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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEEK, int., n.1, v. Also peak, pe(e)a(c)k (Abd. 1931 Press & Jnl. (11 Feb.)); peeuk (Mry. 1825 Jam.), peuk(e). [′pi(ə)k]

I. int. A sound representing the cry of a small animal or bird, or the shrill voice of a child (ne.Sc., Ags., Uls. 1965), in reduplic. form peek-peek, “cheep, cheep”, “peep, peep”, as a call to chickens (Lth. 1966).Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present 150:
“Peak, peak”, cried the chucken . . . An aye my deuky cried quaak-quaak An' my chucky cried pee-ack, pee-ack.

II. n. 1. The cry of a small animal or bird, a shrill, piping noise, a chirrup, squeak, cheep, an insignificant sound (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 122; ne.Sc., Ags., Uls. 1965). Phr. to be weak in the peak, to have a faint, weak voice, to have no power in one's lungs.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 123:
The fisher . . . never lut anither peek.
Mry.2 1930:
He's awfu weak in the peak. He has a weak, piping voice.

2. A person with a weak, piping voice, an unimpressive, insignificant individual (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 122). Comb. winter peeack, the person who brought in the last load of corn from the harvest field, the “duffer”, “booby”. See quot. and Winter.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 122:
He's jist a mere peeack. We hardly saw 'im i' the poopit, an' he cheepit an' squeeackit like a moose aneth a firlot.
Abd. c.1900 Crombie MSS.:
The man who took home the last load of corn was called the “winter peeack” and he always got a present of a pair of “hummel mittens”.

III. v. 1. To cheep, chirp, to cry feebly like a small animal or bird (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Uls. 1965). Vbl.n. peackan, a squeaking, chirping noise, the act of cheeping.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 123:
Yir chuckies are peeackin' gey muckle, an' hingin' their wings.

2. To sing in a feeble, half-hearted way, chirrup, pipe tunelessly (Bnff.8 1920).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 123:
They peeackit, an' sang a wee filie, an' syne ga't up for an ill job.

3. To complain, grumble, make moan, whine, whimper (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1965), to speak in a thin querulous voice (Bnff.8 1920). Hence peakie, adj., whining, speaking with a small plaintive voice (Ags. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 239; Abd. 1965), also peakie-weakie, id. (Ib.).Sc. 1808 Jam.:
He's no sae puir as he peaks.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii., xiv.:
Rinnin' peekin' to the heid authorities o' the kwintra like as mony chuckens 't hed tint their mither. . . . Benjie was an orpiet, peekin, little sinner.
Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 169:
It would peuke awa' like a bairnie greetan'.
Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 247:
Yer no' peekin John Small o' Oathland.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 52:
She never leet on she h'ard him, but peekit an' grat on.


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"Peek interj., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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