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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Stank, v. Also: stanke. P.t. also stankt. [Stank n.1 Cf. 17th c. Eng. stanck (once, 1656).] tr. a. To dam (a stream). 1469 Douglas Chart. 98.
And gif it sel happin the said James Scrimgeour … to byg … a myl on the said watter … the said Robert the Graham … sel gif fre licence to him … to stank atour the said watter

b. To provide with a moat or defensive ditch. Also ? quasi-reflex. in fig. context, to act in a defensive manner. 1535 Stewart 7040.
He hes led him … To euirilk castell tour and wallit town And leit him se … How thai wer stankit weill about for strenth
1597 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 18 Nov.
Thay haif concludit, all in ane voce, that the toun salbe wallit & stankeit about, with ane substantious wall
c1650 Spalding II 469.
Schir Williame Forbes … takis in the place of Kemnay … , plantis sum soldiouris thairin, being stankit about and of good defenss
fig. a1568 Balnaves in Bann. MS 138b/22.
O gallandis all … Fra tyme ȝe stank in to the bank And drypoynt puttis in play Ȝe tyne the thank

c. To have a ditch or pond as a boundary; to be bounded by a ditch. 1588 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 127 n.
Frae thyne eistward linealie fra cairn to cairn as the same is dykit and stankit to ane uthir mekil stane onmowable lyand in the auld stank; and passand therfrae keipand the said stank to the sie
1617 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 686.
That littill peice of land … lyand contigue to the gleib of Aufurd stankit about and castin with ane stank and marched with the said stank … havand the said gleib on the wast and the dyk … on the east

d. To retain (water) in or as in ponds or ditches; to prevent (its) drainage. 1684 Glamis Bk. Record 39.
Two … great ditches … without … conveyance … to the river, which stankt up the water so as that the place … appeared … marish and weat

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"Stank v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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