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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.

NEUK, n., v. Also n(y)eu(c)k, newk (Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson xxiii.), nui(c)k, nyook (Abd. 1887 J. Cowe Jeems Sim 17), (k)nuck, and dim. forms n(y)eukie, nucky (Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 34). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. nook. [nøk, em. Sc. (a), wm.Sc. + n(j)ʌk, n.Sc. and em.Sc. (b) njuk]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a corner, recess, the chimney-corner, a corner of a piece of bread, or of a cloth or garment (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also used in place-names of a projecting corner of land, esp. the East Neuk of Fife.Sc. a.1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 70:
But now, good Sirs, this Day is lost, The best Dog in the East-Nook Coast.
Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale (1815) 399:
But now Deceit sits in a neuck.
Gsw. 1725 Records Trades Ho. (Lumsden 1934) 111:
That house in the said lands lately builded in that neuck of the park nearest the town.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 22:
An honester fellow never brack the nook o' a corter, nor cuttit a fang frae a kebbock.
Sh. 1771 Old-Lore Misc. IV. i. 34:
The Height, which is the nuick march twixt Selasseter, Coldback, and Balista scattalds.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson xxiii.:
'Twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk An' out o' sight.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet vii.:
“Just Fifish” , replied Peter; “wowf — a wee bit by the East-Nook or sae.”
Ags. 1845 A. Smart Rambling Rhymes 78:
My grand-daddy sat i' the neuk in his chair.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
A tartan plaid aboot's shou'ders, an' a' 's spare claise i' the neuk o't.
Uls. 1884 Cruck-a-Leaghan & Slieve Gallion Lays & Leg. 86:
[They] set aff down the fields till the “Knuck”.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xliii.:
The wild roar of the storm and the darkness of the plaid neuk.
Fif. 1905 S. Tytler Daughter of the Manse iii. i.:
She saw it in “the crook of a burn” and “the neuk of a brae.”
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminiscences 12:
The front of the neuk was on a line with the inside of the side-wall.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 3:
There's a neuk'll haud us baith The loun nicht through till mornin'-dew.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 247:
Then we caught them [sheep] and washed their fleeces with soap and water, even the little tracks of dust and tears that ran down from the neuk of each eye, which took time, patience and cunning, ...
Sc. 1962 Scotsman (25 Dec.) 5:
Five burghs and seven landward parishes of the East Neuk.
  Abd. 2000 Herald 2 Oct 21:
It is great here in the neuk of the park just up the hill from the family farm.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 241:
When the bailies came to take them to prison, they asked Thomas if he had any money to secure. None, he said. Then Jean piped up, and kindly showed them all the panels and neuks where it was hidden.

Hence ppl.adj. neu(c)ket, neukit, nuikit, nookit, -ed, nucket, having corners or angles, crooked, angular, sharp: fig. sharptempered, cantankerous (Bnff. 1964); nuikey, having corners (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 72:
Lang mayst thou teach, with round and nooked Lines.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 41:
The corn riddle fu' of the three nucket scons.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxvi.:
A three-nookit handkercher is the maist fashionable overlay.
Kcb. 1824 P. McKinnell Mountain Dew 50:
A three-neukit crook o' the linn.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 3:
He through the neuket thrawart street, Where eddie winds in brulzie meet.
Abd. 1903 E.D.D.:
What made you sae neuket wi' the man? Ye spak' rael neuket to her. Ye winna force me wi yer neuket wye o' speakin'.
Abd. 1950 W. Kemp Cornkisters 5:
Neukit, thrawn, ill-naitured, losh his marra wis never seen.

Combs. and Phrs.: (1) ingle-neuk, see Ingle; (2) in the neuk, in child-bed (Ork. 1964); (3) neuk-bed, a bed in a recess in a specially built extension of a house (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 12, Ork. 1964); (4) neuk-stane, a corner-stone; (5) neuck-time, twilight, the time when working people rest and gossip in the chimney-corner (w.Lth. 1825 Jam.); (6) peat-neuk, see Peat; (7) to hold (keep, put) one in his ain neuk, to keep a person under, to control strictly, hold under one's thumb (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1964); (8) to turn a nook upon, to outwit, turn the tables on (Abd. 1825 Jam.).(2) Gall. 1823 Caled. Mercury (3 March) 3:
He was sent to Wigtown for a bottle of wine . . . to comfort a few gossips who were attending his first wife, then in the neuk.
(3) Ork. 1894 W. R. Mackintosh Peat-fires 245:
Andrew of Curcabreck's wife came and “picked” on the flagstone roof of his “neuk-bed”, and warned him to get up and decamp.
Ork. 1911 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 9, 17:
A neuk bed, which is entered through a narrow door between two flagstones set on end, the bed being a little stone built shed roofed on to the house. . . . The bedding, often straw or chaff, is raised very little above the floor . . . The kitchen of the old house of Kirbister Birsay . . . contains a very good example of a two storey neuk bed.
Ork. 1936 Scotsman (9 Oct.) 20:
I was told that in the old days the neuk-bed, filled with chaff, was often occupied by the herdie-boy.
(4) Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms cxliv. 12:
That our douchters may be as nuik-stanes, polishet efter the likeniss o' ane paelice.

2. A contemptuous term for a person, phs. a different word (Gsw. 1960 People's Jnl. (1 Oct.) 6).Gsw. 1958 C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 68, 119:
That yin wi' the baldy heid is Julius Caesar, a right stupit-lukkin nyuck. . . . Auld Green rolled up the street and shouted up to the first-storey window for the rotten cowardly nyuck to come down and get a basting.

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to set in a corner, only as pa.p. neukit.Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 82:
Here aft, weel neukit by my lane, Wi' Horace, or perhaps Montaigne.

2. To corner, outwit, deceive, humble (Abd. 1825 Jam.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 99:
Nae farrer back 'bout them need we to look Than how of late they you and me did nook.

[O.Sc. nok, headland, 1375, Mid.Eng. noke, corner, angle, chiefly north. in usage.]

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



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