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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Muk, n. Also: mukk, mwk, muck(e; muke; muik, muick, mwyk; mowk; mook; (mik). [ME. muk(ke, mok(ke, muc (13th c.), of Scand. origin: cf. ON. myki dung (Da. mög, 16th c. Da. mwgh, mug, mog, møk, Norw. myk).]

1. Dung, esp. as used for manure; farmyard manure or compost.Also horse-muke, Hors n. 3 a.(a) a1500 Henr. Fab. 83 (Makc.).
It war pete thow suld in this myddyng Be beriit thus amang this muk [v.rr. muke] and mold
1492 Acta Conc. I. 220/2.
xxx s. for certane muk and guding of the said croft and landis
1504–5 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 14. 1512 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 17.
[In exchange] for ilk ane fuder of mwk ane thrauf of stra
1512 Wigtown B. Ct. 26 b.
xxx couppis off mwk
a1538 Abell 5 b.
Saturnus … causit first muk to be put on the land
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 99.
[She] sayd that he mycht lay his muk in that rome
a1568 Bann. MS. 156 a/30.
The partane with hir mony feit Scho spred the mvk on feild
1563 Prot. Bk. G. Grote 58.
Samekill muk rottin and weill maid as can be … gaderit withtin the said thre ȝeiris
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1636.
There is nathing betwix a scheipit man and ane unscheipit bot the muk of an ill yow
Ib. No. 1151.
Muk is mother of all corne
1643 Saltoun Kirk S. in Reliq. Antiq. Sc. 157.
To warne Johne Wilson's woman … for shooling of muck this morning
1650 Pittenweem Ann. 66.
To collect and transport muck and war for gudding his glebe
1657 Boharm Kirk S. 8 March.
With the sweeping of the house she did cast out some muck from stirks that stood beside the fyre
1674 Cunningham Diary 4.
The summer muck that was made in summer last by that side of the toune
1689 Foulis Acc. Bk. 112.
The doucot mucked the day and Pat Jonstone got the muck for which he is to give me other muck
1693 Ib. 161.(b) 1561 Inverness Rec. I. 70.
To … arreist the brig that na … man … suld carye muke our it vnder all heast pane
1582 Perth B. Ct. 25 May.
For fuilȝe and muke tane … of thai stabillis
(c) 1511 Alloway Baron Ct.
His gait quhair he suld leid his mwyk within his delt daill
1572–3 Canongate Ct. Bk. 419.
Scho acclamit xx s. as for the price of iiixx laidis muik
1597–8 Misc. Spald. C. I. 178.
Becaus he fillit ane laid off muik, quhilk scho suld haiff don
1618 Ritchie Ch. S. Baldred 171.
That some women … did spred muick the last sabbothe
1632 Cullen B. Ct. MS. 21 Dec.
Na guiding nor muick
(d) 1500 Dunferm. B. Rec. 101.
That wrangusly he hild his mowk
(e) 1656 Alyth Par. Ch. 96.
[Warnings … against the] spryding of mook

b. transf. to human excrement. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 472.
Thow fylde faster than fyftenesum mycht lawe And myrit thaym wyth thy mvk [M. with muk] to the myd mast
?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 110.
Pugnat muckcreillius heros Fortiter, & muckam per posteriora cadentem In creillis shoollare ardet

c. Filth, refuse, dirt, more generally. Also fig. ? 1487–8 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II. 265.
The casting of … mwk, ballast of schippis and siclyk in the said heavin [of Leith]
1505 Ib. 105.
For … clengeing of the hie streitt … of all maner of muck, filth of fische and flesche and fulȝie weit and dry, staynis and vtheris
1511 Perth Guildry 479 (10 Nov.).
The saidis personis sall dicht all the mercattis of the tovn & cary the muk thairof to the wattersid
1522 Wigtown B. Ct. 131 a.
Allowand xviii d. of the said annuell for the muk of the place
1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. MS. 160 (19 Mar.).
That na man fra this ȝeir furcht schuyll ony muk in the ester pull, bot gef the vatter ane fre passaige
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 98.
Thare laithlie lyning furthwart flypit, Quhilk hes the muk and midding wypit
1551 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 162.
To warne all sic parsonis that hes red, mwk or stanis lyand on the hiegait … that ar nocht bigand instantlie
1559 Inverness Rec. I. 38. 1561 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 338. 1561–2 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 366.
Deching of the theifis holl … and taking away of the muk thair of
1567 G. Ball. 105.
Thay perischit at Endor … Syne muk become and fylth
1568 Edinb. Test. I. 114 b.
Certane fuilȝe and muk lyand in the linkis of Leyth
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 322.
The toun of Edinburgh begane to big thair fortressis of diffet and mik [sic] … tua eln thick
1580 Elgin Rec. I. 155. 1584 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 200.
To fill up James Lintounis clay hoills with yeird and mwk sufficientlie as they wer of befoir
1645 S. Leith Rec. 63.
For out carying of the mucke out of the houses
fig. 1596 Dalr. II. 462/10.
Thair conschiences … ar compellit be force of the edictes of the Catholikis in thair muk to clag and fyle thame selfe

d. Attrib. and comb.Also Muk-bell, -cairt, -crele, etc.(1) 1583 Elgin Rec. I. 172.
Ane schoill, ane muk fork
1597 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 390.
2 muk graipis
1673 Melrose Reg. Rec. MS. 13 Dec.
4 s. for ane muck graipe
1662 Crim. Trials III. 602.
[We] did put a pairt therof among the muk heapes of Breadleyes landis
1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 332.
Jhonn Mwre, porter of the West Port, … to … apprehend all mwk hors quhilk careis ony mwk furth of this burgh
1643 Ib. VIII. 45.
For furnishing ane new gate in Leith Wynd to the muck port
?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 123.
Vasquineamque rubram mucksherdo begariavit
1560 Stirling B. Rec. I. 72.
[Heirship goods including] ane mwksled
1572 Elgin Rec. I. 134. 1518 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 297.
That thar be vndir the mill qwel ane hek, swa at the muk stuf … cassyn in at the clovs may be keppit thar
(2) 1596 Oldcambus Acc. 2.
Dellywerit to the muckberreris of gray quheitt

e. comb. in muk-culloret (= coloured). — 1643 Edinb. Test. LX. 293 b.
Nyntene ellis of sad muk culloret cloith

2. Manure, fertilizer, in general. 1663 Peebles B. Rec. II. 55.
Inhibites … all … persones … to cast any divoittes or faill upon the tounes propper landes or loanings … for muck or any other use
1678 Brown Suppl. Dict. Decis. III. 256.
It was thought lime would not come under the general name of muck

3. Applied pejoratively to riches; pelf. c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 550.
Grit meruell is, of ȝow that gettis this muk, Bot ȝe sould haue aboundance with gude luk

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"Muk n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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