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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SOUK, v., n., int. Also sook, suk (Sh.), †suke (Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 180; Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St. Kathleen III. iv.), soock- (Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 74); †sowk (Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm III. iii.); suik- (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. suck. [suk]

Sc. forms: wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 49:
My that's an awfy cough!
Yes! It's ticklish!
You want a wee boiling tae sook, or a bit o' lickerish?
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 157:
The tide must have turned. Moon up there, sooking all the water back and fore.
Edb. 1994 Douglas McKenzie in James Roberston A Tongue in Yer Heid 2:
He wad souk the soup aff the end o his spoon like a coo at a trough.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 49:
Aabody sookit pandrops tae thole the dreid o the sermon. Bit there wis an airt tae the sookin: nae crinchin wis allooed - ye'd tae sook canny an slaw; stap the fite baa aneth yer tongue till it melled wi yer ain slivvers.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 9:
'Bit early for this,' she said. 'What the hell. Slainte.'
He raised his glass, souked an inch or more out of it. 'Slainte.'
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 146:
Their recesses and angles were fading into the gathering dark. She rubbed at the pane and saw herself distorted in its whorl, an old stick being souked down into blackness.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 53:
Mixed bilins are guid an they last for a while
an suin aa the bus-load wir sookin in style.

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Ppl.adjs.: (1) soukin, lit. in combs. soukin-bairn, -wean, a child at the breast, a suckling (Sc. 1825 Jam., 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 72); also extended to unfledged birds and hence fig. applied to persons, feeble in body or mind, silly, foolish, as in sookin stirk, -teuchit, -at, -tuchit (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.; ne.Sc. 1971), -turkey (Sc. 1825 Jam.; I., n. and sm.Sc. 1971); (2) sookit, in comb. sookit gimmer, a ewe that has lambed (sm.Sc. 1971).(1) Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 67:
Whan I was young, an' in my doublit dress'd, A suckin' tuchit flappin' roun' the nest.
Ayr. 1833 Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 239:
The tottling creature, with no more sense than a sucking turkey.
Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xx.:
He depended on me owre lang, but I like nae sookin' stirks.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb v.:
Hoot, toot, laddie, that'll never do. That wud hardly be aneuch for a sookin' bairn.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 156:
He haesna' the sense o' a sookin' turkey.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 80:
I had nae mair strength than a sookin' turkey.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 28:
I didna ken whaur I was, or what I was daein, nae mair nor a soukin bairn.
Abd. 1920 R. Calder Gleanings I. 14:
Nae mair sense than a sookin' teuchit.

2. As in Eng. Derivs., combs. and phr.: (1) suck a bead, to have a drink; (2) sooker, sucker, (i) the horse-leech, Haemopis gulo (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Also in Eng. dial.; (ii) the young of the cod, Gadus callarias, or other fish; (iii) broad pondweed, Potamogeton natans (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. I. 86); (iv) auld wif(i)e's or grannie's sookers, mint imperials, pandrops (ne., em. and s.Sc. 1971); (3) sookie, -ey, (i) a suckling (Per., Ags., Rxb. 1971); (ii) as a term of contempt, a petted or over-indulged child (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. Cai., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm.Sc. 1971); (iii) adj., plump, buxom (Cld. 1825 Jam., s.v. soakie); n., a fat woman (Abd. 1971); (iv) a sucker as a child's toy (Kcb. 1971); (v) combs.: sookie bleedie, the red sea-anemone (Abd. 1950); sooky-leather, = (3)(iv) above (Watson; Per., Fif., wm.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1971); sookie nellie, a young eel (Ayr. 1890–1928); (4) sook 'e pappie, a term of contempt for a fairly old child with babyish habits, a “big baby” (Cai., Per., Lnk., Kcb. 1971), an effeminate person (Ib.); (5) souk pap, a sea-anemone (Kcd. 1911–64); (6) sook-the-bluid, a red beetle, Telephorus lividus (Watson; Slg., Rxb. 1971). Cf. n.Eng. dial. sucky-blood, id.(1) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 172:
I'll come an' meet wi' thee, my Lothie, An' suck a bead.
(2) (ii) Sc. 1895 F. A. Steel Rowans 153:
Pickers or suckers is really only the local name for young codlings, lythe, or cuddies.
(iv) Ags. 1945 S. A. Duncan Chronicles Mary Ann 26:
She gae we a' auld wifie's sookers.
Ags. 1970 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 442:
“Granny sookers” in preparation for kirk or Sunday School.
(3) (i) Ags. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 206:
We're gaun to give ye White Nigger as soon as he's stopped being a sookey.
(iv) Ags. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 144:
“Ye trying to move the flag[stone]? . . .” “A boy at school did it with a littler sookey than this.”
(6) Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangschaw 12:
Wi' sook-the-bluids and switchables The grund's fair crottled up.

3. intr. To flow in a certain direction, as if drawn by suction, to seep, lap (Ork., Ags., Per. 1971).Sc. 1876 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 122:
The water came sooking in under the door.

4. (1) tr. As in Eng., to absorb. Ppl.adjs.: sooking, absorbent, spongy, in comb. sooking ba, a sponge-rubber ball; of a curling-stone: adhesive in texture; soukit, limp, sodden, in comb. soukit fish, of fish which have had to be left on the line for some time after being caught, before they are taken off (Bnff. 1964); deriv. sooky, absorbent, tending to suck in.Per. 1889 J. A. R. MacDonald Hist. Blairgowrie (1899) 250:
They are hard, tough, have fair specific gravity, are not “sookin” stones (a grave objection open to almost all curling stones).
Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. (Spring 1956) 21:
The ba' was a clue, made up oot o' yarn just sic like as they sooking ba's the day.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (21 Jan.):
Da boddom wis a dungeon o' saft moor, as sooky as wrought clay.

(2) Of the wind: to dry (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 208, 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1971). Chiefly in ppl.adj. sookit, -ed, -id, suckid, in combs.: sookid claes, clothes on the line not yet dry enough to take in (Marw., Ork. 1963; Cai. 1967); sookid fish, half-dried fish (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C.; I.Sc., Cai. 1971).Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 470:
The love for fish in a semi-putrescent state, named sour fish, or souked fish, still prevails.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (4 Sept.):
Yon reestit — what am I sain' — sookit pilticks, ta da supper.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 47:
When half-sooked the web was ready for the finishing touch in its manufacture.
Sh. 1962 New Shetlander No. 61. 13:
Sookit skate (muckle toucht o as an aphrodisiac, if you ken what dat is).

(3) intr. To become dry, to dry (I.Sc., Cai. 1971).Sh. 1892 Manson's Sh. Almanac:
My midder scoored my new jup, an hang er furt ta sook.
Sh. 1921:
Da grund 'll sook up.
Sh. 1960 Shetland News (2 June):
Noteworthy was the thatched cottage, which appeared on three occasions, complete with pilticks “sookin” on the gable end.

5. As in Eng., to drain, to exhaust. Specif. Sc. usage, of land which has been over-cropped (Bnff. 1971). Fig. in ppl.adjs.: sookin, tiring; soukit, of animals: fatigued, exhausted, unfit to travel (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Cai. 1971).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 186:
That fairm's gey sair suckit.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 64:
John turns yamp-kin' — dargin's sookin wark, ye see.

6. Fig., to wheedle, to coax, to fawn. Phr. to souk the laverocks oot o' the lift, to be extremely persuasive. With in, to curry favour, to ingratiate oneself. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
He has a tongue in his head that could souk the laverocks out of the lift.
Gall. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy xi.:
Suck in with the maister! — We'll warm ye when we get ye oot.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde 1st Bk. McFlannels ix.:
Having more leisure to sook in with swell folk.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
And a' to sook in wi his future bride!
The big man! I'm shair Tartuffe is terrified!
Sc. 1993 Herald (6 Apr) 12:
Exclusive revelation! Probably because they want to sook in with me, I have been granted sole merchandising rites to Runrig's Fleadh appearance on June 5!
wm.Sc. 2000 Liz Lochhead Medea 3:
...for Jason's sake she fled here to Corinth
wi Jason and their bairns ingratiatin hersel
sookin in a fawning exile a foreigner
for his sake.
Sc. 2000 Daily Record (21 Mar) 41:
I'm not trying to sook in with the charming fellows who gave me such a hard time on Sunday night, but I think they can go to Ibrox next week and win.
Sc. 2000 Evening Times (19 Jul) 42:
Now, of course, we all know they are only saying that to sook in with the boss in the hope he'll pick them for the first team.
Sc. 2000 Sun (9 Dec):
It's a bit strange that McLeish is trying to court the religious vote by sooking in with the heads of churches.
Sc. 2003 News of the World (31 Aug):
Unlike some ex-Old Firm pundits who try to sook in with the punters, he even avoided the use of the word "we" when referring to his former club.

7. To suckle, to give suck to. Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. since 17th-c.Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 18:
Auld Mailie was sae thrang fillin' hersel' up, an' sookin' her twa lambs.
Sc. 1937 Oor Mither Tongue (MacWhannell) 87:
Or lift the pains whaur I sookit my weans, In the days when they were wee.

II. n. 1. As a plant-name, esp. applied to clover; in pl.: the flowers of the red clover, Trifolium pratense, sucked by children for their sweetness (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Most freq. in dim. forms sookag, a head of clover (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1971); soukie, sookie, suck(e)y, (1) clover in gen. (Fif. 1899 Colville 123; Kcd., Ags., Fif. 1971), the common red clover, Trifolium pratense (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 54; Cld., Ayr., Wgt. 1886 B. and H. 442, 457; Sh. 1971), the white clover, Trifolium repens (Fif. 1953); (2) lousewort, Pedicularis palustris (Ayr. 1886 B. and H.), or sylvatica (Sh. . 1914 Angus Gl., suki, 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. I. 86, also bee-, honey-sookie); (3) in combs.: (i) soukie-mae (Fif.), sooky-mammy, a clover flower-head (Ayr. 1937; Slg., Fif. 1971); (ii) suckie-palm, ? the flower or catkin of the willow, Salix caprea. See Palm, n.2; (iii) sooky-soo, suckie(-y)-, the flower of the clover (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 186; e.Lth. 1900; m.Lth. 1971); the white dead-nettle, Lamium album (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 163); (iv) sookie-sourocks, -soorach, wood-sorrel, Oxalis acetosella (n.Sc. 1971). See Sourock; (v) white sookie, see White, adj., 1. (62); (vi) wild-sookie, the red clover-flower (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); the cowgrass, or zig-zag clover, Trifolium medium (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 54).(1) Sc. 1743 R. Maxwell Select Trans. 94:
Sowing part of the big red Clover and part of the white and yellow Sucky with thee Rye-grass.
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 301:
In the Poems of Gavin Douglas . . . the red clover Suckey is celebrated as a flower in the garden.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 21:
The flocks an' herds are spreadin' seen, The fragrant suckies nippin'.
(3) (ii) Lnk. 1875 T. Stewart Doric Rhyme 43:
Then the gowden ‘suckie palm,' Breathin' bairnie-charmin' balm.
(iii) m.Lth. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger 76:
Threading daisy-chains and plucking “suckie-soos” in the fields.
Lth. 1956 Scotsman (11 Aug.):
He [a rabbit] seems to like the clover “sookie-soos.”

2. A quagmire, a morass. An extended usage of Eng. suck, a whirlpool or vortex.Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 103:
The peat-moss maun be just a bottomless souk.

3. Dryness in the atmosphere, the drying action of the wind (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1971).Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Hid'll need tae come a sook soon . . . Hid's makan a bonnie sook the day.
Sh. 1951 New Shetlander No. 27. 10:
Whin I hang dem oot ta dry, he wis makkin nae sook.

4. Extended usages, phs. orig. from Eng. or U.S. slang: a stupid fellow, a duffer (Sc. 1899 Mont.-Fleming s.v. suckered; Rxb. 1971), cf. Eng. slang sucker, a simpleton, dupe; a cheat, deception, swindle (ne.Sc. 1971, souk); a sycophant, toady (Ags., Slg. 1921 T.S.D.C.; m. and s.Sc. 1971, souk(-in)). Cf. Eng. to suck up to, and I. 6. Adj. sooky-in, sycophantic, currying favour.Abd. 1845 T. Denham Poems 131:
Faith bit yer ceevil — I' faith are ye — d'ye think I'm a souk?
Mry. 1969 Northern Scot (6 Dec.) 5:
The clypin' of sooky-in counter-hands, male and female, who “told” on us.
Sc. 1998 Herald (22 Aug) 18:
... a real people's history full of wit, narrative and fascinating information. And not a sook's interview with a prime minister in sight.
Sc. 1999 News of the World (3 Jan):
But I draw the line at naming Bobby Williamson as my dream team manager - there's no way I'm having the lads calling me a SOOK!
Ayr. 2000:
Yer a big souk [toady].
Sc. 2001 Daily Record (5 Dec) 18:
"Iain wasn't one of those pupils whom I immediately thought was going to be an actor, but he had a real worldly approach to life and was very intelligent and responsible. He would also respond well and contribute ideas without being a sook!"
Sc. 2002 Scotsman (16 Feb) 8:
Asparagus tips, mushrooms and prawns in a Chinese sauce and cheesecake was the oral temptation he laid before his spouse-lover the next night. What a sook! Let's hope he got his reward later on.
Sc. 2002 Scotsman (11 Dec) 14 :
Did you get into trouble?
I didn't really. I wasn't a sook or anything like that, but I never did anything too serious. In those days we used to get the tawse. I got the tawse on a few occasions for doing things young boys do. The worst thing I ever did was break into the school at lunchtime.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman (3 Mar):
... with Golly's pantryboy part this weekend being eclipsed by the unctuous Andrew, playing his Princeliness like a 'sook' to the manner born.
Sc. 2003 Scotsman (24 Mar):
When he speaks in Gaelic tones about the need for land reform, there's nothing like it. But has become a creepy leader-sook of late. Tends to get caught up in anti-Nat vitriol and sits too near Duncan McNeil.

5. Anything thoroughly soaked (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., suk).

III. int. A call (usu. repeated) to an animal, most often a calf, but occas. a lamb or pig (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (2 Dec.) 5; Dmf. 1933–35 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 327; Ork., Per. (to a lamb), Fif., Bwk. (to a pig), wm., sm.Sc. 1971). Derivs.: soukie, suckie, id. (Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 188; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Hence as a n. in 1844 quot., a calf; sucko, suiko, id. (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1971) [freq. with a short vowel sʌk, Ork. søk-]Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 67:
Sucky's tae the fox gane.
Bte. 1922 J. Sillars McBrides iii.:
The lassies laughed and cried ‘suckie, suckie,' and put on their boots.
Gsw. 1930 F. Niven Three Marys ix.:
Mary's cry of “Sookie, sookie, sookie!” sounded at the ordained times.
Peb. 1938 J. Dickson Poems 43:
Ance yowes are pampered like the tup, We'll just gang oot and cry “suck suck.”

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"Souk v., n., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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