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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CASTOCK, Castoc, Castack, Custock, Kastik, n. The stem of kail, cabbage, etc., which, in former times, was cooked for eating and considered a great delicacy. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.1, Fif.10, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1938. [′kɑstɔk, ′kɑstək Sc.; ′kɑstɪk Sh., ne.Sc.; kʌstək e.Lth., Rnf., Ayr., Slk.]Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 94:
Every Day is not Yule-Day, give the Cat a Castock.
Sc. 1825 Children's Rhyme in Jam.2:
Halloween, a night at e'en, A candle in a castock.
Sh.(D) 1899 J. Spence Sh. Folk-Lore 191:
Tyin' the Kale Stock — For this purpose the young folks went blindfold into the kale-yard, and each one tied his or her garter round the first kale-stock they touched, and the number of shoots on the kastik, which was counted in the morning, was a forecast of the family of the future.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Echo of Olden Time xviii.:
Pulling the Castoc. — You went to the kail-yard, and with eyes blindfolded, pulled the first stock of cabbage or greens touched. According to the quantity of earth that remained attached to the root and according to the form of the stock, whether well or ill shapen, were augured the amount of worldly means and the comeliness of the future husband or wife. It was placed inside the door, and the baptismal name of the young man or young woman who entered first . . . was to be the baptismal name of the husband or wife.
Abd.(D) 1767 R. Forbes Jnl. from London (1869) 15:
The swingle-trees flew in flinders, as gin they had been as freugh as kail-castacks.
Ags. 1818 Anon. Gentleman of the North 14:
Squeeze the castock, an' you'll find a lang kail-worm.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick iii.:
An' as for his sermon, it seemed to me puir baugh stuff, juist aboot as wersh as a kail custock.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween v.:
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour, Wi' joctelegs they taste them.

[O.Sc. castock, the stalk of a kale-plant, c.1620 (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. caule stok, 1398, later calstok, cale stok, caustocke; O.N. kālstokkr, cabbage stem; O.E. cawel, caul, cal, cabbage (Mod.Eng. cole), Lat. caulis. For absorption of l, see P.L.D. § 78.]

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"Castock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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