Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
FERK, v. Also firk and ferkie (-y). [′fɛrk(i)]
1. intr. To jerk, hitch about (Ork. 1887 Jam., ferk, firk; 1929 Marw., ferky); to strive, struggle, act energetically: tr. to poke, turn over, rummage, investigate (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Also in Eng. dial.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 28:
He lay an' ferkied wi' hid a peerie while i' the kirk-yaird, till he wus i' a drouck o' swaet. Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 6:
Whin de whall wad ferkie an' wallop wi' his tail, de folk wad flee. Abd. 1950 27 :
I've jist been firkin things oot a bit.
Hence †ferky, firky, “pushing, plodding, hard-working; resolute, determined” (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.).
†2. To pilfer (Sc. 1825 Jam.): used of birds with fruit or seeds (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Obs. in Eng. c.1710.[Mid.Eng. ferk, to carry, go, O.E. fercian, to proceed.]
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"Ferk v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Sep 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/ferk>
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