Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
PAWKIE, adj. Also pawky, pauky. -ie, pauckie (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); †packy; †pakie (Sc. 1718 News from Bathgate 27). Now adopted in Eng., esp. in reference to supposed characteristics of the Scots. [′pǫke]
1. Wily, sly, cunning, crafty (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 104, 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Taynor); shrewd, astute, sagacious, “sharp”, having one's wits about one, resourceful, “hard-headed” (Uls. 1929 , Fif. 1958); comb. pawkie-witted, id. Gen.Sc., obsol. Hence pawkiness, paukiness, guile, cunning, sagacity, common sense; pawkily, adv., shrewdly, resourcefully, in a wily and sagacious manner (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll.i. 69:
I wily, witty was, and Gash, With my auld felni packy pash.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
We call one pawky, who is witty, sly, or cunning in his words or actions, especially the first, but without any harm or bad designs.Sc. 1714 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 16:
Where they us'd to rant and reel, He pawkily on them could steal.Sc. 1727 P. Walker Six Saints (1901) I. 328:
Some of our pawky-witted primitive trucklers, in my hearing, said that they would pray for him.Fif. 1766 Session Papers, Reid v. Fouler (18 Feb.) 34:
This man, on account of his slyness, has been nicknamed Paukie Willie Brown; but with all his paukiness, he was not able to make his deposition hang together.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 86:
Some fiend or fairy, nae sae very chancy, Has driven me by pauky wiles uncommon.Ayr. 1785 Burns To James Smith i.:
Dear Smith, the slee'st, pawkie thiof, That e'er attempted stealth or rief!Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
Their pawky policy, and earthly ingine, their flights and refinements, and periods of eloquence.s.Sc. 1858 Wilson's Tales of the Borders X. 134:
This she set about with the characteristic pawkiness . . . of the Scotch.Fif. 1884 G. Bruce Reminisc. 46:
[He] pawkily ingratiated himself into the good graces of the sturdy old Puritan, Cromwell.Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xvii.:
He spoke in a smooth rich voice, with an infinite effect of pawkiness.Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 6:
There aince was a very pawky duke, Far kent for his joukery-pawkery.m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood viii.:
The Woodilee folk are pawky bodies even when they're fou.Sc. 1953 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 172:
Gin ye ever gang to a richt herd's supper, ye'll meet men that are jist like their grandfaithers: canny, pawky and intelligent as ye make them.
2. Characterised by a sly, quiet wit, quizzical, sardonic, having a matter-of-fact, humorously critical outlook on life (Abd. 1913; Mry. 1925; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (27 Nov.)). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Also Superl. pawkiest. Hence pawkiness, n., dry humour, sly wit.e.Lth. a.1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 49:
To con thy saftly-melting lays, Or pawky strains.Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds iii.:
Oh, he was a deacon at a pawky song!Ayr. 1833 Galt Eben Erskine I. i.:
A gash, long-headed carle, with just so much pawkie humour as showed that he knew the weak side of the bailies and counsellors.Sc. 1838 J. W. Carlyle Letters (1883) I. 97:
Old Scotch rhyme, reckoned “pawky”, clever and symbolical, in this house.Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf lii.:
Mary was looking at him and me, and well I kent, by the pawkie smile upon her face, that she read us both.Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 49:
Old Yacob . . . possessed a considerable amount of good common sense, quiet, pawky humour.Sc. 1883 Chambers's Jnl. (13 Jan.) 31:
It was a face in which were combined shrewdness, humour, kindliness, keen perception and sagacity; while to these was superadded a certain “pawkiness” (to use a Scotch word which has no equivalent in English).Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle x.:
When Mrs. Petullo broke down miserably in her third verse, he smiled to himself pawkily.Ags. 1948 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 80:
Forfar seems to have attracted to its Town Council men who were especially gifted with a couthie directness and pawkiness that is peculiar to the town.wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 114:
He had a pawky sense of humour too which had lain dormant in him so long that the family had quite forgotten its existence. wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 179:
But from these old days in Glasgow it is his name that comes most endearingly to mind as one of the pawkiest, most eccentric, yet sternest, characters every to occupy a city pulpit, or walk its streets leaving a trail of savoury anecdotes behind. Edb. 2003:
Thon bairn wis the pawkiest Ah'd ever met.
3. Of tasks, skills, etc.: requiring care or special knowledge, difficult, tricky, demanding.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 12:
The pauky knack Of brewing Ale amaist like Wine.Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 39:
The man in music maist expert, Wha cou'd sweet melody impart, And tune the reed, Wi'sic a slee and pawky art.
4. Roguish, arch, coquettish, wanton (Ags. 1808 Jam.); lively, merry, vivacious, jaunty. Henee pawkily, merrily, mischievously, in a roguish manner. Also ¶used subst.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 80:
The pawky auld carle came o'er the lee, Wi' mony good e'ens and days to me.Abd. 1755 Lord Glenbervie Diaries (Bickley 1928) II. 359:
Pale complexion and black and what the Scotch call pawky eyes, which under a quiet manner betrayed an amorous disposition.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 210:
I've been near pauky courts, and aften there Ha'e ca'd hystericks frae the dowy fair.Ags. 1774 Weekly Mag. (30 Dec.) 15:
Ilka lad, wi'pawky een, looks at his lass.Ayr. 1787 Burns Guidwife of Wauchope iii.:
Her pauky smile, her kittle e'en.Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 67:
A pawky cat came frae the mill-ee — Wi'a bonnie bowsie tailie.Slk. 1822 Hogg Tales (1874) 657:
My bonnie, haughty, pawkie, sweet Elizabeth!Fif. 1882 J. Hutton Poet. Musings 20:
An' she thinks it sma' faut to be pawkie a wee, For a pawkie can hide what nae gawkie can see.Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Poems 73:
She pawkily tested my answer awee.Dmf. 1910 R. Quin Borderland (1933) 62:
May . . . Janet's bricht and pawky face Be lang a joy to mither.
5. Quaint, fantastic, amusing, funny (Cai. 1965).Abd. 1844 W. Thom Rhymes 78:
I think I see its pawkie boughs, Whaur lovers weel might hide.Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (21 Feb.):
'At's him 'at used til write fae Ontario 'boot 'e peedy, pauky, gunshie kind o' swinies they hed oot 'ere.
6. Self-satisfied, proud, vain. Also in n.Eng. dial. Rare.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 119:
Ae nicht short syne, some bierdly chiels, Right pauky o' their bra's.
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"Pawkie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/pawkie_adj>