Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

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.

II. n. 1. A peep, a stolen glance. Gen.Sc. 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.

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. 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); 3. keek-in-the-coag, “a surreptitious investigator” (Uls. 1931 North. Whig (11 Dec.) 13), -stoup, id., see 1721 quot. s.v. I; 4. keek o' day, — dawn, sunrise, peep of day (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1959); ¶5. keek o' noon, mid-day; 6. keek-roon-corners, a spy (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); 7. keek-show, a peep-show (Per. 1920); 8. keek-the-vennel, a nickname for a school attendance officer (Fif.13 c.1890; ‡Per. 1959); ¶9. keekthrultie [ < keek-through-it-y], a spy-hole; 10. penny keek, = 7. 1. Sc. c.1850 A Few Rare Proverbs:
He's just a coat-queen, keek-a-bessy.
2. 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.
4. 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.
9. Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 64:
The wee windockies i' the mudden wa's war mere keekthrulties.
10. Fif. 1830 A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 56:
Circuses, menageries, and “penny keeks.”

[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 18 Oct 2021 <>



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