Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

MAUK, n., v.1 Also mauck, mawk; mack; mauch, maugh (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 461), mach. Dim. form mawkie. [mk; em.Sc.(a) mx]

I. n. 1. A maggot, a flesh-worm (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Voc. 70; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1903 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson). Gen.(exc. ne.)Sc. Also fig. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Phr. as dead as a mawk, absolutely lifeless (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 39; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 75:
The cloken hen, . . . Wi' a' her burds about her, fyking fain To scrape for mauks.
Rxb. 1805  A. Scott Poems 200:
She's faintit clean away, As dead's a mauk.
Dmf. 1822  A. Cunningham Tales II. 64:
Mawks and moorill, rot and leaping-illness.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch ix.:
There on the easy-chair, was our bonny tortoise-shell cat . . . bruised as flat as a flounder, and as dead as a mawk!!!
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 343:
Feech! I see-ee-ee the mauks upo' them.
m.Lth. 1895  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 193:
That's ane o' your Leeberal Churchmen — the mawks that the Kirk has bred in her belly.
Ags. 1903  W. Allan Love and Labour 110:
Lauch at the chiel as mim's a mauch.
wm.Sc. 1908  Gsw. Ballad Club III. 159:
Sandy . . . Settled to wark like a mawk on a blade.
Fif. 1912  D. Rorie Mining Folk 418:
The Fifeshire fisher does not scruple to eat mackerel, but states that the Highlandman will not do this, owing to his belief that the fish turns into “mauchs” in the alimentary canal.
Slg. 1935  W. D. Cocker Further Poems 79:
A smittle thing the mawk, Yae flee contaminates a flock.
Wgt. 1939  J. McNeillie Wgt. Ploughman xxiii.:
A hae a min' tae plant this in yer belly an' let ye lie for the maucks tae feed on.

Derivs.: maukie, -y, mawky, mauchie, infested with maggots, maggoty (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 112; Per., Fif., Lth. 1916–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif. 1962); verminous, rotting (Inv. 1962); dirty, filthy (Sc. 1808 Jam., mauchie; Inv., Edb. 1962). Also in Eng. dial. Hence maukiness, the state of being infested with maggots (Sc. 1825 Jam.), and comb. mauky flei, -fly, a bluebottle fly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1962). Cf. 2. (1); maughsome, loathsome (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 233:
How his midder sell'd mauky mutton.
Bwk. 1856  G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 83:
Mawky kail wi' mony stowans; Rampan bread and porritch muddy.
Sc. 1935  W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 49:
And smool'd awa the mervy pith Wi' monie a mauchy mouth.
Per. 1950 4 :
Meat wad soon go mauchy in this weather.

2. Combs.: (1) mawk-flee, a bluebottle fly, Calliphora erythrocephala (m.Sc. 1962). Cf. mawky flei above; (2) mauk-mark, the mark left by a maggot on the flesh of an animal; (3) mauk-worm, a maggot. Also used attrib. (1) Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 95:
An' speeders past my comprehension, Mawkflees — to name wad be pretension.
Peb. 1938  J. Dickson Poems 49:
Some snuff-like pooder, packed in tubes, To keep mawk flees on high.
(2) Lnk. 1818  A. Fordyce Country Wedding 52:
Believe me, I saw wi' my ain lookin' e'en Altho' washin, where mony a mauk-mark had been.
(3) Dmf. 1861  R. Quinn Heather Lintie 77:
That greedy thief Wha's fiery pinions thousands bear aff For mauk-worm beef.

3. Fig. in dim.: trifling irritation. a minor annoyance. e.Lth. 1885  S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 13:
Ye are the silliest gawkies To rive auld hames, 'mang frem to mell, For sic wheen triflin' mawkies!

4. Heriot's school slang, in dim.: maggoty cheese. Edb. 1910  Scotsman (9 Sept.):
“A bicker o' mauchie.” — a plate of maggoty cheese.

5. A dirty, slovenly person, a slattern. Phr. a foul mauch (Abd. 1962).

II. v. tr. To infest with maggots. More gen. intr., to become infested with maggots (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 227, mauch; Ags., Fif., Rxb. 1962); esp. of sheep (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 195, mauch, maugh). Also in n.Eng. dial. Also fig. Ppl.adj. maukit, mawkit, mackit, maucht, of sheep: infested with maggots, suffering from maggots imbedded in the skin (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai; Cai., m. and s.Sc. 1962); more gen., putrid, decayed (Gsw. 1962); dirty, filthy (Ayr. 1962). Dmf. 1822  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 303:
Syne bann in his byre, and curse in his kirn, And mauk his beef i' the brine.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 244:
The sheep grow mawket on the hill, And sair themsells they claw.
Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 180:
Although ye were maukit ye'd never think shame.
Lnk. 1919  G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 56:
Man, hev ye nae left scour For mackit souls, like yours, sair needin' dip?
Slg. 1932  W. D. Cocker Poems 92:
Shorn yowes were marked wi' keel, Mawkit anes got doctored weel.
Gall. 1946  Scots Mag. (April) 8:
Did ye get any mawkit sheep when ye were oot?

[Mid.Eng. mawke, a maggot, O.N. maðkr, id.]

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

"Mauk n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: