Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PEESWEEP, n. Also peese-, peas(e)-, pie(s)-, peez(i)e-; -w(e)ip, -wheep, -weet, and dim. or reduced forms peesie, peasie, peisie, peezer (Per., Fif.); peewe(e)t, -wit, -wheet, -wheat (Uls.); -whaup (Fif.); weep; -wee; -vik (Rs., Mry., Bnff. 1921 T.S.D.C. 16). [′pi:z′wip, ′pi′wi(t)]

1. The lapwing, Vanellus vulgaris or cristatus (Dmb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 251; Ags., Slg. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 184) or its cry. Gen.Sc. s.Sc. 1801  J. Leyden Complaynt 378:
In the south of Scotland, this bird is termed the peesweep. In the south and west of Scotland, it is much detested, though not reckoned ominous.
Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 20:
The peesweep's scraichin owre the spunkie-cairn!
Sc. 1829  Scott Tales of Grandfather l.:
[The Covenanters] expressed great dislike of that beautiful bird, the Green-plover, in Scottish called the Peeseweep. The reason alleged was, that these birds being, by some instinct, led to attend to and watch any human beings whom they see in their native wilds, the soldiers were often guided in pursuit of the wanderers . . . by the plover being observed to hover over a particular spot.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 10:
The peasweep aye cries farest frae its ain nest.
Dmf. 1847  Chambers's Jnl. (14 Aug.) 112:
The paitrick, the pewheet, the wild bumble bee.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Works (1907) 295:
Hear about the graves of the martyrs the peewees crying, And hear no more at all.
Fif. 1899  Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. 12:
The teuchat was followed as it wailed out in circles round the intruder, “Peese-weet, peese-weet, hairy my nest, and gar me greet.”
ne.Sc. 1909  G. Greig Folk Song lxv. 3:
We'll hear the wail of the peezieweep.
Lth. 1918  A. Dodds Lothian Land 7:
I'm fain to be where the lone pee-wee Utters his plaintive cry.
Lnk. 1923  G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 32:
The lang-lo'ed muir I ken, Whaur whaups an' peesers nest.
Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe (1937) 170:
She wrote with her finger another name across that of her own, on the kirkyard dyke, and heard as she wrote far up in the Kaimes a peesie wheep.
Dmf. 1962  Stat. Acc.3 141:
Lapwings (peezies) are scarcer and so are sandpipers.
s.Sc. 1964  Southern Reporter (7 May) 11:
The peaseweeps' call often makes me sad.

Combs.: (1) peesie's eggs, the fritillaria, ? from the markings on its leaf (Ags., Per. 1965); (2) peesweep grass, a type of rush, Luzula campestris (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 200; Rxb. 1915 Jedburgh Gazette (17 Sept.) 3); (3) peesweep storm, a gale or snowstorm in the early spring, about the time the lapwings begin to pair. Cf. teuchat storm s.v. Teuchat. (3) m.Lth. 1897  P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge iii.:
Last Candlemas, whan the Peesweep Storm cam', an' the snaw was drifted sax feet deep in the Swyre, an' the yowes were smoored at the heid dyke.

2. Fig., used attrib. of human beings or their characteristics: sharp-featured, gaunt; shrill-voiced, shrewish, whining, complaining, peevish, ailing. Also in adj. forms pees-weepy, peesie-weesie (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Wgt. 1965), peasweep-like, -lookin' (Fif. 1825 Jam.), id. Cf. 3. below. Lth. 1808  Jam.:
A peesweepy creature, a whinging sort of person.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 339:
Ony peesie-weesie, close-handit, peer-hairtit, nairrow-sowled coonterfeit in Gweed's creation.
Lnk. 1881  A. Wardrop Poems 22:
Come back oot o' there, you peeseweep-lookin' thing ye.
em.Sc. 1929  Sc. Readings (Paterson) 110:
A peesy-weezy milk-an'-water delicate-looking object!
Abd. 1940  C. Gavin Hostile Shore i.:
I tellt her she was turned a peesy-weesy craitur: a sup milk and a boiled egg would ha' done for her denner ony day.

3. An empty-headed, vain person, one who is strident, loud-voiced and showy. Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 139:
Go, go, ye painted pisweips to fairs and waddins, and there display your proud banners of pride.

4. A miner's singlet, usu. of blue-grey flannel, like a lapwing's wings (Fif. 1965).

[Onomat., from the bird's cry. Variant forms of peesweep, peewit are also found in gen. dial. use in Eng.]

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"Peesweep n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Nov 2019 <>



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