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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLEEK, Cleik, Click, v.1 Also found in forms kleek, kliek, klick, klikk in Sh. Pa.t. and pa.p. gen. claucht, claught, but the weak form is also found. [klik, klɪk, klɛk; pa.t. and pa.p. klǫxt, klɑxt]

1. To seize, snatch, catch, clutch; to steal, pilfer (mostly I.Sc.); also with to = to snatch up. Edm. Gl. (1866) and Angus Gl. (1914) give the form klikk. Gen.Sc. Pa.t also clawcht (claucht Edb. 2000s).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 35:
Cleek a' ye can be Hook or Crook Ryp ilky Poutch frae Nook to Nook.
Sc. 1827 Scott Surgeon's Daughter ii. in Chrons. Canongate II.:
The old Cameronian spirit began to rise in me, and little thing would have made me cleek to the poker.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
Dumfoonert craturs ruggin mang
whummelt biggins; the lave shauchlin,
shauchlin forrit bairns claucht tae breists.
Sh. 1888 Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 294:
She would have been virtuously indignant if you had accused her of dishonesty when she klickit sugar or cake.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 28:
Nae road nor gait safe;
aa's claucht i the grupp,
thrawed by grief.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 47:
I claucht him in baith airms and peched Ashore — he was a michty wecht.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 48:
The Regent frae the bylie wa
keekit wi sklentie ee,
an thocht hou he micht claught it aa
gin Sillersecks sud dee.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 39:
Yon day when, iron-fast til Moby Dick,
The fleean whale-line clawcht him frae the boat,
He didna dee.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 175:
'Whit's this tae be, guilt by association? If ye gang doon that road, ye'll find some kenspeckle bodies claucht up in the net. ... '
Per. 1987 Roger Leitch ed. The Book of Sandy Stewart 33:
The janitor use tae come an he jest claucht ye!
Ayr. 1790 Robert Burns Poems and Songs (1969) 448:
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish vii.:
I think to this hour, how I saw her at the window, how the fire came in behind her, and claught her like a fiery Belzebub, and bore her into perdition before our eyes.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck, etc. II. 134:
Down comes there a great majestic eagle . . . an' cleeks ye away up to the lowne bieldy side o' a sunny hill.

Hence cleeker-in, one who collects news, etc., for a paper, a reporter.Abd. c.1833 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 2) III. 55:
Ramsay became "cleeker-in" to the "Shaver", of which he was for a short time editor.

2. To hook, to catch or fasten with a hook (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., kliek; 1914 Angus Gl., kleek); to gaff (salmon). Gen.Sc. Also fig. With doon: to unfasten from a hook (Bnff.2 1937).Mry.(D) 1927 E. B. Levack Stories Old Lossiemouth 42:
A gaed intil that cerriage ahin there an' niver noticed 'at it wisna cleeket on.
Abd. 1926 L. Coutts Lyrics, etc. 39:
The wife his cleekit Doon the kettle.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 48:
Salty, the gey lad that he wis, told Peggy that he wis gan tae mairry her before Michaelmas and she cleeked ontae every word that came out of his big skate mooth.
Ags. 1892 D. Tasker Pastime Musings III. 163:
They wad fish doon the lum, an' a pat whiles they cleekit.
m.Sc. 1925 J. Buchan John Macnab viii.:
That fush was cleekit. . . . It was never catched with a flee.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 4:
Ah see the muckle skulls o mastodons cleikt
in a dub o black pitch.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 205:
They've click'd some chaps upo' the woodies.
Gsw. 1992 Jeff Torrington Swing Hammer Swing! (1993) 152:
And there was the man himself, a thin streak of misery in a snow-speckled bunnet, brown overcoat and black shoes, the handle of his white stick cleeked over his arm.
Ayr. 1991:
The coal wagons wur cleekt thegither.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Brownie of Bodsbeck I. 158:
He . . . cleekit out a hantle o' geds and perches wi' his toum.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 167:
Come the kimmerin o derkness an day,
closer cleikit tae derk's doonfaa,
wild winter's broukit bairn's
fresh faa'n awa sae's reingein rise.

3. To link arms (with), walk arm in arm. Vbl.n. cleekin'. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1826 Scott Diary I. 82:
(15 Jan.): I cannot cleik with John. . . . I mean, that an ordinary menial servant thus hooked to your side reminds me of the twin bodies mentioned by Pitscottie.
Sc. 1887 R. L. Stevenson Underwoods 91:
The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks The sonsie missis.
m.Sc. 1928 “O. Douglas” Eliza for Common v.:
Phemie Brown . . . walked away with such a satisfied smile, ‘cleeking' with her young man.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 46:
They began to walk up the street, past the hulk of St Giles, Weir's left hand cleiking Mitchel's arm, while his right leaned heavily on the staff.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 56:
We cleeked together and ran across the fields.
wm.Sc. 1991 Bill Sutherland in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 146:
Gaun, cleek yer new lodd, show him aff,
make gled eyes it his gallus chaff.
Ayr. publ. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc., and Poems 334:
Are there cleekin's i' the kirk gates An' loans for lovers still?
Ayr. 1991:
He cleekt her doun the road. He wiz cleekin this wumman. They wur cleekt thegither gaun doun the road.
sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
cleekit hooked ... [Wgt., Dmf.] 'with linked arms'.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (10 Aug.) 2/6:
She did not hesitate to “cleek” through the Square with her sweetheart.

Hence a-cleek, linked together.Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 117:
Who hung together with arms a-cleek, Tho' floods went over head and cheek.

4. In dancing: to link arms and whirl round (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Arg.11937).Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff vii.:
What with reeling, and wheeling, and cleeking, and shouting, the din became boisterous.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter (Cent. ed.) ll. 146–147:
The dancers quick and quicker flew, They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit.

5. (1) tr. To ensnare in the bonds of matrimony (Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.2, Fif.11937). Cf. Eng. slang to hook, in the same sense.Ags. 1820 A. Balfour Contemplation, etc. 261:
But Katharine fand the way to cleek him.

(2) intr. With wi': to take in marriage, to marry; to start a relationship (with someone of the opposite sex) (cleek Sh., Cai., Abd.; click Bnff., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Uls. 2000s).Sc. c.1802 R. Lochore in Book Sc. Song (ed. Whitelaw 1866) 208:
Sae I'm put in a puzzlin' strait Whilk o' the twa to cleek wi'.
Abd. 1980s:
Hiv ye cleekit yet? He cleekit with Mary.
Rnf. 1935 James Lennox Kerr Woman of Glenshiels iv:
Mary ... wouldn't click with a "pape" or a boy who whistled after them.

6. “To wheedle, to cajole” (Uls.2 1929).

7. To cheat, deceive. Sometimes with in. Cf. Eng. catch.Bnff. 1927 Bothy Songs in Bnffsh. Jnl. (16 Aug.) 3:
But Mr McGock was nae gowk, Wi' our dainty bit plan to be cleekit.
Ayr. [1836] J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 238:
James cleekit in many, and justly the grim Old Snap with his own snare has cleekit in him.

8. Phrases: †(1) cleek-the-pursie, adj., thieving; (2) to cleik in (or up) wi(th), to associate with, be intimate with (Abd.19, Lnk.3 1937); (3) to cleek one's hoch, to lift one's leg, to start on a journey. Cf. to tak one's fit in one's han s.v. Fit; †(4) to cleik the cunȝie, cleek in gain, etc., to seize or gather in money avidly.(1) Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 199:
Robin Hood an' a' his band, O cleek-the-pursie gentry.
(2) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Tell me . . . what sort of a chap ye are, that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler?
Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona i.:
Eh, but ye're a green callant! an' a veecious, tae! Cleikin' up wi baubee joes!
(3)Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 214:
Cleeck your hoch, we'll owre the loch, While watchfu' warlins downa scar ye.
(4) Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) xviii.:
Wanting to cleik the cunȝie (that is, to hook the siller), he cannily carried off Gilliewhackit.
Ags. 1824 Literary Olio (10 Jan.) 3/3:
Yet mark the laird cleek in his rent.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems and Songs 81:
Nor stick't at aught to cleek in gain To keep him bousin'.

9. With up: to take (a person) up sharply or take offence easily at (someone) for what he has said. Rxb. 1875 N. Elliott Nellie Macpherson 68:
'I didna mean that ava, Miss Dora,' replied Kirsty, bristling up: 'ye click a bodie up sae sharp.'

10. To clasp (one's hands) tightly or nervously. Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck II. iv.:
Ye needna cleek your hands that gate, and look as if ye couldna help it.

11. To strike (a golf-ball) with a cleek, so as to make it leap over an obstacle. Sc. 1891 J. G. McPherson Golf & Golfers 76:
The play was to cleek it over the ditch and the undulation into the slight hollow.

12. To knit with a hook, to crochet. Esp. in ppl.adj. cleekit, crocheted (Ork. 1975). Bnff. 1959 People's Jnl. (21 Nov.) 5:
The cleekit rug needs backin' yet.
Dmf. 1959 Sc. Home & Country (March) 84:
My father had a pair of cleekit gloves. They were made all with a small flat bone hook not much larger than a man's thumb.

13. To produce, bring out, prob. with reference to 1. (7). Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Misc. Poetry 27, 37:
My Muse hame to her native lan' Maun cleek a crune . . . I took time a-wee yestreen To cleek ye this narration.

[O.Sc. cleke, cleik, cleek, pa.t. and pa.p. claucht, claught (c.1470–1480), to catch or snatch, pull out quickly or forcibly, lay hold of (D.O.S.T.), n.Mid.Eng. cleke, id., corr. mid and southern cleche, pa.t. cla(c)hte, pa.p. claht (mod.Eng. dial. cleach), apparently from O.E. *clǣcan (cf. tǣcan, Mid.Eng. teche, pa.t. in n.Mid.Eng. ta(c)hte).]

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"Cleek v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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