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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

NECK, n., v. Also nek, nack; naick (ne.Sc.). Sc. forms and usages:

I. n. 1. Sc. form of Eng. 1996 Ronald W. McDonald in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of winning poems and stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 67:
Sum broo fae a joug wis melled in an e mixter poured intae an auld porter boattle wi a bittie cloot stucken in e naick fir a tit.

Sc. usages:

As in Eng., in Combs. and Phrs.: (1) in spite o one's neck, in spite of all one can do, in defiance of one's efforts, wishes or commands (I., ne. and em.Sc. (a), Uls. 1963); (2) neck and heel, headlong. Cf. Eng. dial. neck and heels, id.; (3) neck band, a loop in a tether used to fasten a hornless cow or a horse by the neck in a stall (Sh., Ork. 1963); (4) neck-bind, a collar, a band for the neck; ‡(5) neck-bit, a wooden yoke used in carrying pails of water (Ags. 1963); (6) neck-break, adj., break-neck, dangerous, of speed, etc., precipitous; ¶(7) neck-cutter. headsman, executioner; (8) neck-fast, held firmly by the neck; (9) neck-fur, the shallow furrow made to mark the end ridges of a field at the commencement of ploughing (ne.Sc. 1963). See Furr, n.1; ¶(10) neck-jogg, = Jougs, n.1; (11) neckless, of a button: lacking a stem or loop, fig. of something worthless or useless (Ork. 1963); (12) neck-napkin, see Napkin; (13) to hae an ee in one's neck, see Ee, n., 3. (2); (14) to mak a lang neck, to stretch the neck or head in order to reach or see anything (Ags. 1963). Also fig.(1) Kcd. 1823 J. Burness Ghaist o' Garron Ha' 17:
A dram he took to cheer his heart, Whilk spite o's neck now fell a beating.
Sc. 1841 Chambers's Jnl. (7 Aug.) 228:
The sowens will be ower the head o' the pat, an' a' i' the fire, in spite o' my neck!
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 91:
That nowte wull br'ak oot o' the parks spite neck o' ye.
(2) wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 30:
The contest ran neck-and-heel to the last vote.
(4) Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 62:
Bi da neckbind o his sark I tak a hadd.
(5) Ags. 1912 A. Reid Forfar Worthies ix.:
A few people had a “neck bit” — a piece of wood fitted to the neck and shoulders — from which the pan and pitcher were suspended.
(6) Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 219:
One of the worst houses ever I saw, and a dark, neckbreak stair.
(7) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 236:
Yet of his death he was right vain, Gave his neck-cutter guineas ten.
(8) Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 392:
Put in slav'ry neck-fast.
(9) Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (28 Oct.):
Wullie stood on the neck furr. “Fat aboot a feering noo?” he said.
(10) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 28:
Oot lep the neck-jogg fae the wa,.
(11) Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 148:
Their master does na mind the cost A single neckless button.
(14) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 209:
Making a lang neck to win down to her.
em.Sc. 1898 H. Rogers Meggotsbrae 62:
There's no a young leddy i' that kirk o' yours but'll be makin' a lang neck after ye.

2. The throat, gullet. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.wm.Sc. 1935 J. Corrie Income 17:
Here, get this ower your neck.

3. The part of the head of a golf club where it is joined to the handle or shaft. Now St. Eng.Sc. 1887 Golfing (Chambers) 93:
A head is the lowest part of a club, and possesses, among other mysterious characteristics, a sole, a heel, a toe or nose, a neck, and a face!

4. The collar of a coat (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 61, 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 44; ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lnl., Lnk., Uls., 1963), or shirt; a false shirt-front, a dickey. Obs. in Eng. from 18th c. Deriv. neckit, a child's cape or tippet (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Comb. neck-rim, neck-band.Bnff. 1743 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1911) 89:
To Putting a Neck on your big Coat . . . 1s. 0d.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXXI. 143:
The richer class of farmers, a few in opulent circumstances excepted, contented themselves with a harden shirt; the collar and wrists of which were concealed at kirk and market by two pieces of linen, called neck and sleeves.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 276:
With a scarlet neck in his coat.
Abd. 1879 A. F. Murison Memoirs 213:
He darted on me fixed in my shirt-neck.
Cai. 1902 J. Horne County Cai. 235:
‘E neck-rim o' his inside shirt.
Ayr.1 1933:
My tailor, in fitting a coat, would say “It needs just a wee bit o' a paring at the “nack”.

Hence neckless, without a collar, of a coat.Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 39:
The witches . . . Descend in neckless coats brush'd smooth and clean.

5. Some part of a loom.Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 151:
'Tween beads, and broads, and leads, and mails, 'Tween horl boxes, necks and tails.

6. In Mining: the upper part of a shaft before the coal is reached.Fif. 1760 Session Papers, Henderson v. Paterson (1 Aug.) 6, 8:
They were down Three several Times, but had not full Necks, being driven out by the Water . . . After the Machinery was brought back, they got two or three Necks in said Sink.

II. v. 1. To break the neck (of a bottle) (Kcb. 1963); to strike on the neck, to kill. Only dial. in Eng; to break in gen., to snap.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 420:
Mony a ane they necked after the battle was at an end.
Rxb. 1875 N. Elliott N. Macpherson 49:
Yon fashion o' yours was enuch to neck the best gut line i' the Kingdom.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Among the Miners 79:
An' when oor toozy squad cam' in, Ye needna doot we swell'd the din, We werena lang o' “neckin' ane”, An' gettin' in the speerit.

2. To embrace, clasp round the neck (Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 269, 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 98). Also with wi'. Vbl.n. neckin(g) (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Also in U.S. Orig. Sc., now in gen. colloq. use.Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother (1825) I. 138:
Let's see nae mair o' Peter Wallet's neckin' an' touslin' here.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 272:
When sufficiently near him, she necked her supposed partner.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 48:
Neckin' and nebbin' the lasses like doos.

3. Also in deriv. neckle. To catch by the neck, to entrap, snare.Inv. 1865 J. Horne Poems 65:
A common poacher they could bleck him, They'd lie in holes an' peep an' neck him.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 220:
If your heart in love's fond mesh is fairly neckled.

[O.Sc. has neckbreak, ruin, a.1665. For v., 1., cf. Mid. Du. necken, to kill. The form nak is also found in Mid.Eng.,? Mid. Du. nac, id.]

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"Neck n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Mar 2023 <>



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