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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.

TRAIK, v.1, n., adj. Also traick, traike, trake, traek (Sh.), treak(e), tre(c)k; traich (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 195); thraik (Uls. 1953 Traynor); ¶tryke. [trek]

I. v. 1. Of persons: to be ailing or ill, to decline in health, grow weak, waste away, pine and die (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 452; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196; Kcb. 1900; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); of things: to perish, decay, go to pieces, freq. in proverb as in 1736 quot. Ppl.adjs. traikin, having a sickly constitution, in poor health (Gregor), traikit, id. (MacTaggart), of animals, dying of disease (Kcb. 1900). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 33:
He's the gear that winna traik.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail vii.:
My wife is a frail woman, but she's no the gear that 'ill traike.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 23:
Gin ither's gear or names do traik, It does him blythe an' happy make.
Sc. 1828 J. Struthers Hist. Scot. II. 625:
To butcher meat, except it were drowned calves and traiked sheep, they were total strangers.
Dmf. 1836 Letters T. Carlyle to his Brother (Marrs 1968) 407:
We have great reason to be thankful that she did not altogether traik on our hands.
Bnff. 1893 Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 44:
He traikit aboot a' weenter, an' syne deet i' the spring.

2. To wander, stray, become lost, freq. applied to young poultry (Dmf. 1825 Jam.; Wgt. 1958). Ppl.adj. traiket, lost, strayed.s.Sc. 1826 Scots Mag. (March) 300:
Our ain gazlings treaket every ane last spring.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 16:
There rose the great sough and surmise that the traiket gear of the abbots had been found.

3. (1) To stroll or wander idly or aimlessly from place to place, to roam about, to rove, prowl (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 42; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc., also in n.Eng. dial.; rarely tr. to haunt, traverse, go about in. Vbl.n., ppl.adj. traikin, traichin, roaming, roving (Gregor), straggling, trailing.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 237:
If I had been seen traiking owre muckle about the steading.
Sc. 1856 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 264:
“Traicking” through the corn-fields, each [fowl] of them destroying with its feet as much as a sheep would eat.
Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 89:
To herry craws' nests, an' traik aboot for oors i' the feedles.
Clc. 1889 F. Barnard Chirps frae Engine Lum 107:
A' cuff'd an' collar'd round the neck, They'll traik the glens an' braes.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxxv.:
His night-hawk traikings and trokings with a dozen hizzies.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (22 Oct.):
I poo'd twa traikin' rips oot o' da mane o' a shaef.
Arg. 1912 N. Munro Ayrshire Idylls 10:
Yon land-loupin' Corsican Paoli ye were traikin' after.
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 39:
The gaun-aboot-buddie traiks into toon.
wm.Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 173:
He [lobster] traiks around and syne he fin's oot the hole.
Rnf. 1965 T. E. Niven East Kilbride 156:
A kent figure as she traiked the Langcausey with her messages.

(2) To tramp, trudge, walk wearily or with difficulty or discomfort (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc.Slg. c.1860 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1923) 23:
It's no' your concern wha traiks i' the glaur.
Sh. 1897 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd (1922) 72:
Sae muckle traikin' oot aboot i' da winter day 'at hit's eneugh ta breed a body's deth.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 31:
Jeems an' me traiket to Dumfries a'e Setterday.
em.Sc. 1920 J. Black Airtin' Hame 61:
Tired at times wi' langsome traikin'.
m.Sc. 1932 Matt Marshall in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills (1982) 10:
Hae ye traiked it up Glen Ogle
By your lane, sane sel?
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 9:
Weill said I (ablow mi breath)
that cows aa! fin yersel anither
gowk tae faither yer ferlies
for I'll gang my ain gait
i the warld efter this.
Gaithered up my graith
an merched awa tae the biggin,
wi the lassie traikin alang ahent.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 31:
alang the stoorie pad
the lane sodger lad.

(3) tr. with efter, up(on): to follow, to dog, pursue as a wooer, trail about after (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
There isna a huzzy but there will be chiels coming traiking after them.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 105:
Wae traik upon this courtin' trade.
Edb. 1887 R. F. Hardy T. Telfer's Shadow 145:
It's just some o' thae lasses that comes traikin' aifter oor young man!
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 338:
An' weel she kent what nichts I'd spent In traikin' up her tracks.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin iii.:
The lads spend their days traiking after the bare-legged gypsey.
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 16:
Ye're a perfect byword 'mang the folk, For traikin efter Phemie.

Hence (i) traikit, fatigued, wearied, esp. with long or difficult walking (Sc. 1808 Jam.; wm.Sc., Wgt. 1972); bedraggled, dowdy, travel-stained; (ii) traik-tailed, with draggled tails, trollopy.(i) Sc. a.1730 A. Pennecuik Collect. Sc. Poems (1787) 26:
I dow na bide to see you traiked, Wi' bachel'd shoon, and a — se half naked.
Sc. 1781 Weekly Mag. (15 March) 306:
Nae mair the lassies' tails are traiket, Nor need our streets or wynds be raiket.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 176:
Sae traikit-like, they hadna' heart To scart the grun', or straik a feather.
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull 121:
My wife was possessed of such a restless desire for ferlies in the way of sight-seeing, that I was nearly traiked off my feet.
Sc. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 28:
[To] nicher, like onie traikit cuddie, To ken he's hame in spite o' a'.
(ii) Sc. 1706 Short Survey Married Life 13:
A Traik-tail'd, Tut-mou'd Bursen Body.

4. To work in a lazy, dirty manner or with some messy material, “to draw out any viscous slimy substance” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196, traich). Vbl.n., ppl.adj. traichan, -in (Id.). Adj. traichie, slimy, ropy (Id.).

5. To nurse in an over-dainty manner, to coddle (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196). Vbl.n. traichan (Id.).

II. n. 1. (1) Misfortune, loss (Sc. 1808 Jam.), now arch.; specif. that caused by disease in farm animals.Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
He that has nae gear will hae nae traik.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. xvi.:
What virtue ony ane haes is best seyed be tids o' traik.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Where there's stock there's traik.

(2) Fig. A designation for the Devil. Cf. Sorra, n., 2.Per. 1739 A. Nicol Poems 22:
The meikle Trake come o'er their snouts That laugh at winsome kissing pouts.

(3) The flesh of sheep which have died of exhaustion or disease, dead mutton (Rxb. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 317; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 157; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 208:
The sheep dying of disease are used as flesh meat, under the designation of traik.
Peb. 1815 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale 95:
The poor, sullen, sulky, sluggish Tweeddale shepherd, fed with his dog upon traik.
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell St Matthew xxiv. 28:
For wharesaeevir the traik is, ther wull the yeagles be getheret thegither.

(4) Transf. The worst part of a flock of sheep (Lth. 1825 Jam.).

2. An illness (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196), esp. of an epidemic nature such as influenza (Uls. 1953 Traynor), also in pl.; an ailing sickly person (Gregor).Ayr. 1784 Caled. Mercury (8 Nov.):
As sicker's death, ye'll tak the trake.
Uls. 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod xii.:
This yin [hen] tuk the trakes an' a' thocht a wud jest cut the heid aff her.

Hence adj. traikie, -y, treaky, traichie, sickly, ailing, in a declining state (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 196; s.Sc. 1884 United Presb. Mag. 157); n. ¶traikieniss, sickness, physical decay (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms cvi. 15).Rxb. 1753 Jnl. Agric. (1867) 8:
Ten of my treaky hogs.
Wgt. 1885 G. Fraser Poems 178:
He seemed quite traiky, dull, an' sad.

3. (1) The act of going idly from place to place or of trudging laboriously or with difficulty (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195; Sh., Ags., Kcb. 1972); a person (or animal) who is always rambling about, a rover, a gadabout (Gregor; wm., s.Sc. 1972) deriv. traikle, id., an idler, lounger (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Kcb. 1966:
Their dog's a terrible traik. It never stays at hame.

(2) A long tiring walk or tramp, a trudge (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 28:
We took terr'ble traiks on the Saturdays, awa up the water-side.
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown 223:
It'll be a lang traik tae Whinburn on a winter's day.
Per. 1951 N. B. Morrison Hidden Fairing 235:
We're that out of the world at Mulloch, that I forget it is a traik to reach it.
Mry. 1970 Northern Scot (7 Feb.) 11:
One cottage, the whereabouts of which many traiks had fixed indelibly in our memories.

(3) Fatigue, weariness (Ork. 1905 E.D.D.; Cai. 1972).

4. Sloppy messy work, the act of handling food or any semi-liquid substance esp. in a dirty slovenly way, “the act of drawing out any viscous or slimy substance” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 195); a person of dirty, lazy, disgusting habits, a sloven (Id.).Gregor:
The bairn keepit a traich amon' 'ts pottitch, and widna sup them.

The phr. tyke and tryke phs. belongs here. See Tike, n.1, 1. Combs. (1).

5. The act of nursing in an over-dainty manner (Gregor).

III. adj. Weak, feeble, in a declining state of health (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); diseased, mortally sick, lingering (wm.Sc. Ib.).

[O.Sc. traikit, perished, wasted, c.1500, traik, a calamity, fatality, 1513, of doubtful orig. Poss. several different words have coalesced in traik. Cf. Norw. dial. tråka, to struggle, to labour at some hard or difficult task, tråkas, to become exhausted, and also Du. trekken, to go' travel, make for (a place), migrate, but there are phonological difficulties involved.]

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"Traik v.1, n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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