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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLOCK, Cloak, Klok, n.1 and v. Also found in n.Eng. dials. (E.D.D.). See also Clockin', vbl.n. [klɔk Sc., but m.Sc. + klok]

I. n.

1. “The cry or noise made by hens when they wish to sit on eggs, for the purpose of hatching” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Cai.7, Abd.22, Ags.2, Edb.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1937.

2. Applied to a person: “a croaker” (Cai.9 1939, clock).

II. v. Gen.Sc.

1. To make the noise of a brood hen. Eng. cluck. Used fig. in quot.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 59:
When wi' glancin' han' and pow It [the kettle] sits clockin o'er the low — Oh! the goudspink on the timmer Is naething to thy simmer.

2. Of birds: to brood, sit on eggs, hatch.

(1) intr.Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 230:
“Maybe they'll clock, like hens, dae they?” “Yes; I could name a serpent that enfolds its eggs for two months, and eats nothing.”
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 14:
Fan hens that shud be layin' 's clockin'.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff ix.:
But I wud hae them tae lay better and cloak less.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Council of Crows in Sketches, etc. of Wgt. 184:
We're not to flit this term, so we may gang on wi' oor wark — you mither-birds clockin' as usual.

(2) tr.Sc. 1714 Kirkton's Hist. Ch. Scot. (Sharpe 1817) Pref. xx.:
A hen belonging to him, when a cloaking.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 135:
Uncle Andy had a bantam hen which had sat clocking two goose's eggs, and was now endeavouring to mother her strange wee brood.
Dmb. 1794 D. Ure Agric. Dmb. 70:
They were immediately set under a cloaking hen.
Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Simple Sc. Rhymes 14:
Nae mair he'll tell how Ostrich eggs Are clocket amang stanes and seggs.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 133:
Ye micht at least hae the gumption . . . to byde till the eggs were clockit.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 117:
The wa'fu' ra'en Must, ere she clock them, travel to the east.

Hence (1) clockin, clocken, strong pa.p., sat upon; (2) clockin', klokkin, ppl.adj., brooding, disposed to hatch (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., klokkin). See also Clocking Hen.(1) Kcb.6 1914:
Eggs long sat upon are “hard-clockin (clocken)” or “clockin hard.”
(2) Sh.(D) 1899 J. Spence Sh. Folk-Lore 240:
Da klaag o' wir klokkin flukner waukened me.
Gall. c.1870 J. Heughan in Bards of Gall. (ed. Harper 1889) 238:
Love owre him sits like clockin' doo.

3. Fig.: (1) “To sit idly by the fire” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.; also Cai.7, Abd.2 1937); to sit for a long time; to crouch; (2) to “hatch” (of a project, etc.); (3) of persons: to desire marriage (with someone).(1) Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches xvi.:
It wis fae her 'at Meg borra't the cosy. . . . A heard the neebors lauchin' aboot hoo Meg keepit it clockin' on the teapot on the bink owre near the fire an' scaum't it a'.
Bwk. [1826] R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 119:
A' the lads o' our town clockin' in a shell.
Kcb. 1893 S. R. Crockett Stickit Minister 144:
It's better than sittin' clockin' an' readin'.
(2) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 40:
This new schule . . . was now at length clockit, and carried to maturity.
(3) Lnl.1 1936:
When asked of the progress of a love affair, they answer: “Oh, they're fair clockin' noo.”

III. Comb.: kloksmidder, “a hen with chickens” (Sb. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1950, clocksmither).

[O.Sc. clock, clok, to cluck, hatch, from 1513 (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. clokke, clocke, O.E. cloccian, of echoic origin. Most of the other Gmc. langs. have a u form, as in Mod.Eng. cluck (cf. M.H.Ger. glucken, klucken, Mod.Ger. glucke, klucke, a broodhen, Norw. klukke, Sw. klucka), but Du. has klokken, and Sw. dial. klokka (M.E.). Cf. also Lat. glocire, to cluck like a hen.]

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"Clock n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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