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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FAIK, n.1, v.1 Also fa(i)ke, fya(w)k(e), fyack, fyaak, feeack, feck, fauk, fa(i)ck, feak(e), †feke, feauk, and deriv.fyaakum. [Sc. fe:k, ne.Sc. + fjɑ:k]

I. n. A fold, ply, coil of anything. Hence:

1. The fold of a garment (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd.27 1950), “originally used for carrying, and first suggesting the use of a pocket” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.).

2. A plaid or wrap for folding round the person (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Ags. 1808 Jam. faik; Mry., Abd. 1825 Ib., feauk; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 57; Mry., Bnff., Abd. 1950); a shawl (Mry.1 1910, feeack; Mry., Bnff., Abd. 1950); a small blanket (Mry.1, Abd.6 1916). Dim. forms faikie, faiky, feeackie; deriv. fyaakum, a large piece of cloth.Bnff. 1706 Sc. N. & Q. (2nd Series) II. 75:
A riaed plaid, a plaid old broken, ane old faick, a canwes.
ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems 80:
To every one it is a great shame, That wants a Highland Feake.
Abd. c.1750 R. Forbes Jnl. from London (1755) 34:
Altho I had nae mair claise bat a spraing'd faikie, or a riach plaidie to hap our hurdies.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet ix.:
Drawing her flannel cap and hood or faiky over her shoulders.
Abd. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife xv.:
Syne pit yer clean chack apron; Fling that fool faik awa.
Abd. 1878 J. C. Hutchieson Village Voices 155:
A big fyte fyaakum o' a cloot Was stuck tae wi' a preen.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 49:
Hawd in aboot yer fyawke; it's aye wallopin' intae ma face.

3. The neck of a sack, after it has been drawn together and tied (Rxb. 1825 Jam., feake).

4. (a) A strand of rope (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County Cai. 71; Ayr.4 1928; Cai.3, Abd.27 1950, fyack). Hence three-, fower-, etc., -faiked, having three, etc. strands, of a rope (Cai. 1950); (b) a long line, of nine fathoms or so, attached to a short fishing-rod (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Cf. Eng. fake, a turn of rope in a coil, which may be of the same origin.

5. In Mining and Quarrying: a stratum or layer of shaly sandstone or limestone (see quots.). Gen. in pl. Adj. faky.Lth. 1789 J. Williams Nat. Hist. Miner. Kingdom I. 76:
These thin grey strata are called by Scotch colliers grey fekes as well as grey bands. They are often found moderately hard and of a strong texture, so as frequently to make good flags and covers for sewers.
Peb. 1806 Farmers' Mag. (Feb.) 109:
The workmen at La Mancha quarry were induced to try a shot in a horizontal direction. The fake, or bed of limestone was 22 inches thick.
Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 511:
Several beds of shale, containing a considerable portion of lime, called by the workers fahes [sic].
Lnl. Ib. II. 154:
Faikes (the beds of friable sandstone intermingled with shale and clay).
Lnk. 1864 J. Greenshields Annals Lesmahagow 241:
After fifty feet of faikes, blaise, and tills, the six feet coal comes on.
Sc. 1882 A. Geikie Text-book Geol. II. 158:
Micaceous sandstone . . . — a rock so full of mica-flakes that it splits readily into thin laminae. . . . This rock is called “fakes” in Scotland.
Ayr. 1932 Econ. Geol. Ayr. Coalfields IV. 157:
Fakes. — — Thin-bedded argillaceous sandstone, or sandy mudstone, passing through faky sandstone into sandstone, or through faky blaes into blaes.

II. v., tr. 1. (1) To fold, tuck (a cloth or garment) around (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; 1808 Jam.); to cover or wrap as with a plaid or other garment (Mry. 1930 A. Rose W.-L.). Ppl.adj. fecket, fyawked, folded, draped.Ags. 1711 Burgh Laws Dundee (ed. Warden 1872) 569:
He that in “feaking” cloth shall do it with the wrong side of his wrapper inmost, two pence.
Sc. 1794 J. Ritson Sc. Songs I. 189:
O see you not her ponny progues, Her fecket plaid, plew, creen, mattam.
Mry. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 69:
Tak' Adam's umman, fig-leaf fyawked.

(2) To fold the mouth of a sack outwards and downwards (Bnff.2 1946); to fold a stocking similarly in putting it on (Abd.4 1929, fyaak).Per. 1900 E.D.D.:
A sack containing oats is faiked when the upper empty part is rolled down towards the outside.

2. tr. Of a person: to fold, bend, tuck (a limb) under one; intr., of the limbs: to bend, give way under one. Hence, by extension, ppl.adj. faked, bothered (Cai.4 1920).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 18:
Hallach'd an' dameist, an' scarce at her sell, Her limbs they faicked under her an' fell.
Ib. 66:
The lasses now are linking what they dow, An' facked never foot, for height nor how.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
My feet have never faikit, I have still been in motion.

3. To coil a rope or line (Mry. 1914 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 26; Ayr.4 1928; Sh.10 1950); “to overhaul and lay over a line by passing it through the hands from one side of the body to the other” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); with up: to coil a rope in a figure of 8, to fold a fishing-net in layers or bundles (Fif.17 1951).Fif. 1867 St Andrews Gaz. (5 Oct.):
A new rocket line was faked down on the tarpaulin and fired with one of the old rockets. . . . The line was again faked down, and on this occasion the rocket, despite the wind, struck the flag at the pier end amidst loud cheers.

4. To turn over the pages of a book (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); to rummage, as in a drawer (Ags. 1950 per Fif.17); to search someone's clothing, to go through another's pockets (Ags. 1975).Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 3:
Fakin aroun i mi heid
for the richt word
I mak wee draains
doun the margin o the page.

5. “To fondle, caress” (Cld. 1880 Jam.), sc. to enfold in the arms.

[O.Sc. has faik, to grasp (1513), ? a fold of the clothing (a.1555), which appear to be the same word. The origin is uncertain but phs. conn. with M.L.Ger. vak, pouch or pocket, Mid.Du. vacke, compartment, box, Ger. fach, fish-trap, snare. Cf. also Ken. dial. faik, the rumen of a cow. The cogn. word in O.E. is fæc, a fixed period of time.]

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"Faik n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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