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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PERJINK, adj., adv., n. Also perjinck; -jinch (Cai. 1934); prejink; ¶perjim (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.); and quasi-ppl. forms perjinkit, -jinct, pirjinct, prefinct. [pər′dʒɪŋk]

I. adj. 1. Trim, neat, well-turned-out, smart in appearance (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety H. 160, 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc.Edb. 1839 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxiv.:
As for Mr. Batter, he looked as prejinct as a pikestaff.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
[She] made me as clean an' perjink as a new preen.
Sc. a.1894 Stevenson New Poems (1918) 50:
An' day an' nicht, frae daw to daw, Dink an' perjink, an doucely braw.
Arg. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days xiii.:
In his clothing he was always trim and tidy, quite perjink, as hereabouts we say.
Abd. 1909 Banffshire Jnl. (9 Feb.):
The hoose is jist a perfect pictur' an' a'thing aboot the place that clean and perjink.
Rnf. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money iii.:
She was slender and quick and neat: perjink, as the good Scots word has it.

2. Prim, strait-laced, somewhat priggish (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 160, 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Also extended form perjinketty.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ciii.:
I trow I gart the perjink English yerl laugh.
Fif. 1843 A. Bethune Sc. Peasant's Fireside 121:
She was a perjink body, and carried her head our heigh.
Sc. 1887 J. Ruskin Praeterita II. 390:
She had always what my mother called “perjinketty” ways, which made her typically an old maid in her later years.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 20:
A gey perjink aul ramrod o' a wife.
Ags. 1936 A. Fleming Christina Strang xxii.:
That perjink ye'd think butter wadna melt in her moo'.
Edb. 1979 Albert D. Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 43:
She's aye had her puckle siller tae,
And her that perjink and cannie
The perfect chatelaine -
Owre dentie for the Lawnmarket and the Bow.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 182:
" ... I'm a wee bit no' perjink enough for her tidy ways anyway."
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 139:
She was much too perjink to suffer saucers of milk or dribbles of ale on her back step and too mean to share her bannocks (which were thin and stodgy anyway) or her cheese.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 113:
. . . speak, posh dinna be blate
an ye'll flee up tae jine em, aye, singin praise.
Werena we a maist perjink, aye dreamin,
dwamin o hoo thae weel-spoken lads
wid clap yer shouther, haud yer haun, cry ye brither?

3. Exact, precise, scrupulously careful, minutely accurate, fussy, finicking (Fif. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Hence perjinkly, pre-, with the greatest of care, in a manner minutely attentive to detail; perjinctness, fussiness, preciseness. Also perjinkety, perjinknessSc. 1775 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 350:
But how came you not to observe the address I gave you literally and perjinkly?
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xiv.:
He . . . was wondrous perjink in his words — a' on chandler pins.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 461:
“Noo, do you see that,” exclaimed the younger, “wi' your taigling and prejinctness.”
Per. 1894 I. Maclaren Brier Bush 4:
He wasna maybe sae shairp at the elements as this pirjinct body we hae noo.
Abd. 1895 G. Williams Scarbraes 58:
Netherton's owre raffy o dochters needin' men to be owre perjink.
m.Sc. 1924 O. Douglas Pink Sugar xiv.:
She's as perjink as a dancin'-mistress.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
Yow yins that's keinda perjink menna be uggeet at iz for aa this . . . some folk heh sic a tredd wui thersels, — primpin!
Sc. 1942 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 363:
If you had tae luik efter five weans ye wouldnae be sae perjink!
Gsw. 1985 Anna Blair Tea at Miss Cranston's 168:
...chanting of tables and lists of towns and dates with perjinkety teachers doesn't seem like gross hardships...
m.Sc. 1988 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 53 56:
The English poems which open the volume have also his technical perjinkness, but lack the naturalness of his Scots, though even here his addiction to the ballad form is evident.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 61:
"Ye can depend on Donald Ferguson," the fowk in oor clachan eesed tae say. "Ye cud set the stars an navigate bi him, he's that perjink an punctual."

II. adv. Primly, fastidiously, in a precise and careful manner. Gen.Sc.Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 11:
Staun'in' perjink a' by his lane.
wm.Sc. 1946 Scots Mag. (June) 207:
You might have laughed if you had seen me on the path up the wood, practising the way you walked — so perjink.

III. n. 1. A precise and fastidious person, a fusspot, “old maid” (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Cf. Pernick.

2. A fussy detail, a nicety, a fine point. Also deriv. perjinkity, prejinketty, id. Phr. to be on one's perjinks, to mind one's ps and qs, be on one's best behaviour. Cf. Peremptor, I. 5.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xl., xxx.:
To speak proper English, if we maun be on our perjinks, will you an' her baith rin awa thegither? . . . How to correct the press, and to put in the points, wi' the lave o' the wee perjinkities.
Gall. 1835 Fraser's Mag. (July) 17:
The puir young creatures that ye hae worried to a harassment wi' your auld maids' perjinks.

[Per-, pref., intensive, + a second element, prob. of imit. formation, influenced by words of similar meaning, as Dink, Gim, Jimp, Jinsh, Jink.]

Perjink adj., adv., n.

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"Perjink adj., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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