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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

RAIK, v., n. Also ra(i)ke, raick; re(c)k; †reack, †ryke (Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 132). [rek; †rəik]

I. v. 1. To move with speed, to cover the ground quickly (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Ayr. 1967). Ppl.adj. raikin, speedy, vigorous, also adv. readily, easily. Deriv. raiker, a long stride (Cai. 1967).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 18:
As fine as Fippence, you'll give a Groat raking. A Jest upon a Girl who is finely drest, whereas she us'd to be dirty.
m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) lxxx.:
But raikin' clouds now gather fast; And a' the lift does soon o'er cast.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 138:
He comes a raikin speed.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xviii. 29:
He raiket on the wings o' the win'.
Abd. 1872 “R. F. Bardinarus” Arn at the Flail 11:
And at a rakin' stride wi' him Come John o' Arnha'.
Abd., Per. 1904 E.D.D.:
He gaed raikin' on at an awfu' ben.
Abd. 1925 Greig & Keith Last Leaves 17:
An' she beheld Sir Lishen Brand, He was comin rakin to the town.

2. To journey, to go, gen. implying the expending of unnecessary effort; to walk, stroll (Sc. 1818 Sawers), to go in an aimless desultory way, to gad about, rove (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc. and n.Eng. dial.; of grazing animals: to spread out in an irregular line, to straggle. Ppl.adjs. raikin, wandering, rakit, that has wandered, lost (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Deriv. raker, a vagabond, wanderer, rover; vbl.n. raikin, a stroll, jaunt, informal visit.Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 13:
Come, kiss your Kate, an' rake nae mair.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
How could we turn our hand wi' our pickle hoggs i' winter if their bit foggage war a' riven up by the auld raikin hypalts?
Sc. 1820 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 342:
He, along with two companions, went . . . to spend the winter evening, or, in the common phrase, “to gie his neebors a night's raikin.”
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Applied to cattle, when they will not settle on their proper pasture, but move off to the corn, etc. Then they are said to be raikin.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 92:
Ilk half gang raikin round the wa', Ane north, the tither westlings ga.
Bwk. 1862 J. G. Smith Old Churchyard 177:
He ne'er was gi'en to raik at nicht.
Edb. 1866 J. Smith Merry Bridal 108:
Ye fell clooty raker! ye vile halanshaker.
Sh. 1888 B. R. Anderson Broken Lights 82:
Or whan da mists lay ower da hill Till raikin' dogs wid even will.
Knr. 1894 H. Haliburton Furth in Field 137:
Drove the industrious shuttle all week, and went raking and boosing on Saturday and Sunday.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 216:
To raik as we did lang ago, 'Tween 'Nithery an' Drem!
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Thae nowt are rakin' a throw-other up the fell.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
What's he gaan rakan about the hoose after? . . . She's been rakan awa tae the toon.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xiv.:
“Ay,” she replied, “if you were raiken roon Cramalt itsel'.”
Cai. 1967:
“Raikan on 'e houses”, gadding from house to house, esp. in search of gossip.

3. tr. To range over, to wander through (Sh., Abd., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1967).Edb. 1727 A. Pennecuik Poems (1787) 26:
As if the very streets you raked, Wi' skin sae blae.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Kilmeny (1874) 35:
She loved to raik the lanely glen.
Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 124:
Aff ye set to raik the moors.
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Anna Mark xliii.:
Tip our cat that rakes the roofs in the midnight.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To rek de landimors.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 69:
Tearin their duds Wi' rakin' on Sundays the fields and the wuds.

4. To work energetically and speedily, to plough through a task (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 138, Bnff. 1967), also with at (Ib.). Ppl.adj. raikin, energetic, ploughing through much work (Gregor). Deriv. raiker, one who shows unusual ability to work or act energetically (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Cf. 1.Gregor:
He's a raikin' servan'.

5. Of draught animals: to turn to the left on command (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Sic Jam., but there are difficulties about this explanation and the usage may be of a different word, phs. a mistake for or corruption of Heck, int.Fif. 1825 Jam. s.v. Haup:
Haup weel, rake weel. Try every way sooner than be disappointed; a phrase borrowed from ploughing.

II. n. 1. A journey, a long or tiring walk (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), a stroll (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Sh., Cai., Abd., Kcd., em.Sc.(a), m.Lth., Lnk., Slk. 1967), esp. a journey made to exchange gossip. Also fig. of life's journey. Phr. on the rake, wandering idly around, “on the scrounge” (Abd. 1967).Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
“A lang raik”, a great journey.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Kilmeny (1874) 35:
The wolf and the kid their raike began, And the tod, and the lamb, and the leveret ran.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 41:
Noore to lat us torfell in the waretyme of owir raik.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. vi.:
That will keep the lasses greeting till my next raik to the burrows-toun.
e.Lth. 1924 I. Adair Glowerower 70:
She ay makes a rake in to hear the latest.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 13:
It's my weird's caa, or sae I blaw, tae show whit it micht be,
this leid, yased aricht. That's mebbe a fraik
but's the brag that sets me oot on this raik.

2. (1) A journey, esp. one to or fro over a fixed route for a specified purpose, e.g. to fetch or bring a load of something, a trip, run (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 261; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Cai., Bnff., m. and s.Sc. 1967), esp. the journey from the pit-head to the coal-face for a load of hewn coal (Ayr. 1967). Also fig. of a flock of migrating birds.Abd. 1751 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 47:
One rake of six horses shall be given annually to the Heritor if required for lime, . . . four raik of six horses each for grain.
Rxb. 1751 Jnl. Agric. (1867) 8:
He is to gang 2 rak with wool and 2 rak with tarr.
Hdg. 1796 Session Papers, Petition J. Tait (26 May) Proof 26:
The deponent himself went two rakes with these goods.
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 299:
At the greatest distance specified, a cart can go two rakes in a day.
Peb. 1842 Children in Mines Report II. 458:
What I mean by a rake is a journey from the daylight with my wooden backit to the coal-wall, and back with my coal to the day-light, when I throw the coals on father's hill, and return.
Ayr. 1888 R. Lawson Ailsa Craig 50:
An old Girvan fisherman once declared “They [puffins] come 12 raik a day, and 156 million thousand at a raik!”
Knr. 1894 H. Haliburton Furth in Field 21:
How many thraves of wheat he could lead at one rake.
Rxb. 1919 Kelso Chron. (14 March) 4:
Dan seldom failed to get up beside the youth in the cart and go “raiks” with him.
wm.Sc. 1923 H. Foulis Hurricane Jack 26:
He couped ower the side o' the cairt the best part o' the coals we slung to him, and came back from every rake wi' another gill in him.

(2) as much as can be carried in one load (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 261; Cai., Mry., Kcd., m. and s.Sc. 1967), e.g. two pailfuls of water, a cart-load of farm produce (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Lth., Dmf., Gall. 1967), a train of loaded coal hutches (Slg.. Fif., w.Lth., Lnk. 1967). Freq. used as coll. pl. Comb. cairt-raik, see Cairt, n.1 Also in intensive form raiker, a large load (Cai. 1967).Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 59:
I'll gar haf-a-crown and haf-a-mutchkin or a rake o' coals do it a'.
Rnf. a.1794 A. Wilson Poems (1876) II. 25:
He kend how mony mile 'twas to the moon, How mony rake wad lave the ocean toom.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
He brings twa, thrie, etc. raik a day; applied to dung, coals, etc., in which carts and horses are employed, as equivalent to draught. It is also applied to the carriage of water in buckets. In this sense, a raik is synon. with a gang. I need scarcely add, that both these terms primarily respect motion, or the extent of ground passed over.
Sc. 1818 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) V. 160:
A pair of horses may drive 8 raik a day at an average which is 16 cart load.
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 249:
A draught, or, as it was called, a rake of water, was of some pecuniary value, arising from the labour required in carrying it to the houses of the inhabitants.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 70:
We'll need a hantle o' water for this wark. Tak' the twa kits an' fetch us a rake o' water.
Dmb. 1901 Daily Record (28 Nov.) 3:
A number of lads were riding on a rake of hutches at Meiklehill Colliery, Kirkintilloch, yesterday morning, when a coupling broke.
Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness iii.:
Then he fetched a “double-rake” of water from the well, and covered it up carefully so that it would not freeze in its place behind the door.
w.Fif. 1952 B. Holman Diamond Panes 58:
It was only after a young miner had been a “drawer” for some time, when he took the loaded hutches to a point where a pony took a “raik” (a load of hutches) to the pit bottom, that he was promoted to be a “filler” of hutches.
Dmf. 1962 J. C. I. McConnel Upper Nithsdale Coalworks 55:
The Lye or siding is the place to which hutches are drawn from various adjacent working “places” for collection into “rakes” or trains for attachment to the mechanical haulage and so to the pit-bottom. ‡(3) of food: what can be conveyed to the mouth at one time, a spoonful; a helping (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).
Ags. 1918:
Raik I have heard during the War used by an Angus man in the phrase “twa raik”, meaning two helpings.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
A made a faisable mael oot o . . . caald flesh, picklt ingans, an nae skrimp o laif; wui twae rake o curny-dumpleen owre-an-abuin.
Edb. 1960:
He's a hard man, that. He was suppin his parritch when they tellt him his wife was deid, and he juist missed ae raik o the spune.

(4) a batch of manufactured articles, esp. in the steel trade, e.g. a pile of steel plates (Lnk. 1948).

3. Speed, pace, rate (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Slk. 1967); great energy (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 138).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 103:
Their milk-white lads, I's warrant half a score, At a gueed rake were running on before.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
It is said of a horse, that takes a long step or moves actively, that he has a great raik of the road.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 144:
The second man cam' mair rake nor me.

4. A quantity of work done quickly (Gregor), one who works speedily but in a slap-dash manner (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.).Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 82:
A raik of a worker.

5. A cattle or sheep walk, pasture, range (Sc. 1808 Jam., 1863 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 725; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr. c.1930; em.Sc.(a) 1967). Gen. in combs. with cattle-, flock-, sheep-, etc.Bwk. 1764 Session Papers, Yules v. Others, State of Process 50:
A good part of the outfield ground was kept in flock-rake or pasturage.
Sc. 1781 Caled. Mercury (8 Oct.):
The Farm of Brunt and Redpathneuck, lying within the parishes of Dunbar and Spott, and consisting of about 509 English acres, part arable and part stock-rake.
s.Sc. 1799 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (15 May):
The stock has had a stinted subsistence upon bare pastures, or at best a rake upon new sown grases.
Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother (1825) I. 103:
An' I thocht in my dream that my father had gane away to the Dreigh Brae, to bring down the hogs to the sheloch reck.
Ags. 1895 D. H. Edwards Around the Ancient City 176:
Crossing the “Cattle Rake” which before the days of railways was the droving road between Aberdeen and Perth.
s.Sc. 1949 Notes for Farmers (23 March):
Wherever new drains are to be laid on try to have them put on to run the same way as the heft of sheep go on their rake out and in.

6. A stretch of river used for salmon-fishing. Also attrib. Comb. raik-dyke, a stone dam built across a raik.Abd. 1721 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VIII. 77:
4 December. — Given Thomas Spark 6 shil. in earnist to be my halfnets man in the Reack next yeir.
Abd. 1746 Hist. Papers Jacobite Period (S.C.) I. 271:
Thomas Burnet of Kirkhill, One of his Masters in the Raick fishing.
Mry. 1763 Caled. Mercury (9 July) 328:
The Salmon Fishings opposite to the town of Garmouth, upon the water of Spey, . . . called the Haven. Pot, Rake, and Currach cobles fishings.
Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 804:
A little below the church a raik dike has been formed in the middle of the river, in the shape of a horse-shoe; and this, with other rude constructions for the convenience of the salmon and flounder-fishings, are all that the hand of man has done for the improvement of this interesting but much neglected little river.

7. The path along which clouds are driven by the wind (Slk. 1825 Jam.).

8. A roving, gadabout person or animal, one who wanders about from place to place in search of gossip or entertainment (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Cld. 1880 Jam.; Sh. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., ne.Sc., Per., Slg., Fif., Lth., Lnk., sm. and s.Sc. 1967). Also fig. of a desultory reader.m.Sc. 1920 O. Douglas Penny Plain iii.:
“I needn't ask you if you are fond of reading” “Much too fond” confessed Jean. “I'm a “rake at reading”.”
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 18:
Ee'r an awfih raik, callant; where heh ee been ti the day? Oh, thon yin? Hei's duist a nicht rake.

9. A number of moving objects strung out in a row, a line, a series. Phr. on raik, in sequence. Cf. v., 2.s.Sc. 1769 T. Pennant Tour 51:
A large stone on which a man is placed to observe what is called the reck of the salmon coming up.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms 4:
'Grees; . . . Fourteen Psalms, on raik frae CXX. till CXXXIV, wi' sic headin.

[O.Sc. rake, to go, proceed, from 1375, of grazing animals. c.1480, to roam about, a.1568, salmon-fishing reach, 1358, a way, journey, c.1420, a turn with a load, 1623. Two different O.N. words have coalesced here and are no longer distinguishable in Mod. Sc., viz. reik(a), a (to) stroll, walk, wander, and rák. a streak, a path along which cattle are driven or graze. See also note to Rack, n.2]

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"Raik v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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