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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAMMOCK, CAMMACK, CUMMOCK, Camack, Cammick, Kammi(c)k, Camaig, Cammag, n. [′kɑmək, ′kʌmək Sc., but Abd. + kɑmeg; kɑməg Cai.]

1. “A crooked stick” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); “a short staff with a crooked head” (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 68, cammag); “any kind of walking stick” (Ayr.4 1928). Known to our Abd. correspondents (1938). Also attrib.Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs (1870) 84:
Early crooks the tree, that good cammock should be.
Abd. after 1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shepherd MS. 131:
A cammock staff, cut after nature's cast He leaned upon.
Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales (1908) xviii.:
He . . . proceeded to trace a cross on the path with the point of his camaig.
Ayr. publ. 1834 Burns To Major Logan (Cent. ed.) iii.:
Until you on a cummock driddle, A grey-hair'd carl.

2. “The game otherwise called Shinty” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.2, camack; Per. Ib., cammock). Also attrib.Inv. 1822 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. I. 144:
A very spirited match at the Camack took place at Strathglass on New Year's Day. About two hundred active fellows were on the field to contend for the prize. . . . The Braes-men turned the course of the ball towards their mountains, and came off victorious.
Inv. 1842 C. Bond Reminisc. Clachnacuddin Nonagenarian (1886) 5:
On Sabbath forenoon, instead of . . . going to the kirk, a numerous party assembled on the spot known as the bleaching green, and played a game of Cammack.
Inv. 1978 Eona Macnicol The Jail Dancing 20:
They grumbled, as boys will; but it was pointed out to them that this was a more beneficial exercise for them than playing football or camack.
Inv. 1978 Eona Macnicol The Jail Dancing 31:
... Hector Morrison, captain of the east-side camack team whom they were to meet for their annual camack match on New Year's Day.

3. “A kenk in a line, a quirk or spalter in the edge of a board” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., kammick).

4. “A preventive, a stop” (Sh. 1825 Jam.2; 1866 Edm. Gl., cammick); an obstruction or interruption to a project. A fig. use of 3.Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
I kent at de wid come a kammik itil it.

[O.Sc. cam(m)ok, cammock, a curved or crooked staff or stick (D.O.S.T.), E.M.E. camok(e), cam(m)ock, Mid.Eng. cambok(e), late Lat. cambuca. N.E.D. says “app. of Gaulish origin, derived from cambo-, crooked.” Cf. Welsh cam, crooked, camog, felly of a wheel (Spurrell); Irish caman, a bend, a stick with a crooked head, a hurley for ball-playing, camog, anything curved; a stick with a crook, a small hurley-stick (Dinneen); Gael. camag, a crook, caman, a shinty, a club for golf or cricket (MacLennan).]

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"Cammock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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