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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RACK, n.3, v.2

I. n. 1. A heavy blow, a crash (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Cld. 1880 Jam.). Obs. in Eng.

2. As in Eng., flying clouds in the upper air, hence adj. racky, stormy, of clouds (Mry., Bnff. 1967); driving mist or fog (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Mry., Bnff., Ags., m.Lth. 1967), obs. in Eng.Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 86:
Like rack that creeps the burn at even.

3. The restless, driving movement of the waves; sea-foam (Uls. 1953 Traynor).Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 207:
The rack and ride o' the restless tide, An' the splash o' the grey sea-maw.

II. v. 1. To beat, belabour. Rare or nonce. Cf. I. 1.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 243:
Hae they rack'd wi' rungs, or skittled wi' steel Or, Tammy my man hae ye seen the deil?

2. Of clouds: to fly before the wind, to clear away. Obs. in Eng. in 17th c. Ppl.adj. racking, of clouds: flying before the wind; of wind: driving, forceful (Per., Slk. 1967).Sc. 1812 Scott Rokeby i. i.:
Racking o'er her [the Moon's] face, the cloud Varies the tincture of her shroud.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 156:
Gif the win had na faun an' the cluds rackit, I cou'd hae cram'd a kist wi' them afore dark.
Sc. 1834 M. Scott T. Cringle's Log ii.:
A thin fleecy shred of cloud racking across the moon's disk.
Sc. 1840 Carlyle Heroes iii.:
The racking winds . . . whirl them away again.

3. With up, of weather: to clear (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per., Fif., m.Lth., Lnk., Ayr., Rxb. 1967).Lnk. 1862 W. Hunter Biggar 135:
As there's nae appearance of the wather rackin' up, I was thinkin' about stayin' at hame.
Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C. IV. 20:
“Is'd gaun to rack up, John?” “Na, na, owre mony piz-wunlins aboot.”

[O.Sc. rak, a crash, blow, 1420, driving mist or fog, 1513; Mid.Eng. rack, id. Cf. Norw. dial rak, wreckage, refuse, cognate with Wrack, wreck.]

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"Rack n.3, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Mar 2024 <>



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