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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

CLEESH, Cleish, Creesh, int. and n. [kliʃ, kriʃ]

I. int. A term in the game of marbles (see quot.). Creesh is used at Montrose (Ags.11937). Also used sim. in bowls (e.Lth. 1950) and in Dundee in the game of pinner (Ags. 1975).Ags. (Friockheim) 1916 T.S.D.C. II.:
In the game of marbles, if the player wanted the ground clear for his shot, he said “cleesh.”
Fif. 1920
If a stone or other obstruction was lying near, the marble could be lifted and placed behind it with the words "nae cleesh." This made things more difficult for the other player who could neither see nor hit the marble.

II. n. Room to move or manoeuvre, elbow room, a wide berth (Ags. 1975). Ags. 1945 S. A. Duncan Chronicles Mary Ann 35: 
I gies fatever it wiz at the fut ee stairs plenty o' cleish this time.
Ags. 1946 D. Twitter Tales 18: 
Noo, I wiz gettin' some cleish in my room.

[Origin unknown, but for interchange of l and r, cf. Channel, n.1, and Channer, n.1]

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"Cleesh interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jun 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/cleesh_interj>

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