxiii.:
Peer sowl, it's to be houped he hisna gotten her in his clooks at last.
Ags. 1867  G. W. Donald Poems, etc. 22:
Yet Death has got him in his clook, That gruesome carle.

(4) The latch or catch of a door. In this sense perhaps influenced by, or in mistake for, Cleek, n.1, 1 (8). Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin ix.:
To the mischief wi' ye're snecks! . . . what gars ye hae cleuks o' that kind aboot the tabernacle door?

2. v.

(1) To scratch; to dig the claws into. Known to our Abd. correspondents 1937. Abd. 1825  Jam.2:
The cat'll cleuck ye, an' ye dinna take care.
Abd. 1928  J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 28:
Mistress Puss . . . . . . throom-throom't as she clookit his knee.

(2) To seize roughly (Abd.22 1937). Abd. c.1746  W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1800) 12:
The carlings Maggy had so cleuked Before young Jack was rightly hooked, They made her twice as little booked.

[O.Sc. cluke, cluik, clewk, clook, a claw, from a.1400 (D.O.S.T.); n.Mid.Eng. cloke, id. The verb is not recorded in O.Sc. For connection with clutch, and earlier hypothetical history, see N.E.D. s.v. clutch, n.1]

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"Cleuk n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



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