Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CRACK, Krak, n.1 Sc. usages.

1. A moment, short space of time; gen. in phr. within a crack, in — —, immediately, in the twinkling of an eye, the latter form being in gen. colloq. use in Eng. and Sc. Gen.Sc. Cf. Quack, n. Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act I. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
I trow, when that she saw, within a Crack, She came with a right thievless Errand back.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
I'll be wi' dee in a krak.
Per. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 38:
I stude like ane that has nae pou'r An' yet, within a crack, My hauns were on the unicorn.
Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems and Songs 219:
The Scots they brake and ran away, All in a crack.
Uls.2 1929:
Wait here for me and I'll not be a crack.

2. A “shot,” as at a game, etc. (Bnff.2 Abd.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1940). Ags. 1873 Kirriemuir Observer (7 Feb.) 1/3:
Gotten some ice agen, an' ha'en a crack at the curlin'.

3. (1) The sudden onset of a storm; (2) “a sudden outburst of the wind” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). (1) Sh. 1928 T. M. M. Shewan in Manson's Shet. Almanac 186:
Da Greenland whalers wis jöst come hame a week or twa afore da crack cam.
(2) Bnff.2 1942:
Jist as we cam' roon the pint, a crack o' ween took the sail aback an' laid the boat on her beam-end.

4. Boastful talk, brag (Abd.13 1912). Gen. in pl. Arch. or dial. now in Eng. (N.E.D.). Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) xxx.:
D'ye hear wha's coming to cow yere cracks?
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings 8:
I ga'e mysel' the glim, for a' my cracks.

5. (1) Talk, gossip, free and easy conversation. Gen.Sc. Sh.(D) 1898 “Junda” Echoes from Klingrahool 31:
Whan boys an lasses aa nicht lang Keeps up da crack an merry sang.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Guidman o' Inglismill 38:
An' syne the crack gaed on — wha bocht o'er dear; What “Aikie Brae” gat for his muckle steer.
Slg. 1929 W. D. Cocker in Sc. Readings, etc. (ed. T. W. Paterson) 2:
Your faither an' me were haein' a bit crack aboot ye last nicht, Lizzie.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 1:
To the stiff sturdy aik they lean'd their backs, While honest Sandie thus began the cracks.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xxvi.:
They're a' in famous tune For crack that day.

(2) A story, an entertaining or scandalous tale (Kcb.10 1940). Often in pl. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 5:
All cracks may not be trowed.
Bwk. 1893 Minstrelsy of the Merse (ed. Crockett) 235:
His funny cracks will mak' for weeks The tears rin down your bonnie cheeks.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ep. to J. Rankine ii.:
Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants.
Uls.2 1929:
That's the best crack I've heard for a long time.

(3) Phrases: (a) to ca' the crack, see Ca', v.1, III. 19; (b) to get on the crack, to start a conversation; Gen.Sc.; (c) to gie one's crack(s), to give the news, retail gossip; Gen.Sc.; (d) to haud the crack, see Haud, v.; †(e) to turn the crack, to change the subject. (b) m.Sc. 1925 J. L. Waugh in Cadger's Creel 78:
At once we got on the crack, and after a few preliminary feelers I asked him if he was a native of these parts.
Fif.10 1942:
There was nae pride aboot the auld laird; he would get on the crack wi' onybody he met.
(c) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act II. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
Good-morrow, Nibour Symon — come sit down, And gie's your Cracks. — What's a' the News in Town?
Mry.(D) 1824 J. Cock Hamespun Lays 114:
I'm blythe to see you, come awa' An' gie's your cracks an hour or twa.
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 172:
“Come in, if your feet's clean,” he would cry to a neighbour looking in at the door; “sit ye doon, an' gie's your crack-”
(e) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 104:
Whyles, to turn the crack, I would wyse her on to speak of the ploys of her ain young days.

6. An entertaining talker, a gossip. Sc. 1827 Scott Letters (1894) I. 349:
Pitfoddels called. A bauld crack that auld papist body, and well informed.
Abd. 1922 J. Lawrence in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Nov.) 2:
He was a “crack,” at once entertaining and helpful.
Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 58:
An endless “crack,” a mighty smoker, And wi' nae rival as a joker.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (5 Jan.) 4/3:
The conversation now began to flow in an easier style, Sandy being a great acquisition — in fact, a “grand crack.”
Uls. Saying (per Uls.2 1929):
You're good crack where you stay all night.

7. Phrs.: (1) in the crack of a hen's thoom, in a trice; (2) to play crack, to split, break, give way (cf. to play buff, s.v. Buff, n.2, a blow). (1) Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 39:
Joost you twa hing on by the boat . . . and we'll be back for ye in the crack of a hen's thoom.
(2) Fif.10 1940:
A maid speaking of a broken cup said: “it jist played crack in my hands.”
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) viii.:
May the velveteens play crack and cast the steeks at every step he takes!

[O.Sc. has crak(e), crack, a sudden sharp or loud noise as of something breaking, 1375; a loud boast, brag, early 16th cent.; a talk or gossip, 1570 (D.O.S.T.). Crack appears in Mid.Eng. in Cursor Mundi, a.1300, but the noun does not occur in O.E. (N.E.D.).]

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"Crack n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <>



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