Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FYKE-FACK, n., v. Also fike-, fyk-, feck-; feik-fak, feak-; feek-fike, fick-; fick-feck, -fyke; fickie-fickie, fix-fax, and extended or altered forms fik-ma-fyke, fike-ma-fack, fykie-fyes.

I. n. 1. Mostly in pl.: a fiddling, finicking or tedious piece of work, esp. one “occasioned by the troublesome humour of another” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., feakfak); small domestic jobs (Cai. 1900 E.D.D., Cai. 1949, feek-fikes); a trifle, a small item of any kind. Sc. 1761 Mem. Magopico (1791) 45:
[He] carries aw the siller out o' the kunetree to his Georgias, and his feikfaks yonder.
Ags. 1818 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 236:
Yet after a', wi' this fyke-fack an' that fyke-fack, this thing an' the tither thing, it cost me tippence or thretty pennies (2d. or 2½d.) by the time I got without the port.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 48:
Ony Littil fyk-fack that We wush to Kno.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) vi.:
Sandy, loonikie, your exyems may do amon' your triangles an' sic like fyke-facks an' kyowows, but they're a' blethers.

2. A trifling to-do, a trivial fuss (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., fick-fyke). Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 76:
When they're just i' the fix fax o' their din.
Bnff. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 46:
Sic fykie fyes! Ye're dachlin' noo Tae dicht yer clortit beets.

3. Trivialities in talk, nonsense, “silly jargon” (Fif. 1825 Jam., fick-feck, Lth. Id., fike-my-facks).

4. A whim, a caprice, a contrary or freakish mood (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 257:
But he'll tak' on to the town loan, Fan she takes on her fickie fickie.
Ayr. 1847 Ballads Ayr. (ed. Paterson) 84:
Yese get me na ill to be courtit For fykefacks. . . . I cuist thaim awa.

5. A restless, trifling, rather silly person (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Now only arch. Sc. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 21:
Gie owre, gie owre, ye fik-ma-fyke Wha . . . fidgets to be free.

II. v. To trifle, to bustle about in a fussy petty manner (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., feck-fack; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., fick-fyke; Cai. 1949).

[Orig. mainly reduplic. variants of Fyke, but cf. also Mid.Du. fickfacken, Du. fikfakken, to dawdle, potter, Du. fikfak, unnecessary fuss.]

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"Fyke-fack n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Aug 2020 <>



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