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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

JOKE, n., v. Also jock (Ayr. 1703 Session Bk. Dundonald (1936) 541). [The pronunciation dʒɔk is still heard, though obsol.]

I. n. As in Eng., a jest. 1. Comb.: joke-fellow, one who is intimate enough to share a joke with, a familiar friend. Hence joke-fellow-like, adj., adv., intimate, familiar, in a comradely fashion; 2. adj. jokie, -(e)y, jockie, jocular, fond of a joke. Gen.Sc. Rare in Eng.1. Sc. 1747 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) I. 305:
The Prince putting the bottle to his head, drank in common with those on board Jock-fellow-like.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xciv.:
That English lord and his leddy mak' him joke-fellow wi' themselves.
Ayr. 1838 Galt in Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 41:
It was not to be thought that a 'stated gentleman would make himself joke-fellow like wi' me that had but a lairdship ahint the counter.
2. Sc. 1825 Jam.:
He's a fine jokie man.
Mry. c.1850 Lintie o' Moray (Rampini 1887) 31:
Tho' his body was wither'd his heart was aye green For a jockie bit bodie was he.
Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor ii.:
Deed, I wis thinkin' it wis mair nor naethin' that wis makin' ye sae jokey-like.
Lnk. 1952 G. Blake Voyage Home 21:
Their curly-haired father was a jokey sort of man with whom you could go to considerable lengths.

II. v. To make a joke against, to chaff, to make a sport or fool of (a person) (Sh., Ags. 1959).Sc. 1748 Smollett Rod. Random lvii.:
Miss Snapper . . . pretended to joke me upon my passion for Narcissa.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 98:
Ye hae yoursell wi' yon snell maiden locked, Wha winna thole wi' affsetts to be jocked.
Ags. 1894 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. xii.:
When he cam' hame he buit cry in an' joke me aboot bein' sae sune up.

[Joke is orig. a slang word of 17th c. Eng. The above meanings are found either exclusively or earlier in Sc. Joke-fellow has been adapted to Joke from orig. O.Sc. jakfallow, a servant who behaves presumptuously as his master's equal, a.1568, from Jack.]

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"Joke n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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