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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LAVEROCK, n., v. Also -ack, -oc, -ok, -ic(k), -ik, laeverik, lavrack, -ick, -oc(k), leverook, levrick, levroc; liv(e)rock, -ick (ne.Sc.); lavrie, lav(e)ro(o) (Ork.); and reduced forms corresponding to Eng. lark, lairi(c)k, -ock, laerock, ler(r)i(c)k, -uck (em.Sc.); larrik, lari(c)k; laerag, lairag, layrag (Cai.). [′le:vrək, Ork. ′levru, ne.Sc. ′lɪvrɪk; ′lerək, Cai. ′lerəg]

I. n. 1. The skylark, Alauda arvensis. Gen.Sc. Also attrib.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. iv.:
Hark how the Lavrocks chant aboon our Heads.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 31:
Up afore the sky, an' I believe afore the levrick or yern-bliter began to sing.
Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict. s.v. leverook:
If the lufft fa', 'twill smoore aw the leverooks. [Usu. quoted to silence a frivolous objection.]
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 85:
Yence I could hear the laverock's shrill-tun'd throat.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Lament of Mary ii.:
Now laverocks wake the merry morn, Aloft on dewy wing.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Will ye no come back again v.:
Sweet's the laverock's note and lang, Lilting wildly up the glen.
Sc. 1808 Scott Marmion iv. Intro.:
The laverock whistled from the cloud.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck x.:
That ever I sude hae lived to see the colehood take the laverock's place.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 258:
The laverock and the lark, The bawkie and the bat, The heather-bleet, the mire-snipe, How many burds be that?
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 10:
You wad wheedle a laverock frae the lift.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 163:
Larikie, Larikie, lee! Wha'll gang up to heaven wi' me?
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 139:
As lang's the liverock sings afore Can'lemas, it greets aifter 't.
Kcb. 1885 J. S. McCulloch Poems 137:
The lairock lilts hie in the lift.
Sc. 1892 Stevenson Catriona xii.:
The auld Black Douglas … that likit better to hear the laverock sing than the mouse cheep.
Ags. 1903 Arbroath Guide (16 May) 3:
We used to be up wi' the laricks on the first Sunday o' May.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 58:
There's a wee spring set in a hallow, Whaur the laverocks pipe their sangs.
Abd. 1944 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 370:
Gowd's the blossom on the funn, o' livrock-sang there's routh.
Mry. 1957 Bulletin (9 April) 4:
The pang of pleasure at the discovery of the larrik's nest.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 34:
The summer came. The laverock sang.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 25:
Blythe nou wha tholed the wintertide
its crannreuch cauld an lang.
Green, green the shaws on braw Kenside
an sweet the laverock's sang.
Sc. 1991 R. Crombie Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 28:
The laverock wi sunsheen in its tongue
Sings vainly for a hert that canna hear
Sc. 1999 Orcadian 7 Oct 15:
"A long term benefit from this group will be to enhance Orkney's farmland biodiversity," said Rachel. "Laverock, Lintie and Heather Lintie are just a few species which will potentially benefit from this work."

2. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) bolty lairag, the corn bunting, Emberiza calandra (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 375); (2) docken laverock, id. (Sh. 1955 L. Venables Birds, etc. 119), said to be so called because its nest is often to be found at the foot of a dock; (3) grottie-lavro, phs. the shore-lark (Ork. 1890), ? from Groatie-buckie; (4) lerrock cairn, lit., a heap of stones frequented by larks; hence any insignificant place. Found also in place-names; (5) laverock-freckle, a mottled colour like that of a lark; (6) laverock-ha(ll), fig., the sky, Heaven. Cf. (9); (7) laverock-heeled, having long or apparently long heels, hence with toes turned in or out, splay-footed or in-toed (Bnff. 1949); (8) laverock-h(e)ich, as high as the lark soars. Used substantively as the name of a skipping game (Ork. 1960, laveroo-high). Hence laverock-heicht, n.; (9) laverock's house, fig., the sky; (10) laverock's lint, larick's —, (a) the flax, Cathartolinum (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); (b) the haircap-moss, “great golden maiden-hair,” Polytrichum commune (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (11) sandy laverock, sand-lairag, the ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula (Ags. 1784 Gentleman's Mag. II. 506, -larick; Sh., Ork. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 182; Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 390, sand lairag; Bwk. 1911 A. H. Evans Fauna Tweed 196; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd. 1960). See also Sand and Sanlo. The 1804 quot. is prob. an error; (12) trussy laverock, = (1) (Sh. 1955 L. Venables Birds, etc. 119).(4) Ayr. 1825 Jam.:
It is said of anything that is rare, or that does not occur every day, that “it's no to be gotten at ilka lerrock-cairn”.
(5) Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (April) 490:
Brown, blue, and drab, parson-grey, laverock-freckle, and bottle-green.
(6) Sc. a.1700 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 356:
My treasure lyes above the Laverockhall (i.e. in heaven,) and cannot be reached.
(8) Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xxvi.:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool; Near lav'rock-height she jumpet.
Rxb. 1811 A. Scott Poems 130:
La Pen' in a string should lav'rock hich hing.
(9) Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 190:
There's nae reek ee laverock's house the nicht — said when the night is cold and stormy.
(10) (a) Abd. 1886 P. Morgan Ann. Woodside 134:
Little to be seen but heather banks and sprot bogs, an' here an' there a tuft o' lavrock's lent.
(11) Sc. 1710 Fountainhall Decisions II. 568:
To restrict him to the fifth part of the rent was to send him to lift the rest of his stipend from windlestraws and sandy laverocks.
e.Lth. 1730 Earl of Haddington Select Poems (1824) 210:
Neither goose nor sandy lavrock, nor whaup shall e'er gae free.
Dmb. 1804 T. Thornton Sporting Tour (1896) 40:
In the course of our walk, saw several sandpipers, or sandy levrocs, as they are here called.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
I had rather that the rigs of Tillietudlem bare naething but windlestraes and sandy lavrocks than that they were ploughed by rebels to the king.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 326:
We jeust ca' id a sandy laveroo, sar.

3. A boy's penis (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS., lairock). Cf. Burdie, Robin.

II. v. To snare larks.Sc. 1713 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 159:
He used to come doun in the season of lavrocking, very early, to Craufurdlau.

[O.Sc. lawrok, 1438, laverok, lark, from c.1470, lark, from c.1450, E. Mid.Eng. laverke, from 13th c., O.E. lāferce, id. Leurok carn (1537), Laverokhall (1632) occur as place-names.]

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"Laverock n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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