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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FECK, n.1, v.1 Also †fek, ¶faik, fake.

I. n. †1. Value, worth, return, result (e.Sc. 1825 Jam.).Ayr. 1789 Burns Elegy on 1788 21–22:
E'en monie a plack and monie a peck, Ye ken yoursels, for little feck!
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. xviii.:
Your laddie there's owre young to be o' ony fek in the way o' war.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 303:
The eistlan win is unco dour, and gin it haud frae this airt, nae 'feck wad come frae our prayers.
Inv. 1865 J. Horne Poems 65:
An' a' your keepers here be't kent, Are o' sma' feck.
Mry. 1889 T. L. Mason Rafford 32:
Bits o' bonneties on their heids sae sma' that they micht as weel gang bareheided for a' the 'feck o' them in keepin caul' frae the heid or lugs.

2. A (large) amount, period. quantity, number, portion (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Abd., Ags., Per., Fif., Lnk., Slk. 1950). Gen. with qualifying adj., little, great, muckle, maist, best, nae, what, etc. Also construed as a pl., and sometimes found in pl. form fecks (Uls.2 1929). The word is also occas. used quasi-adj. = many.Sc. 1740 Ramsay T.T. Misc. 317:
[I] kiss'd and clapp'd her there fou lang; My words they were na mony feck.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 37:
Great feck gae hirpling hame like fools, The cripple lead the blind.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 104:
Tho' in the bustling town, the Muse Has gather'd little feck o' News.
Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems 64:
He blessings mony feck implores, Upo' the happy twa, now.
Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xiii.:
I hae been through France . . . and maist feck o' Germany.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. vi.:
George . . . went ben to his stepmother, and inquired what feck o' siller she had about her?
s.Sc. 1873 J. A. H. Murray D.S.C.S. 178:
What feck o' folk wad there be there? Is there onie feck o' waitter i' the loch?
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 117:
Robin didna lea' ony feck, and his twa maiden dochters were very thankful to me for the sma' soom.
Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Sc. Songs 96:
But a better sang it wud tak nor yer ain, Though ye hae o' notes a feck.
Fif. 1895 “S. Tytler” Kincaid's Widow xv.:
The whole feck of them could not bring back the dead.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 67:
A feck o' sodgers passed that way And garred me often straucht my back.

3. With the def. art.: the majority, the bulk, the greater part or number. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair iv.:
Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck Of a' the ten comman's A screed some day.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xl.:
I dinna see how that can be, if ye begin by gieing maybe the feck o' twal shillings Scots for your supper.
Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xiv.:
Fegs, I doot I've haggit the feck o' my chin awa'.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
There's no a Faa that wadna mak' a guid man, leal and true-hearted, kind too at the feck o' times.
s.Sc. 1927 “H. M'Diarmid” in Scots Mag. (April) 1:
Nae wicer, the feck o' them, at forty than they were at fourteen.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 18:
This is whit he gies,
and waur, the feck wad hae that ease
raither than swite i the warsle tae see
Scotland as it is and as it micht be
Sc. 1991 John McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 88:
The feck hae notions o an auld carle
daffin 'kypes', an plunkin planets.
I lou the unkent virr
that brenns me as yon caunle brenns

4. An appearance, phenomenon, sight. Cf. obs. Eng. effect, id.Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 93:
Yon be a fearfu' like fake indeed, it would fright ony living creature out o' their senses.

II. v. To shape, fashion, make; to contrive (Sh.11 1951).Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 31:
I hae fesen a puckle duds in ma aapron. Ye mith help tae gi'e them a shape; I am sae ull at faikin things. [p. 26 fakin']

[O.Sc. fek, a.1500, feck, fect, n., id., aphetic form of Eng. effect, with extended meanings.]

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"Feck n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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