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Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) defines ill-trickit as:


“Prone to play tricks, full of mischief, roguish”.


DSL’s records date back to 1739 with this from The Caledonian Magazine (1788):


“… Taylor Hutchin he was there, A curst illtrickit spark”.




According to a report in the Press and Journal (1898), Byron had his moments too:


“Some there are who come to see all that remains of the poet’s Deeside … Mr Stewart is full of traditions, which he heard from the daughter of the carpenter whose tools Byron had a fondness for spoiling; and, according to her, he ‘wis an ill-trickit nickum.’”


Another citation from the Northeast comes from Christine Forbes Middleton’s The Dance in the Village (1981):


“The time I’ve hid wi this ill-trickit loon, Tae describe it wirds jist fail me, An’ whit he did in his wellingtons - I hardly dare tae tell ye!”.


More recently, from Matthew Fitt’s version of the Tin Soldier from The Itchy Coo Book o Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales in Scots (2020), we encountered this:


“‘You’re lowsed fae ma service!’ the laddie-general snipped, and he flung the wee tin sodger intae the fire. Mibbe he thocht the roostit tin sodger wid look honkin in his parade, or mibbe the ill-trickit goblin whispered some sleekit haivers in his lug and the glaikit laddie listened”.



Finally, from 2021, a more benign mischief-maker in Derrick McClure’s version of Alice Through the Looking Glass:


“‘Och, ye ill-trickit wee smutchack!’ gullert Ailice, cleikin up the kittlin an giein’t a wee kissie ...”.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel.

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