Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SNACK, adj., adv., n.2, v.2 Also snak; sneck. [snɑk]

I. adj. 1. Of persons: (1) nimble, active, neat, quick, brisk in one's movements (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. To Douglas Aeneis snak, 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw., sneck; Cai., Abd. 1970). Deriv. snackie, id. (Abd., Dmf. 1970), also adv. Adv. snackly (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Sc. 1732  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 188:
In yonder town there wons a May, Snack and perfyte as can be ony.
Sc. 1756  M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 226:
She was a girl about fifteen, a snack little lassie.
Abd. 1778  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 16:
Snack and plump, an' like an apple round.
Edb. 1811  H. Macneill Bygane Times 30:
Ident, and snack, the chiel gat on.
Abd. 1832  A. Beattie Poems 136:
George snackly now ungirds the saddle.
Abd. 1930 11 :
Look snackie noo and thief-like.

(2) quick in mind, acute, clever, sharp-witted (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 107, 1808 Jam.; ‡Bnff., Abd. 1970). Deriv. snackie, id., astute, “full of tricks and quirks,” also adv. Adv. snackly. Sc. 1724  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 100:
The knack I learn'd frae an auld aunty, The snackest of a' my kin.
Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 20:
How snackly cou'd he gi'e a Fool Reproof.
Sc. 1732  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 229:
Like snacky Easop too right slee.
Sc. 1806  R. Jamieson Ballads I. 297:
Slee, snackie, and wilie, and quirkie.
Per. 1857  J. Stewart Sketches 43:
Twa shillans gude I gat fu' snacky.
m.Lth. 1866  J. Smith Merry Bridal 3:
Snacky Rab, and pawky Hab.

2. Of speech, etc.: easy, smooth, tripping, glib, voluble. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 24:
Something that's blyth and snack to sing.
Sc. 1792  The Bee (19 Sept.) XI. 106:
How ilk tongue sae snack an' snell, Loud touts his fame.

3. Sharp or severe, in one's dealings or manner, exacting, harsh, cutting. Sc. 1883  Good Words 651:
The sullen depreciation of others, the undue exaltation of self, the being grasping, or what Scotch people would call “snack”, over every trifle, the unwillingness to yield any little favour.
Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Sc. Verses 53:
Cauld poortith's fell snack.
Sc. 1894  Longman's Mag. (May) 9:
You needn't be so snack: I can't stop to pick my words when I'm worried.

4. Of time: precise, exact. Mry. 1849  A. Blackhall Lays 41:
That slee, snack hour when midnight's gloom Veils saints as weel as sinners.

5. Of a knife: sharp, keen. Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 504:
A curst-like gully and a snack.

II. adv. Quickly, sharply, smartly; of time: precisely, to the moment, ‘sharp'. Sc. 1718  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 78:
[She] sneg'd the Raips fow snack.
Per. 1739  A. Nicol Nature 60:
She answered me chastly and snack.
Abd. 1797  Aberdeen Mag. 198:
I kilted up my coats fu' snack, An' took nae time for thinkin'.
Gall. 1881  L. B. Walford Dick Netherby xxiii.:
'Tis but the half-hoor snack by my watch.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 241:
There's naething cures our John sae snaek As mustard, mix'd wi' linseed meal.

III. n. 1. A small, active, alert, brisk person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 172). Dim. snackit, id. (Ib.; Bnff., Abd. 1970), phs. confused with Nacket, n.1, 2. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 230:
He's gotten a keen, canty snackit o' a loonie t' leuk aifter's yows.

2. A keen bargainer (Sc. 1880 Jam.).

IV. v. To bustle, work about in a lively, active fashion (Ork. 1929 Marw.).

[Orig. prob. chiefly imit. of a quick movement. Cf. Snack, n.1, v.1]

Snack adj., adv., n.2, v.2

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"Snack adj., adv., n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



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