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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

JOCK, n. Sc. equivalent of Eng. Jack or John. Also dims. Jockie, Jock(e)y, Jokie (Sc. 1825 Jam.), Jowky (Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 246). Its gen. use as a Christian name is not exemplified. Cf. Jack, n.1 [dʒɔk, dʒok]

1. (1) A generic term for a man, a male person, esp. a countryman or rustic, a farm worker (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Jocki(e); n.Sc. 1958 Scotsman (24 Sept.) 6; ne.Sc., em.Sc., Rxb. 1959); also for a coal-miner. Freq. in assoc. with Jean or Jennie, q.v.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 23:
All Fellows, Jock and the Laird.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 94:
The packman's stands he o'erturn'd them, And gard a' the Jocks stand a-beech.
Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 71:
What tho' we cannot boast of our guineas, We have plenty of Jockies and Jeanies.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Tales 172:
Lassie wi' the yellow cottie, Will ye tak a muirlan' Jockie.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 88:
Ilk Jockie wi' his Jenny, They now are drovin' through the toon.
Bnff. 1957 Banffshire Advert. (4 July):
It wis a fairm jock ca'd Docken.
Fif. 1957 R. Holman Character Studies 4:
There was little thocht o' the hooses for the ‘coal jocks.'

(2) Used since 1914–18 as a sobriquet for a man serving in one of the Scottish regiments (Sc. 1914 R. Hodder Brit. Regiments 17). Comb. Fusilier Jocks, a nickname for the Royal Scots Fusiliers.m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 66:
But what o' thae Fusilier Jocks, That stopna for duntin' and knocks?
Fif. 1940 St Andrews Cit. (20 April):
“Jock's Box”, a fund organised for the purpose of sending comforts to Scottish troops.
wm.Sc. 1957 Sc. Independent (14 Sept.):
Their new sense of warlike patriotism on behalf of the H.L.I. and Fusilier Jocks.

(3) An oatmeal pudding made in a pig's tripe (Fif. 1959). Cf. 4. (15) and Jennie, I. 6.

(4) The jack in cards (Bnff., Ags., Fif., Edb., Rxb. 2000s).

2. Applied to various animals and birds: (1) the bull (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 284; Wgt. 1959). Cf. Billjock, id.; (2) a call-name for a young jackdaw (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., jockie); (3) a pig; (4) in combs. black jock, the blackbird (Cai. 1959); kail jockie, the hedge sparrow (Bnff. 1900); turkey jock, a turkey-cock. Cf. Bubbly-jock.(3) Sc. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballad Bk. 86:
My draff ye'll get for ae pund ane Tho' a' my jockies should dee.
(4) Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 368:
Local name [of blackbird is] “Blackie” “Blackjock”.
Dmf. 1958 Dmf. and Gall. Standard (3 May):
Turkey Jock, B.B.B. wanted.

3. In coal-mining and mechanics: (1) a pronged iron rod or safety stay attached to the rear of a hutch or waggon in a coalmine to check it in the event of a runaway on a steep ascent (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 40, 1944 per Edb.6). Also in Eng. mining dial.; (2) in pl.: a pair of calipers having both legs straight (Gsw. 1947). Cf. Jennie, 5.; (3) see quot.; lumps of stone in coal (Fif., Dmf. 1959). Cf. Jack, n.1, 3.(3) Fif. 1934 Econ. Geol. Fife Coalfields II. 85:
The rather frequent burning of the coal by thin intrusions of whinstone, locally known as “jocks”.

4. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) Jock an Jennie (Per.), — Mary (Fif.), the lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis (em.Sc.(a) 1959); (2) Jock an startle o stovie, see (33); (3) Jock bids ye wag, ? = (13); (4) Jock brit, a contemptuous term for a miner (Ayr.15 1928; Slg., e.Lth. 1959). See Bruit; (5) Jock edge, a clasp-knife. Appar. a conflation of Jockteleg and edge; (6) Jock endie, a large blood-pudding, of a general round shape with a prominent tapering end (Arg. 1900); (7) Jock-fellow-like, see Joke; (8) Jock-frosty-neb, a two-handed cleek or hook used for lifting turnips from frozen ground (Abd.15 1928); (9) Jock hack, a male farm-worker, a ploughman, a rustic, yokel (ne.Sc. 1959). Also attrib.; (10) Jock hastie, -y, a coarse riddle for rough-dressing grain (Cai. 1909 County of Cai. (Horne) 75, Cai. 1959); (11) Jock Hornbook, a nickname for a schoolmaster; †(12) Jockie an his owsen, a series of notches cut on a cow-herd's stick to represent the way in which the old ox-plough team was yoked (Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 78). Cf. Herd, I. 1. (3). Also Jockie's owsen; (13) Jockie-be-laund, see quot. and for the form cf. (16); (14) Jockie-blindie, -y, — blind-man, the game of blind-man's buff (Ags. 1959); the blindman in the game; also used of any short-sighted or unobservant person (Ags. 1958); (15) Jocky-haggis, a part of the intestines, the stomach, a Haggis, q.v. Cf. 1. (3) and Jockety-Wat; (16) Jockylandy, Jock —, (a) a lighted stick or wisp of straw waved rapidly to and fro as a plaything for children (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Cf. Eng. Jack-o'-Lantern, the will o' the wisp, and Dingle-dousie; (b) fig., a spendthrift, prodigal person, sc. who burns up wealth; (17) Jockie reddie, a deep-water shrimp (Ags. c.1890), so called from its colour; (18) Jockie Rover, a boy's game in which a pursuer called Jockie or Johnny Rover sets out to catch and pen the others one by one unless they get to the base before him, a version of hide-and-seek (Bnff. 1894 A. B. Gomme Trad. Games I. 286, 1946 Abd. Press & Jnl. (21 Sept.)); (19) Jockie's grun, Jockey's —, a children's game in which one player faces the others in a row some yards from him, and tries to catch one as they rush past him from side to side of the pitch, those caught joining in catching the others until all are captured, when the game recommences (Abd. 1938), in Eng. called Tom Tiddler's ground; (20) Jockie's plew, = (12) (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 195); (21) Jock in the Green, a kind of mummer, arrayed in green leaves, orig. personifying a vegetation spirit, who led the annual procession of the Gardeners' Society at Haddington in the early 19th c. (e.Lth. 1844 J. Miller Lamp Lth. (1900) 234). A similar figure called Jack o' the Green appeared at May-Day festivals in parts of England; (22) Jock muck, = (9) (Cai. 1959). Cf. Jenny muck s.v. Jennie, n., 1.; (23) jock-neb, the caruncle on a turkey-cock's beak, used fig. in quot. of the bluish colour of a half-starved person's nose. Cf. Bubbly-jock; (24) Jock needle Jock preen, — pin, gen. in phr. to play Jock etc., to play fast and loose, to act in a double-dealing or shifty manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 91; ne.Sc. 1959). The simple expression is found rarely as a verb comb.; (25) Jock-nip-the-neb, Jack Frost. Cf. John, 1.; (26) Jock of Dumbarton, a country bumpkin; (27) Jock o' mony morns, a procrastinating person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 111). See Morn; (28) Jock o' the horn, a maker of horn articles, esp. one of the gipsy or tinker sort; (29) Jock o' the rid coul, will-o-the-wisp (Bwk. 1950); (30) Jock Scott, an artificial fly used by anglers, made from black and gold feathers with a hackle and invented by Jock Scott of Branxholm (1817–93), a keeper on Tweed (Sc. 1867 F. Francis Angling 310). Phr. a Jock Scott's gloamin, an evening suitable for fishing (Kcd. 1919); (31) Jock Sheep, a soubriquet for a foolish fellow, an oaf. Cf. John Sheephead s.v. John, 23.; (32) Jock's news, stale news. Cf. piper's news s.v. Piper; (33) Jock-startle-a-stobie, the shimmering exhalations rising from the ground on a warm summer day (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Cf. (2) and Jack, n.1, 6. (13); (34) Jock Tamson, a jocular name for whisky. Cf. John Barleycorn s.v. John; (35) Jock Tamson's bairns, John —, the human race, common humanity; also, with less universal force, a group of people united by a common sentiment, interest or purpose. Gen.Sc. See also Bairn, 4. (3) and cf. 1. above. For the collocation of Jock and Tom = “Tom, Dick and Harry”, cf. Lyndsay Monarch 550, 2655, and John Thomson's man s.v. John; (36) Jock-te-leear, — the-liar, a small almanac, so called from “the loose prognostications in regard to the weather which it generally contains” (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (37) Jock-the-Hotchell, a scarecrow. See Hotch, v., n.; (38) Jock the laird's brither, a proverbial phr. applied to one who is treated with familiarity or little respect as a younger son may often be (Sc. 1825 Jam.); occurs in 1692 (W. Dauney Ancient Sc. Melodies (1838) 145) as the name of a tune; (39) Jock Wabster, John Wobster, in proverbial phr. the deil's (gane) ower Jock Wabster, i.e. things are “in a devil of a mess”, have got out of hand, “the fat's in the fire” (Cai., Kcd. 1959); (40) Jock wi the mony legs, the centipede (Ayr. 1959). Cf. Jennie, I. 7. (9) and (12); (41) Prickie and Jockie, see Prickie; (42) tackety Jock, a shoemaker's last (Ayr. 1850; Fif. 1950 People's Jnl. (1 April); wm.Sc. 1959); (43) to say Jockamanorie, — Jock Hector, — Jock Morrison, = colloq. Eng. “to say Jack Robinson.”(3) Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (June) 684:
We played at Jock bids ye wag, till maist feck, baith lads and lasses, had lost a' thing they could put in for wads.
(4) Ayr. 1919 T.S.D.C. III.:
Ma laddie's no gaun tae the pit. Yae jock-brit's aneuch in the family.
(5) Rxb. 1711–25 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. XXXII. Intro. 95:
The meat being cut off by the farmer with his “jockedge” or claspknife.
(9) Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mt. Strains 88:
I see Jock Hack has got a Miss.
Bnff. 1895 N. Roy Horseman's Word ii., xxxi.:
Even jock-hacks, living in daily intercourse with beasts, now stood horrified. . . . The likes o' this is hardly for ladies. It's a real jock-hack business a' thegither.
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
She widna pit her lassie t' ferm service amo' roch, orra Jock Hacks.
(11) Ags. 1848 Feast Lit. Crumbs 45:
Neist day, wha cadged me on her back, An' tauld Jock Hornbook a' the fact?
(12) Abd. 1901 A. Paterson Monquhitter 20:
It [a herd's stick] was almost invariably embellished with a number of notches, arranged according to the following formula: — “Twa afore ane, three afore five, First twa an' than twa, an' four come belive; Noo ane an' than ane, and three at a cast, Dooble ane an' twice twa, an ' Jockie at the last, An' Jenny an' her five kye followin' on fast.” The notches were designated “Jockie's owsen.”
Abd. 1929 W. Littlejohn Bch. Cottars 33:
“Jockie an' his owsen” was a device which every herd boy was taught to cut on his herding stick, giving it a mystic power.
Abd. 1957 Huntly Express (27 Dec.):
It must be nearly forty years since I saw a stick with the engraving of “Jockie and his Owsen.” This consisted of a line of Roman numerals carved in relief, with the figure of a boy at the end.
(13) Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Sh. Trad. Lore 64:
A favourite game was “Jockie-be-laund,” which we thought must have had its origin in sun-worship. A “lowan taund” (blazing peat) was held by one of the players towards number two, the following rhyme passing between them: No. 1. Whau'll buy me Jockey-be-laund? . . . This is repeated with the utmost rapidity, and if concluded before the torch goes out No. 2 must instantly seize it. . . . He in whose hand the torch goes out pays the forfeit. . . . That game was chiefly played at the time of the Beltan Foy.
(14) Sc. 1799 J. Thomson Hist. Dundee (1874) 131:
The streets are rather better lighted up; nor are we groping about like Cupids or Jocky Blind Man in the dreary month of December.
Ags. 1808 Jam. s.v. Chacke-blynd-man:
This game is known by no other name than that of Jockie-blind-man.
Per. c.1855 D. W. Buchanan Leisure Lays (1899) 77:
At Scotch and English we've engaged, Played hide an' seek, an' Jockie-Blindie.
Sc. 1920 J. Kennedy Poems 98:
Then wild he sprauchled round the stage Like ony Jockie-blindy.
(15) Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 54:
What tripe it was he didna tell — The one so fit to sadden — May be his Jocky-haggis — or anither kind of Jadden.
(16) (b) Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxxx.:
To be rookit o' plack and bawbee by twa glaikit jocklandys that dinna care what they burn.
(19) Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 31:
We all played in a general way on the playground at such games as “Chevy Chase”, “Smuggle the Gig,” “Jockey's Grun'.”
(21) Hdg. 1883 J. Martine Reminisc. 72:
An annual procession of the members, accompanied by symbolic figures of Adam and Eve, dressed up with flowers and surrounded by all the implements of the gardener's craft, and “Jock in the Green,” was in former times regularly kept up. . . . A bower-shaped erection, covered with shrubs and flowers, was carried . . . on his head and shoulders, and was supposed to form a representation of a bower in the Garden of Eden.
(22) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxiii.:
Fat wye cud a leddy ken a Jock Muck like you?
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 122:
Lairds, ladies or plain Jock Muck at the Mains.
(23) Ayr. 1826 Ballads & Songs (Paterson 1847) II. 78:
Something that wad thick'n the brose O' the Bardies, o' the Bardies; Tak' the jock-nebs frae the nose, An' co'er the hurdies, co'er the hurdies.
(24) Sc. 1852 Tait's Mag. (Nov.) 673:
I'll ha'e the haill rent, every penny; do ye think I can play jock needle jock pin, in that fashion.
Abd. 1874 W. Scott Dowie Nicht 53:
I fear he's playin' Jock needle Jock preen wi's.
Abd. 1924 M. Argo Janet's Choice 23:
Ye winna Jock needle Jock preen wi' me. I'll be maister in my ain hoose.
(25) Slk. 1823 W. Crozier Cottage Muse (1847) 51:
I'll laugh at auld Jock-nip-the-neb.
(26) Inv. 1816 Letter of Sir J. Campbell (25 July):
I have no partiality at all for the Domine at home system, which is apt to make "Jock of Dumbartons."
(28) Ags. 1857 “Inceptor” Tom of Wiseacre 18:
One of the many “Jocks o' the horn” that came round a-begging for bread.
(30) Abd. 1889 Bon-Accord (13 April) 14:
I ardently wished I had had some flies with me, and tried the small “Jock Scott” on the salmon.
Sc. 1906 W. E. Hodgson Salmon Fishing 87:
A salmon had taken the Jock Scott.
Sc. 1948 J. G. Johnston Come fish with me 60:
Take the specialism, worked-out-to-the-limit of a Jock Scott with its “marrying” of strand.
(31) Kcd. 1843 in Child Ballads (1956) V. 206:
An when ye have done and finished yer wark, Come in, Jock Sheep, an ye'll get yer sark.
(32) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 339:
That's Jock's News. Spoken when People tell that for News which every body knows.
(34) Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 70:
Frae gill-stoup an' bicker . . . Jock Tamson, your frien' Has blindet your een.
(35) Sc. 1847 Sc. Journal I. 30:
“We're a' John Tamson's bairns” is an expression of mutual good fellowship very frequently heard in Scotland.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 216:
We're a' John Tamson's bairns — sit doun, The lawin's paid, we'se ca' for mair.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 277:
Nae ceremony — we're a' John Tamson's bairns here!
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 108:
Dan what he says is as true as da Gospel — We're aa John Tamson's Bairns.
wm.Sc. 1934 K. R. Archer Jock Tamson's Bairns 1:
We're a' Jock Tamson's Bairnies. An' Jock Tamson? Weel — he's God.
Slk. 1957 Southern Reporter (3 Oct.) 6:
All are Jock Tamson's bairns at a kirn.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 108:
At first there was silence, then Willem chuckled and Donal and two Finlays, until eight roars of laughter echoed out to the families, as eight silly men saw themselves at last as being all Jock Tamson's bairns together, and none abune the rest.
Sc. 1990 Daily Record 9 Feb :
A reader asked for information on Jock Tamson's Bairns.
The minister of Duddingston Kirk until 1840, called Jock Tamson, used to welcome people by saying: "Come in all ma' bairns." - Mr J. McDonald, Broughton Road, Edinburgh.
The name 'Jock Tamson's Bairns' comes not from Rabbie Burns, but from the Johnstone poet, Alexander Maclachlan - J. Kelly, William Street, Johnstone.
Sc. 1996 Big Issue 28 Nov 29:
After 12 years in the mines following demob, he became entertainments manager of the Jewel Social Club and the Hearts Club at Tynecastle before starting Champion Promotions in 1972. "I'm just another of Jock Tamson's Bairns," says Green.
(36) Sc. 1768 The Cry Attended 12:
Like Jock-the-liars grown out of date.
(37) Ayr. 1855 Ayrshire Wreath 27:
I was just doun at the Corse seein' yon bit waterstoup o' a thing that they hae set up to fley fock like a Jock-the-Hotchell.
(38) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 139:
“He's but Jock the Laird's Brother.” The Scottish Lairds Concern and Zeal for the Standing and Continuance of their Families, makes the Provision for their younger Sons very small.
Sc. 1828 M. & M. Corbett Tales and Legends III. 300:
Mr Thomas is but Jock the Laird's brither, as a body may say, and hasna muckle gear.
Fif. 1898 S. Tytler Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses ii:
Adam is the young laird, and that Davie is ceasing to be even Jock, the laird's brother — he is only the 'prentice.
(39) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.:
The Deel goes o'er John Wobster, Hame grows Hell, When Pate misca's ye war than Tongue can tell.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxix.:
His mother fand it out, and then the deil gaed o'er Jock Wabster.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 263:
The deil's gane ower Jock Wabster! Gweed save a' body.
Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 295:
This unco waddin' had fairly coosten a' thing tapsalteerie sae muckle, in fac', that e'en noo the deil hed a' thegither gane clean owre Jock Wabster.
(40) Sc. 1842 J. Wilson Recreations Chr. North I. 204:
Midges — jocks-with-the-many-legs, in short the whole plague of insects.
(43) wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 164:
Before you could say Jock Morrison.
Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 147:
Sooner than ye'll say “Jock Hector!”, He'll them describe or draw their picture.
Abd. 1952 L. Starr To Please Myself Again 22:
Up on to the dyke afore ye could say jockamanorie.

[O.Sc. Jok, from c.1500, Chacke-blynde-man, = 4. (9), 1627. The formation is somewhat uncertain, phs. merely a variant of Jack or from hypocoristic Jo (= John) + dim. suff. -ock.]

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"Jock n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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