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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.

TROKE, v., n. Also tro(a)k, trock, troque; †trouk; troch (Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C.); tro(a)g (Uls. 1953 Traynor; sm.Sc. 1973), trogue (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 42); truk(k)-, trook-; throck (Abd. 1911 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (20 Jan.)), throg (Uls. 1953 Traynor); and occas. in Sh. forms without r, tuck, tuk(k). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. truck, (to) barter, etc. [trok; sm.Sc., Uls. trog; Mry., Ags. + trɔx; Sh. + truk-, tʌk]

I. v. 1. (1) tr. and absol.: to bargain, barter, exchange one thing for or wi(th) another, to ‘do a deal' (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poet. Gl.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 199; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 191; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 42; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne., em.Sc., Ayr., Kcb., s.Sc. 1973). Vbl.n. trockin, bartering, exchange, dealing.Abd. 1714 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VII. 228:
Nyne ells silke stuff quhich my wife trocked with Elizabeth McIntosh.
Sc. 1755 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 271:
To fend by troaking, buying, selling.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 156:
How cou'd you troke the Mavis' note For “penny pies, all piping hot?”
Ayr. 1786 Burns To J. Kennedy iv.:
Wi' you nae friendship I will troke.
Fif. 1812 W. Ranken Poems 97:
What's this for cash your tapster troaks?
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate ix.:
If ye had ony wares ye like to coup for the waistcoat, I wad be ready to trock wi' you.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 118:
He fairly nippit 'im wee the trockan o's coo.
Kcd. 1889 J. & W. Clark Musings 82:
I wouldna sell nor troke A friend sae dear.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 19:
Aald Death wis come ta pit a stop Ta her an aa her trokkin.
Abd. 1909 Banffshire Jnl. (9 Feb.) 6:
Ye just cut the figure aucht, trok quines, an' furl.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxi.:
Legs as gin e'd trockit 'em wi the tyangs.
m.Sc. 1987 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 50-1 79:
Aiblins John Davidson ettled to hae a wee fyke wi her, but she wis a richt haughty hizzie an soon let him ken than she didna want ony trokins o that kin.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 25:
Our mither tongue wis dung doun
in Scotland bi John Knox. ... a hantle o fowk hae trockit
thir tongue for a pig in a poke
an a sicht mair ken nocht
but a puckle o words.

(2) intr. To trade or conduct business in a small way (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 191; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne., em., sm. and s.Sc. 1973); tr. to deal in (some commodity). Vbl.n. trogging, petty dealing, huckstering.Ork. 1712 P. Ork. A.S. V. 34:
The captain and seamen of the said Veshell is spending money in the place and trocking with the inhabitants.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 22:
The fouks were wealthy, store was a' their stock; With this, but little siller, did they trock.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 129:
While ither fock Maun rest themselves content wi' ane Nor farer trock.
Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 56:
He rade, he drank, he troked at fairs.
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life i. 257:
He asked me if I intended to go a-trogging?
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 82:
His brushes he'll be trockin' throo the toun.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xvi.:
Just the man to turn a penny troking with the Dutch for guns.
Abd. 1959 Huntly Express (15 May):
He had bought some live stock from pursuer and “trockit back an' fore”.

(3) Derivs.: (i) tro(a)ker, trock(h)er, troquer, trogger (sm.Sc., Uls.), trucker, -ar, truk(k)er, trooker, trouker (I.Sc.), (a) a bargainer, dealer, petty trader, huckster, a travelling pedlar or packman (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bnff., Ags., Lnk., sm.Sc. 1973), an old-clothes merchant (Dmf. 1825 Jam.); (b) by extension: a cheat, rogue, a waggish, tricky or deceitful person (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); more gen. as a term of abuse or contempt: a worthless vicious dissolute man or esp. a woman, a scamp, “bad lot”, hussy, vixen (Sh. 1825 Jam., 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1973), sometimes applied playfully to a mischievous child or animal (I.Sc. 1973); (ii) troggin, -an, trockan, (a) vbl.n., a bartering or exchange (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 199), a business deal; pedlars' wares, small goods for sale or exchange (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 42), hence comb. troggin shop; (b) ppl.adj. trockan, of little account, worthless, paltry (Sh., Cai. 1973).(i) (a) Edb. 1766–8 Caled. Mercury (11 May) (13 Dec.):
William Craw, senior, Trocker, has commenced a Lottery of his Curiosities. . . . William Crow, Troquer, stopped a Miniature Picture, set in gold.
Wgt. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 139:
Irish beggars . . . may be divided into two classes. The first are those whose only object is to beg their bread. The second are those called troggers, who carry on a species of traffic, unknown, I am persuaded, in most places. They bring linen from Ireland, which they barter for the old woollen clothes of Scotland.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary iii.:
Brokers and trokers, those miscellaneous dealers in things rare and curious.
Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 65:
Trogger Bell is up 'fore dawn.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 75:
We'll hae na troggers here at oor yetts!
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 102:
Eh, mercy, Miss Airmstrong! you're a hard, hard troker.
(b) Edb. 1755 Session Papers, Finlay v. Spalding (26 Aug.) 4:
Giving Jean Fleming Names, calling her a Truckar asking what Business she had to do with her Husband?
Sh. 1831 Old-Lore Misc. VIII. iv. 197:
She was a stark notorious trouken [sic] thieff.
Sh. 1880 J. Burgess Sketches 79:
“Mammie, dis is a leguminous diet.” “Wheest, you trooker, it's nothin' o' da kind.”
Ork. 1927 Peace's Ork. Almanac 134:
Dat antie o' dine buist be a common trucker tae pit oot her illwin api da bit o' bairn.
Sh. 1969 New Shetlander No. 87. 6:
Takkin up wi aa menner o trookers.
Sh. 1993 New Shetlander Sep 21:
Trooker - disreputable woman.
(ii) (a) Rs. 1725 W. MacGill Old Rossshire (1909) 204:
John Gray of Rogart had a strange trocking with a variety of matters. When he was here he sold grocerys, wines and I know not what.
Ayr. 1796 Burns Election Ball. iv. i.:
Wha will buy my troggin?
Dmf. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 206:
Or slylie cut at einen pap Frae Jock Dalglish's troggin' shap.
Ags. 1881 Arbroath Guide (30 July) 4:
Their stands o' troggin neatly set.
wm.Sc. 1929 R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 35:
May ye never want for meal An' duds an' Troggan.

2. To spread, carry about (news, gossip, etc.). Phr. to troke the claik, to spread news (Mry., Bnff. 1973).e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 152:
The news was trockit thro' the town; Rumour, as usual, loused his packs.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 27:
Aul' Luckie Grunzie yokit it, An' a' the gossips trockit it.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (18 Sept.) 8:
Fairm chiels in boorachs troke the claik.

3. With wi: to associate, have to do, have intercourse or relations, freq. implying illicit or nefarious dealings, to be on friendly or intimate terms (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 199; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also absol. Hence vbl.n. tro(c)kin(g), trockan, deahngs, association, intercourse.Sc. 1719 in Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 122:
To troke with thee I'd best forbear't.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 145:
Some ghaist that trokes and conjures wi Auld Nick.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xi.:
He held ower muckle troking and communing wi' that Meg Merrilies.
Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kailyard 60:
They trock an' houff wi' southrons, till They lose a' guid, an' learn a' ill.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xxix.:
I hae nae trokings wi' night-hawks.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders iv.:
I shall have no trokings wi' the like o' ye aboot the maitter.
Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts 76:
Scores hae wunnert, Jist like me, that she wad troke Wi' sic riff-raff o' creation.
Abd. 1923 B. R. M'Intosh Scent o' Broom 54:
Dinna' dance efter some senseless limmer, Wha trocks wi' lads giddy an' young.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood vii.:
Neither my man nor me had ever trokin's wi' the Enemy.
Dmf. 1932:
Wull and Jock hae aye troggit aboot thegither.

4. To potter or bustle about in a fussy manner or doing odd jobs, to occupy oneself with small tasks or trivial matters (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff., Ags., Per. 1973); to go hither and thither about a place, to trudge about (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 327, trog). Freq. with about.Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 150:
He has known the water of North Esk for these fifty years past, and has been trocking about it ever since he was a boy.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxx.:
I glowered but the hoose where Tibbie had trokit aboot sae eydently.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 223:
She's aye trockin' aboot, haudin' a' thing richt.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 30:
This twa month past trok't here an' there.
Per. 1894 I. MacLaren Brier Bush 206:
He's fair fozzy wi' trokin' in his gairden.
wm.Sc. 1917 H. Foulis Jimmy Swan 228:
I've troked aboot for mony a droll thing for my customers.
e.Lth. 1924 I. Adair Glowerower 73:
It's oot o' a nature ony wumman haeing to troke up there hechling a pail fu' o' pigs' meat.
Arg. 1945 Scots Mag. (April) 9:
His sister's son did the work of the place, and himself troked about with his ould friend, his white horse.

5. tr. To keep one busy or hard at work.Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 74:
Wi' twa pounds in my pocket — That I had gotten for my wark, Tho' sair for't I'd been troket.

II. n. 1. Barter, exchange, a bargain or business deal (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Slg. 1973), commerce, buying and selling. Jocularly in phr. to swap a trochie, to exchange a kiss (Ork. 1951).Abd. 1706 Sc. Antiquary XII. 104:
Mony of your great Folk phan in England buy these things with ready Money, which they eised tee dee by Trouk.
Abd. c.1812 Bards Bon-Accord (Walker) 328:
When our gutchers of auld made a troke wi' the laird For a wee bit o' grund to be a kailyard.
Ags. 1820 A. Balfour Contemplation 265:
When Watty to a market gae'd, He boot to tell what trock he made.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller ii.:
For an auld hod o' coals half-fou, A weel matched troke.
s.Sc. 1859 Bards of Border (Watson) 11:
But canny, decent, honest folk Are often crushed wi' this world's troke.
Sc. 1897 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) XI. 29:
Even a schoolboy, wishing to resile from a trock, was wont to plead — “Aye, but we did na' shake hands o'er't.”
ne.Sc. 1954 Mearns Leader (19 Feb.):
They hid a trock wi' seed tatties.

2. (1) Freq. in pl.: small articles of merchandise, petty wares, odds and ends, toys, trinkets, nick-nacks (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; n.Sc. 1808 Jam., troques, trockies; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 272; n.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1973); miscellaneous gear, stuff.Sc. 1729 W. Macintosh Essay on Inclosing 249:
Bringing in money, Iron, Copper, Brass or useful Troques for it.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 40:
To coff what bonnie trinkets I mith see, Sic bonny trocks to help to mak' her bra.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Is their trock a' in noo, I won'er.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 65:
Mak' trocks for the bairnies or spin them a tale.
Per. 1897 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet 48:
Sellin' potted heid and sic-like trokes.
ne.Sc. 1914 G. Greig Folk-Song xcvi.:
They bocht aff his trockies, silk ribbons and lace.
Inv. 1948 Football Times (11 Sept.):
All this [the miscellaneous collection in a boy's pockets] was called “trochs.”
Abd. 1970 Huntly Express (9 Jan.) 2:
Ye're nae gyan tae sell nout an' ferm trock in a rigoot like that?
Abd. 2004:
Wifies keeps aafa hullocks o trock in eir hanbags.

(2) by extension: worthless stuff of any kind, insubstantial trash, rubbish, of clothes, food, furniture, or the like (Sh., n.Sc., Per., Lnk., Dmf. 1973); “old clothes” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 452, trogg); “broken parts or refuse of hay, straw, etc.” (Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 230, tuk, 1908 Jak. (1928), tukk).Mry. 1824 J. Cock Hamespun Lays 129:
Some red trock, they ca'd it jam.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 210:
Their trogs and trains and a' that.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (20 Nov.):
I widna preeve his saxpiny tuck [cheap tea], if he wid mak' me a present o' hit.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (19 June) 8:
Sandwiches an' some idder aetin' trock.
Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 4:
Wi' a tosselled trok o' a nicht-kep on.
Mry. 1969 L. G. Rich White Rose 8:
The kin o' trock nae tramp wad lift.
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 1:
Noo my quinie's pulse is quickened bi the TV's trashy trock -
Foo she yearns tae gyang tae Disneyland (the thocht o't gars me bock)

(3) of persons or animals: a worthless specimen, generically riff-raff, poor stuff (n.Sc., Bwk. (trog), Lnk. 1973).Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 133:
It's mostly vagabonds an' trock.
Cai. 1963 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. Mag. 9:
'E dieler sums 'e heishle up, “Wan fair, twa freaks, five trock!”

(4) in neg. expressions: the smallest amount of money, a brass farthing.Edb. 1708 J. Mason Trinity Ho. Leith (1957) 140:
Not a trok out of the hands of me but out of their pockets that voted therefor.

(5) Derivs.: (i) trockerie, -y, miscellaneous merchandise, small wares, odds and ends (Sh., Bnff. 1973); gear, furniture; of food: dainties, delicacies; (ii) trokie, adj., of little account, worthless (Cai. 1973).Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 27:
In the parlour en', Where tea an' trock'ry a' war ready.
Bnff. 1853 Banffshire Jnl. (21 June) 21:
Our varied trockery south we'll send.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
To tempt customers to buy his trockerie.
Per. 1904 R. Ford Hum. Sc. Stories (Ser. 2) 105:
Just requisite trok'ry to plenish twa ends.

3. Dealings, association, a coming and going, friendly or intimate intercourse, sometimes implying improper familiarity (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 199; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; ne., m. and s.Sc. 1973).Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 60:
Let ilka tattling ill-bred block Frae house to house still keep a troak.
Bnff. 1770 V. Gaffney Lordship Strathavon (S.C.) 20:
He had a trock and a connection with the Forbeses.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 106:
Nor does our blinded master see The trocks between the Clerk an' she.
Rxb. 1815 J. Ruickbie Poems 135:
It hides ilk secret wee bit troke An' sma transgression.
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 148:
They've a fell troke wi' ane anither, thae unbelievers.
Sc. 1901 H. Wallace Greatest of These 38:
I've no troke with Seceders, though Sib there thinks her own thoughts of them.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 119:
Though blate he looks, the lad has troke Wi' some lass there.
Ags. 1934 J. Angus Sheltering Pine I. iii.:
Ah'm sweir tae see a promisin' young lad haein' troke wi' sic things.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 64:
The visitors like sae muckle trok
on the crescent o the sand
here in the north whaur the dog-heidit peninsula
sticks it's snoot into oor cauler tides.

4. Any small piece of work or business, a task, errand, odd job (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 272; Sh., ne., em.Sc.(a) 1973). Dim. trockie.Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken xix.:
I'm but an orra body runnin' efter my ain bit trokes.
Fif. 1900 S. Tytler Logan's Loyalty v.:
After Mrs. Hunter had finished her work — her ‘troke', she called it.
Mry. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (25 Sept.) 3:
The sma' bits o' trockies ye'll hae to dee.
Ags. 1952 Forfar Dispatch (11 Sept.):
I'll hae tae rin awa noo and get my trochies dune.

5. Nonsensical talk, rubbish (Sh., n.Sc. 1973).Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 78:
He laid off o' him a lock o' trock.
Cai. 1922 J. Horne Poems and Plays 44:
A rigmarole o' fancy trock.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 34:
Idder truck it doo sees in every paper.

[For the Sc. forms cf. Fr. troque(r), (to) barter. O.Sc. trok, v., 1586, n., 1588.]

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"Troke v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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