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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STRAIK, n., v. Also stra(i)ke, stra(i)ck; †strak (Ags. 1734 Dundee Session Rec. MS. (10 Jan.)); streak. and (by confusion with Streek, v.2) streek [strek; Bch. + †str(j)ɑ:k. See P.L.D. § 141.1.]

I. n. 1. A blow, stroke, of a whip, rod, weapon, tool, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 268; ‡Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Sh., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Per., Lth., Bwk., Ayr., Wgt. 1971). For reddin straik see Redd, v.1, 6. (5). Comb. straik deid, smitten to death, used fig. in quot.Sc. 1719 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 231:
Syne with the first strake eir he strake.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 92:
Wi, that he gat anither straik.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 132:
Her brother beat her cruellie, Till his straiks they werena canny.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxvi.:
There was like to be straiks and bloodshed.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 85:
Little straiks fell muckle aiks.
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 120:
It would be unseemly to be visited with the reddin' straik.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer xi.:
I doobt ye'll get the straiks though.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (4 Nov.):
Wi' a straik apo da heft wi' da löff dey send him doon an' cut da möny.
Gall. 1901 Gallovidian III. 114:
Murdered by a left-hand straik frae a man.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 155:
They think a man's straik deid in love wi them afore ever he turns sick ava.

2. A whetting or paring motion (Sh., Cai. 1971).Lnk. 1924 J. S. Martin Sc. Earth 39:
Sax straks o' his cuttie knife.
Cai. 1929 John o' Groat Jnl. (1 Nov.):
He'll just gie her cliv twa-three strakes on 'e corner o' 'e gless hoose.

3. A stroke, score or mark made by a pen, pencil (Sh., Ags. 1971).Ags. 1927 Brechin Advert. (25 Oct.) 3:
Twa bit straiks upon a paper.

4. The motion or marks made on the ground by a harrow (I. and n.Sc., Ags., Gall. 1971); the strip of ground covered at one journey of the harrow (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.).Sc. 1845–7 Trans. Highl. and Agric. Soc. 395:
As fine as light and strait-toothed harrows can make it to fill up the crevices, and only one strake should afterwards be given with them.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 18:
The corn only got the first strake o' th' harrows.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 45:
Wi' me, at harra, plew, or rake: Ye followt ilka furr or straik.

5. A stroking, a caressing movement of the hand (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., Cai., Ags., Kcb. 1971); a sleeking smoothing action.Ags. 1886 A. Willock Rosetty Ends 90:
He was sure to gie pussie a bit straik in the bygaun.

6. A stripe of colour, a streak, a ray of light (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 268; Ayr. 1928; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; ne.Sc., Ags., Lnk., Dmf. 1971); a smear, smudge (Sc. 1887 Jam., a straik o' bluid). Also in Eng. dial. Phr. straik o' day, daybreak, the first light of dawn (Sc. 1887 Jam.), no doubt orig. an altered form of Skreek o' day.Abd. 1729 Skene's Account (S.C. Misc.) II. 143:
A midling round mellowish apple full of reed straiks.
Dmf. 1825 Poets Dmf. (Miller 1910) 224:
In quiet lang straiks the holie licht lay On the swaird.
Abd. 1879 G. MacDonald Sir Gibbie li.:
Ae unco black ane [cloud] . . . wi' a straik o' white.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 248:
Aiblins, in a piercing straik O' heavenly licht.

7. The act of streaking or smearing (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

8. A small amount, a little, the least bit (Ayr. 1928; Sh. 1971).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 91:
Monie bite an' sup, wi' little din That wad na gree a straik, at mooling in.
wm.Sc. 1887 Jam.:
Gie the puir body a straik o' meal.
Kcb. 1900 R. J. Muir Mystery Muncraig iv.:
As many as possible gathered round the pot, which had an extra straik of butter.
Ayr. 1913 “Kissock” Sc. Poems 27:
Nae straik o' guid, but muckle ill.

9. A bundle of rods, slats of wood, straw or the like; a bundle of skutched flax (Sc. 1887 Jam., straik (o' lint)). Cf. Streek, n.3, Eng. strick, id. For kill-straik, see Kill, n.1, 1. (37).Ayr. 1707 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (7 May):
For repairing the Manse, six duzan of cabers and an strake of ribs at five pound scots, fourty carrful of thatch.

10. (1) A rounded stick with one straight edge used for levelling a commodity, usu. corn, in a measured container so as to brush off any superfluous amount and leave the surface level with the top of the measure (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Slg., Lth., Bwk., Arg., Ayr., Wgt. 1971), also in n.Eng. dial.; the amount so brushed off (Sc. 1825 Jam.); the measured container itself, specif. in regard to corn, a bushel (Sc. 1832 Scott Works Gl., straike). Hence phr. and combs. streak-ful, full and level with the edge of the measure; streak-measure, level measure; the straik o the cart, a level cart-load (Cai. 1971).Sc. 1760 Session Papers, Memorial W. Macilhose (2 Dec.) 18:
The said twenty-three Ladles did not fill the said Firlot streak-ful. . . . The said twelve heaped Ladles filled the said Firlot streakful.
Bte. 1763 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 852:
A custom barrel for coals, a firlot and streak.
Arg. 1784 Stent Bk. Islay (1890) 111:
A streak measure answering exactly to the standard measure of Islay should be substituted in place of the Heap Measure.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. vi.:
Of all things the strake of the bushel for me.
Abd. 1949 Abd. Press & Jnl. (25 April):
Steelyard and Weights, Bushel and Straik.

(2) specif. a level measure (of malt), and hence (the measure of the strength of) the liquor brewed or distilled from this. Comb. cauld straik, neat whisky, as opposed to toddy.Sc. 1823 Scott Quentin Durward Intro.:
A double straick of John Barleycorn.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. ix.:
Under a sound form of Government, folk might drink three times as muckle ale — and o' twice the straik o' maut.
Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 339:
Wull ye tak a drap o' cauld straik or wad ye hae ony objection to a wee bit browst o' toddy?
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller ii.:
The raw alcohol, or “cauld straik,” as the smith called it.

11. Appar. a scutcher for flax.Abd. 1746 Powis MSS. (22 July):
To 2 Mells and 2 Straiks for the Lint.

12. A strickle, a sanded board or the like (now. gen. a piece of carborundum), for sharpening sickle- and scythe-blades (Dmf. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 726; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai; ne.Sc., Fif., sm.Sc. 1971).Rnf. 1706 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) I. 196:
Ane straik of ane syth.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 60:
Wi' strake an' stane, ilk treads the yellow vale, Upon his daily toil.
e.Lth. 1810 Foord Acct. Bk. MS. 90:
To a Syth Strack . . . 6d.
Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 531:
Numerous trunks of oak are also found on such occasions. The country people were accustomed to split these and sell them at markets, as strakes for scythe-sharpening.
Kcb. 1911 Crockett Smugglers x.:
He could hear the scythe-men sharpening their blades in the hayfields. Krish-nash went the sanded “strake.”
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 6:
A milk search, a scummer, a scythe straik an' sned.
Abd. 1993:
E geed e scythe a lick wi e straik an syne intae reddin roads roon e corn.

13. A tract of ground, of indefinite extent but gen. thought of as being long and narrow, a strip of land (Abd. 1952 W. M. Alexander Place-Names (S.C.) lii.; Mry. 1971); a sheep -walk, the extent of ground over which a journey is made (Sc. 1808 Jam.); a somewhat sim. stretch of sea or river.Fif. 1725 Session Papers, Magistrates of Falkland v. Kinloch:
The common straik for these sheeps pasturing . . . the north side being the common straik of the Freuchie sheep.
Sc. 1847 Tait's Mag. (July) 499:
The rocky straiks and clippers that afford facilities for fish to cut or wear through the line.
Inv. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Report App. A VIII. 22:
The crop off this said lot is only two small streaks of corn.
Edb. 1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 8:
A windy borough by a straik o' sea.
Sc. 1943 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 48:
Furth frae the farm-toun Alang the yirden straik.

14. A journey, jaunt, a long walk or excursion on foot (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif. 1971).Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 171:
We've haen a fine straik, and are now safe hame agen.
Fif. 1824 J. Bissett Poems 181:
I went away and took a strake.
Fif. 1878 S. Tytler Scotch Firs I. iv.:
If she find that you're out at your straiks at this hour.

Phr. on the or upon straik, in motion, in a state of activity (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), on the move.Ags. 1858 People's Journal (7 Aug.) 2:
What's set you an' Mr Goodsir on the straik this mornin'?
Ags. 1866 C. Sievwright Sough 95:
Tho' sometimes on Sunday, for auld fashion's sake, The tea-cups and saucers are oot upon strake.

II. v. 1. To stroke, smooth or caress with the hand (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Uls. 1929; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc.; in 1773 quot. in reference to shaving; to draw (the hand) over in a gentle smoothing way; to smooth or flatten down (with a comb).Per. 1707 A. Porteous Crieff (1912) 316:
Being interrogate what cure he applied or pretended, answered that he straked her side with his hand.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 194:
A bawbee Scots to straik his cheek.
Ayr. 1784 Burns Ep. to J. Rankine vii.:
The poor wee thing was little hurt; I straiket it a wee for sport.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 22:
She wad straik an' clap his head.
Dmf. 1863 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace 1899) 94:
Wi' kame o' gowd she straiks her hair.
Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 61:
Syne streek my hair, an' say, “My man.”
Fif. 1882 J. Hutton Poet. Musings 24:
Oor mithers aye . . . streakit oor wee heads for the doin' o't.
Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 172:
She used to strake her weel-worn haun' alang my broo.
Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (May) 151:
The big man stuid owre her an' straikit her hair.
Abd. 1963 Huntly Express (29 Nov.) 2:
Ye've tae straik the aul' cat if ye're wintin tae get the kittlin.
m.Sc. 1986 William Montgomerie in Joy Hendry Chapman 46 10:
"And a sting
Mr Slater!
Gin ye like yer laddie lick him
gin ye hate him daut an straik him"
"D'ye cairry the auld tawse
in yer coat-tail
I see ye've brunt the forked tongue
in the coal-fire
or the gas-ring"
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 50:
Yon dollybird wi the velvet single-en an the hoor's een
puffin et yon lang fag an straikin her lover-boy's pow,
cannae be smokin the same brand as oor Wullie thare,
hoastin his lichts oot thonner in the Royal Infirmary.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
I min' ae nicht, fin straikin ye,
Yer coat o yalla tortyshell
Ceest on the air a balmy smell,
Its sweet reek yoamt aa ower me.

Phrs.: (1) to straik one's breist or buttons, to flick the fingers up and down another's breast or jacket buttons, as a challenge to fight; (2) to straik hands, -one's luif, to shake hands, out of friendship or in confirming a bargain (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Eng. to strike hands, id.; (3) to straik tails wi, to exchange or barter with, to give goods in return for others of the same value (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1971); (4) to strake one's trouth, to pledge one's troth, as under (2). See also Strike; (5) to straik wi or against the hair, to smoothe one down, to humour, or to ruffle one's feelings, to annoy.(1) Ags. 1850 J. Myles Dundee Factory Boy 12:
They “streaked my buttons,” swore, and challenged me to fight.
Ags. 1899 D. Buchanan Leisure Lays 77:
But when a braggart straiked my breest, Then struck me, he was sure to catch it.
(2) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 9:
This winsome couple straked hands, Mess John ty'd up the marriage bands.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 210:
They straikit han's, the wager laid, The youth prepar'd tae gang.
Sc. 1899 J. Kennedy Poems 181:
I've straiked my loof in freendship's proof Wi' few like Duncan Crerar, O!
(3) Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (9 May):
A widna straik tails for Roggies bul'.
(4) Sc. 1776 Sweet William's Ghost in Child Ballads No. 77. B. ix.:
Up she has tain a bright long wand, And she has straked her trouth thereon.
(5) Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry xviii.:
Then speak her fair An' straik her cannie wi' the hair.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption xi.:
I hae a good deal o' the cuddy in me, when I'm straikit against the hair.
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 67:
Seein' that I wasna in a humour to be tampered wi', she begoud to straik me canny wi' the hair.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 112:
Wha's been straikin' you against the hair?

2. To draw one thing across the surface of another with a stroking motion, e.g. a sharp instrument over a stone in order to give it an edge, a bow across a fiddle to strike up a tune.Sc. 1783 Bonny Birdy in Child Ballads No. 82. xv.:
Then out the knight has drawn his sword An straiked it oer a strae.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 142:
The fiddle was straikit wi' mony a “ha, ha!”

3. intr. To aim strokes or blows at: tr. to strike, beat.Ayr. 1703 Session Bk. Dundonald (1936) 538:
He saw William Kerr in John Highgates fighting and streaking att others.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 140:
Ne'er cangle at ilk crabbit word, Nor straik till ye be strucken.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 105:
The laird straiked him through the shackle-bane.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 269:
I'd almost raither he'd straik me.

4. To harrow (a piece of ground) (n.Sc., Ags., Per. 1971). Cf. I. 4.Abd. 1923 J. Hunter MS. Diary (21 March):
Took the harrows after the seed . We got it all straked in afternoon.

5. To smear, sprinkle or spread over (a surface) with butter, oil, paint, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd. 1930); to streak (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 268; ‡Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Sh., Abd., Kcd., Ags., Bwk., Ayr., Wgt. 1971). To straik aff, to wipe off. Comb. †straikin-stick, a stick for smearing sheep with tar-dressing (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Ags. 1711 A. J. Warden Burgh Laws Dundee (1872) 569:
He that shall in raising or drawing down “streak” his weight over with the card shall pay twopence.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186:
Last night the barber ga't a friz An' straikit it wi ulzie.
Kcd. 1819 J. Burness Plays, etc. 284:
John taks the whittle in his hand, An' on the butter strakes.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 139:
He streaks reem in my teeth.
Ags. 1883 J. Kennedy Poems 85:
Straikin' whitening on the wa'.
Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings II. 33:
“Straiking” the melted solution roun' the inner edge of the rim of his hat.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (11 Dec.):
Shü begood ta straik aff da hind o' dust.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
I'se meess oot 'e pottitch noo an' strake a starnie meal o' the tap o' them.

6. To streak, mark with streaks or lines of a different colour (Ork., Abd., Ags., Ayr. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. Phr. the straikin o' the licht, the break of day, the first glimmer of the dawn (Sc. 1887 Jam.). See phr. under I. 6.Per. 1884 Harp Per. (Ford 1893) 323:
Twa heids weel straiked wi' carefu' grey .
Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Songs 6:
Whaur the birks are a' straikit wi' fair mune-licht.
n.Sc. 1916 M. Maclean Songs of Roving Celt 15:
Boo't the back wis like a saugh an' straik'd ma heid wi snaw.
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 43:
Oot ower by Benameen he ceest Lang shadows straik't an marl't.

7. (1) To level off (grain, etc.) flush with the rim of a measured container, to give level as opposed to heaped measure (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I. and n.Sc., Slg., Lth., Wgt. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence straiked measure, level measure (Id.). Also fig. Agent n. straiker, = I. 10. (1) (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Strik, v., 4.Sc. 1721 Records Conv. Burghs (1885) 287:
Lint seed shall be sold by the Linlithgow measure stracked.
Ork. 1757 Session Papers, Galloway v. Morton (12 Nov) 246:
These Casks or Barrels differ considerably one from another, and that some heap them and others streak them.
Arg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 195:
Another peck by which oats are sold heaped, and meal streaked.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 102:
A hiney mug maist straiket fu'.
Sc. a.1830 Lamkin in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 430:
I'll g' ye a peck o good red goud, Streekit wi the wand.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 264:
Some strake the measure o' justice but ye gie't heapit.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
The bushel stoup of their iniquity was nearly full measure, heaped and running over, and it would soon be straked with the Lord's own level.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (8 May):
“He straiks the bushel” pictured the man, just but not generous.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 29:
I winna straik yer feedie fae the kist.

(2) to fill (a road or the like) with snow till it is level with its sides, fences, etc. (Cai. 1971).Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 72:
The snaw lay sic a deepness 't a' the roads wus straikit owre atween the taps o' the dykes.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 34:
Where a' the furrs are straiket fite Wi' driftin' snaw an' san'.
Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (16 March):
'E drift cam' on Camster market nicht an' straiked 'e dyk's in twa 'oors.

8. To sharpen (a sickle or scythe) with a straik or strickle (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Per., Fif., sm.Sc. 1971). Cf. I. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown 6:
Whan I stopped tae straik the scythe.
Abd. 1993:
E laddie wisna weel up on straikin a scythe.

9. tr. and intr. (1) To stretch, extend (Ork., Ags. 1971). Cf. I. 13.e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 4:
Where the sea straiks up to Emb'ro' town.
Fif. 1886 S. Tytler St Mungo's City xxiii.:
He is made welcome to straik his lang legs beneath sic a table!
Ork. 1920:
The cat cam straikin himsel fae under the bed.

(2) phr. to straik graith, lit., to stretch the harness (of a plough), hence to start the season's ploughing, gen. with a ritual (Ork. 1971). Cf. Streek, Graith, n., 1. The statement in the 1929 quot. is due to a misunderstanding of graith.Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 107:
Ploughing was seldom begun before Candlemas but on Candlemas Day, or as soon after as weather permitted, every good husbandman “straiked graith.”
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
“Straik graith”. In Birsay, urine was rubbed over the harness and plough as a superstitious rite.

(3) to stretch in death, specif. to lay out a corpse for burial (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 269; Ork., Ags. 1971). Comb. straiking-board, the board on which this is done. Cf. Streek.Crm. 1835 H. Miller Scenes and Leg. 254:
I'll rise, Jock, frae the verra straiking-board.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie ii.:
They'll likely be straikit on a snawy wreath.
Sh. 1886 G. Temple Britta 100:
Britta an' da wife's washit him, an' strakit him.
Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Witch-Wife iv.:
A “pingin, grainin” wife who bore him bairns only to have them “straiket.”
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 324:
I' a madhoos whar dere waas nane tae straik, kist or booray 'er.
Abd. 1940 C. Gavin Hostile Shore iii.:
Here's you laid out like a straikit corpse.

10. To go for a jaunt, proceed in a leisurely casual way. Cf. I. 14. Also in Eng. dial. but phs. of different orig.Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 28:
We may rise wi' the day daw, if we're to straik down to the coast.

[The various meanings and forms above have been put under one article for convenience as it is not possible effectively to distinguish their several origins, which coincide phonetically in certain dialects, e.g. em.Sc. (a) (see P.L.D. § 88), and which have interacted so as to result in considerable confusion. Meanings 1.–5. of the n. and v. correspond in form and to a large extent in meaning to Eng. stroke, O.E. *strāc, strācian, meanings 6., 7., and phs. 8. of the n. and 6. of the v. partly also to Eng. streak, O.E. strica, and meanings 9.–12. of the n. and 7. and 8. of the v. to Eng. strike, Sc. Strik, of which last they may in part be variants, and all of which words are in any case ablaut variants of Teut. root *strk-. I. 13.–15., II. 9., 10. are chiefly variants of Streek, v1., n1., Eng. stretch but poss. also in some cases, esp. I. 13., of Eng. †strake, a strip or stretch of ground, to move, proceed, ultim. of the same orig. as Streek, v1., n1., q.v. See also Strik. O.Sc. has strak, a blow, 1375, striking of a clock, 1436, level measure, 1420, stretch of water, a.1578, to level a measure, 1358, to stretch, 1460, to stroke, 1513, to aim a blow, 1538, to straik hands, 1533.]

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