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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

PRATTICK, n. Also pratick, prattique, prot(t)ic(k), proteck; pracktick, practic(k), practiq(ue), practiqe; prettik-, praetik-. Sc. forms and usages of †Eng. practic.

1. An act, practice, way of doing things; a custom, habit, usage. Obs. in Eng. in 18th c.Bnff. 1702 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1914) 11:
By reason of escheat and usury lawes and pratiques of your said Kingdom.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1777) 45:
It is eith learning ill praticks.
Ayr. 1744 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (1 Feb.):
As it appears their claim is laid upon practique . . . agree that the minister of Muncktoun shall preach once in three weeks in the Kirk of Prestick.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
It's a sair thing to hae to do wi' courts of law, unless it be to improve ane's knowledge and practique, by waiting on as a hearer.

2. Sc. Law: a customary usage, a precedent, the usual practice; specif. in pl. the name formerly given to the recorded decisions of the Court of Session (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis), forming a system of case-law as in the Eng. Reports. See 1962 quot. and Sources of Sc. Law (Stair Soc. 1936) 25–41. Hist.Sc. p.1704 J. Maidment Pasquils (1868) 362:
He [Lord Justice-Clerk]'s mock'd by the age, and his practiques forgotten.
Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institutes I. i. 15:
Decisions of the Lords of Session, sometimes called Practiques, are the Determination or Resolutions upon particular Points of Right, or Form contested before them. Which, if they continue uniform for some considerable Time, have the Force of a Law.
Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswoode Title:
Practical Observations upon divers Titles of the Law of Scotland, commonly called Hope's Minor Practicks, written by Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, sometime Advocate to King Charles I.
Sc. 1751 W. MacFarlane Geneal. Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 401:
There was A Pratick Concerning my Lord Oliphant in Anno 1633 Alledged on.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute i. i. § 47:
An uniform tract of decisions of the court of session, i.e. of their judgements on particular points, either of right or of form . . . anciently called Practics, is by Mackenzie . . . accounted part of our customary law.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
What say ye to try young Mackenyie? he has a' his uncle's Practiques at the tongue's end.
Sc. 1952 T. B. Smith Judic. Precedent 33:
Practicks supplied the necessary basis for the development of a doctrine of case law properly so called.
Sc. 1962 P. G. B. McNeill Balfour's Prackticks (Stair Soc.) I. xxxviii.:
The type of legal work called “practicks” has been classified into two distinct types: decision practicks, or private notes of decisions which were written up contemporaneously and which were ultimately superseded by regular law reports; and digest practicks, or legal encyclopedias which were subsequently compiled from all sources — statutes, decisions, Auld Laws — and whose place was ultimately taken by the works of the institutional writers.

3. A deed, a noteworthy action or event: (1) an exploit, a feat of daring or physical skill or prowess, a gambol, caper. Freq. in I.Sc. in deriv. form prettikin (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.: Ork. 1923 P. Ork. A.S. L 66; I.Sc. 1966).Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 5:
My proticks, an' my doughty Deeds, O' Greeks! I need na' tell.
Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 170:
I'll no try sic a protick again.
Ork. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 807:
Dus aa trow merry Islington Dis pretikins he did play.
Sh. 1915 Shetland News (21 Oct.):
I was heard at Charlie Hunter climbed da sooth face o da Hustak, an I tocht at I micht try da sam prettikin.
Ork. 1920:
The boys wis tryin pretikins i the cupples o the barn.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 27:
Wi yon didna da haethin' [monkey] begin som o' her prettikins apo da tree.

(2) an escapade, esp. one of a rather discreditable kind, a piece of mischief, prank, trick (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1893 Dunbar's Works (S.T.S.) III. 178, prottick; ne.Sc. 1966, prottick). Dim. prettikin, -can (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 178, 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1966).Abd. 1746 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1765) 35:
But time that tries such proticks past, Brought me out o'er the coals fu' fast.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 77:
Ye've done your part o' this foul play, I see, But wadna play'd this proteck wartna me.
Cai. 1829 J. Hay Poems 103:
But curse sic hounds as Hare and Burke, Wha play their protics i' the dark.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 122:
They haena stoppit that protick yet.
Abd. 1961 P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 18:
Their proticks an' their capers fin they themselves were boys.
Abd. 1993:
At coorse loons is aye up tae some prottick or idder.

(3) by extension: an unusually heavy downpour of rain, a cloud-burst (Mry. 1930).

4. A venture, project, undertaking, experiment; an artful scheme, stratagem, subterfuge, machination, dodge (ne.Sc. 1966). Phr. to prieve (a) protick(s), — pratick, “to try a ridiculous experiment” (Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs Gl.), to practise schemes, use wiles (on a person), try tricks.Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 293:
Habbie was nae gi'en to proticks, But guided it weel eneuch.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
Dinna prieve your pratticks on me.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 168:
Hade ye but played your praticks weel.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
It's easy deen for them 't yauchts the grun to try protticks wi' 't.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xviii.:
You'll need to rise a wee thingie airlier an you wad prieve your pratticks on Trimmie.
Abd.1 1929:
He fell on a protick tae mak' siller frae some new breed o' hens.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (19 Sept.):
Confeerin' tae maist 'eers it's been a fell chaip protic, nae overtime an' less casual workers tae be pey't.

[O.Sc. practyk, v., to put into practice, 1420, use habitually a.1456, practik, n., a stratagem, trick c.1470, praktik, practice, method, c.1460, practik, legal usage, 1530, to preif prettik, a.1538, Mid.Eng. practik(e), O.Fr. practique, -ique, Fr. pratique, practice, usage, intrigue, Med. Lat. practica, Gk. πρακτικέ; πιστ;μη, practical science.]

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"Prattick n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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