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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CLOCK, Clok, Cloke, Klok, n.2 “The generic name for the different species of beetles” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); in Bnff. it is applied gen. to “the different species of Water-beetles” (1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 26), in Cai. and Mry. to any black beetle (Cai.1 c.1920; Mry.1 1925), and in Arg. and n.Ant. mostly to the cockroach, Blatta orientalis (Arg.1 1929; n.Ant. 1931 “Ballymoney” in North. Whig (27 Nov.)). Also in dial. use over the greater part of England. [klɔk, klok]Sc. 1737 Medical Essays and Observations IV. 368:
Great Swarms of Insects, of the Clock-kind, that come in Summer.
Sh.(D) 1898 “Junda” Echoes from Klingrahool 9:
Fan du a klok or a wiglin wirm Or a trowie buckie's marlet skurm [shell]?
Bch. 1943 W. Spence Forsyth Guff o' Waur 37:
The pile grew bigger as the weeks and months grew into years, An hotchin' was wi' gollachs, flechs and clokes.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann, etc. 28:
E'en the wasps that bigg their bike An' clocks an' golachs, an' the like O' a' yon vairmin has their use.
sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
clock 1. a black beetle
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. xix.:
An auld bigging, such as our kirk was, a perfect howf of cloks and spiders.

Combs.: (1) clock-bee, a flying beetle whose wings produce a humming sound (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd.22 1936); see also bum-clock s.v. Bum, v.1, 6; extended in quot. to denote a grumbling, whining person; (2) clockleddy, clok-leddy, the lady-bird, Coccinella septempunctata (Kcb.1 1936).(1) Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 65:
Or he'll clout ye there-and-then Like a big, begrut clock-bee.
(2) Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Up Noran Water 17:
Clok-leddy, clok-leddy, Flee awa' hame.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-boat xii.:
Gin clockleddies and bumbees, wi' prins in their doups, be science, atweel there's an abundance o' that at the Garden of Plants.

[O.Sc. clok, clock, a beetle, from a.1550 (D.O.S.T.). Of uncertain origin, but cf. Sw. dial. klocka, a beetle, an earwig (M.E.).]

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"Clock n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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