Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

SOUROCK, n. Also sourack, -ick, -uck, -rock, -'k, -rich, -ag; soorock, -a(c)k, -i(c)k, -ag, -ug, -o; surak, -ik, -ek; surrock, -ik; sowrok, -uck. Chiefly used in pl. [′surək, Cai. -əg, Ork. -o]

1. (1) A general name for various kinds of sorrel, as common sorrel, Rumex acetosa, sheep's sorrel, Rumex acetosella. wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella (Sc. 1741 A. MacDonald Galick Vocab. 59, sowrok; Ags. 1784 Gentleman's Mag. II. 506, sourrich; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 432; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Dmf. 1925 Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 39; Ork. 1929 Marw., sooro, -ick; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in neg. phrs., of something worthless. Cf. Docken, 1.Bnff. 1771 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1930) 34:
It produced a fine crop of red surak.
Slk. 1810 Hogg Poems (1874) 384:
Though round thy lum the sourick grows.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxxiv.:
Ye hae been eating sourrocks instead o' lang-kail.
Edb. 1846 J. Ballantine Poems 178:
Sour as a sourack, and round as a neep.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 222:
A bunch o' surrock seed in his haun'.
Sc. 1875 W. A. Smith Lewsiana 63:
Dyes are good, and easily procured. . . . Besides the common mordant, they use “sooriks” (wood sorrel) with blue and black.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 119:
It's maistly covered wi' dockens an' soorocks noo.
Uls. 1900 T. Given Poems 152:
You'll get it 'mang the sourocks.
Cai. 1911 Trans. Highl. Soc. XXIII. 252:
Dock and sourag are yet in the land.
Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (July) 274:
For organs, me, I dinna care a sourock.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle II. i.:
This dumplin' tastes like sourocks.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 210:
Whaar no a girse pile, or a soorik, Fir a müldy-hadd need try.
Ayr. 2000:
Sourock leaves can be eaten.

(2) Spotted persicaria, Polygonum persicaria (Uls. 1953 Traynor).Uls. 1881 W. H. Floredice Memories 265:
Let alone them soorugs that'll grow anywhere they're not wanted.

Combs.: (1) cuckoo sourock, wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella. Cf. cuckoo-sorrel, s.v. Cuckoo, 5.; (2) flooerin-soorik, spotted persicaria, Polygonum persicaria (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk-Bk. I. 82, Sh. 1971); (3) lammie sourocks, sheep's sorrel, Rumex acetosella (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1971); (4) sappy soorock, cress (Crm. 1921 T.S.D.C.). Cf. (7); (5) sheep's sourack, = (3). See Sheep, n.1, 1. (45); (6) sookie-sourock, sorrel (n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Ayr. 1971). See Souk, n., 1. (3) (iv); (7) Tommie sourock, water-cress, Nasturtium officinale (Rs. 1952). Cf. (4).(1) Sc. 1863 Border Mag. (Sept.) 153:
In Scotland, the people have little taste for salads, and hence the use of this plant is consigned to children, who know it very well as “Gowk's Meat,” or “Cuckoo Sourocks.”

2. Fig. (1) A sulky, peevish, perverse, sour-tempered person (ne.Sc., Ags., Lth., wm.Sc. 1971). Comb. sourock-faced, sour-faced (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Sc. 1723 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 133:
Ye Sourocks, hafflines Fool, haf Knave, Wha hate a Dance or Sang.
m.Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 175:
Cow-bonny, was the appellation of a mild-tempered, kindly-milching beast; Soorocks, of a sulky cow.
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 179:
What a shame it was that folk should be shamed nowadays to speak Scotch — or they called it Scots if they did, the split-tongued sourocks!
Ags. 1949:
She's a right soorock.

(2) In pl.: the sulks, bad temper.Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 385:
Your mouth ony time I see't, is either wide open, wi' a' its buck-teeth in a guffaw, or as fast as a vice, in a dour fit of the sourocks.

[O.Sc. sourok, = 1., 1456, dim. form of Sour. Cf. M.Du. zuric, suerick, M.L.Ger. sureke, sorrel.]

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

"Sourock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: