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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DOOK, Douk, v.1, n.1 Sc. forms of Eng. duck, (to) plunge, dip. Also duk(k) (Jak.), †douck (Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 137), †dowk. The following usages are peculiar to Sc. [duk]

I. v.

1. (1) intr. and tr. To bathe; to immerse in water or other liquid (Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Fif., Arg., Ayr. 2000s). Also vbl.n. dooking. Gen.Sc.; also in n.Eng. dial.; (2) tr. To baptize initiates into a Baptist church (Ags.2, Slg.3 1940); hence dookit body, a member of a Baptist church (Ags.2 1940); dookit folk, the Baptists.(1) Sc. 1803 Edb. Mag. (Aug.) 160:
The cries were only occasioned by his Lady and the maids ducking.
Sc. 1999 Herald 24 Apr 24:
However, there are a few wee niggles in this idyllic approach to organic consumption. The obvious being accessibility. Not everyone can toddle down to the beach and cart away dinner. Even those fortunate enough to live by rivers may need to know more about fishing than skewering a worm on a line and dooking it in the water.
Sc. 2000 Daily Record 24 Jun 45:
I used a blanched slice of shaped courgette as a moat to accommodate my rose sauce for dooking the peeled shrimps into.
Sc. 2001 Herald 21 Apr 20:
Rice thrives in paddy fields ... Unfortunately, this style of farming does not traverse continents too well. Inflicting the garden vegetables to a thorough dooking during a Scottish summer, as we know only so well, does them no good at all, although the weeds look great.
Sc. 2001 Herald 30 Jun 9:
At an age when most of us trying to get the wobbly hang of a bike without stabilisers, Cheryl, Nicole and Ian were squeezing into wet suits, clinging for dear life on to a length of rope, and, inevitably, receiving a good dooking in the cold Scottish water.
Sc. 2004 Daily Record 8 May 17:
Oldshoremore near Kinlochbervie is a stunning wee deserted beach with clear water perfect for dooking.
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 33:
In simmer days we ees't tae dook In Ugie's caller bree.
Knr. 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 64:
. . . dip in Devon, whaur a wiel Invites to dook!
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) v.:
And my hair was . . . as wet as if I had been douking in the Esk.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 27:
"He's fu' and we're dookin' him to clear his heid," explained Alicky.
Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 15:
Dook yer haun in the waater an see if it's cauld yit. Plunge yer hand into the water and ascertain its temperature.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen Seventeen Poems 5:
I can mind the ducks waddlin oot the gate to dook.
And Peter goose takin oot his wives
through the slap - hissin and streekin his neck.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (7 Oct.) 4/1:
The boys, when big enough, were taken in by the parent to be “dooked.”
(2) Abd.15 1928, obsol.:
Ay, he's een o' the dookit-folk, wis dookit in Gowans' dam.

Hence (a) (i) dooker, a bather; a Baptist (Ags.2, Slg.3 1940); (ii) in pl. a swimming costume (Bnff., Abd., Edb., Gsw., Kcb., Dmf. 2000s); (b) dookie, a Baptist; (c) douking, bathing, gen. with def. art.(a) (i) Sc. 2002 Scotsman 30 Dec 9:
From that very small beginning, with only a handful of "dookers", we now welcome upwards of 150 participants and well over 1,000 spectators from all over the world.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb v.:
His guardian was admitted . . . to be himself “a hardy dooker.”
Fif. 1912–19 Rymour Club Misc. II. 115:
[The Leven road] . . . very different from what it is noo-a-days, wi' rows o' hooses o' genteelity wi' an e'e on the annual dooker, and curtains in every window.
(ii) Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 88:
Miss De Magistris steed up an buttoned the straps o her dookers ower her back.
(b) em.Sc. (a) 1895 “I. Maclaren” Auld Langsyne 318:
“They ca'd him a dookie . . . what wud he be, Jamie?” “Parteeklar Baptist,” replied that oracle.
(c) Sc. [1816] Scott Antiquary (1818) xv.:
“He's in a high fever wi' pu'ing the laird and Sir Arthur out o' the sea.” . . . “What gar'd them gang to the douking in a night like yestreen?”
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 165:
He durstna gang into the dookin aboon his doup, for fear o' drownin.
wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan I. 155:
Willie . . . arrived at Largs, where he soon succeeded in taking “a bit sma' room for the douking.”

2. intr. Of the day, the sun: to go down, to decline, to draw to a close. Often with doon. Also fig.Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 135:
The murkie Sun scarce waded thro' the mist Till he was doukin, ere the traveller wist.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 168:
I experienced . . . a regret that my day had dookit doon, and was near to the darkening.
Ib. 107:
When the day has, dookin', gloamed, And nicht comes owre the parks.

3. (1) To soak, drench. Comb. a doukit piece, a sop, "a piece of bread dipped in milk, tea or broth for a child" (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 69); (2) to dip (a pen into ink).(1) Dmb. 1777 Weekly Mag. (20 Feb.) 273:
Nae doubt fu' aften hae ye kent the Knows Wi' gowans spring, whan douk't by nightly dew.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 51:
D'ye mind when we were dukit wi' the flood?
(2) Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems Intro. 9–10:
It's cost me nae that little fyke Musin' about it, but an' ben, Whiten an' douken at a pen.

4. To sneak (Cai.8 1934). Cf. Jouk, v., 5.

5. Phrs.: (1) dook for apples, to try to catch with one's teeth an apple floating in a container of water. Also vbl.n. dookin(g); (2) to get one's dookins, to get a ducking.(1) Sc. 2000 Herald 9 Oct 19:
She was a bit taken aback to be told that this nursery wasn't celebrating Hallowe'en this year, and asked why. The head teacher said: "It's the dooking for apples. It's too big a temptation for the staff just to hold some of the kids' heads under until they drown."
Sc. 2001 Scotland on Sunday 21 Oct 32:
But back to Halloween. While children nowadays associate it with trick or treat and pumpkins, not so long ago it was all about guising, dooking for apples and treacle scones.
Sc. 2002 Sunday Times 27 Oct :
The Witches Gathering at Glenbranter in Argyll Forest Park promises more chills than your average family night out, with fancy-dress parades along Witches Walk, face-painting and apple dookin' in the forest ...
Sc. 2002 Press and Journal 31 Oct 3:
The children, all aged from five to ten, enjoyed dookin' for apples, some sticky toffee treats and a host of ghostly goings on.
Sc. 2003 Evening Times 20 Oct 13:
Years ago, Scots' Halloween seemed to consist of dooking for apples - and a few hardy children braving the cold to go guising.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman 5 Nov 20:
But as I recall, as children we never saw a firework before 5 November. Even as teenagers our idea of riotous fun would be a banger in a dustbin sometime after the equally riotous fun of carving out a thick-skinned turnip lantern and dooking for apples of Halloween.
Abd. 2003 Press and Journal 1 Nov 4:
Scores of spooked-up children marked Halloween in Aberdeen yesterday by dookin' for apples. Around 100 pupils, along with teachers at the city's Hamilton School took part in the tradition by trying to get the fruit just using their teeth from bowls of water set out in the playground.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 208:
Then it was home to dooking for apples and eating treacle scones and counting our winnings. We sat by the fireside in our creased and dirtied disguises, our faces streaked with treacle and the faded remains of our make-up, and the dowsed turnip-lanterns stinking in the grate.
Rnf. 1993 History on Your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 37:
At Hallowe'en you dooked for apples and tried to take a bite of a treacle scone hanging down from the ceiling.
(2) Rxb. 1918 Jedb. Gazette (22 Feb.) 3/4:
Whae kens, perchance yon smuggler lad May get his dookins in the waiter.

II. n.

1. A bathe. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1994 Daily Record 11 Oct 3:
Swimmers are getting a free SAUNA every time they go for a dook... And they're absolutely steaming mad!
Sc. 1998 Edinburgh Evening News 29 Apr :
There is a spin-off, though. There are so many leaks from Dounreay that we can all go for a dook and get a free X-ray.
Sc. 2000 Herald 15 Aug 21:
Let us not forget the Time Capsule leisure complex in Coatbridge "with its various water-covered theme areas". So, you can get a book and go for a dook.
Abd. 1900 A. Paterson in Bnffsh. Jnl. (18 Sept.) 3:
When any one had occasion to visit Macduff during the summer months, he not merely had a “dook” . . . but frequently brought back with him one or more bottles of sea-water.
Abd. 1931 A. M. Williams Bundle of Yarns 15:
It was not unusual, on a fine summer day, to find a certain hatter's shop closed in the forenoon, and a paper on the door with the intimation, “Doon for a dook, back at twelve.”
Fif. 1939 St Andrews Cit. (10 June) 2/5:
The 7.45 swim in the morning has certainly caught on. . . . I have still to sample this early morning “dook.”
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xi.:
It's surely fashionable kind o' sea-bathin' to tak' a dook in the stable-trough.
Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 226:
This dook is nocht ava tae me, Sin I can strip.

2. A drenching, a soaking (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9 1940).m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) lxxxi.:
But Highlanders ne'er mind a douk, “For they're nae sawt.”
Knr. 1832 L. Barclay Poems 46:
Braw sarsnet gowns, how will they look, Gin lasses through them get a dook.
Ayr. 1879 R. Adamson Lays 80:
Somehoo I'd in my neive a crust That was gey hard to chow, An' as her kail-pot was at hand I gied ['t] a dook to thow.

3. Any liquid into which something is dipped; the amount of liquid absorbed in the process, e.g. (1) the quantity of ink taken up by the pen (Upper Lnk. 1825 Jam.2, douk); (2) in pl.: the fat of fried bacon or meat into which slices of bread are dipped (Lnl. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.; Ayr.9 1949); (3) in comb. soor (sour) dook, butter-milk (Lth. 1825 Jam.2); sour milk. Gen.Sc. Also fig. of a sour, humourless person. Often attrib., e.g. in phr. soor-dook soger, a nickname given to the Lothian militia, sometimes contr. to soor dook.(3) Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 49:
As weel try to sup soor dook (milk) wi' an elshin.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 100:
Auld sober sense, an' prim soor dook Micht ca' da day a füle day.
m.Sc. 1944 R. J. B. Sellar in Scots Mag. (Nov.) 122:
To heck with the soor-dook faces of those who didn't approve.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 15:
An auld leddy . . . haunded us an aicht-ounce bap and a bowl o' soor dook!
Edb. c.1848 Lord Kingsburgh Life Jottings (1915) 195:
The crowd looking on shouted with glee, crying “Bravo! weel din, soor dook!”
Edb. 1909 Colville 132:
The Edinburgh schoolboy, recognising in the Militia the ploughmen that brought the milk to town, derisively christened them “soor-dook sogers.”
Hdg. 1848 [A. Somerville] Autobiog. Working Man 151:
Oatmeal porridge of small measure and strength in the mornings, with “sour dook,” a kind of rank butter-milk peculiar to Edinburgh.
Gsw. 1927 Scots Mag. (June) 176:
Turnip face! . . . Soor-dook Sandy!
Kcb. 1893 S. R. Crockett Stickit Minister 166:
They're but cauld kail an' soor dook beside the burgers o' the Auld Grey Toon!

Deriv.: dooker, a piece of bread dipped in gravy or soup. (Bnff., Arg., Ayr. 2000s).Edb. 1992:
I'm having soup so that I can have dookers with it.

4. Adv. in phr. to play dook, to duck down (Fif.10 1940).Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 19:
But as the eerie licht I neared, It aye play'd dook, an' disappeared.

5. An act of dipping eg, bread, into soup or gravy (Sh., Bnff., Fif. 2000s).Ayr. 1994:
Gie's a dook et yer bree.

[O.Sc. has douk, dowk, to dive under water, to plunge (a person, etc.) under water, c.1470–80; Mid.Eng. d(o)uke, cogn. with Mid. Du., M.L.Ger. dūken, M.H.Ger. tuchen; O.E. *dūcan.]

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"Dook v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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