Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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QUIRK, n., v. Sc. usages:

I. n. A riddle, catch-question, an arithmetical problem (Sh., Abd., Ags. 1967). Also dims. quirkle, -lum, id. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 394–5). Abd. 1929  Weekly Jnl. (23 May) 6:
Ye wis aye fond o' bits o' quirks, an' here's a billie here pittin' a poser tae me, an' I'se han't ower tae you.

Derivs.: (1) quirkie, -y, adj., (i) intricate, twisted, complicated (Bnff., Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1967); (ii) cunning, wily, resourceful, tricky (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Bnff., Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1967); (2) quirkness, n., intricacy, elaboration; (3) quirksome, adj., = (1) (ii). (1) (i) Arg. 1896  N. Munro Lost Pibroch 202:
[The] quirky lanes and closes were as black as the pit.
Abd. 1900  C. Murray Hamewith 16:
Plain paraphrase, or quirky hymn, Come a' the same to Peter.
(ii) Sc. 1806  R. Jamieson Ballads I. 297:
Slee, snackie, and wilie, and quirkie, And famous for pliskies and tricks.
Ayr. 1823  Galt Entail lii.:
The crooked counsels o' yon quirkie bodie.
Mry. 1913  Northern Scot. (17 May):
“A'll chance it”, thocht the quirky loon.
Crm. 1933  D. A. Mackenzie Stroopie Well 5:
No grannies bake sweet oaten cake For bairns wha deem they are so quirky.
(2) s.Sc. 1802  Prophecy in 19th Cent. 17:
Sae fast and sae out o' tuin, as to confound the country boddies a'thegither wi' the quirkness o' the motion.
(3) Kcb. 1896  Crockett Grey Man xlvi.:
For all his quirksome guile, he had gotten on the wrong side.

II. v. tr. To trick, fox, get the better of, cheat (ne.Sc., Ags. 1967). Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 43:
Mefoy! he'd pawn a pair o' shoon Did Satan quirk.
Edb. 1812  W. Glass Caled. Parnassus 41:
To pass our wooden wa's unseen, An' Britain's vigils quirk.
Ags. 1820  D. Wyllie Misc. Pieces 15:
The latter person tried to quirk My good acquaintance Jamie Clark.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxxii.:
I'm sure he's quirking ye!
Abd. 1916  G. Abel Wylins 78:
But Moses' mither cudna quirk Aul' Pharaoh's boys.

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"Quirk n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



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