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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PECK, n.2 Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., a dry measure, equivalent in Scot. to a quarter of a Firlot, but varying considerably according to district and commodity, that for wheat, meal, pease and salt being less than that for oats, barley and malt. The Linlithgow standard wheat peck was 1.996 Imp. gallons. The measure ceased to have legal sanction after 1824; also a vessel used as a peck measure. Comb. peck-bit, the end of a Muttie, q.v., which holds a peck (ne.Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); three-peck-yill, ale brewed from three pecks of malt, strong ale.Sc. 1702 T. Morer Acct. Scotland 51:
A Chaldron is 16 Bows, and every Bow 14 or 16 Pecks of Grain as is the Custom of the Place.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 95:
The best Payment is on the Peck Bottom. That is, when you have measured out your Grain, to receive your Payment on the Peck that measured it.
Sc. 1748 Session Papers, Petition J. Geddes (19 July) 1:
To pay a Peck for each boll of Multure, and to perform the necessary Mill-services.
Bnff. 1765 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1884) 88:
The poor in considerable straits, meal being 10d. the peck.
Lnk. 1789 J. Swinton Weights, etc. 97:
In place of measuring by the firlot, they use, for Pease and Beans, a two-peck dish or measure, which is one half of the firlot.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Willie Brewed i.:
O, Willie brewed a peck o' maut.
m.Lth. 1793 G. Robertson Agric. m.Lth. 29:
6 bolls meal, at 8 stone Amsterdam the boll, suppose at 1s. the peck . . . £5. 4. 0.
Dmf. 1807 Farmer's Mag. VIII. 537:
Potatoes 2s. per Moffat Peck, which is from six to seven stone avoirdupois weight.
Nai. 1828 W. Gordon Poems 242:
Besides a peck o' braw white saut An' three chairs an a creepie.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 195:
Oatmeal . . . rose to two shillings per peck (the peck being about 9 lbs. weight in English).
Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 13:
That life to ills maun e'en stieve batter'd be Whilk three-peck-yill and braxy winna free.
Sc. 1878 J. Mackintosh Hist. Civiliz. Scot. I. 458:
In 1492 three men were put in the pillory . . . for having pecks of too small measure.
Sc. 1927 J. Kirkland Bakers' ABC 261:
The old Scotch weights continued in use, and are still retained in many bakehouses. Thus, flour was, or is, calculated by the peck, and its weight is 8 lb., evidently a relic of the Old Scotch or Trone weight.

2. A plot of land, prob. one requiring a peck of oat seed to sow it (see 1845 quot.), a small allotment. Appar. only in Crieff, Perthshire. Obs. in Eng. since 15th c. but phs. denoting a different thing.Per. 1810 A. Porteous Hist. Crieff (1912) 167:
The Pecks were small plots of land on the outskirts of the village which were rented by the villagers, and on which they grew various kinds of crops.
Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 507:
The pecks are patches of lands, containing each a fourteenth part of an acre, which are regularly let to the inhabitants at a yearly rent, and which may be continued or recalled at pleasure by the proprietors.
Per. 1881 D. MacAra Crieff 241:
The people generally took to working in their gardens and “pecks”.

3. Jocularly applied to the great hollow shaped like a peck measure, from which the River Annan rises in Dumfriesshire, now called the Devil's Beef-tub. There was a measure, now obs., called the Annan cap.Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IX. 419:
The spring of the Annan, vulgarly called the “Annan Peck”, or the Marquis of Annandale's “Beef Stand”.

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"Peck n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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