Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PLOUK, n.1, v.1 Also plouck, plook, pluk(e), pleuk, pluik, pluck; ploog (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.), plug; peuk. [pluk]

I. n. 1. A pustule, pimple (n. and s.Sc. 1808 Jam., pluke, plouk; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., pluk; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 259; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. and in n.Eng. dial. Also fig. Hence plouky, plooky, †plucky, adj., covered with pimples, spotty (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc.; plookiness, n., a pimply condition (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Combs. pluke-faced, pimply-faced; whisky plouk, see Whisky. Sc. 1761 Caled. Mercury (21 March):
Allan Cameron, . . . fair complexion . . . full faced and a little plucky.
Edb. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (12 Aug.):
Her face somewhat foul, and small plooks about the brow.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 72:
There was pluke-faced Willie Kell.
Sc. 1802 Sir Aldingar in Child Ballads No. 59 B. xiv.:
Plooky, plooky are your cheeks, And plooky is your chin.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 280:
I fear the plook o' war 'll no come to a head.
Kcd. 1857 Stonehaven Jnl. (21 May) 4:
He ne'er was fashed wi' cankert plook On nose or broo.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 259:
At length the plook of his spite cam to a head.
Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (13 Feb.) 4:
Jock's luckless feature was his nose . . . Wi' plooks set roond like curran' berries.
Abd. a.1900 H. Beaton Benachie (1923) 205:
Peuky-faced, copper-nosed, light-footed, giddy-headed.
Ayr. 1928 J. Carruthers Man Beset i. i.:
Called him “a plook-faced moudiewart”.
Bch. 1930:
Od, but aw'm unco baddert wi' a peuk i' the howe o' ma neck.

2. A knob, protuberance, excrescence in gen. (Sc. 1825 Jam.), hence ploukie, plooky, studded with knobs (Cld. 1825 Jam.); specif. applied to a small knob or pin formerly set on the inside surface of a vessel some distance below the rim to indicate standard measure (see 1779 quot.) as in taverns (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Comb. plouk-measure, measure or capacity as shown by the plouk. Also in proverbial phr. as in 1826 quot. (Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 392, plug). Gall. 1692 A. Symson Descr. Gall. (1823) 99:
They disagree about the measure of the pint; the town alledging, that it should be jugg measure, and some of the countrey alledging, that it should be only pluck measure.
Sc. 1779 J. Swinton Weights &c. 86:
A pewter pint-jug, marked 1652, kept at Inverness, is the standard of the measures of capacity. It has on the inside, a plouk or knob; and a little above the plouk a hole drilled through, which is stopped up when they want to fill the jug to the brim. The jug, filled to the plouk, regulates the firlot for Wheat, Pease, Rye, and Meal.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xviii.:
A' might be pushon that's aboun the plook wi' them . . . Scotch pint-stoups, before the reformation of the imperial measure were made to hold something more than the standard quantity, but at the point of the true measure a small papilla or plook projected, the space between which and the brim was left for an ad libitum, an exercise of liberality on the part of vintners and other ministers to haustation. When however measure was regulated by the scrimp rule, it was said proverbially of those who did so, “that of their liquors all was poison abune the plook.”
Sc. 1950 Ideal Home (March) 66:
To test whether a Tappit Hen is genuine, put the fingers a little way inside the neck, and there should be a small pimple in the metal called the “plouk” or “plouck,” which was the full measure mark.

3. A pointed rock or stone (Sh. 1966); an area of rough rocks on the sea-bottom. Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
A pluk o' grund; de line “bor at” in a pluk and was “made op”, the line chanced to stick fast to a rough piece of sea-bottom and was broken.

II. v. Only as ppl.adj. plookit, 1. covered with pimples, spotty. Gen.Sc. Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 132:
Drunkards and sots Wi' their red plookit noses.

2. Of a drinking vessel or the like: having a plook or knob. Sc. 1710 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 333:
It was a litle round plucked glasse.

[O.Sc. plukkit, ppl.adj., pimpled, 1513, plowkie, id. 1535, plouk, = I., 2., 1573, a pimple, 1578. Etym. somewhat uncertain but phs. ad. M.L.Ger. plock, pluck, a plug, bung, and so cognate with Eng. plug, Du. plug. Gael. pluc, id., is from Sc.]

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"Plouk n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2021 <>



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