Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LUCKY, adj., adv. Sc. usages:

I. adj. 1. As in Eng., fortunate, bringing good luck. Combs. and Phr.: (1) lucky-box, a child's savings-box, a penny bank (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Mry., Bnff., Ags., Fif., wm.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1961); (2) lucky knot, a certain shape of knot in a timber of a boat, thought to bring luck in fishing (Sh. 1961); (3) lucky lump, a moderate-sized wave or lump or water, prob. used apotropaeically; (4) lucky-penny, a luck-penny (Sh., Ork., ne.Sc., Fif., Lth., Wgt. 1961). See Luck, n., 1. (2); (5) lucky piper, a euphemistic term for the Devil; (6) lucky plack, the fee for the proclamation of banns, looked upon as bringing luck. See Plack; (7) lucky-pock, a lucky-bag, lucky dip or lottery. Gen.Sc.; (8) lucky-stane, a stone with a natural hole in it or other distinctive marks, used as a charm or talisman (Slk. 1961). Also in Eng. dial.; (9) lucky words, the taboo-vocabulary of fishermen when at sea (Sh. 1961); (10) to find a lucky thing, to come on something valuable or interesting by accident (wm.Sc.2, Wgt. 1961). Cf. Luck, n., 2. (2) Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 70:
Den dere wis da richt kind o' knotts, dat wis lucky knotts, da shape o' ling, keillen, or tusk.
(3) Sh. 1881 in A. Halcrow Sail Fishermen (1950) 172:
There was a heavy westerly japp knocking up against her, not too bad, just what we usually called “lucky lumps.”
(4) Dmf. 1958 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (19 April):
Mr Reid took this to be a cash sale, and gave Nichol 27s. 6d. as a “lucky penny.”
(5) Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen III. v.:
“Ye maun surely hae had the lucky piper to help ye.” “Haud ye'r tongue, ye daft loun. Dinna ye ken it's near Sabbath mornin' and no a time to speak o' uncanny neighbours.”
(6) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 36:
To bed his wife he maunna take Till he pay thrice the lucky plack.
(7) Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 84:
[The boys] throng round Lizzie's lucky-pock, And draw the card, and try their luck.
(8) Bwk. 1906 D. McIver Eyemouth 207:
The old-time fisher-folk in Eyemouth kept “lucky stones” for the purpose of breaking the spells of evil. These stones were made about the size of the palm of a man's hand, and in the centre of each there was a hole through which a piece of string was passed, and by this means the “lucky stone” was suspended from a nail conveniently placed at the back of the kitchen-door. By toucbing the stone, threatened disaster was supposed to be averted.
(9) Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 23:
The Shetland fishermen before this day, like the fishermen in Faroe and Norway, had a great number of lucky words, words that they would use only at the “haaf” or deep-sea fishing.

2. Full, ample, in good measure, more than the standard or stipulated amount (Sc. 1818 Sawers, 1825 Jam., “lucky measure”; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Ags., Fif., Lth., sm. and s.Sc. 1961). Lucky half, the better half. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 334:
The lucky thing gives the penny. If a thing be good, the bulkier the better; an apology for big people.
Ayr. 1767 Ayr Presbytery Reg. MS. 275:
He was at that time working with Mr Dudgeon at Craighall about a lucky mile from the place where he should have been seen by said Key.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. xxxii.:
The sun has been set a lucky hour.
Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 255:
The lucky half o' them [cats] are but handmaidens to witches.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
Lucky half, rather more than half.
Kcb. 1898 T. Murray Frae the Heather 64:
A schule built ticht, and dry abune, Wi' sittin's for a lucky score.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (26 Aug.):
Dey weigh'd a hunder weight twa quarters an' twal' pound lucky.
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in North. Whig:
If you ask a man you meet on the road the distance to some town, he will say, “four miles, cliver, or lucky” — that is, the distance is more than the miles named.
Sc. 1960 British Baker (6 May) 88:
If one wishes a weight [of dough] to be on the light side, that is gimp . . . If the weight is required on the heavy side it is lucky.

II. adv. As an intensive = abundantly, pretty, more than enough, “jolly”, “mighty” (Sh., Abd. 1961). Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 87:
But she was shey, and held her head askew An' cries, lat be, ye kiss but luckie fast.
Ags. 1798 in A. Reid Bards (1897) 13:
My Lord, — there's naught for labour here, Therefore I think them luckie dear.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
It's lucky muckle, it is too large.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 3:
But quo' she man ye're lucky light headed, Or else ye've grown lazy and slack.
Ayr. 1895 H. Ochiltree Redburn ii.:
If she's no hame here lucky shairp, I'll tak' the road for her mysel'.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xiv.:
Ye're lucky fond, lattin them a' ride ower ye that gait.

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"Lucky adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



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