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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

KEEK, v.1, n.1 Also keik, kiek, kik(e), kyke (Sh. 1957 Sh. Folk Bk. III. 57). [kik]

I. v. To peep, peer, glance or look sharply, inquisitively, or in a sly fashion, to pry, to take a hasty look. Gen.Sc. With in: to “pop” in, to look in, to pay a short visit. Vbl.n., ppl.adj. keekin(g).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 226:
Keek in the Stoup was ne'er a good Fellow.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 51:
Keek ay till her now and then wi' a sto'en look.
Ayr. 1785 Burns 3rd Ep. J. Lapraik ix.:
And now the sinn keeks in the wast.
Slk. 1817 Hogg Shepherd's Wedding i.:
I keeks an' I glimes about, till, faith! I sees his blue murt fin.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xii.:
I just keekit in to wish ye joy.
Sc. 1861 C. Rogers Sc. Character 19:
O Lord, Thoo is like a moose in a dry-stane dyke — aye keekin' oot at us frae holes an' crannies, and we canna see Thee.
Dwn. 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod xxix.:
We laid oursels doon an keekit through the hedge.
Sh. 1908 T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 135:
If ye bit raise yere ee and kyke at dem [auctioneers], dey tak it fur a bid.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 1:
Gin ye keek whaur the stooks are dividin' Ye'll see it [the sea] atween.
Rnf. 1929 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 103:
I hope he'll keek in once in a while an' gie us his crack, Aggie.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 29:
Ah've an eye tae the keyhole keekin' through
Takin' a' thing in, ...
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 57:
"Lord have mercy," he said to himself, and keeked secretly at Suibhan.
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 21:
Yestreen oor telly took's tae keek aneath
the watters o Chesapeake Bay to goggle at
a monster screen-size crab witin on's love
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 48:
The Regent frae the bylie wa
keekit wi sklentie ee,
an thocht hou he micht claught it aa
gin Sillersecks sud dee.
Sc. 1991 R. Crombie Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 29:
The shilpit mune of autumn
Keeks wanly thro the mirk,
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 35:
At lenth, the man keekt at the fyre,
said, "Jean, whit's that ye're daein thare?"
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 186:
On either side the tunnel walls lower and glower, and he keeks up, but there is no top to the door.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 11:
Go'n keek, thull no hear ye...Ah waant tae know what thur sayin!
Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 48:
The deuks mumps on the frozen loch;
breistin the snell wund frae the north,
the maws keiks doun frae steive weings
at the deid land o Scotland.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 73:
Manda keeked, tutted and stepped forwards, Fionnula cooried a bit as she was, moved her eyes up to Manda's face.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 111:
And right in front of where they stood was a monstrous black stone spaceship, ready for launching, with the tiny faces of people keeking out from its top.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 49:
Suin, keekin thro' the mist o time,
a hunder leal forbears, swore
ti redd the land o Edward's crime,
symbolic Eilean Mor.

Comb.: keekin(g)-gless, a looking-glass, mirror (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags. 1959). Also in Nhb. dial.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 57:
For the love you bear to me, Buy me a keeking-glass then.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 115:
O Nature! canty, blyth and free, Whare is there Keeking-glass like thee?
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery xiv.:
A breastplate you might see to dress your hair in, as well as in that keeking-glass in the ivory frame.
Abd. 1841 J. Imlah Poems 249:
Busk like bridegroom and like bride Afore your keekin' glasses, O!
Sc.(E) 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xlviii.:
It skinkles . . . upon us gangrels upo' the yird only as faur awa an' throwe a keekin-gless.
Sh. 1991 William J. Tait in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 46:
An sae we hae duin, certes, for a fourth face girns
(The muin a keekan-gless) back at oor ain: oor ain.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 61:
At ae time, wioot seemin tae gee masel, I fichered wi the keekin glaiss, sae I nae langer saw the road ahint, bit cud spy yon pairt o the seat far they war restin their hauns.

II. n. 1. A peep, a stolen glance. Gen.Sc. Also in dim. form keekie. Also fig. Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xxxvi.:
I thought I would have liked to have gotten a keek at them myself.
Gall. 1832 J. Denniston Craignilder 55:
The lasses gaed a wylie keek Before they drew the bar, man.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xviii.:
And now let's take another keek at the red-coats.
Dmf. 1910 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo v.:
And mony a furtive keek did I tak' at her sweet, contented face.
Ork. 1915 Old-Lore Misc. VIII. i. 42:
[She] sent a peerie lass sheu hed ben tae tak a keek intae da ald plowt kirn.
Kcd. 1932 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 169:
Webster took a bit keek at the creature.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 9:
The stranger spoke with interest at first but then more casually he went on, "It's no matter. I wis jist hae'in a keek at his place. I'm new come to Dundonald. Name of Frank Hay," said the young man.
Edb. 1994 Gordon Legge I Love Me (Who Do You Love?) 60:
Graeme went bombing upstairs and along to the cleaners' storeroom at the back for a keek out the wee window.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 25:
I plucked up courage to take a keek in that room: In candlelight Lanna and the two disciples were bare on the bed doing everything.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Sometimes ye hae a wee keek furst.
An somethin catches yer eye, ken,
A guid fecht or a wean gettin battered,
An ye want tae hae a better gowk.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 141:
He lingers, tries a sidelong keek at the tall man's face, turns away abruptly when he thinks he is about to catch his eye.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 56:
... while a bool in the mooth,
micht catch us a keek at oor ile.
ne.Sc. 2004 Press and Journal 22 Mar 12:
Maybe the club members hid plooin in myn, for a keekie at the Scottish National Dictionary tells o plooin ridges wi the OOTS the turns o the ploo ootward fae the feerin, an the INS tiwards the mids.

2. A very short visit (I.Sc., Cai. 1959). Cf. keek in in I.Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To ha'e a kik alang.

III. Combs. and Phrs.: 1. keek-a-bessy, an effeminate man, “cissy”; 2. kiek and hide, peep-bo (Ork. 1975); 3. keek-hole, a chink or peep-hole through which prying persons look (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), kikhol; Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lth., wm.Sc., Wgt., Kcb. 1959); 4. keek-in-the-coag, “a surreptitious investigator” (Uls. 1931 North. Whig (11 Dec.) 13), -stoup, id., see 1721 quot. s.v. I; 5. keek o' day, — dawn, sunrise, peep of day (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1959); ¶6. keek o' noon, mid-day; 7. keek-roon-corners, a spy (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); 8. keek-show, a peep-show (Per. 1920); 9. keek-the-vennel, a nickname for a school attendance officer (Fif.13 c.1890; ‡Per. 1959); ¶10. keekthrultie [ < keek-through-it-y], a spy-hole; 11. penny keek, = 8.12. upon the keek, watching inquisitively, spying. 1. Sc. c.1850 A Few Rare Proverbs:
He's just a coat-queen, keek-a-bessy.
2. ne.Sc. 1915 W. S. Bruce Nor' East 53:
The littlins play at kiek and hide.
3. Sc. 1865 St Andrews Gazette (10 June):
The shock he received, as was perceived by the cuckling debtor through a “keek” hole, fairly knocked him down.
Sc. 1891 R. Ford Thistledown 87:
“Keek-holes” through which fitful glances are obtained.
5. Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 1:
There's a reid rose lies on the Buik o' the Word afore ye That was growin' braw on its bush at the keek o' day.
Sc. 1927 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 160:
My Leddy, come at keek o' noon.
10. Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 64:
The wee windockies i' the mudden wa's war mere keekthrulties.
11. Fif. 1830 A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 56:
Circuses, menageries, and “penny keeks.”
12. Lth. 1927 R. S. Liddell Gilded Sign ii. iii.:
Nooadays I've got t' be mair fly - Ye ken hoo folk are aye upon the keek?

[O.Sc. keik, to peep, c.1470, Mid.Eng. kiken, keken, id. Cf. M.L.Ger. kīken, Du. kijken, to peep, look.]

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"Keek v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Jun 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/keek_v1_n1>

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