Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SLAKE, n. Also slaik; slyaach (Abd.). A name applied to various species of fresh-and salt-water edible algae, as Ulva, Conferva, Porphyra, Enteromorpha (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1970); “when boiled, forming a jelly, and eaten on bread, instead of butter” (Ags. 1808 Jam.). Comb. slake-kail, a kind of soup made from this (see Kail, n., 5. (44)), deriv. slakie in comb. ¶slakie-splatter, id. (Ags. 1818 W. Gardiner Poems 17). [slek; Abd. + sljɑ:k. See P.L.D. § 141. 1.] Hebr. 1703 M. Martin Descr. W. Isles 148:
Slake, a very thin Plant, almost round, about ten or twelve inches in circumference, grows on the Rocks and Sands; the Natives eat it boil'd and it dissolves into Oil; they say that if a little Butter be added to it, one might live many years on this alone.
n.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. Slike:
A kind of Sea-weed, very soft and slippery, Slake, which they also eat.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VII. 201:
The green slake, which grows in the river.
Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 287:
The Enteromorphae fill the bed of the lower part of the Tweed during the summer, and are well known to our fishermen under the name of Slake.
Cai. 1907 J. Horne County of Cai. 134:
In Caithness, slake was a tasty addition to bread; it was sea-weed washed, boiled, and cooled, and then used as a jelly.
Abd.15 1930:
There wis a heap o slyaach i' the wall afore it wis redd out.

[O.Sc. slaik, id., 1597, Ir. sleabhac, id. A variant form has given Slawk, q.v.]

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"Slake n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <>



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