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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.

CREESH, n.1, v.1 Also creish, creech, creysh, creich, creesch, creisch, criesh, creash, craish, crish, kreish, kreesh. Gen.Sc. [kriʃ, kreʃ, krɛʃ, krɪʃ Sc., but nm.Sc. + krəiʃ]

I. n.

1. (1) Fat, grease (Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes lxxx., creysh), “usually applied to fat of fowls” (Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. (1922) 150; Cai.3 1931); suet (Abd.19 1930). MacTaggart in Gallov. Encycl. (1824) 145 gives the form creech, Abd.8 1917 gives craish, and J. B. Salmond in Scots Mag. (July 1942) 252 gives creisch for Ags. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1702 Acc. Bk. Sir J. Foulis (S.H.S. 1894) 18 Nov.:
To tonie to get creish to the coatch . . . 0. 8. 0.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs (1870) 67:
Butter's king o' a' creesh.
Sc. 1991 Roderick Watson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 108:
God'll shairly keep the heid yins
Wrappit in creesh an peace at hame,
Sin they never kent the dirl o needin.
Cai. 1711 J. M. in Old-Lore Misc. (1911) IV. iii. 137:
To which Monro answered that he had as many arms as would let out his creish upon the floor.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 20:
Yet thou hast given us . . . lumps o' creesch and balls o' rosit, and batter in a cappie.
Abd. 1992 Press and Journal 21 Mar 4:
Instead of dubbin, most farmworkers used creesh. Creesh was the lump of fat from the inside of a hen; and when rubbed liberally on leather it made a first-class water repellent.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 7:
creesh on the ba
ren skelpin doon
the field aa slidderie
unner the lichts.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 42:
A pickle skin, some creesh an' banes — Can these be pretty Poll's remains?
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 27:
He would have skinned a loose for the creesh o't and socht candy for the banes.

Hence (a) creeshless, adj., without fat, i.e. lean, thin; (b) creishiness, creischiness, n., greasiness (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, creischiness; Bnff.2 1940), fig. oiliness, subservience.(a) Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 78:
Lauchlan was creeshless as leaves in the autumn.
(b) Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant 13:
He went on with a creishiness of manner which I sorely disliked.

(2) “Grease used as a mollient in preparing wool for spinning” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., kreesh).Sh.(D) 1916 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr, Navember 4:
Some folk's oo needs a hantle o creesh.
Ork. 1913 J. Firth in Old-Lore Misc. VI. ii. 87:
When wool was being prepared for a web a mixture of whale-oil and tar melted together, and called creesh, was sprinkled out of an old cruizie lamp on the heap of wool laid on the floor.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 12:
Twa pair [of blankets] to spin, but my mither wadna gie me crish to them, an ye ken the butter is dear now.

(3) Comb.: creesh horn, a receptacle for grease.Sc. 1824 J. E. Shortreed in Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 277:
The Doctor got it out o' the clutches o' ane o' his farm servants who had used it mony a lang day as a Creesh horn for his scythe.

2. Extended to indicate a fat, greasy-looking person; dim. creyshac (Mry.1 1925); “a fat hen” (Id., creysh).Mearns 1932 “L. G. Gibbon” Sunset Song ii. 101:
Who should he near run down with his bicycle outside the Drumlithie Hotel but Galt himself, the great creash, gey drunk.

3. Fig. A blow, knock; “a punishment of an uncertain kind” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); for similar fig. extension cf. Anoint.Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 74:
Now some for this, wi' satire's leesh, Ha'e gi'en auld Edinburgh a creesh.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
“You'll get the creesh,” i.e. punishment.

II. v.

1. (1) To grease, oil, lubricate in gen. (Ags.2, Fif.10 1940); “to rub boots with fat in winter to keep out the ‘sna' bree”' (Abd.9 1940). Also fig. Vbl.n. creeshin', creishing.Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf ix.:
Five minutes to open the grate, and five minutes to steek it and to draw the bolts? less winna do, for they want creishing sairly.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs (1870) 279:
The fat sow's tail's aye creeshed.
Ags. 1891 Brechin Advertiser (12 April) 3:
Forbye swine's seam To gie yer shoon a creeshin'.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 28:
The Court o' Session, weel wat I, . . . Can criesh the slaw-gaun wheels whan dry, Till Session's done.
sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
creeshed greased.
Dwn.(D) 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod v.:
Then he added, with a quiet chuckle — “Jeannie keeps the wundey frame weel creeshed fur me onywae.”

Phrase: to creesh (kreish) someone's loof (liv, lufe), to pay, tip, bribe someone (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Kcb.10 1940).Abd.(D) c.1750 R. Forbes Jnl. from London (1755) 32:
We coud na' get a chiel to shaw us the gate, apuist [1767 ed. alpuist] we had kreish'd his liv wi a shillin.
Ags. 1892 Brechin Advertiser (2 Aug.) 3:
An' creesh yer bonnie lufe Wi' ae bawbee.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 44:
Can ye play hornpipes, strathspeys, or reels, to pit some metal in oor heels? I'll creesh yer loof weel.

(2) To grease wool preparatory to spinning; see n., 1 (2), above.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 237:
Like the Orkney butter, neither good to eat, nor to creich wool.
Ags. 1889 Brechin Advertiser (23 April) 3:
Jean cardet woo' an' creeshed it too.

2. To beat soundly, thrash (Abd.2 1940); to attack. Vbl.n. creishin, a drubbing. Cf. n., 3, above.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
I gae him a gude creishin.
Abd.(D) 1916 G. Abel Wylins 55:
They [Members of Parliament] ban the boys that hiv the swag, an' creesh the millionaire.
m.Sc. a.1846 A. Rodger Poems (1897) 120:
Your lammies young he'll carry in his oxter, But tightly creesh ilk ramp unruly ram.
Kcb.10 1940:
You'll get creeshed for that.

[O.Sc. has cresche, creis(c)h, creiche, creash, etc., n. and v., from c.1420 (D.O.S.T.); O.Fr. craisse, cresse, Mod.Fr. graisse, from pop. Lat. *crassia (derived from crassus, fat, thick).]

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"Creesh n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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