Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ILK, adj.1, n.

I. adj. Same, esp. that ilk, the very same (person, place or thing just mentioned). Arch. Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 83:
The cap he wore was crimson red, And of that ilk his morning gown.
Sc. 1862  G. Henderson St Matthew xxv. 16:
He wha had gotten the five talents gaed, an' coft an' trocked wi' that ilk.
Bnff. 1880  J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 144:
The young Laird of Glengerrack . . . engaged the fellow, and the sword of that ilk had again freed the country from another of those pests.
Lnk. 1897  J. Wright Scenes Sc. Life 42:
The Boyds of Greenend, miners of that ilk.

Freq. in phr. of that ilk, of the same (name), e.g. as Houstoun of that ilk = Houstoun of Houstoun, Grant of that ilk = Grant of Grant, chiefly employed after the surname to distinguish the senior from cadet branches of landed families (see 1935 quot.). Gen.Sc., but now arch. Fif. 1710  R. Sibbald Fif. & Knr. 131:
The Family of Anstruther of that ilk is very Antient.
Ayr. 1726  Burgh Rec. Prestwick (1834) 88:
William Fullartoun of that ilk . . . admitted burgess of this burgh.
Sc. 1772  Weekly Mag. (3 Sept.) 320:
S. Dame Elizabeth Cleland, Lady of Sir William Johnston of that ilk, Bart.
Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf ii.:
Young Earnscliff, “of that ilk”, had lately come of age, and succeeded to a moderate fortune.
Hdg. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 II. 109:
The manor of Salton . . . appears to have been possessed by William de Abernethy, son of Sir Patrick Abernethy of that ilk.
Sc. 1935  Scots Mag. (March) 405:
Lairds were designated by their Christian names and the title of their lands, which last usually became the family surname, but since Scots Law required that every landowner be designated by his fief, when surnames became usual, cadets added the name of their estates to the family surname derived from the chief's estate, while the chief himself simply repeated the fief name which had also become his patronymic, and thus the title dominus ejusdem, or “of that ilk,” came to indicate the head of a family. . . . He who was “Maclachlan” at home became “Maclachlan of that ilk” on formal occasions and in public assemblies, and this practice was recognised in Crown charters so early as 1529. The words “of that ilk” are in practice restricted to the chief and his heir, wives and daughters being designated as “Mrs Macfarlane of Macfarlane” or “Miss Dundas of Dundas.”

Hence by extension = of the landed gentry. Sc. 1724  Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. iii.:
But change thy Plaiding-Coat for Silk, And be a Lady of that Ilk.
Sc. 1820  Scott Monastery iv.:
Because she was the wife of a cock-laird, she thinks herself grander, I trow, than the bowerwoman of a lady of that ilk!

II. n. From the phr. of that ilk above, ilk came to be thought of as a n. and hence by extension to mean family, race, quality, sort, kind. This erroneous meaning is now occas. found in Eng. Ayr. 1790  J. Fisher Poems 155:
Ilk ane a cap an' cloak o' silk Has got, as if she was a lady, An' that indeed, o' nae sma' ilk.
Gsw. 1863  W. Miller Nursery Songs 12:
Auld baudrons sae gaucy, and Tam o' that ilk Would fain ha'e a drap o' my wee laddie's milk.
Kcb. 1898  T. Murray Frae the Heather 207:
Sing oor hunter's name wha's gane, Ane o' that ilk was he.
Abd. 1926  L. Moon Drumorty 104:
The Fraser men were a godless ilk that would rather tend broth than praise the Lord.

[O.Sc. ilk, same, from 1375, of that ilk, 1400; North.Mid.Eng. ilke, O.E. ilca, the same.]

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"Ilk adj.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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