Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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JOUK, v., n. Also jook, jouck, jeu(c)k, j(o)uke; juik, juyk; jowk; juck; deuk, duik. [dʒuk]

I. v. 1. (1) tr. and intr. To duck, to stoop or jerk (one's head) away quickly to avoid a missile or blow, to dodge (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 87). Gen.Sc. Also fig. Sc. 1737  J. Drummond Memoirs Locheill (1842) 120–1:
He had no other chance of escapeing but by duiking.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To J. Smith xxv.:
I jouk beneath Misfortune's blows As weel's I may.
Sc. 1820  Scott Abbot vii.:
If he says you are in fault, you must jouk your head to the stream.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail i.:
Foul would hae been the gait, and drooking the shower, that would hae gart them jook their heads intil the door o' ony sic thing as a Glasgow bailie.
Slk. 1827  Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xviii.:
At length he “jouked down his head, took a lounder across the shoulders.”
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 84:
It's ower late to jouk when the head's off.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ii.:
A “laddie” rider, dexterously “joukin'” . . . at every villainously low bridge.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xviii.:
Ye micht possibly hae juicked the blunderbush.
Ags. 1918  J. Inglis The Laird 6:
The gudewife a' the nicht afore Her head outbye was joukin' O!
wm.Sc. 1949  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 367:
Dinna you be feart . . . Juke yer heid at the richt time an' ye'll get on fine.

Proverbial phr.: jouk an let the jaw gae by and variants (see quots.), lit. duck to avoid an oncoming wave (see Jaw), hence, act passively when trouble threatens, give way prudently to overwhelming force or “before the storm.” Gen.Sc. See also Jaup. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 189:
Juck, and let a Jaw go o'er you. That is, prudently yield to a present torrent.
Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
Now gang your ways hame, like a guid bairn — jouk and let the jaw gae by.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xcvii.:
But, for a' that, our ain kith and kin, Beenie — we maun jook and let the jawp gae bye.
Per. 1830  Perthshire Advert. (21 Jan.):
The former wisely determining on neutrality, . . . he thought it best “to jouk and let the jaup gae owre.”
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 16:
I can easy jouk an' lat her jaw gyang by.

(2) To bow deferentially, make an obeisance (Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict., juyk; m.Lth.1 1959). To jouk under, to be subservient to, truckle to (Ags., m.Lth. 1959). Sc. 1726  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 202:
Ye shall have nathing to fash ye, Sax servants shall jouk to thee.
Abd. 1789  A. Shirrefs Poems xx.:
I jook'd as low as low cud be, And said your servan'.
Ayr. 1795  Burns 1st Heron Ballad iv.:
But why should we to nobles jouk?
Sc. 1828  P. Buchan Ballads II. 161:
When within the hall he came, He joukd and couchd out-oer his tree.
Ags. 1879  G. W. Donald Poems 69:
Sin ye think I maun bow to y'r shadow or jook.
Bnff. 1881  W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars vi.:
The little mannie joukes under him, they say, and does his biddin'.

(3) To cower, crouch (ne. and em.Sc., Lnk., Kcb. 1959). Edb. 1864  W. Fergusson Songs 35:
Pity the wretch that's doomed to jouk In rags beside the ingle-nook.
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 36:
He joukit like a toad That couries in the sheuch and canna' rin.

2. In gen., tr. and intr. (1) To dodge, evade, elude, give the slip to (someone or something) by a quick sideways movement; to escape or take refuge (from); to slip into concealment; to move about furtively, slink. Gen.Sc. Also fig. Rarely refl. = to insinuate oneself, to “gate-crash”. Hence jouker, a slippery or elusive character. Gen.Sc. Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 72:
But she maun e'en be glad to jook An' play teet-bo frae nook to nook.
Edb. 1773  Ib. 157:
Beneath the caller shady trees . . . To jouk the simmer's rigor there.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Provost xxx.:
The hempies alluded to jouked themselves in upon us, and obligated the managers to invite them.
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 37:
Wha can tell but some ill manner'd scur Is jeukin' e'now at the back o' th' door.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 72:
When Fortune jooks ahint An' scuds ye wi' her broom.
Rxb. 1913  Kelso Chron. (21 Feb.) 4:
But aft oorsel's we've jooked detection.
Lnk. 1919  G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 26:
But troots, like men, hing on till life, And jouk the barb o' daith.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A . . . jookeet doon ti a wumplin burnie.
Ags. 1930  A. Kennedy Orra Boughs 4:
He had longed to add the cliché that would sum up the whole matter but it had jouked him.
Sc. 1933  E. S. Haldane Scotland of our Fathers 194:
The great matter was to “juik the gauger”.
wm.Sc. 1949  Scots Mag. (May) 135:
But the maist o' them joukit doon the back o' the station and up ower the bridge again.

Phrs. and combs.: (a) jook-halter, “dodge-the-gallows”, rapscallion; (b) jook-my-joe, hide-and-seek; (c) juke-the-beetle, a lump which has remained unbroken-down in oatmeal stirabout or mashed potatoes (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1931 Northern Whig (2 Dec.) 5); fig. a dodger (Uls. 1953 Traynor). (a) Dmb. 1868  J. Salmon Gowodean 70:
The pookit waif o' some jowk-halter crew.
(b) Kcb. 1911  Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxiii.:
The wind aff the North playin' “jook-my-joe” atween my sark and my back-bane!

(2) Specif.: to play truant, dodge school (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 92; ne.Sc., Per., Ayr., Slk., Uls. 1959). Hence joucker, jouck-the-squeel, a truant (Gregor; Mry.2 1946). Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 155:
My pow got many a knock When frae the school I strave to jouk.
Mry. 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xiv.:
He was an incorrigible “jook-the-school”.
Ags. 1929  Scots Mag. (March) 404:
Meeting a trio of lads, jeuking from the school.
Bnff. 1935  I. Bennet Fishermen xiii.:
“Where's James?” the mistress asked. “He's jookin'!”

(3) intr. To avoid doing something unpleasant, to shirk, flinch (Abd., Ags., Per., Rnf., Ayr. 1959). Sc. a.1700  Ramsay Ever Green (1724) I. 85:
Nae Help was thairfor, nane wald jouk, Fers was the Fecht on ilka Syde.
Abd. c.1835  J. B. Pratt J. Fleeman (1912) 33:
Nae jeuking now, Berries, ye maun just gang, or pay the smart.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 165:
But yet, what reck? we downa jook, We'll staun' a dunch, nor think o' fa'in'.
Ayr. 1945  B. Fergusson Lowland Soldier 42:
And f'ae nocht that was his duty Was he ever seen tae jouk.

3. To appear and disappear quickly, to dodge in and out, dart about, e.g. of a stream, light, or living creature (ne.Sc., Ags., em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1959). Dmf. 1823  J. Kennedy Poems 45:
Giglet gawkies when their dameless, Jouk and jauk though seeming thrang.
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1837) II. 275:
Primming wi' your smiles and your dimples, and rinning jinking and jowking after the lads!
Sc. 1864  J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe 46:
Down the rocks, aneath the braes How it wimples, jouks and plays.
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 134:
Inside your modest-worded book, Whaur rhymes, like sang-birds, jink an' jouk The pages through.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xvii.:
The reed lowe jookin' through the bars.
Bwk. 1897  R. M. Calder Poems 250:
See the bairnies . . . play at keek-a-boo as they jouk oot and in.
s.Sc. 1926  H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 19:
Een that were blue as corncockles twinkle nae mair, Nor a lauch like the simmer lichtnin' Jouk i' the air.
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 7:
They'd be campin' far the burn Gyangs joukin' throu' the san'stane tae the sea.

4. To evade by trickery, to cheat, deceive, play false (Sc. 1770 Hailes Ancient Sc. Poems 282, jowk, 1808 Jam.; Abd., Kcd., Ags., em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., Kcb. 1959). Ayr. 1822  Galt Provost vii.:
The lad, seeing that I was na to be jookit . . .answered.
Dmb. 1868  J. Salmon Gowodean 74:
He's jouked mair lawyers than the deil himsel'.
Kcb. 1890  A. J. Armstrong Musings 218:
He was jookit e'en by his dear lassie.

Hence ppl.adjs. joukin, ¶joukit, deceitful, sly, untrustworthy; vbl.n. jouking, artful conduct, dissimulation (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Sc. 1710  T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
A jowking lown, i.e. a cozening, deceitful fellow.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayr. Legatees ix.:
Lord Lauderdale, that jooking man.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters v.:
He's a jouking bodie, he was ahint a dyke up the Skeigham Road when Gibson and Gourlay foregathered.
Abd. 1902  E.D.D.:
Cockie o' Turra was a joukit crater; tho' he cudna read he needed a newspaper to mak' believe.
Sc. 1913  H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xlv.:
Gie tae my mou' leal an' siccar wirds, an' tak awa frae me a joukit gab.

5. To dip into water, to drench (Ork. 1959). Vbl.n. joukin, a soaking with rain or water (Id.).   Id.:
Juke water ower him, i.e. souse him.

II. n. 1. An evasive motion of the head or body, a duck, a dodge, swerve, stoop (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., em.Sc.(b), Arg., Gall., Uls. 1959). Also fig., “a temporary yielding to the pressure of circumstances” (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 459), and in phr. to gie the juke, to evade, elude, give the slip. Dim. jookie, id.; also a children's game in which two teams try to dodge past each other over a dividing line (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). ne.Sc. 1714  R. Smith Poems 81:
Others some doth back Jucks take, For to hear their Priests.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xxxiv.:
She was nae far wrang, since ye did sae, to tak a wee jookie her ain gait too.
Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Miller vi.:
The sash is shot up, the head gies a jouk.
Dwn. 1844  R. Huddleston Poems 36:
Divided roun' ilk hook an' crook, Lest he sh'ud gie them a' the juke.
Ags. 1879  J. Guthrie Poems 20:
Her sweetheart Tam comes round wi' quiet jeuk, To tak a kiss.
Ayr. c.1900  Carrick Anthol. (Finlayson) 327:
A jink or twa, a jouk atween, A flichtin through the flair.
Arg. 1917  A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 219:
He took a jook through the air an' met Jamie's ship two thoosan miles away.
Abd. 1928  J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 21:
The sluice far the water pooers oot Wi' a jilp and a jeuk ower the steens.

2. Of a river: a bend, loop, twist (Kcb. 1959). Rxb. 1868  Hawick Advert. (14 March) 4:
Meandrin' left and right, Fair Nith wi' frequent jouks and sallies.
Ayr. 1882  J. Hyslop Dream of a Masque 169:
The bit bonnie wimplin' burn Jinks through its banks o' cowslips, Wi' mony a jouk an' turn.

3. A bow or curtsy, a respectful nod of the head, an obeisance (Ags. 1959). Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 133:
Tho I were Laird of Tenscore Acres, Nodding to Jouks of Hallenshakers.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 70:
Amo' the trees, a lass she do's espie; To her she hys, an' hailst her wi' a jook.

4. A shelter of any kind from a storm or a blow (Per. 1808 Jam.; Abd.6 1913); a sheltered spot, nook, winding passage. Kcb. 1797  R. Buchanan Poems 286:
They say ye're wampasins and wynds An' thro'ther jeuks a' vanish.
n.Sc. 1808  Jam.:
The deuk of a tree, the shelter afforded by it from wind or rain.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (April) 451:
Andrew Peter was sitting upon the brae, in the jouk of a thorn-buss.
Abd. 1832  A. Beattie Poems 216:
And for my shop, gin ye but look, In Aberdeen, at Wallace Nook — It lies just ha'lins i' the jouk.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 218:
Strike owre tae the penn, an' bide still i' the jook o't.

5. A trick (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per., Ayr., Slk. 1959); a manœuvre, an exploit. Peb. 1715  A. Pennecuik Works 399:
Devising there some doleful jeuck, To trouble Truth and put him out.
Sc. 1834  G. R. Gleig Allan Breck III. vi.:
That last jouk of Ranald's will mak an awful souch through the country. What could possess the creatur to do sic a deed in broad day?

[O.Sc. jowk, jouk, etc., to elude, cheat, c.1450, to duck, to skulk, from 1513, to bow, c.1540, a dodging movement, 1513, a bow, 1587, a trick, 1584, jouker, a dodger, 1573. Orig. somewhat uncertain but the similarity of many of the forms and meanings to Eng. duck, Mid.Eng. douke, O.E. dūcan, to dive (like a duck), to stoop, etc., suggests that the word may be a palatalised variant of the Sc. form Dook, q.v., as is definitely the case in v., 5. For the phonology cf. Jeuk, Deuk.]

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



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