Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FANK, n.1, v.1

I. n. A coil of rope; a noose (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth.1 1951); a tangle, e.g. of thread (Ib.). Also fig. and in phr. a fank o' tows, a coil of rope (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh.10 1951). Sc. 1826 Scott Journal (1891) I. 255:
[He] is not able to cast a fank over them as formerly.
Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah 1:
It's ill threepin wi' a close mouthe, or gaen forrit wi' a fank i' yer tether.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xxi.:
Ay, there'll be a fank o' tows i' the wa head.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xiv. 24:
But oot o' the fasherie o' fules — weel, what can be lookit for, but fanks o' fulishness?
Sc.(E) 1926 “H. M'Diarmid” Drunk Man 83:
A fank o' tows that binds me hand and fit.

II. v. 1. To tangle, twist (a rope, thread, etc.) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb.4 1900; Rnf.1 1920; Sh.10, Per., Fif., m.Lth.1, Bwk., Rxb. 1950); to entangle, ravel. Ppl.adj. fankit, fanked, ravelled, mixed up; “warped in cloth” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 202). Bwk. 1807 A. Hewit Poems 39:
An' rapes round a' their necks be fanket, Wha wish ye ill.
Slk. 1817 Hogg in Blackwood's Mag. (April) 24:
The witters o' the twa leisters were fankit in ane anither.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 157:
May thy set line ne'er be fanked wi' eels.
Wgt. 1900 E.D.D.:
“The dress is fankit amon her feet”, the word is applied to any piece of dress that hangs loosely.
Kcb. 1912 W. Burnie Poems 125:
Unless the wire gets fankit.

2. To catch in a noose, snare, net, or the like; of a horse: “to force him into a corner by means of a rope held by two or more persons, that he may be taken; or if this cannot be done, to wrap the rope about him, so as to entangle him” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Fig., with in, to “rope” in. Sc. 1729 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C. 1843) iv. 68:
Whither all this be grimace, to fank in the toun of Glasgou again to his interests, a little time will try.
Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 558:
And thoch I'm fankit i' my tether, And darna thole ilk kind o' weather.
Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 17:
Ye wi' yer tail are like to fank, An' ding me down.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 130:
Like tiger fankit i' the toils, Let cauld airn be his keeper.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms ix. 15:
I' the girn they happit, is their ain fit fankit.

Hence ¶fankin-gear, nets, entanglements. Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms cxli. 10:
Lat ill-doers coup in their ain fankin-gear, ay whan I can loup owre, mysel!

3. To coil a rope (Lnk. 1825 Jam.).

[A variant form of Fang, n.1, v.1 O.Sc. has fanked, entangled (1635 D. Dickson Writings (1845) I. 55).]

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"Fank n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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