Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
STEEK, n.2, v.2 Also steik, stic (Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Heather and Snaw (1917) 164), stick (Sh. 1900 Shetland News (24 Feb.)). [stik; Sh., Abd. + stɪk]
I. n. 1. A stitch in sewing, or knitting (Sc.1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26. Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.; transf. a nickname for a tailor. For open-steek see Open, adj., 1. (7).
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 30:
For want of a steek a shoe may be tint. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 215:
Still making tight wi' tither steek, The tither hole, the tither eik. Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 56–8:
He draws a bonie, silken purse . . . whare thro' the steeks, The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks. Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 12:
Every steek that they pat in, Sew'd to a silver bell. Edb. 1827 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 258:
Back-steek, bane-steek, ranterfield, and dodgel-hem. Edb. 1884 R. F. Hardy Glenairlie i. ix.:
“Tak' up that steek for me,” said ‘Auntie,' shoving a coarse grey stocking into Martha's hand. Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Sc. Fields 135:
He would rest content with the revenge of referring to him as a “nacket,” “steek,” “prick-the-loose.” Per. 1908 Gsw. Ballad Club III. 125:
Swellin' oot my wee bit kyte, Till fit to burst the steeks. Abd. 1929 Weekly Jnl. (17 Jan.) 6:
Foo mony o' them can wyve a loop or shoo a steek? Rxb. 1933 Kelso Chron. (3 Nov.) 5:
Folk never saw him cleedin'-hale for a' his mither's steeks.
Phrs.: (1) clean steek, thoroughly, effectively; (2) to keep a steek in, to keep control over, to restrain; (3) to keep, ¶haud, steek(s) wi, to keep pace with, keep up with, compete with (Kcb., Dmf., Slk. 1971); (4) to let down a steek, to make a mistake, commit a fault, “slip up” (Sh. 1971); (5) to put in hard steeks at, to do (a thing) with energy or earnestness, to apply oneself vigorously to (Kcb. 1971); (6) to tak up a steek (in one's stocking), to amend a fault, retrieve a mistake, put to rights (Sh. 1971). Cf. (4).
(1) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiv.:
My certie, if he didna dicht me up, clean steek, for my undutifu' behaviour. Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 128:
Wha could play cleaner steek Than Jock, wi' either drag or cleek. (2) Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's x. 19:
Sae the man wi' a pickle sense taks care to keep a steek in his crack. (3) Hdg. 1796 R. Gall Poems (1819) 37:
Then wi' her hands her tongue kept steeks. Ayr. 1862 J. Baxter The Kirn 68:
And I can plew and saw and maw, . . . A man or the auld deil himsel' Could ne'er keep steeks wi' me. Kcb. 1927 Kcb. Advertiser (24 June):
They say it hauds steeks wi' — a Neighbourin' Toon! (4) Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxv.:
Naebody could make better wark than Glossin, when he didna let down a steek on purpose. Sc. 1882 J. Brown Horae Subsecivae 107:
Yes, meddam, dis yer leddieship never let down a steek? (5) Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Haggs xxv.:
I was putting in hard steeks at the praying. (6) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ii.:
She doesna ken, as ye say, that theeving's a sin; so I hope ye'll allow me to gie her an opportunity to tak up the steik in her stocking. Sc. 1836 M. Scott Cruise of the Midge xi.:
When the steek in my father's purse, let down by my mother's propensities, was taken up.
2. The least article of clothing, a stitch. Gen.Sc.; a fragment of cloth or, more gen., of anything (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Peb. 1950).
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 10:
He brags he'll tak baith hill an' howe, An' to the steeks us plunder. Sc. 1824 S. Ferrier Inheritance I. v.:
I hae ne'er gotten a steek o' the guidman's dead claise ready. Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) ix.:
Without giving me leave to change a steek. m.Lth. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller 89:
Ilka steek my ain winning. I have had to support myself. Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 65:
No' a steek on but her sark. Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders x.:
We could see the King's ship coming through the narrows . . . wi' every steek o' canvas set. Per. 1895 I. Maclaren Briar Bush i.:
Tho' I haena a steek o' new claithes for four years. Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems 208:
I see naething wrang wi' them putting on an extra steek. Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 45:
She made frockies tae 'er quinies oot o' an aul' goon o' 'er ain, an' niver a new steek. Sh. 1953 C. G. D. Sandison Sixareen iv.:
There would not be a dry “stick” on their bodies.
3. A stitch of pain, a sharp pain, esp. in the side (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Mry., Ags., Slg., Fif., wm., sm. and s.Sc. 1971).
Edb. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxiv.:
Having a steek in my side. Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 132:
She'd gone to bed with a steek in her side.
4. A quick rate or pace (Ags. 1971). Cf. 1. Phrs. (5).
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xxii.:
He gaed by at sic a steek. Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 147:
I never gaed at sic a steek a' my days. Ags. 1912 A. Reid Forfar Worthies 86:
Aff I ran “at a fine steek.”
II. v. tr. and absol. To stitch, sew (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268; Sh., n., m., s.Sc. 1971).
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 13:
In linen bouster-slip steekit up in style. Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 146:
Four bonnie lassies war needlin' an steekin'. Ags. 1894 Arbroath Guide (4 Aug.) 3:
Steekin' on bits o' white lace on the breist. Sh. 1901 Shetland News (9 Feb.):
I stickid dem [slippers] da streen. Gsw. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 42:
I'll steek twa-three buttons on my breeks. Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 21:
Wull ee steek this slittin oxter afore it geets ony woare? Ags. 1953 Forfar Dispatch (31 Dec.):
Fin we wizna sitten and knitten we sat and steekit awa at this.
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"Steek n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Jul 2020 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/steek_n2_v2>
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