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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LUCK, n., v.1 Also luk(k). Sc. usages.

I. n. 1. As in Eng., (good) fortune, (happy) chance. Combs. and Phrs.: (1) luck lilac, the white lilac, Syringa persica (Abd. 1930); (2) luck('s)-penny, a sum of money given for luck, e.g. that returned traditionally by the seller to the purchaser of goods, esp. live-stock or grain, by way of discount (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. (luck-), also in Eng. dial.; (3) luck stone, a small stone, esp. one with a natural hole in it, used as a charm or talisman (see quot.); the stone used in hop-scotch (Ags. 1961); (4) to the luck, into the bargain, as an extra, to a purchaser. Also to the to-luck (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); (5) upon luck's head, on chance, on the prospect of success (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); I.Sc. 1961); for luck.(2) Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 319:
To tomsone a luck-pennie.
Gall. 1750 Trans. Highl. Soc. (1875) 15:
Given luckpenny, 10s. 6d.
Ayr. 1788 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 260:
I am, indeed, seriously angry with you at the quantum of your luckpenny.
Sc. 1823 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) VII. 297:
The luckpenny should have been better worth your acceptance.
Ayr. 1868 J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 48:
As a luckspenny to every pennyworth he sold he sung a sang.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 189:
The seller, on receiving payment, returned a “luck penny” to the buyer, a sixpence, a shilling, or a larger sum, if it was thought a “stret bargain.”
Ags. 1952 Bulletin (11 Sept.):
When ye sell a beast there's usually a poun' for the dealer's ain pocket. When ye buy a beast and gie a good price for it, he'll gie ye a poun, for your ain pocket — that's the luck penny.
(3) Ork. 1903 G. Marwick Old Roman Plough (1936) 9:
There is a small piece of red-coloured stone hanging on the plough and fastened thereto by a hair imp or string; this is called the dian stane or luck stone.
(4) Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Lucky:
A custom which seems pretty gen. to have prevailed, of giving something more to a purchaser than he can legally claim, “to the luck” of the bargain, as it is called, or “to the to-luck”.
(5) Sc. 1715 News Letters 1715-6 (Steuart 1910) 58:
He is blyth and franck lives in good hope and takes a glass of wine on luck's head.
Sc. 1741 Session Papers, Erskine v. Reps. Erskine (25 June) 35:
[He] bid him go down Stairs and drink a Bottle of Ale upon Luck's Head.

2. A piece of luck or good fortune; any useful or valuable object come upon by chance, a lucky find (I.Sc. 1961). Pl. also lux.Sc. 1856 J. W. Carlyle Letters (1883) II. 289:
It was a luck for me yesterday . . . that I had these live things to look after.
Gsw. 1958 C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 43:
We started raking the middens somewhere near Armadale Street, in Dennistoun . . . We didn't find any luck.
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 5:
Me an' ma big pal, lookin' fur lux roon' the middens,
Gosh ah've found a jewel, let me see, ye're only kiddin'.

3. The good luck associated with the successful outcome of a particular activity. Butter luck, a successful churning; the luck of the green, in golf.Fif. 1867 St Andrews Gaz. (5 Oct.):
That much-coveted luck of the green was against both him and Strath, and they had to yield.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (13 May):
We've made no ill shift for da mylk, mam, an' der shürely no money apo' da ert no 'at can tak da butter luck.

II. v. 1. To fate, fare, prosper (well or ill), freq. in ppl.adj. weel- or ill-luckit, (un)lucky, well- or ill-fated (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh., n.Sc. 1961). Also in Eng. dial.Abd. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 65:
Lat me tell ye, thro' the week, Your wark wad luck the better.
Kcd. 1867 Stonehaven Jnl. (21 Nov.) 3:
Hoo greatly at the last I hae been luckit In this my rest.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (21 May):
Loard grant 'at shü may be better luckid i' dis weary ert a's A'm been.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 50:
I guid ower an' heard foo shü wis, puir ill-luckit woman.
Abd. 1993:
He's gey il-luckit wi eez sheep e'noo.

2. To be lucky, to succeed, have good fortune (Abd., m.Lth., Bwk., Kcb. 1961). Freq. used of a cow in calving (m.Lth., Bwk. 1961). Also with inf. and direct obj.Ayr. 1719 Session Bk. Dundonald (1936) 608:
She heard Elisabeth Neil pray to God that William Wallace and his wife might neither luck nor thrive.
Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 103:
Gin I shou'd luck to get a plummy sowd.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. i.:
Dinna venture by such an unsonsie place . . . naebody lucks that looks on't.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 167:
Things didna luck wi' them.
Per. 1878 R. Ford Hamespun Lays 147:
Sud e'er they luck a laddie wean.

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"Luck n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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