Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

LEUK, v., n. Also lyeuk (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vi.); ljook, ljuk (Sh.); lieuk (Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 110); luik (Hdg. a.1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 3; Abd. 1863 G. MacDonald D. Elginbrod vii.; Per. 1894 I. MacLaren Brier Bush 19; Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxxiii.; Sh. 1931 Shetland Almanac 194), luke (Per. 1895 I. MacLaren Auld Lang Syne 327); laek (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); luk (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 139, Ayr. 1.822 Galt The Steam-Boat xi., Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 329; Ork. 1912 Old-Lore Misc. V. ii. 69, Lnk. 1923 G. Blake Mince Collop Close i.), lukk (Gsw. 1931 H. S. Roberton Curdies 101), luck (Sc. 1799 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 693, 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.; Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 124; Fif. 1844 J. Jack St. Monance 168; Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 6; Uls. 1897 A. M'Ilroy When Lint was in the Bell vii.). Sc. forms of Eng. look (Sc. 1757 Smollett Reprisal ii. i.; Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xx.; Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (1908) 78). The second pers. sing. pres. indic. survives with imper. force = observe, mark you, in lucks-tu, lu(k)sto [ < luks thou] (Ork., w.Sc. 1887 Jam.; Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 132, 191). Pa.t., pa.p. leukit, -ed, luikit; lukkid (Ork. 1949 “Lex” But-end Ballans 11). Ppl.adj., vbl.n. leukin, -an, luikin, luckin; hence leukin-gless, a mirror (Uls. 1897 A. M'Ilroy When Lint was in the Bell v.; Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 58; Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 77). [Sc. ‡løk, lyk, Sh., Abd. ‡ljuk, Ork., Cai., wm.Sc. lʌk. The pronunciation luk is now gen. superseding the others.]

Sc. usages:

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Phrs.: (1) lookin een, — face, = Eng. (one's) very eyes, face; (2) look se(e), imper., an emphatic form of leuk, look you, observe, mark you, look here!, phs. orig. a variant or corruption of lucks-tu above (ne. and m.Sc. 1960). (1) Ags. 1879  Arbroath Guide (12 April) 3:
It's like to blind a bodie's lookin' een.
Sh. 1924  J. Hunter Sketches 109:
Yesterday tree o' wir hens took der flight afore my lookin eyes.
Edb. 1931  E. Albert Herrin' Jennie ii. ii.:
Wull ye stand and ca' me a liar to my lookin' face?
(2) Ags. 1855  A. Douglas Ferryden 85:
Look se', Bell, fat wye is't ye're aye sic unreasonable?
Ayr. 1873  D.S.C.S. 244:
Luck see, your guid-sister has gane awa back tae her folk.
Lnk. 1890  H. Muir Rutherglen 115:
Leuk, see, there's carvy, it's maybe more rare.
Edb. 1931  E. Albert Herrin' Jennie iii. ii.:
“Look-see here” — he took a Scots pound-note out of his leather purse — “gie her that.”
Mry. 1952  I. Cameron Heather Mixture ii., viii.:
“It's Christina, look see!” She clapped her hands, and the lamb in pretended fright bolted out of the door. … An' just look see to the price Fraser-the-flesher gives for a salmon!

2. tr. To look at, to inspect, view, examine. Gen.Sc. Now only dial. in Eng. Hence lucker, an eye, only in Sh. riddle of a cow, as in 1899 quot. Sc. 1700  Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 284:
Spent with doct. steinson, pitcairne and Rot Clerk after they looked my oy Jon Gibsones sores. … 1. 4. 6.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 16:
[They] look their ewes, an' back unto their game.
Sc. 1782  Caled. Mercury (2 March):
It is earnestly entreated that the Ladies that danced there that night, will be so obliging as to look the Flounces of their Gowns, as there have instances frequently happened of Ear-rings being found in that way.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poems 39:
Then to the hallan graips his way And looks the lift to judge the day.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 324:
Seeing how his cattle are faring, how his labourers are going on, how his crop looks, how the weather appears — this job is called “luiking the grun.”
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1874) 282:
Twa e'en that could look the lark out o' the lift.
Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 31:
Jock leukit his teeth.
Knr. 1895  H. Haliburton Dunbar 59:
My purse, Which wouldna lee gin it were lookit.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 182:
Four hingers and four gangers, Twa luckers and twa crookers.
Dmf. 1899  Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 70:
Her husband, who had not yet returned from “looking his hill”.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 14:
A roared an leuch whan A saw the monkeys lookin yin another for flaes.
m.Sc. 1960  :
He's needin his heid lookit, i.e. examined as to his sanity = he is surely daft.

3. Combs. and phrs., mainly with preps. and advs.: (1) luik aboot, to busy oneself with, attend to (Sh. 1960); (2) leuk efter, to hold in regard, take notice of, respect (Abd. 1960); (3) leuk near(han), to pay attention to, heed, see to, take an interest in, visit (Abd. 1960); †(4) leuk on, to wait for the end of (a dying person), to be at someone's death-bed (Bwk. 1960); (5) leuk o(w)er, to look after, take care of, watch over (Sh., Ags., m.Lth., Ayr., Wgt. 1960); (6) leuk ower the door, to look outside and hence to go outside, be in the open air after being confined indoors by illness, etc. (Sh., n. and m.Sc. 1960); (7) leuk ower the nest, fig., of young people: to begin to take an interest in things outside the home (Kcb. 1960); (8) leuk ower the window, to look out of the window, to lean over the sill and look out (ne.Sc., Per., Lth., Rnf., Wgt. 1960); (9) leuk the airt o (m.Lth. 1960), gate o (n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lnk., Kcb. 1960), road o, = (3); (10) leuk till or to, (i) to look at, observe, behold (Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 17; Sh., ne.Sc. 1960); (ii) as in Eng., to expect, look forward to. Also as n., look-to, aim, expectation, consideration. Vbl.n. lookin to, a prospect; (11) leuk up, to be alive, gen. in conditional expressions (ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Wgt. 1960). (1) Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 90:
Ye see me luikin' aboot da supper, William, bit he's no dat late.
(2) Abd. 1834  Abd. Shaver (Sept.) 93:
I maun say that your paper is weel lookit after amon' us.
Abd. 1956  Ev. Express (1 Nov.):
This year's Halloween seemed rather less “looked after” than usual.
(3) Edb. 1801  H. MacNeill Poet. Wks. (1806) II. 23:
Now grown mauchless, dowf and sweer aye To look near his farm or wark.
Sh. 1874  Trans. Highl. Soc. 216:
Ponies, for example, were not expected to “look near” their owners during winter.
Abd. 1904  W. A. G. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 118:
She never looks near-han' my claise.
(4) Sc. 1765  Caled. Mercury (13 May) 228:
He found my wife looked upon by many to be dying fast.
s.Sc. 1789  Letters Mrs Cockburn (1900) 210:
The mother has been looked on for death these 10 days.
Rxb. 1825  Jam.:
Deed, he's sae vera bad, they're just lookin' on 'im.
s.Sc. 1894  Scots Mag. (June) 21:
The Borderer … never says that a man is dying, but that his friends are “looking on him,” which is strictly true.
(5) Ayr. 1790  Burns Kind Sir 21:
Royal George the Lord leuk o'er him!
(6) Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 27:
If ye … ower your door had never look'd You ne'er wou'd rued.
Abd. 1882  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 204:
Fat can the creaturs dee fan they canna get leuket ower a door?
(8) Sc. c.1690  A. Pitcairne Assembly (1722) 15:
The scandalous Custom of speaking of Men, and looking over the Windows at them.
Sc. 1800  Monthly Mag. I. 323:
To look over the window, may perhaps have originated in Edinburgh, where the general height of the buildings, and the narrowness of some of the wynds, gives literal truth.
Ags. 1839  Justiciary Reports (1842) 328:
On the Saturday before that, I recollect looking over the window, and seeing my husband and Galloway going up the stair.
(9) Abd. 1882  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 4:
Never leuk the gate o' my dother.
m.Sc. 1917  O. Douglas The Setons xiv.:
Every spring when I polished the furniture I thought, “Next spring, perhaps, I'll polish my own best bedroom furniture”; but nobody looked the road I was on.
(10) (i) Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems 18:
Just look to the flocks on the lee, How sweetly contentet they stray.
Sh. 1822  Scott Pirate ix.:
“See — look till't,” he added, displaying the pattern in various points of view, “look till it through the light.”
Lth. 1851  M. Oliphant Merkland I. vii.:
She was never at the schule — and look till her reading!
Sh. 1906  T. P. Ollason Spindrift 106:
Leuk ye ta da praetty stranger, 'at's sweemin' i' my cup.
(ii) Rxb. 1825  Jam.:
A gude lookin'-to.
Ayr. 1836  Galt in Tait's Mag. (Aug.) 514:
There are men in the metropolis that are actuated by other look-tos than folks, decent though they be, in a country town.
(11) Ags. 1880  J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 72:
Had John been lookin' up to-day, He'd gar't ye sing anither sang.
ne.Sc. 1924  A. Keith Immortal Memory 14:
Burns himself, had he been “lookin' up” — to use our quaint North-country phrase.

II. n. In Sc. usage with o, til or to: a look, view, glance or visit for the purpose of seeing or examining. Gen.Sc. Abd. 1881  W. Paul Past & Present 138:
Robie, I wad like a leuk o' your bank book.
Per. 1883  R. Cleland Inchbracken 241:
I'll gie a look til ye're coo afore I gang hame.
Sc. 1897  L. Keith Bonnie Lady ix.:
I'll … give a look to that gilpie Phemie.
Abd. 1922  Wkly. Free Press (11 Feb.) 2:
We eeset t' tak' a leuk o' some o' th' games i' th' papers.

[The pronunciations [løk, lyk, ljuk] represent the normal development of O.Sc. leuk, luke, from O.E. lōcian, see P.L.D. §§ 35, 35.6., 128. [lʌk] is due to an earlier borrowing of a dial. Eng. pronunciation (see Wyld Hist. Mod. Colloq. Eng. 236–9) and [luk] to a later adoption of St.Eng.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: