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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Rek(e, Reik, n.1 Also: reike, reyk; reek(e; reak; reick; riek; ri(c)k(e. [Chiefly Sc. and north. Eng. North. ME and e.m.E. rek(e (Cursor M.), reek (c1400), OE réc (whence also ME reche (14th c.), rich (c1400), reech), ON reykr. Cf. OFris. rek, reek.]

1. Smoke from burning matter; a cloud of smoke.Also fig. or in fig. context (see also 4 below).(1) 1375 Barb. iv 124.
Na thar may na man [fyr] sa cowyr Than low or rek sall it discowyr
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii 555.
Hyr flesch … brynt sa That thankful rek to God can ga
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 430 (C).
And nought appered but one rek That in-to gret hast away went
c1420 Wynt. i 661.
Wytht that rek thai oys to make Owt off qwhyt hew this pepyr blak
1456 Hay II 127/17.
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 228 (Asl.).
His moder tholit nocht the reke on him to blaw
(b) 1456 Hay I 26/10, 14.
And quhare it [sc. the star] fell it semyt that thare rais out a reyk … that bath the sonne and the aire was all oure blakenyt and obscurit with the reik
Ib. 27/25.
A mysty smoke of hidous reik lyke as it war out of the pitt of hell
Ib. 46/8.
And cum furth of the erde a stynkand ayre with a foule reik
c1475 Wall. iv 517.
The contre folk, quhen it was lycht of day, Gret reik saw rys
Ib. vii 579.
The strang stour rais as reik vpon thaim fast
1513 Doug. iii i 7.
Al Troy … Ybrynt is smoke of flambis and in reik
Ib. viii iv 164.
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4821.
Thare colour cleir with reik and rowst ar fadit
15.. Clar. v 2018.
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 6.
Greit reik of colis without vinde to dispache the sam
1570 Leslie 214.
Thay kendillit certane fairins [etc.] … and maid ane mervelous gret reik and fuilbik
1558-66 Knox I 42.
For the reik of Maister Patrik Hammyltoun hes infected as many as it blew upoun
1578 Conv. Burghs I 64. 1587 Carmichael Etym. 32.
Fumus, reik, smuik
1622-6 Bisset II 218/22.
There wetche be day to be with smuke or reik and on the nycht be fyre
1650 Brechin Presb. 48.
[She] saw something lyk reik goe out at the window, no fyr being in the hous
1683 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 74.
The wind … which will carrie away the reik to the sea
(c) 1619 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 122.
[Not to kindle fire] untill thare be ane chimnay placit for venting reek & fyer
1667 Highland P. II 31.
A great fire of fresh arn wood … to make great reek
(d) c1610 Melville Mem. 11.
Lyk ane auld cole hugh that had tane fyre, be raisoun of the reak that ascendit out of the holl
(2) 1456 Hay I 28/28.
Off the quhilk avarice [etc.] … the mysty reik is passit fra the mouth of the pitt of hell up in hevin
c1500 Rowll Cursing 267 (M).
That na dewill ma ane vther knaw For reik and stink of brintstane birnand
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 319.
Hell … is ane mekle mirk hoill full of fire, reik [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 160/36.
And syne thay sall discend with reik and fyre, And preiche in erth the Antechrystis impyre
1567 G. Ball. 186.
Of the fals fyre of Purgatorie … The reik sa wounder deir thay solde For … landis
(3) c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 239.
Thai fyrit gunnis … Till that the reke raise to the firmament
1549 Compl. 42/18.
The reik, smeuk and the stink of the gun puldir fylit al the ayr
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 738.
Than rais the reik with vglie crakkis
a1578 Pitsc. II 39/19.
The stour and reik of poullder
c1610 Melville Mem. 35.
The wood was full of reak of culveringis
(4) c1560 Sc. Hist. Rev. X 383.
The mylflatt beginnand at Lethane burn: … of ilk hous of the Nungait that the reik cummis out of v d. in the ȝeir
1584 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XV 13.
The said sellare haveand na … vent, quhairby the said Jhone is trublit with the reik thereof
1587-99 Hume 31/183.
The reik thrawes right vp in the air From everie towre and towne
1599 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 364.
That the haill inhabitantis within this burgh that reasis reik thairin sall keip vache
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 115.
For tua tirlies to tua chimnayes abone the constables chamber to caus the reik went
1621 Perth Kirk S. MS 22 Nov.
He … is … abuseit with the smok and reik assending wp throw the loftingis of the houssis
1639 Thanes of Cawdor 284.
Thrie chemnyes … for wenting of the reik
1654 Johnston Diary II 239.
Anent the Christian as the fyre that first had great reak as al bodyes knew their was fyre in the house [etc.]
1667 Kelso Baillie Ct. 35b.
That ane sufficient chimney shall be biged … and that in the meanetyme no reick shall be raised thairin
1688 A. Shields Heads of a Preface and of a Lecture Preached in Gaastoun 16.
The reek of your chimneys … does witness against you
(5) 1533 Bell. Livy II 90/2.
He … incontinent made ane bekin of reik
(6) a1605 Montg. Sonn. xxv 4.
Rau rid herring reistit in the reik
(7) 1633 in Boyd Last B. xlviii (see Pluffing vbl. n.).
Pluffing of reeke
1677 Tobaco-Mastix 27.
Tobacco reik
fig. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1403 (Asl.).
Thar rysis sic a reike of corrupcoun Ressoun is ourcludit
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Apoc. xv 8.
And the tempile was fillit with reke of the maiestee of God
c1590 Fowler II 52/7.
The reik of the incense of the oraisons of the sancts ascendit … befoir the Lord
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 651 (H).
Thy reasons savours of reeke & nothing els: … Thow satt so neare the chimney nuik that made thame
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 324.
The reik and mist of my corruptioun … that takis the sicht of my Lord fra me
c1610 Melville Mem. 32.
Already I see the reak of thy glory spred athort the luft in dust
proverb. 1490 Irland Mir. II 85/7.
Quhar men seis mekle reik thai may knaw that thar is fyr
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1369.
Sic reik in the house, sic commes out at the lum

b. As a type of what is evanescent or fleeting. a1400 Leg. S. iii 538.
Bot warldly terrour to the rek May be lyk, at growis sone And sone may als away be done
Ib. xxx 646.
& he but ony mare Wanyst away as he reke ware
1513 Doug. v xii 138.
Thus hes he said, and … Vanyst away, as the reik in the ayr
1580-92 James VI Lusus Reg. 45.
His aire it flyes in uanished reike, his earth in cendres fallis

2. A smoke-like vapour, as steam, mist; an exhalation or the like; an unpleasant fume or odour. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3851.
The Empreour … meruellit … Vnder his bed to be … Sa greit a well, sa foull ane reik and mist
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Vapor, vapour or reik of the eirth
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 211.
And caist the same in the see quhilk causit ane vapour and ane reik to ryis
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 169/516.
The languishing phtisie eik The epilepsie dead uithall bredd of a uaporouse reike
1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 456.
A spunk that neither has light nor heat with it, but only is smoking and sending out a reek with it

3. transf. A house with a fire burning on a hearth; an inhabited house. b. To kenel rick, to have a hearth.Cf. 1 (4) above, also 5 below. 1556 Old Ross-shire I 15.
A day's shearing of a hook in harvest out of every reek
1626 Misc. Maitl. C. II 202.
Apud Kirkwall … quhatsumever persone … sall slay ane earne … sall have viij d. for everie reik within the parochine
1666 Rothesay B. Rec. 113.
And he is to have sax schilling out of ilk reik and fra ilk tredsman within the towne
1677 Ib. 353.b. 1690 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 346.
[2 fastineven hens out of every house] that kenels rick

4. fig. Tumult, commotion; a ‘row’ or dispute. 1521 Douglas Corr. 77.
If it [sc. the bischopric] could be purchased it shuld make merveillous grete riek in Scotland
1529 Lynd. Complaynt 367.
Than rais ane reik, or euer I wyste, The quhilk gart all thare bandis bryste
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 956.
It is a sewr reik quhair the gude wife dings the gudeman

5. attrib. and comb. in sense 3 above.See also Rek(e)-penny.

a. Reik-hous = 3 above. 1542 Old Ross-shire I 108.
Out of ilk reik house … within the baronie of Ferindonald … yeirly ane hen
1658 Stitchill Baron Ct. 13.
That ilke ricke house … shall pay … for the ringing of the bell twelve pennyes yeirly
1667 Galloway P. 15 April.
Twa Fasten even hens of each rick house
1732 Hossack Kirkwall 194.
The baillie to obtain for him from each reek-house in the parish, except cottars who have no sheep, the sum of two shillings

b. Reke hen (also poull, foul), a hen handed over as payment in kind of part of the rent of a reik-hous (see a above).(1) 1540 Exch. R. XVII 335.
xiij lie reik hennys de firmis terrarum de Feriche
1552–3 Reg. Great S. 166/1. 1559 Old Ross-shire I 8.
In case I falȝie in … delyvering merts, mutons, reik hens
1564 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 87, etc. 1572 Fam. Rose 262.
Tway rik hennis
1580 Exch. R. XXI 123.
844 pultriis et gallinis lie reikhennis
1580 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming MS 253.
The tennentis … sall pay to suffyr thame this ȝer … twa dussan pultre with nyne rek hennis
c1580 Cramond Cullen Ann. 19.
The feufarm of the lands of Frosken … 1 boll oats, 12 capons, 1 reek hen, and 1 boll multure
1595 Orkney Rentals ii 5.
By the halk hen or reik hens
1600 Misc. Spald. C. IV 268.
Ilk fyir hous ane reick hen
1606 Retours I Inq. Spec. Elgin et Forres (22).
The haill mair cornes, reik hens and uther casualties and feis … of the tounis and lands of Tarress [etc.]
1675 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 45.
Reik hennes
1676 Old Ross-shire I 111.
For tennent hennes and rick hennes yearly
1686 Red Bk. Menteith I 414.(2) 1558 Exch. R. XIX 56, etc.
Lie reik [gallinis]
1557 (1585) Reg. Great S. 275/1.
Cum reik poullis
1592 Acts III 607/1.

c. Reke-meall (-money), the tax levied on a reik-hous (see a above). "In 1653 and subsequent years the designation ‘reik maill and stallage’ is substituted for ‘king's maill and stallage’." R. Renwick Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Stirling I (1887) 308 n. 1661 Stirling Common Good 2.
Fra William Wilsoun for the reik meall, £8
1709 Stirling B. Rec. II 120. 1681 Lauder Notices Affairs I 323.
So much reik-money imposed on every chimley

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"Rek n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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