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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WINK, v., n. Sc. usages:

I. v. 1. To close one's eyes, keep one's eyes closed. Obs. in Eng. in 18th c.Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf v.:
I thought I saw him still, though I winked as close as ever I could.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 123:
Ye'll fin' I dinna sleep aye when I'm winkin', But, watchin', whyles I see on wha yer blinkin'.

2. As in Eng., to blink. Sc. deriv. n. winker, gen. in pl., the eyelid(s), eyelash(es) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 275). In Eng. now dial. or slang.Sc. 1825 Writer's Clerk II. xx.:
His languid eyes, covered, now and then by winkers.
Sc. 1844 Songs for Nursery 20:
O! its wearie, wearie winkers, Close they'll no for a' my skill.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 167:
The saut tears on her winkers hing.
Fif. 1866 J. Morton C. Gray 70:
An' lang will I for thee, sweet thing, My winkers weet.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxvi.:
Curling upward like the winkers of an old man's eye.

Hence freq. winkle, (i) to wink repeatedly, keep winking (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Agent n. winkler, an eye (Sc. 1930; Cai. 1974). Cf. winker above: (ii) to twinkle, as of a star.(i) Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 63:
What though she has twa little winkling een? They're better than nane.
(ii) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 37:
In vain the starry winkling gleam.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic. Bard 168:
The brightest star that 'mang ye shane, Nae winklin' gleed.

3. ? To appear and disappear fitfully.Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of Glens 60:
The south side o' the road whilk crooks and winks aboot wi' the windin's o' the water.

4. Used fig. of ground drying out after much rain and so drawing together or consolidating, in ppl.adj. winking. e.Lth. 1699 Countrey-Man's Rudiments 28:
That common Country Rime, Sow Wheat sinking, Pease winking, Oats clinking, and Bear drinking.

II. n. 1. As in Eng. Phrs.: (1) to let wink, to drop a hint, to divulge something, by confusion with let wit, id., s.v. Wit; (2) to play wink, to wink.(1) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 94:
I saw the whole thing in a blink, but never lut wink.
(2) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 347:
He'd speak to her and then to me, Play wink at her his scoundrel e'e.

2. Dim. forms: (1) winkie, (i) an eyelid; (ii) sleepiness. A child's word. Cf. Willie, prop. n. 2. (32); (iii) a lamp, light, esp. one that is unsteady or flickering, specif. the lighted buoy marking the end of a line of herring nets (e.Sc., wm.Sc. 1974); a street oil-lamp; (2) winklet (from winkle), a faint twinkle.(1) (i) Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 48:
Wi' them 'neath my head, tho' I bou'd nae a winkie, I wadna changed places wi' Willie the Fourth.
(iii) Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life II. 194:
A home-made winkie — a long stripe of linen rag, saturated with the tallow of the last killed sheep, and coiled together like a serpent, with the lighted end projecting upwards in the middle, to serve the purpose of either a lamp or candle.
Ayr. 1832 H. Smith Poet. Misc. 123:
This glimmering blinkie Will lend its aid until respite Is forced by winkie.
Rxb. 1911 J. J. Vernon Pictures 59:
The “wee winkies” gave forth but a very feeble light, not sufficient to reveal the inequalities and uncertainties of the roadway.
Sc. 1956 M. Graham Fisheries U.K. 60:
A lighted buoy or “winkie” on the end of the net first put in the water.
(2) Bwk. 1859 P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 22:
“Weel, weel,” quoth the minister, wi' a slee winklet in his e'e, “What's the meanin' o' that phrase — ‘Opus operatum?'”

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"Wink v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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