Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

POUK, v., n. Also pouck (Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 13), pook, poock (Sc. 1840 Whistle-Binkie II. 73), puk (Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 136), puck; puke, puik; powk. [puk]

I. v. 1. tr. or absol. (1) To pluck, twitch, tug, pull sharply (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 179; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966). Comb. †pouken-pin, in weaving: the cord-handle pulled to move the shuttle across the loom (Rnf. 1846 W. Finlay Poems 222).Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 58:
She pukes her Pens, and aims a Flight Throu' Regions of internal Light.
Sc. 1772 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 266:
Now I must give yourself and lady her blessings and compliments, otherwise I sud hae my lugs pouked.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Death & Dr. Hornbook xiv.:
The weans haud out their fingers laughin, An' pouk my hips.
Dmf. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 206:
But frae their clutches I was poukit, An' wi' the clan o' Cain boukit.
Kcd. 1822 G. Menzies Poet. Trifles (1827) 74:
I've poukit corn frae out a stack, To haud me livin.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxx.:
Because your uncle is fain that ye should marry his only dochter, and would, if ye did sae, leave you for dowry and tocher a braw estate and a bank o' siller, ye think he has pookit you by the nose.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 44:
Ye needna expect to get anything . . . but a pouket lug.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 226:
I ruggit at the pouken-pin, but couldna mak it pay.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 22:
Sauny pookit my coat-tail, an' sez he, “here's a peeler.”
Gsw. 1884 J. Johnston M. Spreull 11:
I had naturally a strong feeling against ludgers, hooever I pooked mysel' thegither.
Edb. 1886 R. F. Hardy Within a Mile vii.:
She maun aye be a leddy, an' sit wi' her bit seam, pook-pookin' awa' by the fireside.
em.Sc. 1909 J. Black Melodies 169:
When a man's gettin' on weel, a' thing seems to flow in on him, but when he's gaun back the brae, the very craws are pookin' awa' frae him.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9:
Pookin “cheese-an-breed” aff o the hedges ti nattle at.
Ayr. 1999:
When playing cards, you can be asked "ti pouk a card" [pick a card] If your jumper catches on a nail, you 'pouk' the thread [pull it out]

(2) to pull out the loose hay at the foot of a rick to let the air in (Per., Lth., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1966; Arg. 1990s).Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. viii.:
The napps wi' apples, to have a dive . . . and I give ilka ane liberty to pouk my stacks.
Arran 1947:
Ye can start pookin' the ricks.
Ayr. 1999:
Ti pouk a ruck [to pull the loose stuff at the bottom of the ruck and put it into the next ruck]

2. Specif. tr.: (1) to remove the feathers from (a bird), to pluck (a fowl) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966), or wool from a sheep which has died before shearing-time (Slk. 1966). Ppl.adj. pookit, pouked, powkit, plucked; also by extension, of persons or things: having a miserable, emaciated appearance, scraggy and thin-looking, wizened, shrivelled; shabby, thread-bare, poor-looking (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m. and s.Sc. 1966); also fig. of persons: mean, stingy (Edb. 1825 Jam.).Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 44:
Hens an' geese a' pooket snod.
Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.:
Some o' them had sutten up aw night till hae their heads drest; for they hadnae thae pooket-like taps ye hae noo.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ayr. Legatees v.:
What a pookit-like body I must have been, walking about in the king's policy like a peacock without a tail.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 122:
His een are aften a licht grey, like that o' a twa-days-pooked grozet.
Slk. 1823 Hogg Tales (1874) 292:
I'm rather feared that our Maker has a craw to pook wi' us even now!
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 138:
My pookit feckit, buttonless an' bare.
Lth. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland xxii.:
To set up the powkit atomy and his tawse in the place o' our minister.
Sc. 1858 J. W. Carlyle Letters (Froude 1883) II. 385:
I was obliged to put on an additional box at the Gill, to hold the fresh eggs, “pookit fools” and other delicacies.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 25:
The best o' wark leuks unco poukit, In ilka thread.
Ags. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan I. xi.:
Her man was a puir puikit humphie backit bodie.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 121:
Whustlin' Wull was comin' daunerin' alang the Brigen' wi' his Camlachie-mits on, and leukin' vera pookit wi' the cauld.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxii.:
Then your leddyship will hae to come and pook the chucky.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 69:
By haudin up the keekin-gless To shame oor pookit skultieness.
Ayr. 1999:
Man, ye're awfy pookit-lookin the day.

(2) fig. to pillage, plunder, fleece, rook, cheat, of money, etc.Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems (1877) 125:
But hear me yet, there's mony a snare That men o' credit, cash, and lear, Hae been led into, poukit bare.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lii.:
Pooking and rooking me, his mother, o' my ain lawful jointure and honest hainings.

(3) intr., of a bird: to drop its feathers, moult. Vbl.n. pookin, the moult (Cld. 1880 Jam.; m.Sc. 1966). Cf. II. 4.; ppl.adj. pookit, suffering from the moult, in a moulting condition (Fif. 1949).Gsw. 1872 J. Young Lochlomond Side 42:
Fearin' the Laureate may be poukin' After the fearsome feather droukin' He gat at midnicht.
Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 35:
Oor hens are no layin' the noo, they are a' pookin'.

3. intr. (1) To pluck or tug at, to pull at sharply (Kcb. 1966); fig., to annoy, bother, harass; to carp at, criticize. Phr. to pouk at one's meat, to “play” with one's food, eat with poor appetite (Sc. 1887 Jam.).Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 92:
What ails ye at weil meaning bodies, Ay pooking at their legal duddies.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 160:
Bravely do I ken ye, Balheggie, you're aye pouking at some ane.
Edb. 1851 A. MacLagan Sketches 166:
We kent the time when we micht pook At auld grannie's leather pouch!
Sc. 1851 G. Outram Legal Lyrics (1874) 51:
I jumpt when my hook on I felt something pookin'.
Dmf. 1871 J. Palmer Poems 18:
When schuils they wad scale, how the bairnies wad scrow Around me, and ilka ane pook at my pow.

4. In card games: to take an extra card or cards from the pack, esp. when unable to play from one's hand (Slg., Lnk., Ayr. 1975).

II. n. 1. A plucking motion, a twitch, tug, a sharp pull (Per., Slg., Ayr., Kcb., Slk. 1966); in fishing: a tug on the line, a bite. Also fig. Phr. to play pook at, to clutch at, try to grasp or tug (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.; Kcb. 1966), fig., to make advances to a woman, “make a pass at”.Sc. 1799 A Butter'd Slice 16:
Now, snarling critic, keep yer nook, I'm fley'd I'll nae can thole a pook.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 118:
There's never a corbie daur play pouk at yere tail.
Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Poems 84:
I do confess it makes me fret, When nane plays pook at Fanny.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 132:
When Fortune gied a thrawart pouk, To Weelfare's bruckle chain.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 9:
Thinks I tae mysel' if I cud get my han through that hole I wud gie her ear a pook.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Miners 78:
We Dughie wi' a cauf o'ertook; He drave't wi' mony a push an' pook.
Kcb. 1901 Alexander Trotter East Galloway Sketches 99:
Everybody kens she was a witch, and was hunted through a' orr wi' twa black grues (i.e. greyhounds), but they could never play pook at her.
Lnk. 1948 J. G. Johnston Come fish with me 77:
Nothing daunts Billy, even though he has no tale to tell of rise or “pook”.
Sc. 1954 Bulletin (27 April) 9:
To wait for the trout's “pook” is very often to leave things that fraction of a second too late.
Ayr. 1999:
A got a pouk there. [of fishing line]

2. Fig., a sharp, steep incline, a “pull” (Kcb. 1966).Arg. 1937:
The brae is no that bad exceptin' juist for a wee bit pook near the top.

3. That which has been or is to be plucked (off), a “picking”, freq. of tufts of wool from a sheep, “down or any similar substance adhering to one's clothes”, fluff (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1966), a tuft of hair; a mouthful, a bite. Hence a small quantity, a little (wm.Sc., Uls. 1966).Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 25:
Wife — fetch my bonnet that I caft last owk, Here, brush my coat, — fey, Jean tak aff that pook.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 24, 32:
Sae many wild unwarldly leuks Inclosed wi' sic brisly puks O' sooty hair. . . . Wee Bawsy will before us nod, And feed on pooks about the hedges.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
“A pouk o' oo,” a pick or minute tuft of wool. “A pook o' meat,” a very small quantity of food.
Dmf. 1929:
I dinna like ony o' yer bricht colours, just a wee pook o' red or yellow.
Dmf. 1963 J. Littlejohn Westrigg 47:
Shepherds while walking the hills in the course of their daily work used to gather up the “pooks” (i.e., wisps of wool) that the animals shed and store them.
Arg. 1992:
A wee pook o wool.

4. A moulting condition in birds (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 179; Per., Slg., wm.Sc. 1966). Also fig. of human beings in phr. in (on) the pook, not very well, “below par” (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). Deriv. pookie, -y, adj., of birds: patchy and thin in the plumage because of the moult (Cld. 1880 Jam.); of persons, having a dejected ailing appearance, thin and unhealthy-looking, “lean and bony” (Ib.; wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1966). Also n. a shabby, starved-looking person, e.g. a tramp (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 114:
Puir burdie; warslin' wi' the pouk.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 141:
A bawbee critic gat my book, It pat him in poetic pook.
Dmb. 1894 T. Watson Kirkintilloch 329:
He never liked to see the “tappit-hen in the pook,” i.e., the stoup empty.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxvi.:
The man micht be a carven image, and Leevie no better nor a shilfy in the pook.
Slg. 1929 W. D. Cocker Dandie 46:
An auld bird wi' disjaskit look, A' beak an' claws, an' in the pook.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle ii. vii.:
It fair gives me an appetite to see your pookey face.
A fell puckle o my hens has got the pook.

5. “The short unfledged feathers of a fowl, when they begin to grow after moulting” (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb. 1966).

[O.Sc. puik, to pluck, 1633. Of obscure orig., ? from pull-, Pou, + -k as in talk, walk.]

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

"Pouk v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: