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Recently I heard a friend refer to “stuffing something up his jouk”, meaning he had, for lack of a carrier bag, tucked a small package up his t-shirt. This meaning only makes a relatively late, twentieth-century appearance in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL), defined as:


“Of something carried, hidden under one’s jumper etc.”.


It is probably connected to another sense of the word, meaning:


“to escape or take refuge (from); to slip into concealment; to move about furtively, slink”.



In Streets of Stone (1977), Alan Spence writes the following dialogue:


“‘Take this hanky,’ said Agnes. ‘Where'll ah put it?’ said Kathleen. ‘Ah'm no takin a bag.’ ... ‘Jist shove it up yer jook,’ said Agnes”.


And in 1985, Michael Munro’s Patter defines the term thus:


“The phrase up your juke means up the front of your clothing: ‘The rain was comin’ on, so I shoved the papers up my juke’”.



In 1990, Alan Spence’s Magic Flute gives us this dialogue:


“‘Come on now. On your way!’ ‘Mingey auld bastard,’ said Eddie, outside again. ‘You got something up yer jook?’ said George. ‘Show ye in a minute!’ said Eddie”.



The term still crops up in our newspapers. Here is an example from the Herald of August 2013. It envisages a modern-day scenario of national hero Oor Wullie and his gang being caught stealing apples:


“Searches also uncovered large numbers of apples up the jouks of members of the Wullie gang, well in excess of fruit for personal use, raising suspicions they were part of a ring stealing to order from local orchards”.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel, Dictionaries of the Scots Language