Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WARLOCK, n. Also warluck, warlick (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 119, 1926 Abd. Univ. Review (July) 223); waurlock; warlo. [′wɑrlɔk, ′wr-]

1. (1) One who is thought to be in league with the powers of darkness and to have supernatural knowledge and means of bewitching and harming others, the male equivalent of a witch (Sc. 1755 S. Johnson Dict., 1808 Jam.), occas. used of women; also, in a weaker sense, a sorcerer, wizard, magician. Gen.Sc., liter. Hence warlockry, wizardry, magic. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 160:
But gin ye be nae Warluck, How d'ye ken? Does Tam the Rhimer spae oughtlins of this?
n.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 226:
He was himself a warlock, or wizard, which they knew by his taking the witch's part.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 30–31:
Thou wad be found, deep drown'd in Doon; Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk.
Sc. 1817 Blackwood's Mag. (April) 53:
He could maistly hae hauden his ain wi' them, an' it hadna been for their warlockry.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxiv.:
A warlock's grave shouldna be an inch mair ebb, or her ain witch cummers would soon whirl her out of her shroud.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) i.:
Sin' the Rhymer's days, the spirit o' true warlockry is gane.
Sc. 1828 Scott Aunt Marg. Mirror ii.:
That rascally quack would make my fortune. . . . I suppose I must not ask your ladyship anything about this Italian warlock's proceedings?
Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 121:
The shadows o' a' the eatables and drinkables that his wild warlockry could hae conjured up.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped iii.:
I'm nae warlock, to find a fortune for you in the bottom of a parritch bowl.
Mry. 1887 J. Thomson Speyside Par. 91:
There were several that were considered “nae ower canny,” but they were all eclipsed by the fame of Willie Watson, a veritable warlock.
Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Auld Clay Biggin' 20:
Aye glumphin' an' glowrin' at them like a warlock.
Abd. 1929 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 132:
Lewie Gordon wiz a byordinar warlock. He studiet at Padua in Eetaly.

(2) Freq. attrib. and comb., often in extended sense; bewitched, magical, supernatural; malevolent, mischievous. Sc. 1724 Ramsay Ever-Green I. 51:
A Bytand Ballat on warlo Wives, That gar their Men live pinging Lives.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 142:
Sure Major Weir, or some sic warlock wight, Has flung beguilin' glamer o'er your sight.
Ayr. 1793 Burns Dainty Davie i.:
Meet me on the warlock knowe.
Rxb. 1802 J. Leyden Lord Soulis lvi.:
The black spae-book from his breast he took, Impressed with many a warlock spell.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate vi.:
“Honest woman!” echoed Baby — “Foul warlock thief!”
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 44:
Wi' it nae warlock airt they need to ken.
Fif. 1831 Gasometer 206:
Craws aye biggin' aboot auld waurlock places.
Ags. 1847 P. Livingston Poems 44:
In the solemn midnight hour: I tauld you warlock stories.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxv.:
Nane o' your warlock canticles!
Ags. 1923 V. Jacob Songs 32:
The wind cried frae the western airt Like warlock tongues at strife.

(3) Special combs.: (i) warlock-breef, lit., a written commission to be a warlock, a magic charm, supernatural power. See Brief, n.1; (ii) warlock fecket, see quot. and Fecket; (iii) warlockry, supernatural or magical power, wizardry (Sc. 1825 Jam.). (i) Ayr. 1786 Burns To J. Smith iii.:
Ye surely hae some warlock-breef Owre human hearts.
(ii) Dmf. 1808 R. Cromek Remains 281:
Jackets, woven of water snake skins, at a certain time of a March moon, were much in vogue among the crusading servants of Satan; and are yet remembered by the name of warlock feckets.

2. As a term of disparagement: an old, ugly or misanthropic man; a mischievous or troublesome fellow. Also attrib. Dim. ¶warlokin. Kcd. 1820 E. Tevendale Poems 31:
Frosty beardit warlock bodie.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 204:
It's awfu' an' unkent the ill, This warlo'kin has wrought man.
Abd. 1926 L. Moon Drumorty 99:
A witless warlock who was by nature bound to ruin any piece of cloth into which he put a pair of shears.

[O.Sc. warlo, warlou, the Devil, a.1400, = 1., c.1500, warloch, = 2., 1598, Mid.Eng. warlaw, warlaȝ, O.E. wærloȝa, a traitor, the Devil, a scoundrel. The -(c)k forms are phonologically irregular as in Elbuck, Winnock.]

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"Warlock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <>



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