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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STICK, n.2, adj. Also ¶styk (Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 191, 199); †steck. Sc. usages:

I. n. In combs. and phrs.: (1) aa tae sticks (and staves), all to pieces, to ruin, completely and utterly. Gen.Sc. and colloq. Eng.; (2) ower the stick, drunk; (3) stick and stiver, -stour, -stow(e), -stower, every whit, wholly, entirely, absolutely, without discrimination (Sc. 1808 Jam.). The orig. of the second element is doubtful. The earliest Mid.Eng. examples have stone, stoure. There seems to have been some later association with Du. stuk, a piece, stuiver, a small piece of money (see Sture). See also note to Stow, n.3; (4) to be nae great sticks at, = Eng. “to be no great shakes at,” to be no adept at, to be indifferent at (some skill) (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1971), prob. a metaph. from the game of single-stick. Cf. (7) below; (5) to fa' aff the sticks, to die, “a phrase borrowed from a bird when it drops down in its cage” (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Spaik; (6) to get a stick to mak a beetle o', to tak an opportunity to find fault, to use as an excuse for censure or complaint; (7) to haud the stick ower, to dominate, hold in subjection; (8) to tak clean stick, to go with all speed, set off quickly. Cf. Eng. slang to cut one's stick; (9) to tak up the sticks, to exert oneself, “to enter the fray,” “to take up the cudgels” (Sh., Bnff., Abd. 1971). Cf. (7).(1) Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 85:
Stot-beef, which, in the West Country, beats our stot-beef here all to sticks.
Sc. 1824 S. Ferrier Inheritance ix.:
They went all to sticks and staves.
(2) Wgt. 1961:
He wis ower the stick and they had tae tak him hame.
(3) Ayr. 1785 Burns To W. Simpson xxvii.:
Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an-stowe.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 214:
Which, gin I ga'e you stick an' stow, Wad tak' o'er meikle time e'now.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 34:
[He] roup't me, stick an' stour, an' flang me out.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 234:
Whilk fired Tam Borland's carthouse thack, And brunt it stick-and-stow.
Slg. 1876 A. B. Grosart Poems A. Wilson I. xxx.:
The French is coming owre to herry us out, stick and stow.
Per. 1888 R. Ford Glentoddy 39:
They'll be yours, every stick an' stow.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 143:
Ablins or than this blockaad stick-an-stow Some yauld freen' o' ours at defiance 'ill set!
(4) Dmf. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 264:
He's neye grit stecks at them eftir aw.
Abd. 1930 N. Shepherd Weatherhouse iv.:
He's nae great sticks at the pen.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick v.:
He's nae great sticks at 'e gairnerin.
(6) Wgt. 1878 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 3:
Everybuddy here's glad tae get a stick tae mak' a beetle o'.
(7) Per. 1895 I. Maclaren Auld Lang Syne 29:
Mony a factor that is hauding the stick ower the heids o' freeborn Scottish men.
(8) Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 65:
Me an' my assistant took clean stick for Huntly.
(9) Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 139:
For ony lane widow He took up the sticks.
Abd. 1877 G. MacDonald M. of Lossie v.:
Dinna ca' 'im ill names, Ma'colm . . . though I hae no richt to tak up the stick for him.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 49:
He took up the sticks on's ain account.

II. adj., from I. used attrib.: wooden, made of timber (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lth., Dmb., Dmf., Rxb. 1971). Comb. stick-Jockie, the larva of the caddis-fly in its protective sheath of gravel or straw, used as bait by anglers (Abd. 1971).Nai. 1716 Thanes of Cawdor (S.C.) 418:
Eight graft stick chairs.
Rnf. 1826 S.H.S. Misc. VIII. 156:
1 Earthen jug and steck Dish.
Ags. 1886 A. Willock Rosetty Ends 5:
He can get alang wi' a stick leg as weel as wi' a braw cork leg.
Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings II. 125:
[He] would hop across the floor in the direction of his handy stick leg.
Abd. 1943 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 346:
I thought I was to see a lad wi' a stick leg.

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"Stick n.2, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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