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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLEUK, Cleuck, Cluick, Clook, Cluck, n.1 and v.1 [kl(j)uk]

1. n.

(1) A claw (Ags.2, Fif.1, Lnl.11937).Mry.(D) 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 100:
Else she mith chance her life to lose, 'Mang Pussy's cluicks.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. xxxii.:
Gin I cud but redd the scoonrel's heid wi' your cleuks, Baudrons! . . . he wadna be in sic a doom's hurry to han'le ye again, Is' wad.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 14:
He saw her scrattin up the yaird in faist yarks o her strang cleuks, syne stoppit, struck wi wunner at the performance that he wis seein fur the first time.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21:
It sweyed an showded on the wire, grippit bi migration fever, till o a suddenty it lowsed its clooks an soared up tae the lift inno a gurly September storm-cloud, on the first daud o its journey aff tae the saft wins o the Sooth.

(2) A hand (Abd.9, Ags.11937).Sc. 1774 R. Forbes Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S. 1895–96) III. 321:
I shall not be much at ease until I hear it is come safe into thy cluicks.
Abd. 1912–19 Rymour Club Misc. II. 53:
And fa, think ye, gaed hame wi' her, But the lad wi the crookit cleuk?
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 45:
Puir beggars heist their priggin cleuks fur alms
An clorty winos droon their drooth wi drams.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 111:
She gies her clouk a bightsom bow.

(3) In pl.: “clutches” (Cai.3 1931). Occas. also sing. (Abd.19, Ags.11937).Ork. 1915 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. VIII. i. 42:
Ae day he gaed oot i a boat, an' boy! sheu made ap 'er mind at sheu wad hae 'im i 'er cleuks dan.
Bnff.(D) 1872 W. Philip It 'ill a' come Richt xxiii.:
Peer sowl, it's to be houped he hisna gotten her in his clooks at last.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems, etc. 22:
Yet Death has got him in his clook, That gruesome carle.

(4) The latch or catch of a door. In this sense perhaps influenced by, or in mistake for, Cleek, n.1, 1 (8).Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin ix.:
To the mischief wi' ye're snecks! . . . what gars ye hae cleuks o' that kind aboot the tabernacle door?

(5) A loose thread or stitch in a woollen garment, a broken loop, sc. one made by a claw or scratch. Abd. 1973:
I pued out a cleuk on my jersey.

2. v.

(1) To scratch; to dig the claws into. Known to our Abd. correspondents 1937. Ppl.adj. cluckin, clawing, clutching.Abd. 1825 Jam.2:
The cat'll cleuck ye, an' ye dinna take care.
Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 47:
Haud awa' yer cluckin' han's fae me; ye're growin' nae eese ava, Kitty.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 28:
Mistress Puss . . . . . . throom-throom't as she clookit his knee.

(2) To seize roughly (Abd.22 1937).Abd. c.1746 W. Forbes Dominie Deposed (1800) 12:
The carlings Maggy had so cleuked Before young Jack was rightly hooked, They made her twice as little booked.

[O.Sc. cluke, cluik, clewk, clook, a claw, from a.1400 (D.O.S.T.); n.Mid.Eng. cloke, id. The verb is not recorded in O.Sc. For connection with clutch, and earlier hypothetical history, see N.E.D. s.v. clutch, n.1]

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"Cleuk n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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