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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WALK, v., n. Also waalk (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Mey 20); wa'k (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 47; Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 3), wakk (Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 186), waak, wauk (Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems l. 138; Lth. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 193, Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 175). Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. 1. Of things: to move, be in motion. Obs. in Eng. since 17th c. Specif., of a shoe; to move about on the foot, because it is too large (Cai. 1905 E.D.D., Cai. 1973, waak).Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxiv.:
[They] got me down, and knevelled me sair aneuch, or I could gar my whip walk about their lugs.

2. Phrs.: (1) to wauk one's body, to take oneself off; (2) to walk up to, to live up to, to put into practice the high principles of (something), phs. based on the religious usage of walk, to conduct oneself (in a certain way).(1) Sc. c.1730 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 318:
Pray wauk your body, if you please, Gae gowl and tooly on the seas.
(2) Sc. 1876 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 351:
It's to be hoped you would walk up to your preaching if you were tried.

3. Combs. and deriv.: (1) walk-a-bike, a child's scooter (m.Lth. 1931); (2) walker's gig = Shanks' mare, on one's feet, by walking. Cf. colloq. Eng. walker's bus, id.; †(3) waukfere, able to walk about. See Fere, adj.(2) Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 12:
The same chairiet as wheepit Bonnie Cherlie awa' frae Culloden — walker's gig.
(3) Rnf. 1825 Jam.:
He's gayly fail't now, but he's still waukfere.

II. n. 1. A ceremonial procession (I., ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Lth., wm.Sc., Rxb. 1973). Obs. in Eng. exc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 159:
Masonic lodges held one or other of the days of Christmas as their “annual day.” A procession was formed, and the town or village was perambulated with music and flying colours. The “walk” was concluded by a dinner at the village inn.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls 23:
It was nearly twenty years since the gardeners had their last ‘walk' in Thrums, and they survived all the other benefit societies that walked once every summer. There was a ‘weavers walk' and five or six others, the ‘women's walk' being the most picturesque.
Ags. 1903 T. Fyfe Lintrathen ix.:
A prominent man at gatherings and “walks”.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 59:
The “walk” [of the wedding company to the manse] was enjoyed as much as the dancing of the evening.
Bnff. 1952 Banffshire Jnl. (8 Jan.):
The Juvenile Society held their 116th walk and Ball on New Year's Day.
Uls. 1955 Ulster under Home Rule (Wilson) 9:
Its [the Loyal Orange Order's] public “walks” have the fervour of popular festivals, in particular those held on July 12 to commemorate the victory of William III over the armies of James II at the Battle of the Boyne.
m.Lth. 1972 Scotland's Mag. (May) 14:
The band leading the procession at the Fisherrow Fishermen's Walk.

2. A pasture for cattle (Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. Gang; Ags., Lnk. 1973). Obs. in Eng. exc. in sheep-walk.

3. A path, passageway, as (1) in a cowshed (Arg. 1930; I.Sc., Cai. 1973), or (2) between the cultivated areas in unenclosed land.(1) Sh. 1964 Nordern Lichts 34:
A peerie whaig, wi a starn Athin her broo, wis tied apo da waak.
(2) Sc. 1735 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 28:
A little help of Hay from your Walk would be of service both to horse and Cow in Winter.

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"Walk v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2023 <>



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