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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BEGOWK, BEGOUK, v. and n. [bə′gʌuk]

1. v.

(1) To befool. Hence ¶begowker, a deceiver (Bwk. 1862 G. Henderson St Matthew xxvii. 63). Liter.Sc. 1886 R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped ix.:
Ah, but I'll begowk you there!
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xi.:
But it's easy enough to begowk two landward simpletons.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 40:
I kent thay wad begowk ye in the end
for aw yir gesterin aboot the toun
tae mak daft lauds an glaikit lassies geck.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 190–191:
Sae tae mak' share that my een wasna begowkin' me.
Edb. 1979 Albert D. Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 45:
It's a guid brain I hae
And yet I could be catcht by aa the whitricks,
Like Hutcheson and Leechman
That fair begowkt me out that college chair.
Ayr. 1928 Children's Rhyme (per Ayr.4):
Tak the richt or tak the wrang A'll begouk ye if I can.
nw.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 52:
‡Begowk. To befool or trick (a person).

(2) “To jilt in courtship, to slight a woman” (Peb. 1825 Jam.2).

2. n. A disappointment.Ayr. 1879 R. Adamson Lays of Leisure Hours 92–93:
But there we got a sair begouk, No very nice tae thole.

Phrases: (1) to give the begowk, to jilt; (2) to get the begouk, to be jilted.(1) Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon and Gael II. 32 (Jam.):
If he has gi'en you the begowk, lat him gang, my woman, ye'll get anither an' a better.
(2) Slg.3 1933:
She got the begouk.

[Be, pref., 1 + Gowk, a fool, q.v.]

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"Begowk v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <>



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