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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GOWK, v.2, n.2 Also gouk. [gʌuk]

I. v. To gaze, to stare idly or foolishly (Ags. 1808 Jam., gouk; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff.4 1927; Ags., Per. 1955). Also in Cum. dial. Cf. Gawk, v., 2.Abd. 1835 Abd. Shaver (Jan.) 128:
Canna ye mak a better use o' your een than goukin' after the Ellon dandy?
Sc.(E) 1868 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 9:
And Wabster ay ahint him gouket.
Mearns 1932 “L. G. Gibbon” Sunset Song 24:
You couldn't so much as change your sark without some ill-fashioned brute gowking in at you.
Per. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 37:
Lang, lang, I gowkit thru the trees Nor livin thing saw I.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 15:
I tramp athort fields for a look,
gowk on hirsty soil, hear the hungert craw
hoast owre a dwaiblie stook.

II. n. A vacant stare (Bnff.12 c.1860); a look.m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Sometimes ye hae a wee keek furst.
An somethin catches yer eye, ken,
A guid fecht or a wean gettin battered,
An ye want tae hae a better gowk.

[O.Sc. has gowk, gouk, to stare, from c.1470. Of uncertain origin, but cf. Gowk, n.1, v.1, and note, and Gawk, v., 2.]

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"Gowk v.2, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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