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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HEUK, n.1, v.1 Also h(y)(e)u(c)k, hyook, heuck; heuch; hjuk (Sh.), ¶yjook (Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 21. 9); huik(e), huke; haik. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. hook. [çjuk, mainly ne. and sm.Sc.; çjʌk, e. and wm.Sc.; høk, esp. s.Sc. See P.L.D. §§ 35.6.(b), 74; hʌuk, Fif.]

I. n.

Sc. form of Eng. hook.Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 56:
My granminnie, sae kind, sae douce
(Her peenie hings yet frae yon heuk)
ne.Sc. 2000 Tom Murray in Ian Macdougall Voices from Work and Home 259:
It was frosty and you had to pull these bloomin turnips up by the shaws and top and tail them with a heuk thing.

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., a reaping hook, a sickle. Hence by metonymy a reaper (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Bnff. 1702 Records Bnff. (N.S.C.) 234:
The best man hooke not above fyve poundes, and the best woman hook not above five merkes for all uther thinges, and lesser men and woomen huikes proportionallie less according to their service.
Ork. 1728 H. Marwick Merchant Lairds (1936) I. 139:
Two rolls tobacco for my harvest hookes.
m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1794) 39:
What think ye they were gi'en for hooks? As sure's I stand amang the stooks, A shilling's gien.
Ags. 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Poems 213:
She helpit in the hairst rigs round aboot, As guid a heuk as ever shore a thrave.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 18:
Eastie's “hyeucks” had gone out to take “klyock” by the light of the moon.
Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 2:
We picked up our hukes (sickles, if you like) and started to pull the neeps.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 113:
But the farmer in this story scraped his coggie clean of brose, ate even his dry crusts, wore his old clothes into rags, and cared not a jot whether he flattened or tore open knolls that were in the path of his heuk.
Sc. 1991 John McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 90:
... yince again, chiels pit bye net an truan,
heuk an hemmer; tae gether ablow a licht -
that micht hae been anither birth.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 95:
They knew that many of the defeated Covenanters had been armed only with heuks and graips and whittles.

Hence hairst heuk (Abd. 1825 Jam.), heukster, hooker, a reaper.Lnk. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 108:
An heuksters drovin frae the wast In plaid an brogue.
Per. 1847 J. P. Lawson Bk. of Perth 219:
He convened and hired hookers or shearers on the Sabbath in time of harvest.

2. An opprobrious epithet for an old woman (Abd. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 17; ne.Sc. 1957).Abd.7 1925:
Hook. Sometimes a woman will be called a “naisty heuk” by her neighbour, but the only reason for the appellation can be found when the one woman proves too sharp for the other.

3. An amount, portion, piece, “chunk” (Abd. 1957); †esp. in mining: the proportion of the proceeds on the sale of coal cut by a group of miners which was allotted to each one. Orig. from the hook of the cable which drew the coal up. e.Lth. 1811 P. McNeill Tranent (1884) 175:
And if any coalier has more than one full hook, or less than one, he shall be bound to put out more or less in proportion, at the rate of 50 tubs per week of great coal, and 4 tubs of panwood daily for a full hook.
e.Lth. 1884 Ib. 31:
In pit-phraseology every old miner has a whole “hook” or “turn,” which means an equal share of the “sale.”
Abd.27 1957:
He took a gweed heuk o the beef.

Deriv. hookster, see quot. m.Lth. 1743 Sc. Hist. Review XLVII. 119:
There were two 'hooksters' employed, one at each gin 'who keeps an account of all the coals that come up.'

4. A golf-club with a sloping face.Gsw. 1913 F. Niven Ellen Adair 29:
Carrying their putters, cleekies, hookies.

5. A hook for drawing warp threads through a caum prior to weaving (Slk. 1954, huik).

6. An anchor.Sc. 1849 A. Bell Melodies 44:
And muckle gude befa' the Haik, The Marline and the Creel.

7. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) heuk butter, a special portion of butter given to reapers after cutting was over (Ork. 1957); (2) heuk fair, a cattle fair held before harvest, prob. orig. a market for hiring harvest hands; (3) heuk hand, a reaper, one who wields a sickle in harvest; (4) heuk-heft, the ridge shorn by the last group of reapers on the harvest-field (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 104); †(5) hook-penny, a penny given each week to reapers in addition to their wages (Lth. 1825 Jam.); (6) heuk-point, the ridge shorn by the first group of reapers at harvest, the ha' rig (see Ha, 3. (13)) (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 104); †(7) huke silver, = (5); (8) neither hook nor crook, not the smallest detail; (9) to cast da heuks, see quot. and cf. (11); (10) to draw the heuks owre the een, to hoodwink, captivate; (11) to throw the hooks, = (9); (12) wi' a hook, ? for a consideration, under certain conditions, which involve the attaching, as by a hook, of still further obligations.(1) Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 117:
When cutting was finished the heuk hands got a specially thick spread of butter on their bread; this was called the “heuk butter” or “aff-shearing.”
(2) Lnk. 1839 Edb. Ev. Courant (5 Sept.):
Rutherglen Hook Fair. — At this market, held on Friday last, there was a good turn out of tidy milch cows.
Bwk. 1856 Ib. (30 Aug.):
Dunse Hook or August Fair. — On Tuesday the supply of cattle was less than usual.
(3) Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 116:
The “heuk hands” were chiefly the grown-up members of the household, even the mother of the family going out to the “rig.”
(5) m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1794) 37:
Skillin khorun, hook-penny, which each shearer is in use to ask and receive weekly over and above their pay.
(7) Cai. 1772 Session Papers, Sinclair v. Sinclair (8 Dec.) 23:
Item, for huke silver . . £0 1 1.
(8) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 41:
Out throw the hills the gainest way he took, An' in his search miss'd neither hook nor crook.
(9) Sh. 1937 J. Nicolson Yarns 85:
When the last “rig” was completed [at harvest time] it was customary to “cast da heuks.” This was done by one individual taking hold of the various sickles by their points, and tossing these collectively backwards over the shoulder, at the same time repeating the following: — “Whaar 'ill I in winter dwell, Whaar 'ill I in voar dell, Whaar 'ill I in simmer fare, Whaar 'ill I in hairst shaer?” The direction in which each person's sickle pointed was supposed to answer those queries, but if one had stuck into the ground, that was taken as an indication that its owner was not destined to live very long.
(10) Lnk. 1868 J. Hamilton Poems 99:
He's . . . juist drawn the heuks owre my puir lassie's e'en.
(11) Lth., Teviotd. 1825 Jam.:
Throwing the hooks. This is done immediately after crying the kirn. The bandster collects all the reaping-hooks; and, taking them by the points, throws them upwards: and whatever be the direction of the point of the hook, it is supposed to indicate the quarter in which the individual, to whom it belongs, is to be employed as a reaper in the following harvest. If any of them fall with their points sticking in the ground, the persons are to be married before next harvest; if any one of them break in falling, the owner is to die before another harvest.
(12) Edb. 1882 J. Smith Canty Jock 17:
He wad beseech the publicans that had got his siller to stand his freend in his extremity — which they did, wi' a hook; then he wad . . . beseech his fellow-Christians . . . “to save his life,” which they did, first wi' a shudder, and syne wi' anither hook.

II. v. ¶1. To cut down with a reaping hook.Sc. 1910 D. G. Mitchell Sermons 85:
The ripe sheaf has been heukit doon, an the wee flooer by its side.

2. In the game of golf: to drive the ball widely to the left (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Cf. Eng. hook used sim. in cricket.Sc. 1857 Chambers's Information II. 695:
When standing too far, the ball is apt to be “drawn” or “hooked” — that is to say, struck with the point or “toe” of the club, in which case the ball flies in to the left.

[O.Sc. huke, huik, howk, from a.1400, hewk, c.1520.]

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



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