Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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JOCKTELEG, n. Also jocteleg, jo(c)ktaleg (Sh. 1886 G. Temple Britta 250, 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 37); jocktileg (Ags. 1904 W. M. Inglis Ags. Par. 25); jock-tae(to)-leg; jack o' the leg (Uls. 1929); jock the leg; jocktullie, jocktaley, and reduced form jock (Sc. 1823 C. K. Sharpe Ballad Bk. (1880) 183). [′dʒoktəlɛg] A large clasp or pocket knife (Sh., Ayr. 1959); “a large knife for kitchen use” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 287, jock-tae-leg). Also attrib. Sc. 1705  Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 367:
To James mcCalliom for a jock the leg sneding knyfe . . . 0.14.6.
Bnff. 1718  W. Cramond Ch. Grange 81:
John Ruddach declared that George Neil took out a Joktaleg to take a chew of tobacco.
Ayr. 1789  Burns Peregrin. Capt. Grose viii.:
It was a faulding jocteleg, Or lang-kail gullie.
Sh. 1832  Old-Lore Misc. VIII. iv. 198:
Thomas du hast an jocteleg; threow him in till da door, dan dey will not can shuit dat same.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders vii.:
Sax inches o' smugglers' jockteleg in the wame o' ye.
Ork. 1904  Dennison Sketches 16:
Than I teuk me jocktullie knife an' cuttid a piece oot o' the back o' the kist.
Kcd. 1929  J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse 16:
The would-be antagonist “coordied at aince and jist fauldit in like a joktileg.”

[O.Sc. jackteleg, jockdeleg, jock (the) leg, id. from 1643. Also in n.Eng. dial. from mid-18th c. as jack(a)leg(s). Appar. Jock + leg. Penknives with the handle carved to represent a human leg are found from the 17th c. (cf. Perret L'Art du Coutelier and Fr. dial. jambette, a pen-knife). For the phonology cf. Jock-te-leer s.v. Jock, 4. (34). The old etymology from Jacques de Liège is untenable. The Ork. form jocktullie is an alteration ad. Tully, a large knife, q.v.]

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"Jockteleg n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2019 <>



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