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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SPINK, n.1 Dim. spinky, -ie. [spɪŋk]

1. A name applied to various flowers. Most commonly used of the cuckoo flower, lady's smock, Cardamine pratensis (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 33, also bog-spink); the common primrose, Primula vulgaris (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), w.Lth. 1971); the garden polyanthus, Primula elatior (Clc. 1886 B. & H. Plant Names 447); the maiden pink, Dianthus deltoides (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Edb. 1886 B. & H. Plant Names 447); the common cowslip, Primula verna (Ags. 1952). Also used variously in Eng. dial. Combs. May spink, see Mey, 1. (15), spinkie den, a flowery dell.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 156:
Or can our flow'rs at ten hours bell The Gowan or the Spink excel?
m.Lth. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 120:
A garlan' o' braw spinks an' crawfeet made.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 1:
His chackit plaid the speckl't spink outvies.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 67:
Polyanthuses, which last, the cottagers often name spinks.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 9:
Witchbells, dear daffodillies, Kingcups and spinks.
Per. 1889 T. Edwards Strathearn Lyrics 27:
I kissed the spink and daffodil, A' in their goud attire.
e.Lth. 1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 287:
Foxgloves, bluebells, thimmels, an' spinks.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 24:
He kent the lythest neukie where the spinkies first would blaw.
Abd. 1958 Abd. Press & Jnl. (13 March):
A spinkie-den with burn and playing bairns and new greenery.
Kcd. 1965 Dundee Courier (17 May):
Gathering “spinkies” on the grassy slopes of the cliffs between Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle.

2. Fig. applied to attractive persons in the bloom of youth.Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 24:
I'll wager 'tis that bloomin' spink, The charmin' Mary Pirie.
Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 67:
May thae delightfu spinks neer be skaithed.
Slk. 1824 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 299:
This spink of a mountain damsel.
Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 24:
'Deed, my bit spinks, ye needna wonder, I speak sound truth.

[Appar. a variant of Pink, n.1, with prothetic s.]

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"Spink n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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