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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ASK, ESK, AWSK, n.3 A newt, an eft; also the common lizard. According to the N.E.D. this is the common name for the newt or eft in Scotland and in the north and north-east of England as far as Morecambe Bay and Lincolnshire. [ask, ɛsk Sc., but s.Sc. + æsk]Sc. a.1792 Tam Lin in Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 39 xxxi.:
They'll turn me in your arms, lady, Into an esk and adder.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Ask, awsk, eft, newt; a kind of Lizard.
Sc. 1879 S. Smiles Life of Sc. Naturalist i.:
He brought home horse-leeches, asks (newts), young rats.
Bnff.2 1932:
The stank at the fit o' the brae was swarmin' wi' young podducks an' asks.
Abd.9 1932:
The newt we called the esk in Buchan, the lizard we called the heather-esk.
Edb.1 1932:
In Fife, Clc. and the Lothians the general pronunciation is ask.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 22:
Asks, newts. Animals of the lizard species; they are always considered to have poison somewhere about their hinnerliths [hind quarters].
s.Sc. 1824 J. Telfer Border Ballads 45:
The perte little eskis, theye curlit their tails, And dansed a myrthsome reele.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 42:
Ask, n. Also esk [Liddesdale]. 1. The eft or newt. 2. Dry ask, the lizard. NE. [Rxb.]. 3. Waiter ask = 1 [Eft or newt]. NE. [Rxb.].

[O.Sc. ask, awsk; O.E. aðexe, newt.]

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"Ask n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2022 <>



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