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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KREKIN, n., v. Also kraken, cracken, krechin.

I. n. A fisherman's taboo-name for a whale (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)), any large and unusual sea-creature.Lth. 1789 Letters Mrs Cockburn (1900) 210:
It's said there's a beast or a fish they call the Cracken in the sea, which is the reason of the scarcity of fish. It devours legion, it is 3 miles long, has 3 hills on its back.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 565:
The kraken or horven, which appears like a floating island, sending forth tentacula as high as the masts of a ship.
Sh. 1884 C. Rampini Shetland 50:
He still occasionally sees Krakens, sea-serpents and other monsters of the deep.

II. v. To swallow up, plunder, as a sea-monster.Bnff. 1895 Banffshire Jnl. (20 Aug.) 6:
Macduff's the Bamfy's auldest son, But Bamfy's aye the laird An' they kraken the Moray Firth To hame an' herrin,-yaird.

[Ad. Norw. dial. krake, krakunge, a mythical sea-monster of enormous size. The word has been borrowed into Eng. in this sense.]

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"Krekin n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Jun 2023 <>



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