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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.

ROUK, n. Also rouke, rook; roak, roke (Sc. 1887 Jam.); rowk; ¶rock-; and erron. rounke (Rxb. 1871 H. S. Riddell Poems I. 188). [ruk, s.Sc. ‡rʌuk; ro:k]

1. A mist or sea-fog (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 262; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ork., Cai., Peb., Lnk., s.Sc. 1968), a drizzle (Fif. 1968). Cf. Rauk, n.2, adj.2 Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. rook o' the ground, = ground-rook s.v. Grund, 4., A. (18) (m.Lth.1 1954).Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig lxxxi.:
Mair scouthry like it still does look, At length comes on in mochy rook.
Sc. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. App. 24:
The peculiar fog, above alluded to, is called in some parts of Scotland the ground rook, and strongly resembles a thick smoke arising from the surface of the earth.
Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 155:
As the mune was wadin' up through an eastlan rowk.
Dmf. 1874 R. Wanlock Moorland Rhymes 65:
In rain and rowk and snaw.
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan J. Burnet iii. xvii.:
I minded an old saying of Tam Todd's, “Rouk's snaw's wraith,” and I looked for a wild storm with gladness.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 28:
But the rouk o' daith is roond me.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 49:
The rook soops on through the streets o' the toon.
Rxb. 1952 W. Landles Gooseberry Fair 48:
Herd them cannily, stot and stirk, Frae the Tweedside braes in the rowk and mirk.

Deriv. roukie, -y; rookie, -y; rowky; ¶rocky, misty, foggy, damp, “muggy”, drizzly (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Dmf. 1920; Ags. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Cai., Fif., em.Sc.(b), Lnk., s.Sc. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace xii. iv.:
A Rocky Mist fell down at break of Day.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 130:
Blae was the mornin', an' rouky an' raw.
wm.Sc. 1821 Scots Mag. (April) 352:
Like the rouky gleemoch in a craunrochie morning.
Dmf. 1913 A. Anderson Later Poems 34:
When winter's rouky breath Strips a' the cleedin' frae the tree.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 56:
It micht be weet or rooky Or the snaw be flitterin' roun.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 11:
The inn man easin' the sneck, Peered into the rowky nicht.

2. Hoar frost (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 36).

[The variant forms present phonological difficulties. The forms roke, rowk [ro:k, rʌuk] could be derived, with influence, in the case of roke, from Eng. dial., from an unmutated O.N. form *rauk, Sw. dial. rauk, vapour, smoke, O.N. (mutated) reykr, Dan. røg, Sw. rök. The more common [ruk] however, cannot sim. be explained and here there may be influence from some Du. dial. form roek, Old Frankish rouc, of Du. rook, smoke. O.Sc. has rouk, a.1500, ro(i)k, 1513, mist. Cf. Rawk and Rook, v.4]

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"Rouk n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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