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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

JOUK, v., n.1 Also jook, jouck, jeu(c)k, j(o)uke; juik, juyk; jowk; juck, juk (Sc. 1807 Jolly Beggar in Child Ballads (1957) V. 110); deuk, duik. [dʒuk]

I. v. 1. (1) tr. and intr. To duck, to stoop or jerk (one's head) away quickly to avoid a missile or blow, to dodge (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 87). Gen.Sc. Also fig.Sc. 1737 J. Drummond Memoirs Locheill (1842) 120–1:
He had no other chance of escapeing but by duiking.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To J. Smith xxv.:
I jouk beneath Misfortune's blows As weel's I may.
Sc. 1820 Scott Abbot vii.:
If he says you are in fault, you must jouk your head to the stream.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail i.:
Foul would hae been the gait, and drooking the shower, that would hae gart them jook their heads intil the door o' ony sic thing as a Glasgow bailie.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xviii.:
At length he “jouked down his head, took a lounder across the shoulders.”
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 84:
It's ower late to jouk when the head's off.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ii.:
A “laddie” rider, dexterously “joukin'” . . . at every villainously low bridge.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xviii.:
Ye micht possibly hae juiked the blunderbush.
Ags. 1918 J. Inglis The Laird 6:
The gudewife a' the nicht afore Her head outbye was joukin' O!
wm.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 367:
Dinna you be feart . . . Juke yer heid at the richt time an' ye'll get on fine.

Proverbial phr.: jouk an let the jaw gae by and variants (see quots.), lit. duck to avoid an oncoming wave (see Jaw), hence, act passively when trouble threatens, give way prudently to overwhelming force or “before the storm.” Gen.Sc. See also Jaup.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 189:
Juck, and let a Jaw go o'er you. That is, prudently yield to a present torrent.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
Now gang your ways hame, like a guid bairn — jouk and let the jaw gae by.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xcvii.:
But, for a' that, our ain kith and kin, Beenie — we maun jook and let the jawp gae bye.
Per. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (21 Jan.):
The former wisely determining on neutrality, . . . he thought it best “to jouk and let the jaup gae owre.”
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 16:
I can easy jouk an' lat her jaw gyang by.

(2) To bow deferentially, make an obeisance (Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict., juyk; m.Lth.1 1959). To jouk under, to be subservient to, truckle to (Ags., m.Lth. 1959).Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 202:
Ye shall have nathing to fash ye, Sax servants shall jouk to thee.
Abd. 1789 A. Shirrefs Poems xx.:
I jook'd as low as low cud be, And said your servan'.
Ayr. 1795 Burns 1st Heron Ballad iv.:
But why should we to nobles jouk?
Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 161:
When within the hall he came, He joukd and couchd out-oer his tree.
Ags. 1879 G. W. Donald Poems 69:
Sin ye think I maun bow to y'r shadow or jook.
Bnff. 1881 W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars vi.:
The little mannie joukes under him, they say, and does his biddin'.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 61:
... but talk o independence means
maist jouk or co'oer,
as pow'r, wi aathing else it seems,
we haund it ower.

(3) To cower, crouch (ne. and em.Sc., Lnk., Kcb. 1959).Edb. 1864 W. Fergusson Songs 35:
Pity the wretch that's doomed to jouk In rags beside the ingle-nook.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 36:
He joukit like a toad That couries in the sheuch and canna' rin.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 163:
And Mairi keeking at him, nosey wee girl, and then rushing to get out of sight as the Father's steps passed under the lintel and entered the gloaming kirk. And there she, jouked under the altar, heard his troubled thoughts.

2. In gen., tr. and intr. (1) To dodge, evade, elude, give the slip to (someone or something) by a quick sideways movement; to escape or take refuge (from); to slip into concealment; to move about furtively, slink. Also vbl.n. Gen.Sc. Also fig. Rarely refl. = to insinuate oneself, to “gate-crash”. Hence jouker, a slippery or elusive character. Gen.Sc.Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 72:
But she maun e'en be glad to jook An' play teet-bo frae nook to nook.
Edb. 1773 Ib. 157:
Beneath the caller shady trees . . . To jouk the simmer's rigor there.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxx.:
The hempies alluded to jouked themselves in upon us, and obligated the managers to invite them.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 37:
Wha can tell but some ill manner'd scur Is jeukin' e'now at the back o' th' door.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 72:
When Fortune jooks ahint An' scuds ye wi' her broom.
Rxb. 1913 Kelso Chron. (21 Feb.) 4:
But aft oorsel's we've jooked detection.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 26:
But troots, like men, hing on till life, And jouk the barb o' daith.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A . . . jookeet doon ti a wumplin burnie.
Ags. 1930 A. Kennedy Orra Boughs 4:
He had longed to add the cliché that would sum up the whole matter but it had jouked him.
Sc. 1933 E. S. Haldane Scotland of our Fathers 194:
The great matter was to “juik the gauger”.
wm.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (May) 135:
But the maist o' them joukit doon the back o' the station and up ower the bridge again.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 98:
"Aye. I jooked through the orchard, and did milady hersel' no' catch me."
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 20:
Another messenger, and then a third, suffered the same fate, the last one having jouked a whipping only because he was young and fleet of foot.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 62:
She let his hand slip down her arm and then jouked away. She tossed her head.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 33:
Man i the muin he's staunan an chauvan
wi a graipfu o breers he's warslan awa.
sic a wunner it is he disnae gang skitan
wi joukan an trummlan sae feart gin he'll faa.
Gsw. 1992 Jeff Torrington Swing Hammer Swing! (1993) 195:
As I jouked around the close's elbow and prepared to launch myself up the first flight of stairs, I scarcely gave the driver a thought, ...
Sc. 1995 Scotland on Sunday 2 Jul 20:
Smith got his second after an uncharacteristic explosion of flair by Grant, who juked past two defenders to the bye-line and fired in a low ball for his unmarked pal to sidefoot home.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 182:
Forby he owed him money - a debt he had not repayed when he was there in '68, what with all his jouking and hiding from the authorities.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 303:
She jouked in among them, striking the pavement with her staff, stepping out.

Phrs. and combs.: (a) jook-halter, “dodge-the-gallows”, rapscallion; (b) jook-my-joe, hide-and-seek; (c) juke-the-beetle, a lump which has remained unbroken-down in oatmeal stirabout or mashed potatoes (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1931 Northern Whig (2 Dec.) 5); fig. a dodger (Uls. 1953 Traynor).(a) Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 70:
The pookit waif o' some jowk-halter crew.
(b) Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxiii.:
The wind aff the North playin' “jook-my-joe” atween my sark and my back-bane!

(2) Specif.: to play truant, dodge school (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 92; ne.Sc., Per., Ayr., Slk., Uls. 1959). Hence joucker, jouck-the-squeel, a truant (Gregor; Mry.2 1946).Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 155:
My pow got many a knock When frae the school I strave to jouk.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xiv.:
He was an incorrigible “jook-the-school”.
Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (March) 404:
Meeting a trio of lads, jeuking from the school.
Bnff. 1935 I. Bennet Fishermen xiii.:
“Where's James?” the mistress asked. “He's jookin'!”

(3) intr. To avoid doing something unpleasant, to shirk, flinch (Abd., Ags., Per., Rnf., Ayr. 1959).Sc. a.1700 Ramsay Ever Green (1724) I. 85:
Nae Help was thairfor, nane wald jouk, Fers was the Fecht on ilka Syde.
Abd. c.1835 J. B. Pratt J. Fleeman (1912) 33:
Nae jeuking now, Berries, ye maun just gang, or pay the smart.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 165:
But yet, what reck? we downa jook, We'll staun' a dunch, nor think o' fa'in'.
Ayr. 1945 B. Fergusson Lowland Soldier 42:
And f'ae nocht that was his duty Was he ever seen tae jouk.

3. To appear and disappear quickly, to dodge in and out, dart about, e.g. of a stream, light, or living creature (ne.Sc., Ags., em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1959).Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 45:
Giglet gawkies when their dameless, Jouk and jauk though seeming thrang.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 275:
Primming wi' your smiles and your dimples, and rinning jinking and jowking after the lads!
Sc. 1864 J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe 46:
Down the rocks, aneath the braes How it wimples, jouks and plays.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 134:
Inside your modest-worded book, Whaur rhymes, like sang-birds, jink an' jouk The pages through.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
The reed lowe jookin' through the bars.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 250:
See the bairnies . . . play at keek-a-boo as they jouk oot and in.
s.Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 19:
Een that were blue as corncockles twinkle nae mair, Nor a lauch like the simmer lichtnin' Jouk i' the air.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 7:
They'd be campin' far the burn Gyangs joukin' throu' the san'stane tae the sea.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 20:
There were shouts of 'Good old Sam! ... If we cannae get coals, give us beer!'
Like an astute actor, Sam Malarkin, the vice-president and burgh bailie, came jouking out of the pavilion at that cue of mostly good-natured acclamation.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 168:
When the leaves are juist leavan, joukan tae the wund's jig;
when the crops are lang cut an winter warns
Sc. 1993 Herald 28 May 18:
I didn't just jouk into pubs and golf clubs and the like and say "Jings! We're fae The Herald and tell us aboot ..." I just enjoyed myself and listened and talked myself a bit.

4. To evade by trickery, to cheat, deceive, play false (Sc. 1770 Hailes Ancient Sc. Poems 282, jowk, 1808 Jam.; Abd., Kcd., Ags., em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., Kcb. 1959).Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost vii.:
The lad, seeing that I was na to be jookit . . .answered.
Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 74:
He's jouked mair lawyers than the deil himsel'.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 218:
He was jookit e'en by his dear lassie.

Hence ppl.adjs. joukin, ¶joukit, deceitful, sly, untrustworthy; vbl.n. jouking, artful conduct, dissimulation (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
A jowking lown, i.e. a cozening, deceitful fellow.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ayr. Legatees ix.:
Lord Lauderdale, that jooking man.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters v.:
He's a jouking bodie, he was ahint a dyke up the Skeigham Road when Gibson and Gourlay foregathered.
Abd. 1902 E.D.D.:
Cockie o' Turra was a joukit crater; tho' he cudna read he needed a newspaper to mak' believe.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xlv.:
Gie tae my mou' leal an' siccar wirds, an' tak awa frae me a joukit gab.

5. To dip into water, to drench (Ork. 1959). Vbl.n. joukin, a soaking with rain or water (Id.).Id.:
Juke water ower him, i.e. souse him.

II. n. 1. An evasive motion of the head or body, a duck, a dodge, swerve, stoop (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., em.Sc.(b), Arg., Gall., Uls. 1959); a dodging movement. Also fig., “a temporary yielding to the pressure of circumstances” (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 459), and in phr. to gie the juke, to evade, elude, give the slip. Dim. jookie, id.; also a children's game in which two teams try to dodge past each other over a dividing line (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems 81:
Others some doth back Jucks take, For to hear their Priests.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xxxiv.:
She was nae far wrang, since ye did sae, to tak a wee jookie her ain gait too.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Miller vi.:
The sash is shot up, the head gies a jouk.
Dwn. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 36:
Divided roun' ilk hook an' crook, Lest he sh'ud gie them a' the juke.
Ags. 1879 J. Guthrie Poems 20:
Her sweetheart Tam comes round wi' quiet jeuk, To tak a kiss.
Ayr. c.1900 Carrick Anthol. (Finlayson) 327:
A jink or twa, a jouk atween, A flichtin through the flair.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 219:
He took a jook through the air an' met Jamie's ship two thoosan miles away.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 21:
The sluice far the water pooers oot Wi' a jilp and a jeuk ower the steens.
Edb. 1994 Douglas McKenzie in James Roberston A Tongue in Yer Heid 9:
She spread a clean newspaper on the table an pit oot the knifes and forks, dancin between the livin-room an the kitchen, gien a wee jouk o her legs as she passed the kitchen door.

2. Of a river: a bend, loop, twist (Kcb. 1959).Rxb. 1868 Hawick Advert. (14 March) 4:
Meandrin' left and right, Fair Nith wi' frequent jouks and sallies.
Ayr. 1882 J. Hyslop Dream of a Masque 169:
The bit bonnie wimplin' burn Jinks through its banks o' cowslips, Wi' mony a jouk an' turn.

3. A bow or curtsy, a respectful nod of the head, an obeisance (Ags. 1959).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 133:
Tho I were Laird of Tenscore Acres, Nodding to Jouks of Hallenshakers.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 70:
Amo' the trees, a lass she do's espie; To her she hys, an' hailst her wi' a jook.

4. A shelter of any kind from a storm or a blow (Per. 1808 Jam.; Abd.6 1913); a sheltered spot, nook, winding passage.Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 286:
They say ye're wampasins and wynds An' thro'ther jeuks a' vanish.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
The deuk of a tree, the shelter afforded by it from wind or rain.
Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (April) 451:
Andrew Peter was sitting upon the brae, in the jouk of a thorn-buss.
Abd. 1832 A. Beattie Poems 216:
And for my shop, gin ye but look, In Aberdeen, at Wallace Nook — It lies just ha'lins i' the jouk.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 218:
Strike owre tae the penn, an' bide still i' the jook o't.

5. A trick (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per., Ayr., Slk. 1959); a manœuvre, an exploit.Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Works 399:
Devising there some doleful jeuck, To trouble Truth and put him out.
Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck III. vi.:
That last jouk of Ranald's will mak an awful souch through the country. What could possess the creatur to do sic a deed in broad day?

[O.Sc. jowk, jouk, etc., to elude, cheat, c.1450, to duck, to skulk, from 1513, to bow, c.1540, a dodging movement, 1513, a bow, 1587, a trick, 1584, jouker, a dodger, 1573. Orig. somewhat uncertain but the similarity of many of the forms and meanings to Eng. duck, Mid.Eng. douke, O.E. dūcan, to dive (like a duck), to stoop, etc., suggests that the word may be a palatalised variant of the Sc. form Dook, q.v., as is definitely the case in v., 5. For the phonology cf. Jeuk, Deuk.]

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"Jouk v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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