Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

THEEK, v., n. Also theeck, thei(c)k, thiek, theak; thick; misprint threik (Sc. 1706 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 435); thig (Per. 1830 in Atholl MSS.; Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah v. 6). [θik; em.Sc. (a) θek. See P.L.D. § 88.]

I. v. †1. To roof (a building) in gen., to cover (a roof) with any appropriate material (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 147:
He that Theiks his House with Turds.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 257:
For a' the houses Was theekit wi blue stane.
Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 6:
It's firmly built frae fit to head, An' neatly thicket o'er wi' lead.

2. Specif.: to cover a roof with a thatch of straw, heather or rushes (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai), sim. of covering a hay-, corn- or peat-stack. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. theekit. Sc. 1702 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 303:
He is likewise to theick the hous on his oune charges, I laying timber, thack and divot and wattles to his hand.
Sc. 1733 W. Thomson Orpheus Caled. i. 3:
They bigg'd a Bower on yon Burn-brae, And theek'd it o'er wi' rashes.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 137:
Frae the big stack, weel winnow't on the hill, Wi' divets theekit frae the weet and drift.
Ayr. 1785 Burns 3rd Ep. to J. Lapraik vii.:
A' the vittel in the yard, An' theekit right.
Per. 1835 R. Nicoll Poems 172:
Yon heather-theekit hames war' blithe.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 41:
In a wee thieket hoosie, far doon i' the glen.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Galt. Gossip 234:
The last farmer wudna aloo them aither strae or rashes tae theek them wi.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Lowland Hills 27:
The aixtrae sheaf that willna' staun Aft maks the theekit stack to fa'.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 21:
Theekeet yins an sklaitteet yins.
Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 59:
Her hoosie 'twas weel harl't and theekit.

Hence (1) theeker, thicker, a thatcher (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc., obsol.; (2) theekin, the action of thatching, a covering of thatch (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Gen.Sc.), also attrib. as in theekin spurtle, the pronged instrument for packing thatch on a roof (Ayr. 1930). See Spurtle. (1) Dmf. 1706 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1887) 60:
To a Theaker for putin on the Thak.
Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Traditions 67:
John being an excellent theeker.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 132:
Robin Rigging the theeker.
(2) Bte. 1705 Rothesay T. C. Rec. (1935) II. 571:
Theiking strae for theiking ther part of the manss.
Bwk. 1709 Household Bk. Lady G. Ballie (S.H.S.) lxiv.:
For hather and thicking of the church.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
A fireside and theeking ower our heads.
Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 79:
The theekin of straw and thin turfs was laid so closely as to make the whole water-tight.
Knr. c.1860 H. Haliburton Horace (1926) 236:
An' noo's the time, wi' clean wheat strae, To mend the theekin' o' the hoose.
Gall. 1882 J. Douglas Bk. Gall. 99:
The men that did that wark carried a theeckan-spurtle in the ae haun and a whinger in the ither.
Slk. 1894 J. Bathgate Aunt Janet's Legacy 75:
It's just the theekin' blawn off.

3. Transf.: to cover as with thatch, to protect with any thick covering, as hair, clothes, etc., to cover. Ppl.adj. theekit, covered with hair (Fif. c.1850 Peattie MS.; Sh., ne., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1972); dressed, clad (Id.). Comb. Weel-theekit, fig., well-to-do, affluent (Lnk. 1972). Sc. 1781 Weekly Mag. (15 March) 306:
Wi' jockey coats our bodies theekit.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 360:
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair We'll theek our nest when it grows bare.
Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 784:
An' billie sangster o' Auld Reekie, May Heaven wi' ilka blessin' theik ye.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xvii.:
Bread for the belly and theeking for the back.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems 22:
Theekit wi, hair like the birse o' a soo.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 96:
Noo bare as polished chuckie-stane My ance weel-theekit croun.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxxvii.:
Noo we'll theek ye, an' feed ye!
Dmf. 1920 D. J. Bell-Irving Tally-Ho 90:
Shiverin' in front o' a big fire like an ill theekit whalp.

4. To beat with a stick, sc. as a thatcher beats down thatch (Fif. c.1850 Peattie MS.). Vbl.n. theikin, a thrashing (Id.). But the usage is poss. orig. due to a confusion of Thack, v.2 with Thack, v.1

II. n. 1. Thatch (Ayr. 1910; wm., sm.Sc. 1972). Dmf. 1873 A. C. Gibson Folk Speech Cmb. 123:
A hame to me was Lockerbie when half its roofs were theek.
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger 29:
Nae coothy cots wi' white-wash'd wa's weel Cover'd in wi' theek.

Combs.: (1) theek house, a thatched house; (2) theek-wye, a wisp of straw for thatching. See Thack, n., 3.(16) and Wass. (1) Sc. 1897 Scots Mag. (March) 277:
As canty and crouse and bien-like as the lowly theek hoosies of old.
(2) Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (23 Sept.):
If the thack sheaves, or theek-wyes, have to be drawn by hand.

2. Transf. any thick covering of foliage, hair, etc. (Ags., Per. 1972). Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 80:
Beeches an' aiks entwine their theek.
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs 4:
The glen an' its theek o' fairns.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 56:
His tousled pow had naething But a theik o' Nature's rig.

[O.Sc. theke, to roof, 1387, thekar, a thatcher, 1330, North. Mid.Eng. theke, to thatch, O.E. þeccan, from its non-palatalised forms. Cf. Streek, stretch.]

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

"Theek v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: