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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TARROCK, n. Also tarrack, -och; tarret; tirrack(e), -ook (Sh. 1825 Jam.), tirri(c)k (Sh. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 V. 189, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972). [′tɑrək, ′tɪrɪk]

1. The common tern, Sterna hirundo (Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 420, 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 202, Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh. 1972, tirrick).Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 634:
Common gull, and great black and white gull, tarrock.
Sh., Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 202:
In Orkney it is generally named the rittoch or rottock; sometimes the tarrock or tarret. In Shetland it is commonly called the rippock; sometimes the tirrick or tarrack.
Slk. 1816 Hogg Poems (1865) 154:
The tarroch, tough, and kittiwake.
Sh. 1821 Scott Pirate x.:
The querulous cry of tirracke and kittiewake.
Abd. 1880 J. Skelton Crookit Meg iv.:
I promised to get a tarrock's wing for Eppie.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 13:
Whaar da piltiks bul an da tirriks dip

2. The Arctic tern, Sterna macrura (Sh. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 202, Sh. 1972).

3. The kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla, esp. when referring to the young birds (s.Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; Fif. 1972).e.Lth. 1960 Scotsman (10 June):
When the tarrocks are being reared, hoth parents will supply their needs and the harbour-side will echo the kittiwakes' cries.

[The form is a dim. from tar-, ter-, which appears in deriv. form in tern. Norw., Dan. terne, O.N. þerna, id.]

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"Tarrock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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