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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLAIK, n., v. Also glake, †glaick, †glaike, †gleck.

I. n. †1. Found only in pl., except in Phrs. (see 7).

(1) A trick, prank.Mry. 1828 “J. Ruddiman” Tales 71:
You forget that you are . . . nae playing at “the deil amang the tailors” here; sic glaiks are not for douce folks like you and me.
Lnk. 1844 St Mungo (Lemon) 49:
They lead my mem'ry back to schule, An' a' its glaiks an' fun.
Mry. 1851 D. Paul Poems 64:
An' a' their rhymin' sins forgie them, An' funny glakes.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man iii.:
Why should a grown man . . . care about the glaiks and puppet-plays of a lassie of sixteen?

(2) A mockery, a deception: “especially applied to any person or thing that suddenly eludes one's grasp or sight” (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-hags xxi.:
We will not bow down and worship your glaiks — no, not though . . . the wind whistle through our bones as we hang on the gallows-tree.

2. A derogatory term for a silly, light-headed or thoughtless person, esp. a girl or woman (Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Uls. 1924 W. Lutton Montiaghisms, glake; Sh., Cai., Rs., Inv., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Bwk., Rxb. 1954; Edb. 1970s; Ags., Ayr. 2000s). Dim. glaiky (S.D.D.), -ie (Fif.13 1954). Used attrib. = Glaikit. Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael I. ii.:
Och sorrow be on the glaik, my own heart will never warm to her.
Cai. 1869 M. McLennan Peasant Life I. 278:
My glaik Bob an' my perty Bell!
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 81:
Set them up wi' the title o' leddies! Flirts and modern glaikies, I think, wud be far liker the mark.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 38:
But faith! the Captain is nae glaik.

3. In pl.: a puzzle toy variously described (Rxb. 1801 Leyden Compl. Scot. 338; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 230, glakes): “a puzzle-game, consisting in first taking a number of rings off one of a large size, and then replacing them” (Mearns, Rxb. 1825 Jam.), a puzzle consisting of a set of rings and nails with wire loops (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.); “a toy for children, composed of several pieces of wood which have the appearance of falling asunder, but are retained in their places by strings” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 28:
If not employed in something useful, they were amusing themselves . . in such games as . . . the “glaicks.”
Bnff. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 62:
I have seen a toy called “the glaykis” which was composed of several pieces of notched wood fitted into each other in such a manner that they can be separated only in one way.

4. A streak or flash of light in reflection, a dancing shadow (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 192); “the reflection of the rays of light, on the roof or wall of a house, or on any other object, from a lucid body in motion” (Jam.; ‡Ayr.4 1928). Also fig.Sc. 1763 J. Boswell London Jnl. (1950) 204:
I said that he whose pictures shifted too often, like the glaiks, was too light-headed.
Lnk. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 51:
Neeve glewd in neeve, the grog they quafft, The crystal shone so pretty, The glakes, like glamor on the laft, Danc'd measure to the ditty.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxxv.:
It reflected down, as it were, upon themselves, a glaik of the sunshine that shone upon us.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lv.:
He has glaiks and gleams o' sense about him, that mak me very dootful if I could judicially swear, that he canna deport himsel wi' sufficient sagacity.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 175:
His een, bein' in the mirligoes, Ae single styme afore his nose They couldna see for glaiks.
Bnff. 1895 “N. Roy” Horseman's Word ix.:
Life's but a glaik on the wa', we're auld afore we ken.

5. Applied to the bat, Vespertilio murinus, “from the unsteady flight of the bird . . . in consequence of which those who think to catch it are often gulled” (Lth. 1808 Jam.).

6. “A glance of the eye” (Ayr. 1825 Jam., ‡Ayr.4 1928). Cf. Gleek, n., 2.

7. Phrases: †(1) to cast (fling) the glaiks in (someone's) een, — at (someone), to dazzle, deceive, delude someone; †(2) to get the glaik(s), to be deceived, cheated; †(3) to gie (someone, something) the (a) glaik(s), to cheat, deceive, jilt, betray, bamboozle (Bnff.13 1927); to forsake, desert; †(4) to play (someone) the glaiks, to cheat, deceive (someone).(1) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
Gazing, glancing-glasses they [advocates] are, fit only to fling the glaiks in folks een, wi' their pawky policy, and earthy ingine, their flights and refinements.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel iii.:
As if the grandeur of the King and his horse-graith thegither had casten the glaiks in my een.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxiii.:
Whatna scamp or hempy is't that the cutty has been gallanting wi', that she's trying to cast the glaiks in a' our een.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 97:
But comfort cam' to bless the day That jiltin' Jess flang glaiks at me.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vii.:
That's the way he cuittles ye aff an' flings the glaiks in your een.
(2) Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 6:
Yet routh o' honour he has got, Ev'n fan he gets the glaiks.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 214:
“See how” Quoth he, “She gets the glaiks Frae bairns; an' tholes wanchancie paiks.”
(3) Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 230:
She gave me the glaiks when a' was done.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 121:
For lads the glaiks did gie ye In better days, whan ye were young.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxxii.:
He might gie the glaiks to half the lasses of Lonnun.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 108:
We then might chance to gie'm the glake, Or see'm out-witted.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 60:
And gowkies gie their hame the glaiks, And follow Patie Birnie.
Sc. 1931 I. Burnett The Ravens 135:
She had tricked him with an age-old device, like any tinker's quine; given him the glaiks, and gone off with her prize.
(4) Ayr. a.1822 A. Boswell Poet. Wks. (1871) 197:
But bring the whisky and the baiks — Though fortune has play'd us the glaiks, A bumper to the Land o' Cakes.

II. v. †1. To dazzle; to deceive, beguile. Also in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 3:
Thou at his elbuck stood unseen, And wi' thy glamour glaik'd his een.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's v. 23:
An' by fulishness glaikit He'll aye gang the farer the wrang.
Sc. 1991 Forbes Macgregor in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 17:
Oot-through the stable lantron's reek
He sees the unhained Hieland glen
He brookt or he was glaikt by men.

2. To trifle (with), to flirt; to frolic, “to spend time idly or playfully” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1829 J. Hay Poems 135; ‡Abd.27 1954); of fancy: to wander idly.Sc. 1727 Ramsay T.T.Misc. (1733) I. 100:
She gecks as gif I mean'd her ill, When she glaicks paughty in her braws.
Sc. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu ii.:
To be gawin glaikin out with the fallows at this time o' night.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 19:
'Mid sic like daffery and glaikin', Baith god and priest were merry-makin'.
Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 83:
An' sae ye can, gang ye an' gleck wi' Bell, An' I can court wi' fa I like mysel'.
Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Tales 88:
I hae nae muckle, Jeanie; but you ken my fancy never glaikit after anither.
Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 9:
But Eppie didna glake wi' men But wi' them was gey ill tae fen.
Ayr. 1927 J. Carruthers A Man Beset 101:
He's aye glaikin' wi' weemen.

3. To look playfully or idly.wm.Sc. 1827 T. Hamilton Cyril Thornton (1848) v.:
You'll no mind me, for you was then just a wee bit toddlin' thing, wi' great red cheeks, and twa wee shining een glaikin' out ower them.
Cai. 1869 M. McLennan Peasant Life 239:
Ye'd be a hantle nearer the mark gif ye helped yer mither whiles, 'stead o' glowerin' through the panes and glaikin' aifter thae gerdnar folk.

[Origin doubtful. Phs. conn. obscurely with Gley, Gleek, and cf. 16th c. Eng.phr. to give one a (or the) gleek, to mock, play a trick upon someone. O.Sc. has glaiks, in senses 1.–3. of the n., from early 16th c. Sense 2. of the v. is found from a.1568.]

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"Glaik n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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