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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.

ROOK, n.1, v.1 Also ruick (Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 28), ruke; rooch (Inv., Bnff.); roux (see n., 2., v., 3.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. rook, the bird, in this sense not common in Scot., being replaced by Craw, n.1 q.v. [Kcb. rʌk]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a term of abuse or opprobrium. In Sc. specif. applied to a woman: a big, disagreeable woman (Bnff. 1893 Dunbar's Works (S.T.S.) III. 39).

2. A complete loss, a cleaning out of one's possessions, esp. in the game of marbles (Cld. 1880 Jam.; m. and s.Sc. 1968); hence in pl., marbles. Deriv. rookie, a game of marbles in which the winner takes all (Sh., Abd., Per., Rxb. 1968), and rooks, int., the call made by a player in claiming to keep all his winnings (Slg. 1921 T.S.D.C.).Abd. 1965 Press & Jnl. (13 April):
The common clayachs and peesies being only common fodder to be given away when we lost at “rookie”.

3. In phr. the hindmost rook, one's last farthing, one's bottom dollar (Ayr. c.1930; wm.Sc., Wgt. 1968), appar. from slang Eng. rook, to cheat or win from at gaming.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 209:
The benmost part o' my kist nook I'll ripe for thee, And willing ware my hindmost rook For my decree.

4. The cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo (Bnff. 1968).

II. v. 1. (1) in gen., to plunder, despoil, clean out, make bare, to steal, remove by theft. Gen.Sc. Also with out. Hence deriv. rookery, robbery, plunder. Cf. Eng. slang rook, with kindred meanings. The reading of the text in the 1700 quot. is somewhat doubtful.(1) Bnff. 1700 Rec. Bnff. (S.C.) 206:
Rukeing of corns furth of corne yeards.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals vi.:
She found the Manse rookit and herrit.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xx.:
The disaster of the rookery of our henhouse.
Fif. 1875 J. Grant One of the 600 ix.:
We shall . . . rook out Calderwood Glen wi' a flaming lunt.

(2) specif. of growing crops: to eat down to the roots, to destroy by nibbling down, to cut close (Per. 1904 E.D.D.).

2. To rob a bird's nest of eggs. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Ppl.adj. rooked.s.Sc. c.1830 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club. (1916) 61:
When the pyet's asleep where the corbies they rook.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle vi.:
I'm a rooked bird and Doom a herried nest.
Sc. 1925 “Domsie” Sc. Poems for Children MS.:
Nests hae I rookit O' eggs, I alloo.

3. In the game of marbles: to win all one's opponents' marbles. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Ppl.adj. rooket, having lost all one's marbles. Also in intensive forms rooker, rookle, id. (Rxb. 1921 T.S.D.C.), roochin.Edb. 1898 J. Baillie W. Crighton 126:
Ross being rather an adept with his “doliker”, he very nearly “rouxed” the lot.
Inv. 1948:
He rooched all my derbs.
Bnff. 1966 Banffshire Advert. (3 Feb.) 8:
I wasna playin' masel, or I wid been roochn't tee.

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"Rook n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Mar 2024 <>



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