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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLEECH, v.1, n. Also fleetch, flei(t)ch, fleach, ¶flaech. [fli:tʃ]

I. v., tr. To coax, wheedle, flatter; to beseech, entreat, importune (Bwk., wm.Sc., Kcb., Dmf., Rxb. 1951). Obsol. elsewhere, except in literary use. Also intr. with on, wi. Vbl.n. fleechin(g), flattery; ppl.adj. fleechan, -en, -in, wheedling; “applied to the weather when it falsely assumes a favourable appearance” (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Phr.: ‡to fleech an' fecht, “to cajole, and scold immediately after” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 81:
She fleech'd him fairly to his Bed, Wi' ca'ing him her Burdy.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 29:
Ye need na think to fleetch or cox.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ded. to G. Hamilton i.:
Expect na, Sir, in this narration, A fleechan, fleth'ran Dedication.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxx.:
Captain, it's no to fleech ony favour out o' ye, for I scorn it.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck viii.:
My mither has baith to fleitch an' fight or she can get him eggit on till't.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xxxix.:
I only say, mother, that I'll no sign ony paper whatsomever, . . . — so ye need na try to fleetch me.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 54:
E'en while I'm fleechin' wi' the hizzie For bits o' rhyme.
Dwn. 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod i.:
Ae drap to your weazen, Although it should gizen, For fechtin' or fleechin' ye'll ne'er get frae me.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xlv.:
He would often fleech on me to take part in the exercises.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 80:
But she says, fleichin', “Gudeman, be douce, He's an honest an' weel-meanin' chiel.”
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas MacLagan in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 160:
The mair they fleeched, the mair they spoke,
The mair the Duke blew out his smoke
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 215:
Mitchel almost laughed, but restrained himself. 'Away! The man would fleg the lassies wi his ill looks, no fleetch them.'
'There was nae enticement needed,' said Bell. 'He got a lass fou, and took her up on the Rock alane wi him. It was rape in aw but name.'

Hence: (1) fleecher, a flatterer, a wheedler; ¶(2) fleecherie, flattery, coaxing; †(3) fleechy, a nickname for a fawning person, in quot. of the fox. Also in n.Eng. dial.(1) Sc. 1776 Dedic. to Ramsay Proverbs 6:
Leal verity to keep me frae being thought a fleecher.
Ags. 1818 W. Gardiner Poems 39:
Fleechers fletherin', Critics bletherin'.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet viii.:
The inky-coated paidlin' preacher, The auld grave-digger, pawky fleecher.
(2) Ags. 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Poems 128:
There's a Lord o' the Barony bends the knee, There's a fule thing ta'en up wi' his fleecherie.
(3) Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems 66:
Which Dragon, Lord chief Treasurer, must pay To sly-tongu'd Fleechy on a certain Day.

II. n. A piece of flattery, cajolery.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 105:
Fair fall you, and that's a Fleech. An ironical Commendation of them, whose Words and Actions we approve not.
Lnk. 1840 in Poets and Poetry Scot. (ed. Wilson) 385:
The bridegroom, muckle press'd to dance, A' fleech and praise rejecket.

[O.Sc. fleche, to coax, cajole, from a.1400, flechowr, a flatterer, a.1420. Of uncertain orig., phs. presupposing O.E.* flæcean and ultimately connected with O.H. Ger. flēhen, Ger. flehen, to importune, beseech, but intermediate evidence is entirely lacking.]

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"Fleech v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2024 <>



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