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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DINK, Denk, adj. and v.1 [dɪŋk, dɛŋk]

1. adj.

(1) Neat, trim, finely dressed (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd.9, Fif.10 1940; Lth. 1926 Wilson). Applied only to women. Also used adv.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 54:
A denk Maiden makes a dirty Wife.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xii.:
But he'll dress her as dink as a daisy, as ye see.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays and Lyrics 170:
Dames mair dink may cross thy way, But nane can lo'e like me, Donald.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 99:
Weel met my dink an' donsie queen, Sae weel redd up ye'r aye an' clean.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Letter to W. Nicol in Letters (ed. Ferguson) No. 112:
I met wi' twa dink quines in particlar . . . baith braw and bonnie.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 13:
Whyte whalebone busks for ladies dink.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Cat. II. 12:
Ye'll notice how dink she dresses hersell ilka night.

Hence dinkly, adv., neatly, sprucely, trimly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).w.Sc. 1788 R. Galloway Poems 163:
They stand sae dinkly, rank and file.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 70:
Ay she busk'd her bosom dinkly; Whyles a taper'd leg was seen.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 327:
After we had gotten the breakfast, I sees her unco dinkly dressed.

(2) Prim, precise; haughty. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1716 Ramsay Chr. Kirk ii. xiii. in Poems (1721):
To kiss and dance wi Masie Aird, A dink and dortie Dame.
Sc. 1828 Scott F. M. Perth xix.:
Maudie Proudfute . . . believed to be dink and disdainful to those whom she thought meaner or poorer than herself.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 24:
She's far frae dorty, dull, or dink, But social, kind an' cheery.
Fif. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 208:
He was calm-like hissel', though; an awfu' active dink wee felly, as the Fifers say — meanin' precise.

†(3) Nice, kind.Sc. c.1700 This is no my ain House in Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 24:
Then was it dink, or was it douce . . . To claucht my daddie's wee bit house?

2. v.

(1) To dress neatly or sprucely. to adorn (Bnff.2, Abd. correspondents 1940; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Formerly often refl. and used with out and up. Ppl.adj. dinkit, dinket, denkt (Ags. 1825 Jam.2; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); vbl.n. dinkin'.Sc. 1820 Scott Abbot xx.:
I am now too old to dink myself as a gallant.
Sc. [1862] A. Hislop Proverbs (1868) 260:
She's dinket out, neb and feather.
Sc. 1898–1901 The Blinkin' o't in R. Ford Vagab. Songs, etc. (1904) 169:
It wasna the licht o' her snawy broo, Nor her gowden hair — the dinkin' o't.
Sh. 1919 T. Manson Humours Peat Comm. II. 223:
“Na, if ye're gaen ta denk wiz up in uniforms, dan I tink I'll gie it up,” said Jerry.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 273:
Denkt out, like dolls, in glairin' claes.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 27:
The Leddy at the Ha'. Wi' carriages an' flunkey-chaps, Aye dinkit up an' braw.
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 194:
When plates, an' cnps an' saucers dink Its wondrous shelves.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 79:
[She] dinks her out in a' her best.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 132:
In braw leather boots, shinin black as the slae, I dink me to try the ridin o't.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 139:
My humour's coarse; I ken it's naething dinkit; Finical words I unco seldom play.

†(2) To walk affectedly in fine clothes, to swank (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 173), to strut. Cf. Wor. dial, dink along, to walk in an affected manner.Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 7:
Aft we've seen them fain, Dink owre the bent down to the reekie den.

[Of obscure origin. Dink, denk, adj., fine, dainty, fastidious, prim, is found in O.Sc. from c.1500.]

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"Dink adj., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Jan 2023 <>



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