Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

GLACK, n., v. Also †glac (em.Sc. 1906 J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay Basin 184), ¶glaik.

I. n. 1. A hollow between two hills, a defile, ravine (n.Sc., Ags., Per., Peb., Arg. 1954). Freq. in place-names. Abd. 1736  in A. & H. Tayler 1715 (1936) 237:
There is a Glack or hollow twixt the said hill and the hill above Rinlange.
Sc. 1784  A. Wight Husbandry III. 433:
The seat of Mr Tytler of Woodhouselie is romantic, situated in a glack of Pentlandhills, with a south exposure.
Ags. 1816  G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1882) 183:
Held orgies in Saint Martin's Den; Deep i' the glack, and round the well.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
Mr Peter Hoggie . . . possessed a sma' tackie ca'd Heatherie-Knowe, lyin' . . . in a cosie glack o' the Grampians.
Bnff. 1880  J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 389:
On the north shoulders of the two Ballochs (the Little and Muckle), between the “glacks”, is the famous Spot where the Abbot challenged Tam.
Dmf. 1929  Dmf. Standard (20 Nov.):
At the sicht o' the glacks o' my ain native hills.
Ags. 1947  J. B. Salmond Toby Jug viii.:
It [the stalking of a stag] wud tak some time, as I'm no sure aboot the side winds comin' through the glacks there.

2. (1) An open corner in a wood (Abd., Ags., Per. 1954), “an opening in a wood where the wind comes with force, as through a funnel, being confined on both sides” (Per. 1808 Jam.); a narrow road between woods (s.Ags. 1950); (2) a gap in a hedge, dyke, etc. (Ags.16 1950). (1) Abd. 1920  A. Robb MS.:
A bonny hame it wis lyin' in the glack o' a bonny wid nae far aff o' the road.

3. (1) The fork of a tree (Abd., Mearns 1954), of a chimney-flue (Ags. 1954); (2) the fork of a road (Abd.27 1949); (3) the angle between the thumb and the forefinger (Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads, Gl.), e.g “'e glack o' the han'” (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73, Cai. 1954); (4) the depression or trough between two waves. (1) Sc. a.1825  Donald and Flora 155:
That is the spreading branch that used to shade us, And that's the braid wide glack we used to sit on.
Bnff. 1899  Bnffsh. Jnl. (19 Sept.) 8:
We made oor nestie i' the glack.
Abd. 1916  G. Abel Wylins 131:
He speeled up till a tree's glack, An' waitit in a pech.
(2) Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxv.:
Yon was him't we met at the glack o' the roads.
(4) Abd. 1831  Aberdeen Mag. 641:
She plunged down to the sea-bottom and lay in the glaik o' twa frightful waves, ready to swallow her up.

4. (1) A handful, a morsel; “a little food taken hastily” (Ags. 1808 Jam.), a snack. Also dim. glackel, the points of the first three fingers and the thumb drawn together to form a receptacle for anything. Cf. Cromack, id. Hence glackelfu'. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 9:
An' Nory . . . Took frae her pouch a glack of bread an' cheese.
Abd. 1925 7 :
An old man made his own tea, and when asked how much he put in the teapot he replied “A glackelfu'”, which meant all he could hold with the fingers drawn together.

(2) “As much grain as a reaper holds in his hand, before it be laid down in order to be bound” (Ags. 1808 Jam.). Ags. 1892  Brechin Advertiser (8 Nov.) 3:
She's just a bonnie wee tuftie o' corn Drawn oot fae the hinmost glack that was shorn. But fat's a glack? It's the fu' o' yer nieve, It taks three or four to mak up a sheaf.

II. v. In phr. to glack (someone's) mitten(s), lit. to make a space between the thumb and fingers of a mitten, hence fig. to put money into (someone's) hand, to tip (someone), to satisfy, to gratify (some)one's desire. Abd. 1746  W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1767) i. lvi.:
Ah! man, the priest, how will he tak't, When he hears tell How Maggy's mitten ye hae glacked.
Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 71:
Than said they, sure as mitten's glackit, Gudeman, ye seem to hae the knack o't.
Sc. 1896  A. Cheviot Proverbs 132:
He glacket my mittens: i.e., gratified me, gave me money.
Abd. 1920  A. Robb MS.:
Gin he had only gane to the glen instead o' gaun to Lintie's wi' me he wad hae gotten his mitten glackit.

[O.Sc. has glak, a deep and narrow glen, from 1535; Gael. glac. palm of the hand, handful; a hollow; a valley, defile.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Glack n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: