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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.

STREEK, v.1, n.1 Also streik, streke, striek, streak; ¶streck; strick; strike, str(e)yk. For other forms see Straik. [strik; Abd. + ‡strəik]

I. v. A. Forms. Pa.t. streekit; †straght (see 7. (1) and note to Straucht).

B. Usages. 1. tr. To stretch, to draw out to length (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Sh., ne., and s.Sc. 1971), to prolong, extend. Also ppl.adj. streekit. Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caledonius II. 23:
I'll streek my Wing, and mounting sing.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 214:
Shepherds streekit on the simmer brae.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Brigs of Ayr 92:
Ance ye were streekit owre frae bank to bank.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 125:
Streek out the runkles o' your hose.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf x.:
I wad streek mysell down for twa or three hours aside the beast.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Tales (1837) VI. 237:
How lang hae ye hung on the tree wi' a red cheek an' a ripe lip, and never man to streek out the hand to pu' ye?
Abd. 1847 W. Thom Poems 159:
An' monie bonnie bush lay streiket and bare.
Wgt. 1885 G. Fraser Poems 178:
Hoo he'd streek his neck an' craw.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 184:
I'm laith to bid ye streek your gait On sic a night, sae cauld an' late.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 6:
She streekit hersel' up in the middle o' the flair.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 71:
' ... He juist streikit himsel out an wis fest asleep in a minute. ... '
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 26:
Whit gars the act is aft
a Gordian knot that aince haggert
leaves but a taigle squirmin on the grund
like streekit worms that dee in cauld rain -

Derivs. and phrs.: (1) streeker, a very tall, thin person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 184; ne.Sc. 1971); (2) streekin, streiken, tall and agile (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1971); (3) streekin post, a straining-post in a fence (Kcb. 1971); ¶(4) streekit claith, an umbrella; (5) to streek a tow, to be hanged; (6) to streek (out) one's hough, -leg, -shanks, to stretch one's legs, to take a walk, stride out, to make haste (Ayr. 1971). See also Hoch, n., Shank; (7) to streek oneself up beside, to enter into competition with, to vie with.(1) Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 25:
A big streeker of a woman as high as a lamp-post.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiv.:
Siccan a spin'ly streeker o' a chiel.
(2) Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
“A streiken' hizzie,” a tall, tight, active girl.
(3) Abd. 1924 J. Hunter MS. Diary (1 Aug.):
Put in new streekin post in the howe.
(4) Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 146:
He . . . bore streekit claith aboon her face, Altho' the day was drily, To shield her form.
(5) Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss Hags ii.:
Ye shall all streek a tow for this.
(6) Rxb. 1807 J. Ruickbie Wayside Cottager 185:
Gar the filly streek her leg.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 75:
Streek out your houghs, and come wi' me.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 148:
Here — streek oot your shanks at lairge; There's no a buird to stay ye.
(7) Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate ix.:
If ye mean to streek yoursell up beside him ye maun e'en buy it, for it's gowd that glances in the lasses' een now-a-days.

2. To arrange in a line or sequence, in quot. to deal cards.Kcd. 1819 J. Burness Plays 290:
The farmer, John, and Rob, an' Will Again the cartes do streek.

3. To lay out or compose a dead body (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Lnk., Wgt. 1971). Hence streakin-baird, -beuird, (1) the board on which a corpse is arranged for burial (ne.Sc. 1971); (2) jocularly: a large oblong piece of pastry mixed with currants and baked as a biscuit (Mry., Bnff. 1971).Per. 1716 A. G. Reid Auchterarder (1899) 102:
[She] who died in the forth carrying, and they laid her down in the snow, and streiked her.
Rxb. 1760 Session Papers, Charteris v. Grieve (7 March) 13:
Soon after his death, when his wife and the rest were streaking him.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 72:
Nae mair need ye in corp-like shape, Aneath the midnight moon lie streeket.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxvii.:
He's a bonny corpse, and weel worth the streaking.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller v.:
Puir wee Jock, I ne'er thought ye wad hae been sae soon streekit.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 138:
When the death took place a messenger was despatched for a wright, who hastened to the house of death with his strykin beuird. The body was washed, and, after being clothed in a home-made linen shirt and stockings, it was strykit on the board brought by the wright, and covered with a home-made linen sheet.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 60:
Was there a corp to streek or kist, She aye was foremost to assist.
Per. 1910 W. Blair Kildermoch 108:
To steek his e'en an' streak his corp.
Ayr. 1913 “Kissock” Poems 22:
I'm auld an' frail, an' shin 'ill lie Upon the streakin' baird.
Rxb. 1920 Kelso Chronicle (17 Dec.) 6:
Sandy Forrest's deein' puir man, an' she'll no be back till he's streykit.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 1:
The figure reached for him, almost tenderly; lifted his right leg at the ankle, and laid it out straight as if streeking a corpse.

4. Orig. of a plough-team: to stretch or put tension on the traces or draught-chain, to commence ploughing; hence in gen., to put (an implement or work-animal) into use on its appropriate task; absol. to start work, to get going on any job (Bnff., Abd. 1971). Vbl.n. streikins, plough-traces (see 1875 quot.). Phr. to streek a fur, to plough, to streek the pin, see 1887 quot. and Pin, n.1, 2.Sc. 1700 D. Hume Punishment of Crimes (1797) II. 179:
The said oxen were stricked, and yoked.
Cai. 1773 Weekly Mag. (28 Oct.) 147:
Alas! an' sall a villain streik a soam, Or saw ill-gotten seed in Robie's howm!
s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.:
To streik the hooks, to begin harvest.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 69:
Wha wi' him a fur cou'd streekit?
Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 59:
Sin' Adam streekit his twal-owsen pleugh.
Ags. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxi.:
I heard the sea-farin' men on deck at last streik to wark at the hatch-hole.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
But to attemp' a discoorse — I wud be owre the theets ere we got weel streekit.
Gall. 1875 Trans. Highl. Soc. 14:
For the plough chains they took the skin of any of their horses that died, cut it into stripes, and tanned them; these were called “strekins.”
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 181:
When the plough was “strykit,” i.e., put into the ground for the first time in autumn or spring, to prepare the soil for the seed, bread and cheese, with ale or whisky, were carried to the field, and partaken of by the household. A piece of bread with cheese was put into the plough and another piece was cast into the field to “feed the craws.”
Sc. 1887 Jam., s.v. Strait the pin:
“Streek the pin”, to tighten the temper-pin of a spinning-wheel, keep it at the right pitch, which implies close attention to the spinning, hence “streek the pin”, attend to your spinning, mind your work.
Abd. 1970 Buchan Observer (7 April) 6:
Noo the lang and short boord ploos are streekit oot.

5. tr. To question closely, cross-examine, quiz (a person) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1950).Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 21:
Oo wanteet ti ken the richt way o'd, so oo streekeet um wui'd.

6. refl. To exert oneself, to strain, strive, make a great effort.Slk. 1817 Hogg Tales (1874) 153:
I never saw him [a horse] streek himsel sae afore.
Abd. 1906 J. Christie Drachlaw Revisited 32:
Come, sing the lads had pith an' pluck, Cud streik themsel's at brackin' muck.

7. intr. for refl.: (1) in gen.: to stretch oneself, to straighten up, to draw oneself up or back. Pa.t. †straght.Sc. a.1714 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 496:
A servant of Garloche's stroock with a two-handed sword at Kenneth, who, standing neir the table, straght nimbly, els he had cleaved him.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 83:
When first I streek't a rhymer bauld At raw fifteen.

(2) to extend oneself to full length, to lie down (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Phr. to streek in a halter, to be hanged, lit. and fig.Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 80:
May I in a halter streek If I hae Latin, French, or Greek.
Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 63:
Sae down he fell, and fairly streeket; Sleep shortly clos'd his een.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 110:
The dew mauna drop on't [a shirt], whan laid out to streek.
Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xxx.:
Mony an honester woman's been set upon it than streeks doon beside ony whig in the country.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 27:
He streikit an' struttit afore the gless.

(3) fig.: to go with might and main, to proceed energetically at full speed, to hasten, hurry (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., n.Sc., Ags., Kcb. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. and U.S. Also quasi-tr. with it.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 221:
Neist Dedalus must . . . Syne upward streek.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 59:
A' road to her was bad an' gueed alike; Nane o't she wyl'd, but forret still did streak.
Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 60:
We nimbly streekit owre the dewie green.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Wool-Gatherer (1874) 70:
Sandy after the hare what he can streik.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 10:
Younksters, by the sea-side streikin!
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
They're streekin' it for the Ferrytoon o' Cree as fast as the horses can birl.
Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 169:
Aff they streeked across Lord Morton's Moors.

8. intr. To extend, reach out in a certain direction, be stretched out (in a line, etc.).Sc. 1729 Ramsay Poems S.T.S.) II. 150:
Like our Mill Knaves that lift the Laiding, Whase Kytes can streek out like raw Plaiding.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 118:
Robin's oussen are na yet Right strecked [sic] on the dale.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 152:
At last there streeks my native strath.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin xx.:
The sheep had slipped out and were streiking up the brae face.
Ags. 1932 A. Gray Arrows 62:
Noo, though the miles streek ootwards Between me and that place.
s.Sc. 1938 Border Mag. (Sept.) 131:
The lang laich feil's that streik atween.

II. n. 1. A stretch, a drawing out or extension; the full extent, the maximum length to which a thing can be stretched (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags., Slg., Bwk., Dmf., Slk. 1971). Also streek out.Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 152:
Ae sudden streek out intil a' his length.
Dmf. 1874 R. Wanlock Moorland Rhymes 40:
Crichton's tether was ner the streik.
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-En' 53:
Tom gied his back a streek, stuck the greep into a heap o' tatta-shaws.
Abd. 1993:
E dog geed at full streek ower e park aifter a rabbit.

2. An extent of time or space, a continuous length or portion, a period without intermission, a spell or “go.”Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 9:
He can screed awa' on politics for an hour at a streek.
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 163:
Sune's he heard o' him, Monboddo Coft his buik, conn'd ev'ry line At ae streik.
s.Sc. 1935 Border Mag. (Feb.) 23:
The striek o' the shore o' the Soothlan' shire.

3. The horizontal course or direction of a seam of coal in a mine (Sc. 1825 Jam., 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 65). Also in n.Eng. mining usage. Hence in streek, streekways, following the course of the seam.m.Lth. 1762 Session Papers, Drummond v. Ferrier (22 Jan.) 6, 35:
The level Room Twelve hundred and ninety Feet in Streek from said March. . . . Whether the ten Fathoms of unwrought Coal . . . is meant to be Streek Ways or the nearest Point to the March. . . .
Ayr. 1776 Session Papers, Sir A. Fergusson v. Earl of Cassilis (17 Oct.) 21:
In what direction is the streak of the coal?
w.Lth. 1845–7 Trans. Highl. Soc. 241:
Some of these faults run nearly in a line with the dip and rise, and others in the direction or “streak” of the bed.

4. A bustle, hubbub, disturbance.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
It is said, that there is a michty streik in the house, when people are buzzing up and down in a confused way. To raise a streik, to make much ado, to make a great noise or disturbance.

5. Phrs.: (1) to mak streek, to make headway, to progress n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); (2) to tak one's ain streik, to take one's own way, to go as far as one can according to one's determination (Cld. 1825 Jam.).(1) Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 35:
Your shaklebanes Will mak' but little streik.

[O.Sc. streke, to stretch out, extend, emit, from 1375, streik (a plough), 1475, to hurry, hasten, a.1500, streek, coal level, 1672, the North. Mid.Eng. form of southern strechen, Streetch (see note s.v.). The n. is from the v.]

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"Streek v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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