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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BACKIE, BAU(C)KIE, BAWKIE, n.4 [′bɑ(:)kɪ̢, ′b(:)k See P.L.D. §§ 85, 93.]

1. A gen. Sc. name for the many species of British bats, the most common of which is the Vespertilio Pipistrellus.Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 339:
The laverock and the lark, The bawkie and the bat, The heather fleet, the mire snipe, How many birds be that?
Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Sel. from Writings 35:
Gie me eident wark To win my daily bread, however scant, Though I shou'd wauk wi' baukie an' wi' lark.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 72:
An they sat, blin as bawkies on their bink i the Frith o Forth, an the years wore in, an the years wore out, ...
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems in Two Tongues 30:
Baukies in the bauks May flauchter.

2. The winged seed of the sycamore-tree, from the resemblance of its flight to that of a bat.Ayr.6 1929:
Bauckie was the name given some years ago in Kilmarnock to the winged seed of the sycamore. “I threw a bauckie into the air.”

3. Comb.: backie-bird, bawkie-bird, the bat. Jam. (1808) gives it for Sc. (s.v. Bak) and Jam.6 (1887) for West and South Scot.Sc. 1823 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 721:
It's nae mair like his way, than the baukie bird's like the peacock.
Abd.6 1913:
Backie-bird, a bat.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. i.:
Wavering like the bauckie-bird.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables of Robin Cummell i.:
The hoolets and the bawkie-birds . . . flitted frae turret to tree.

[Back + dim. suff. ie. Bak occurs in O.Sc. Mid.Eng. bakke, prob. of Scand. origin (see Skeat and N.E.D. bat). Cf. Dan. aften-bakke, evening bat, O.Sw. (Ihre) natt-backa, night-bat.]

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"Backie n.4". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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