Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CRAIK, Kraik, v. and n. [krek]

1. v.

(1) Of birds: to utter a harsh sound, to croak (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Kcb.10 1940); “primarily denotes the cry of a hen after laying” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ppl.adj. craiking. Sc. 1788  Scots Mag. 558:
The craw is herse upon a tree, As weel's when craiking on the lee.
Ags. 1824  J. Bowick Characters 22:
Until the craiking crail [rail] among the corn, And the night owlet, too, have ceased to cry.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
The hen craikit wi' pain.

(2) Of inanimate objects: to creak (Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940). Ppl.adj. craikin'. Sc. 1828  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 52–53:
The tane stickin out sturdily . . . the tither constantly craikin frae some cause nae carpenter could ever fin' out.
Slg. 1818  W. Muir Poems 54:
The noise o' amry doors an' snecks, In bed the drowsy wight perplex, Wi' craikin' cry.
Ant. 1931  “Logwood” in North. Whig (11 Dec.) 13/2:
Here is an old fireside riddle in Doric: — As I went ower Cairn Hill Cairn Hill craiked; Fower an' twenty wee things Jumped oot naked.

(3) “To keep on asking” (n.Ant. 1931 “Ballymoney” in North. Whig (11 Dec.) 13/1), to clamour; “to call for any thing, with importunity and impatience” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 236; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Abd.27 1947 (for Bwk.); Arg.1, Lnk.11, Kcb.1 1940. Vbl.n. craikin(g), “persistent asking” (Rnf.1 c.1920), clamouring. Sc. 1824  S. E. Ferrier Inheritance II. xxx.:
'Deed he just craik craiks to be up, and than whan he's up, he craik craiks to be doun.
Edb. 1917  T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xxvi. 84:
The craikin o' hunger wad gar onybody tak to the darg.
Lnk. 1902  A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 45:
[They are ] ever craiken' lood an' lang tae rule the States.

(4) tr. and intr. To grumble, complain peevishly (about) (Fif.10, Lnk.11, Kcb.10 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. Crauk. Sc. 1862  A. Hislop Proverbs (1868) 16:
A' craiks a' bears.
Abd. 1893  G. Macdonald Songs 29:
Lat's see gien he can turn a han', Or only luik and craik.
Hdg. 1908  J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 145:
Start the nicht, an' craik till the daw, Ilka nicht till he's back.
Ayr. 1928 4 :
She's aye craikin aboot something.
Kcb. 1827  Curriehill:
A greedy selfish person is always craikin' want.
w.Dmf. 1908  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) i.:
What are ye kraikin' aboot? I declare there's nae pleasin' some fouk.

2. n.

(1) The harsh cry made by a bird (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Kcb.9 1940); gen. used of the landrail (cf. (3) below). Ork. 1883  R. M. Fergusson Rambling Sketches 107:
We could hear the harsh craik of the sleepless landrail as it echoed over the fields.
Dmf. 1874  R. Reid in Recent Sc. Poets (ed. A. G. Murdoch 1881) ii. 252:
The merle's lown craik in the tangled brake can start nae memories dear.
Rxb. 1845  T. Aird Old Bachelor 82:
The craik of the rail from the thick dewy clover.

(2) Ill-natured gossip; grumbling talk (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. 1883  M. O. Oliphant Lover and Lass III. ix.:
For years past there has never been but a craik about Lilias Murray.
s.Sc. a.1870  H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. (1871) II. 287:
A ray now on their souls had dawned, Which their keen craik silenced.

(3) The landrail, Crex crex (Bnff.2 (rare), Abd.9, Fif.10 1940). Also comb. corn-craik, which although orig. Sc. is now accepted as St.Eng., and corn-craker (w.Sc. 1703 M. Martin Western Islands 71). Ags. 1867  G. W. Donald Poems 80:
An' when fool snipes an' plovers cry, An' craiks an' pairtricks flutter by.
Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poems 164:
Hoarse screams th' Corn-craik, from the dewy hay.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Elegy on Capt. Henderson (Cent. ed.) ix.:
Mourn, clam'ring craiks, at close o' day, 'Mang fields o' flow'ring clover gay!
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 17:
Our solitary summer moonlight attempts to trace and catch the craik amongst the dripping wet green corn or clover.

(4) “A child's toy rattle” (Abd. 1898 E.D.D.; Abd.2 1940). Cf. corn-craik, id., s.v. Corn, n.1, 7.

[O.Sc. has craik, n. and v., (to utter) a harsh cry, croak, from c.1470, and cornecrake, the landrail, c.1450 (D.O.S.T.), phs. of same origin as O.E. crācettan, to croak, dim. of an O.E. *crācian. Onomat. in origin.]

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"Craik v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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