Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MAUK, n., v.1 Also mauck, mawk; mack; mauch, maugh (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 461), mach. Dim. form mawkie. [mǫk; em.Sc.(a) mǫx]

I. n. 1. A maggot, a flesh-worm (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Voc. 70; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1903 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bnff., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s). Gen.(exc. ne.)Sc. Also fig. Also attrib. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Phr. as dead as a mawk, absolutely lifeless (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 39; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 75:
The cloken hen, . . . Wi' a' her burds about her, fyking fain To scrape for mauks.
Rxb. 1805 A. Scott Poems 200:
She's faintit clean away, As dead's a mauk.
Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Tales II. 64:
Mawks and moorill, rot and leaping-illness.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch ix.:
There on the easy-chair, was our bonny tortoise-shell cat . . . bruised as flat as a flounder, and as dead as a mawk!!!
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 343:
Feech! I see-ee-ee the mauks upo' them.
m.Lth. 1895 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 193:
That's ane o' your Leeberal Churchmen — the mawks that the Kirk has bred in her belly.
Ags. 1903 W. Allan Love and Labour 110:
Lauch at the chiel as mim's a mauch.
wm.Sc. 1908 Gsw. Ballad Club III. 159:
Sandy . . . Settled to wark like a mawk on a blade.
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 418:
The Fifeshire fisher does not scruple to eat mackerel, but states that the Highlandman will not do this, owing to his belief that the fish turns into “mauchs” in the alimentary canal.
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 79:
A smittle thing the mawk, Yae flee contaminates a flock.
Wgt. 1939 J. McNeillie Wgt. Ploughman xxiii.:
A hae a min' tae plant this in yer belly an' let ye lie for the maucks tae feed on.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 45:
A cowp, nae mair nor
a tae-breeth frae Hell;
like a kebbuck wi mawks,
shackelt tae its smell.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 15:
"Here's yer baa, Edwin."
Jist as yin day he'd be laith fu
At Glesca's mauk baneyerd
Or Warsaw's weir teirin vennels.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 27:
"Whit for was ingyne gien tae me,
Or sense or reason for ma guide?
Hou wis I no juist made a flee
Or a mauk in keech tae bide? ... "

Derivs.: maukie, -y, mawky, mauchie, infested with maggots, maggoty (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 112; Per., Fif., Lth. 1916–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif. 1962); verminous, rotting (Inv. 1962); dirty, filthy (Sc. 1808 Jam., mauchie; Inv., Edb. 1962). Also in Eng. dial. Hence maukiness, the state of being infested with maggots (Sc. 1825 Jam.), and comb. mauky flei, -fly, a bluebottle fly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1962). Cf. 2. (1); maughsome, loathsome (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 233:
How his midder sell'd mauky mutton.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 83:
Mawky kail wi' mony stowans; Rampan bread and porritch muddy.
Sc. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 49:
And smool'd awa the mervy pith Wi' monie a mauchy mouth.
Per.4 1950:
Meat wad soon go mauchy in this weather.

2. Combs.: (1) mawk-flee, a bluebottle fly, Calliphora erythrocephala (m.Sc. 1962). Cf. mawky flei above; (2) mauk-mark, the mark left by a maggot on the flesh of an animal; (3) mauk-worm, a maggot. Also used attrib.(1) Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 95:
An' speeders past my comprehension, Mawkflees — to name wad be pretension.
Peb. 1938 J. Dickson Poems 49:
Some snuff-like pooder, packed in tubes, To keep mawk flees on high.
(2) Lnk. 1818 A. Fordyce Country Wedding 52:
Believe me, I saw wi' my ain lookin' e'en Altho' washin, where mony a mauk-mark had been.
(3) Dmf. 1861 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 77:
That greedy thief Wha's fiery pinions thousands bear aff For mauk-worm beef.

3. Fig. in dim.: trifling irritation. a minor annoyance.e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 13:
Ye are the silliest gawkies To rive auld hames, 'mang frem to mell, For sic wheen triflin' mawkies!

4. Heriot's school slang, in dim.: maggoty cheese.Edb. 1910 Scotsman (9 Sept.):
“A bicker o' mauchie.” — a plate of maggoty cheese.

5. A dirty, slovenly person, a slattern. Phr. a foul mauch (Abd. 1962).

II. v. tr. To infest with maggots. More gen. intr., to become infested with maggots (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 227, mauch; Ags., Fif., Rxb. 1962); esp. of sheep (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 195, mauch, maugh). Also in n.Eng. dial. Also fig. Ppl.adj. maukit, mawkit, mackit, maucht, mockit (Edb., Bwk., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s), of sheep: infested with maggots, suffering from maggots imbedded in the skin (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai; Cai., m. and s.Sc. 1962); more gen., putrid, decayed (Gsw. 1962); dirty, filthy (Ayr. 1962); exhausted, played out (Rxb. 1942 Zai, 109; Slk., Rxb. 1975).Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 303:
Syne bann in his byre, and curse in his kirn, And mauk his beef i' the brine.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 244:
The sheep grow mawket on the hill, And sair themsells they claw.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 180:
Although ye were maukit ye'd never think shame.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 56:
Man, hev ye nae left scour For mackit souls, like yours, sair needin' dip?
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 92:
Shorn yowes were marked wi' keel, Mawkit anes got doctored weel.
Gall. 1946 Scots Mag. (April) 8:
Did ye get any mawkit sheep when ye were oot?
Gsw. 1984 James Kelman The Busconductor Hines 168:
The more mockit the better, where the air stinks and the absent horizons, the backcourts of a sturdy obscenity, these disused fucking washhouses whose brickwalls are liable to collapse on the offspring's skull at any moment.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 46:
mockit or maukit Extremely dirty: 'Ye're no walkin on ma good carpet wi they mockit boots on.' It can also mean rude, disgusting, obscene, etc.: 'See him, his mind's pure mockit.'
Edb. 1986:
A friend of mine decided to wash his bike the other day "'cause it was mockit".
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 227:
Ronnie minded well as a boy when he used to hang over the side and see if he could see any fish, and he couldnt see anything it was so cloudy, so fucking mawkit.
m.Sc. 1993 Herald 23 Sep 14:
"My God, yur mockit, mockit, the fulthiest laddie I've ever seen," she would shriek, as she roughly rearranged the tousled ginger carpet above a face as filthy as the Earl of Hell's waistcoat.
wm.Sc. 1993 Janice Galloway in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 129:
Tommy nearly takes it then remembers sauce. Look at him Bertie he's completely mawkit.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 231:
Aww fucksake! The girl wi the rings stood back, as Kay opened her bag an held it out.
Aww, mockit!

[Mid.Eng. mawke, a maggot, O.N. maðkr, id.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Mauk n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: