Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SLAIK, v., n. Also slake, sleak, erron. slack; slaich, slaigh; slyaach, sllauch (Gregor); sklack, sklaich; and deriv. slaicher (Per.). “Sllauch indicates a greater digust than slaich” (Gregor). [slek; ne.Sc. + sleç, sklek, †sljɑ:x. See K, letter, 8. and P.L.D. § 141. 1.]

I. v. 1. tr. or absol. (1) To lick, smear with the tongue, to beslobber (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ags., Per., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1970), to make a licking or lapping movement with the tongue. Also fig. of the tide, a mist. etc. Sc. 1729  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 114:
Out of my Sight, vile Wretch, whose Tongue Is daily slacking [sic] throw the Dung.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 5:
Adders rough, and gruesome horrid gluey tongues did slake and feed.
Ayr. 1846  Ballads Ayr. (Paterson) I. 112:
He louped up an' sleak'd her cheek.
Per. 1878  R. Ford Hamespun Lays 51:
You began tae clean An' slaik it wi' yer tongue at e'en.
em.Sc. 1930  Glasgow Herald (4 Feb.) 8:
An' thro' the mists aye slaikin roon' As nicht cam' doon.
Fif. 1931  Gsw. Herald (14 Feb.):
We jist had the auld feather ba', an' ye canna blame folk for takin' advantage o' a ba' that wis pairfectly easy tae mak' an' that didna jist exactly turn intil a slaikit bap at the first drap o' rain.
Fif. 1964  R. Bonnar Stewartie 1. ii.:
They lay, down there right on the shore where they were slaiked by every tide.

(2) Esp. of a pet animal: to lick (dishes) surreptitiously, to purloin and eat (tit-bits), to consume (food) on the sly (Sc. 1808 Jam.); “to hang about or lounge like a dog that is content to feed on offals” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), to scrounge; to eat soft or liquid food in a dirty, slobbering way, also intr. with at (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166–7). Rnf. 1806  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 87:
Tae slake about a great man's kitchen, An, like a spaniel, lick his dishes.
Rnf. 1941  R. Skimming Lays 19:
She was nae brood o' thievish cats, That rin and slake 'mang bowls and pats.
Fif. c.1850  Peattie MS:
A lazy slaikin beggar.

(3) By extension, also intr. with about, at: to kiss, caress, fondle in an excessively sentimental way (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1970); to make much of in a fulsome, amorous manner, to fawn on, act obsequiously towards (Ags. 1970). Rnf. 1813  G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 211:
John believ'd himself aboon, While he slaik't an slaber'd at her.
Gall. 1889  Bards Gall. (Harper) 239:
He'll slaik her and straik her.
Fif. 1926  I. Farquhar Pickletillie 222:
They ocht to run for't instead o' slaikin' an' smoodgin' there.
Ayr. 1930  :
He's aye slaiking aboot her.

2. (1) To besmear, bedaub, streak (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 167; Ork., Bnff., Ags., Per. (slaicher), Slg., Fif., Lnl., Ayr., sm. and s.Sc. 1970); to wipe in a messy way, “to scrub or wipe up in a slatternly manner” (Cld. 1880 Jam.); to sleek the hair (Ayr., Gall. 1970). Derivs. slaiker, -ie, “one who bedaubs” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), a messy, untidy person. Sc. 1783  Johnie Scot in
Child Ballads No. 99 A. x.:
An whan he came to the green grass growan, He slaikid his shoone an ran.
Sc. 1808  E. Hamilton Cottagers viii.:
Slaked and blacket a' owre wi' dirt.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 391:
Their heids wus slakit up wi hair oil.
Abd. 1905  W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 210:
To go with a pailful of sowens, and with a whitewashing brush sklaich the doors and windows of a dwelling house.
Abd. 1955  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxvii.:
It [hair]'s a' sklaikit ower wi grey an' marlt wi' fite like a spurgie.
ne.Sc. 1967  Scotland's Mag. (March) 25:
Sklacking sowens, i.e. sowens that were used like whitewash. This was a Hogmanay ploy.

(2) To smear on, apply thickly. Per. 1970  :
Slaik on mair paint. He believes in slaikin on the hair-oil.

3. With out, up: to spit (phlegm), to hawk noisily (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166–7, slaich, sllauch).

II. n. 1. (1) A lick with the tongue, a slobbering lick or kiss (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; em.Sc., Lnk., Kcb., s.Sc. 1970); transf. a light touch, a stroking, tap, pat, knock, a gentle blow (Rnf., Ayr. 1825 Jam.). A gob slake, a smack on the jaw. See Gob. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 396:
I'll give you a gob slake.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 37:
Frae my father monie a slaik she gat.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie v.:
He gied you but a gentle slaik wi's paw.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xxvi.:
What were ye the waur o' a bit slaik o' a kiss?

†(2) A dirty slobbering way of eating (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166–7).

†(3) A spit, expectoration, splutter of phlegm (Gregor).

2. The act of daubing or smearing; anything soft, wet or messy which has been smeared or daubed on, a streak, “lick” (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1948, slaicher; Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1970); slime (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166). Hence fig. a small quantity, a dab, pinch, modicum. Adj. slaichie, slauchie, slyaachie, slaky, slimy (Gregor), slobbery, also fig. slanderous, of the tongue. Rxb. 1805  A. Scott Poems 145:
Soupling slakes of oil.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xvii.:
Maybe a touch o' a blackit cork, or a slake o' paint.
Ayr. 1833  Galt Stories of Study II. 168:
He had a slake of the Tory about him.
Ayr. 1836  Galt in Tait's Mag. (June) 389:
To get a slaik of college lair.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
I redd my hair, an' gave it a slake o' ulzie.
Kcd. 1869  Stonehaven Jnl. (30 Sept.) 3:
Deil speed them wi' their slauchy tongues.
ne.Sc. 1874  D. Macgregor The Scald 20:
A' the maist loathsome an' slaky things.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 58:
“So it is,” says Sandy, takin' a slaik o't [tar] aff wi his fingers.
Kcb. 1897  T. Murray Poems 19:
A slake o' treacle or o' syrup.
Sc. 1924  Sc. Recitations (Harley) 126:
She wi' a teaspoon took a slaik o't.
Abd. 1928 14 :
Bere meal pottage is some slyaachie.

3. A careless or slatternly wash, a hasty clean or wipe; a dirty, messy way of working (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 166–7; Ags., Per., w. and sm.Sc. 1970). Cld. 1880  Jam.:
She jist gied the floor a slaik. Oh! She's deed lazy!
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters xii.:
As if he got a bit idle slaik now and than, and never a good rub.

4. transf.: (1) A person who eats or drinks excessively, a glutton, drunkard, “soak” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Per., Slg., Lnk., Rxb. 1970); (2) “a low mean sneaking fellow” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

[O.Sc. slaik, to beslobber by kissing, 1535, O.N. sleikja, to lick. In some of the meanings of the n., phs. confused with Slake.]

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"Slaik v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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