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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).

FLUNKIE, n. Also flunk(e)y, fleunkie, flonkie.

1. A man-servant, esp. in livery, a footman, a lackey, gen. with contemptuous force. Freq. used attrib. Gen.Sc., adopted in Eng. as flunkey from about 1830, esp. under the influence of Carlyle. Hence flunkyhood, flunkyish, flunkyism, now also in Eng.Sc. 1761 Mem. W. Smellie (ed. Kerr 1811) I. 84:
Tailors, tide-waiters, tars, wheel-barrow makers, soutars, flunkies.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 55:
So Flunky braw, whan drest in master's claise, Struts to Auld Reikie's cross on sunny days.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 152:
They . . . must have southern oaths . . . fairly struck in the profane mint of London, into a perfect form of flunky language.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 54:
His flunkies answer at the bell.
Sc. 1823 Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 524:
There is something flunkyish and valleydeshammical in the whole passage.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 268:
Rolling along in flunky-flanked eckipages.
Dmf. 1843 Carlyle Past and Present i. vi.:
A whole world of Heroes, a world not of Flunkies. . . . We, for our share, will put away all Flunkyism, Baseness, Unveracity.
Ib. ii. vii.:
All his flunkeyhood and horn-eyed dimness.
Mry. 1865 W. H. L. Tester Poems 73:
He's passed through all the various grades In flunkey-craft.

2. See quot.Ags. 1924 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 178:
[In the game of Mites] the large buttons from the uniforms of soldiers, policemen, coachmen, etc., were known as “Flunkeys.”

[Of obscure orig.]

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"Flunkie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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