Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SLINK, v., n.1, adj. Pa.t. †slunked (Bnff. 1747 W. Cramond Cullen Ho. (1887) 17); slonk (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 428); slunk(it). [slɪŋk]

I. v. 1. Specif. in the game of marbles: to roll a large marble or plunker gently so that it comes to rest close to one of the smaller or play marbles, to sneak up on (a play marble).Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 150:
“Fire awa' then.” “Missed. Hoorah!” “Dine't. Peety I didna slink.”

2. To cheat, deceive, gull (Fif. 1825, Bnff., Cld., 1880 Jam.); also intr. to act in a deceitful way. Vbl.n. slinkin, dishonest behaviour, low cunning, deceitfulness (Fif., Cld. 1825 Jam.). Deriv. slinker, n., a cheat, deceiver, a crafty, unreliable person.Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 78:
They alike disposed are, To flattrin' and to slinkin.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 69:
I'm neither a drouth nor a slinker.

3. As in Eng., of a cow: to abort. Hence slunk, of a calf: aborted, born prematurely. Comb. ‡slunk veal, the flesh of such a calf, or of a badly nourished calf (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), also in reduced form slunk, id. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Cf. n., 2.

II. n. 1. A smooth, crafty, sneaking person, a low, despicable character (Sc. 1825 Jam.; m.Sc., Rxb. 1970). Also in dim. form slinkie, id., “often applied to children” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 167), a sly little creature. Dial. or colloq. in Eng.Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 51:
Lazie slinks wha leive by this trade.
Dmf. a.1820 Border Mag. (Oct. 1896) 169:
Ye slowsterin' slink.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 398:
Tho' ye were an unco slink, I'm sad without ye.
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life II. 71:
D'ye no' min' the story o' that vile slink, the minister o' Bigstipen'.

2. An aborted, premature or newly-born unfed calf or other young animal (m.Sc. 1970), “a young calf before it is calved” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 428); the flesh or skin of such an animal (Sc. 1808 Jam.); in fig. sense = slink o' veal below. Also attrib. as in slink beef, -veal. Also in Eng. dial. Phr. slink o' veal, ¶slinky veal, the flesh of a slink; fig., a feeble, weak, ineffective, vacillating person, a “softie”; ¶dun-slink, id.Inv. c.1726 Trans. Inv. Scientific Soc. I. 228:
1 dozen slinks, 40 foxes, 4 other skins.
Rnf. 1756 Session Papers, Petition J. Pollock (19 Feb.) 8:
She slapped her Hands before the Defender's Face, calling him several Times a saulless Bitch, and Dun-slink.
Ayr. 1780 S.H.S. Misc. VI. 277:
An unfed calf, newly dropped from its mother, & vulgarly called, slink veal.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVIII. 520:
A good many small and slink kid, and mort lamb-skins.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xv.:
He hasna settled his [butcher's] account wi' my gudeman, the deacon, for this twalmonth — he's but slink, I doubt.
Slg. 1818 W. Muir Poems 263:
As lang's I can get milk and meal Or now an' then a slinky veal.
Ayr. 1866 Trans. Highl. Soc. 84:
The newly-dropt calves or “slinks”.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 223:
Guidsaffs! no possible! the muckle saft slink o' veal!
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 48:
He was aye juist a big slink calf.
Gall. 1954 Gall. Gazette (30 Oct.):
Fat Sheep and Lambs, Slink and Fed Calves.

3. A tall lanky person, a lean, scraggy “object” (Sc. 1825 Jam., a lang slink).

4. An emaciated or spent fish, esp. a cod or salmon, a Kelt (Sc. 1803 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 399; Abd., Ayr. 1930 Fishery Board Gl.; Ayr. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Slinger, n.1, 2.

III. adj. Thin, lean, scraggy, lank (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.); slim, slender. Also in form slinkie, -y, slunkie, id. (Sc. 1808 Jam.), and as a n., a lanky person (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
It was a slink beast, and wad hae eaten sit head aff.
Ayr. 1861 Carrick Anthol. (Finlayson) 211:
Their weans barefit, begrutten, an' duddy, Wi' slinkie kytes, that craik'd for crowdy.
Lnk. 1892 W. Ewing Poems 16:
Their coachman freen', leen, slink and lang.
Fif. 1929 St Andrews Cit. (9 Feb.) 9:
Puir Robbie aye wad ta'en a blink At slink silk hosen.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 41:
Fair fa' yer spreckled coat, A' rainbow-shot, Sleekit an' slink.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Slink v., n.1, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: