Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PICK, n.5, v.5 Also pic (Sc. 1807 J. Headrick View Arran 18), pik(k) (Sc. 1808 Jam., Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 22; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).

I. n. 1. Pitch, bitumen (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Also pick-tar, id. Gen.Sc. Hence picky, pikky, -ie, pitch-like, covered or smeared with pitch, used fig. in comb. picky-fingered, of persons: having thievish propensities. “sticky-”or “tarry-fingered” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1965). Also attrib. in combs. pick-black, -dark, -mirk, pitch-dark, as black as night. Also as n., = inky blackness, complete darkness. See also Mirk. Sc. 1700 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 276:
To david to buy pick and roset for ye pyps . . . ¥0. 9. 8.
Sc. 1714 W. Fraser Hist. Carnegies (1867) 284:
It would doe yow good to putt a Burgundy pick plaister betwixt your shoulders.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 66:
Grim an' ghastly an' pick black, wi' fright.
Edb. 1795 Edb. Mag. (March) 222:
Thanks, quo' Will; — I canna tarry, Pick mirk night is setting in.
Sc. a.1800 Hobie Noble in Child Ballads No. 189. xii.:
Tho dark the night as pick and tar I'll guide ye oer yon hills fu hie.
Lnk. 1824 Sc. Peasants xi.:
We canna touch pick But some o't will stick.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxx.:
The hoose was as dark as pick, the window shutters bein' steekit close.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister xxxi.:
The nicht's coming on as black as pick.
Abd. 1903 Banffshire Jnl. (13 Jan.):
I hinna forgotten yet! pick tar an rosset.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
A peer pyot mixter, they're far fae pic-black.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant 153:
I maun reach the road afore it fa's pick.
Abd. 1964 Press and Journal (15 Feb.):
We . . . drove through the pick dark tae another farm.

2. By extension: dirt, black mud. Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 148:
Then spatterdashes with pick were gilt.

3. The wax used by cobblers or shoemakers (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1965). Cf. v., 2.

II. v. 1. To daub or smear with pitch, apply pitch to (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Pa.p. pickit, -et, pikket, pitch-besmeared, coated with pitch. Hence, by extension, dirty, mud-bespattered (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1965), also phr. pickit wi' dirt, id. (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1965). Sc. c.1800 Sir Patrick Spens in Child Ballads (1956) II. 28:
Ye'll pict [sic] her well, and spare her not, And mak her hale and soun.

2. To coat with wax, esp. of shoemakers and cobblers. Pa.p. pickit, wax-coated, impregnated with wax, of Lingel or shoemakers' thread (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

[O.Sc. has pic, pitch, a.1400, the Northern unpalatalised form of O.E. pic, pitch.]

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"Pick n.5, v.5". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2021 <>



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