Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SWINK, v.3, n.2 Also freq. form swinkl(e), -el (Cai.).

I. v. 1. intr. Of a liquid: to splash about in a container, to plash, gurgle, ripple (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), swinkl, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972, swinkel); to make a shaking side-to-side motion. Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Swinkle upo yon lamp to see if der'r ony øli in it.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 123:
For he wad drink far mair drink Than a' that in his wame can swink.
Sh. 1960 Shetland Hamefarin 14:
An da witless waves is swinklin I' da daandrin, dimmer nicht.

2. Fig. To be full of drink. Ppl.adj. swinklin, in liquor, drunk, “sozzled.” Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 86:
Whinever he cam' hame swinklin'.

3. To tilt (a vessel containing water) (Cai. 1972).

II. n. In dim. form swinky and by-form swanky: the common earth-worm (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1972, swinky, swanky). Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 321:
Like a peerie laveric leukan for a swinky fae hid's minny.
Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 265:
A worm — a common “swinky.”

[Appar. ad. Dan. svinke, to move this way and that, to roll, wriggle. Cf. also for the -le form Norw. dial. swingla, to sway, tumble, skvinkla, to ripple.]

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"Swink v.3, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <>



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