Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Sat Dec 4 21:00:34 UTC 2010

Robin Hamilton, a subscriber to ADS, has tried to post this twice but
apparently his messages are not getting through so he's asked me to
post it for him. Thanks Robin for your interesting post on this word:

I’ve tried to post this to ADS-l twice, with no luck – do you think
you could forward it for me, please?

The same thing happened last night when I tried to reply to a post
from Bill Mullins, so I’m never quite sure at the moment what’s
getting through to the list from me, and what isn’t.






(Following the register of your dress-down Saturday post) ...

Far be it from me to question the linguistic competence of Robert Crawford,
poet, anthologist, and scholar and critic of Scottish literature, but bugger
me rigid if I've ever encountered the word "chuckie" before, other than in
the combination "chuckie stane".

This would seem to be supported by the Dictionary of the Scottish Language
(DOST and SND as was) -- -- which has an entry for
"chuckie-stane", but no relevant one for "chuckie" alone.  (Details below.)

We do find:  "DSL - SNDS2    CHUCK , n.2 1. Add variants  chuck y, chukkie.
Add to defin.: any small stone; in pl. gravel," but this doesn't give any
citations before 1979 -- go figure!  The examples of post-1979 "chuck[ies]"
would seem to be late (semi-independent?) coinages, formed from CHUCK. v.
"to throw".  The examples given do seem to parallel Crawford's usage in the
TLS as noted by Paul, so mibee I'm simply behind the times in this.

{On reflection -- consequent on the failure of the original version of this
post to reach ADS-l -- I see that the post-1979 citations are from a
supplementary entry, and that I originally missed the main (relevant) entry,
"DSL - SND1   CHUCK, Chack, n.2 Dim. chuckie. See also CHUCKIE-STANE.     1.
``A marble used at the game of taw'' (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2) ... [etc.] ..."}

Curiously, since the earliest OED citation in 1793 is from Ure's _History of
Rutherglen_, it may (or may not) be relevant to note that Professor Crawford
grew up in Cambuslang, just outside Rutherglen on the edge of Glasgow.

(My father, then minister of St. Paul's kirk in Cambuslang, confirmed Robert
Crawford in, I think, the early seventies.)

            A' built a cairn o' chuckie stanes,
                As roun' as they were bonnie,
            And 'neath that stately conic pile
                Interred the bones o' Johnnie.


DSL - SND1    CHUCKIE -STANE (STONE), Chuckey-, Chackie-, n. comb.      1.
``A small pebble; a quartz crystal rounded by attrition on the beach'' (Sc.
1808 Jam.,  chuckie -stane); ``a small flat stone used by boys for skimming
across a water surface'' (Abd.10 1920,  chuckie -stane). Also applied in
Ags. to a curling stone (Ags.17 1940). Fif.3 1916 gives chackie-stane. Known
to Bnff.2, Abd., Ags. and Fif. correspondents, Slg.3, Edb.1, Kcb.
correspondents 1940. See also CHUCK, n.2, 1.
    *Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Sc. Proverbs 113:
    Gar wood is ill to grow,  chuckie  stanes are ill to chew.
    *m.Sc. 1922 ``O. Douglas'' Ann and her Mother ix.:
    The meat . . . was a' amang the gravel. What could we do but juist scoop
up wi' a spoon what we could get --- meat,  chuckie -stanes an' a'.
    *Lnk. 1793 D. Ure Hist. Rutherglen and E. Kilbride 268:
    Quartzy nodules, or  chuckie -stones, as they are vulgarly called, are
very common, and are of various colours.
    2. In pl. ``A game played at by girls, in which four pebbles are spread
on a stone, and while a fifth is tossed up, these must be quickly gathered,
and the falling pebble caught in its descent in the same hand with them''
(Sc. 1877 Jam.4,  chuckie -stanes). Known to Bnff.2, Arg.1, Kcb.10 1940. Cf.
CHUCK, n.2, 2, and w.Yks. check-stones (see E.D.D. s.v. check, sb.2).
    *Sc. 1823 J. G. Lockhart Reg. Dalton III. vii. v.:
    Come, come, Leddy Catline --- we've had enough of this work. Time's no
chuckey-stanes --- Has your leddyship not been holding any serious


DSL - SNDS2    CHUCKIE -STANE, n.comb. Add variant chucky stane
1. Add quots.:
    *Sc. 1824 Susan Ferrier The Inheritance (1984) 465:
    "Dinna think it's the money I care for," interrupted Mr Ramsay; "I value
that five hundred pound nae mair than if it were five hundred chucky-stanes;
... "
    *m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 188:
    The Soldier moved them, using the tree trunk as a great lever; then he
rolled the rocks away and kicked them into the loch like  chuckie  stones,
doing in one afternoon what generations of folk had failed to do with ropes
and teams of harnessed oxen.
    *m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 25:
    The door that swung wi guidwull on its hinges
is no sae thrang the day as it wes then,
whan ilka callant rettled on yir wunnock
wi  chuckie -stanes tae gar ye cry them ben.
    *Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 25:
    The words came clattering out of his mouth like  chuckie  stanes on a
tin. That's the kind of voice he has.


DSL - SND1   CHUCK, Chack, n.2 Dim. chuckie. See also CHUCKIE-STANE.     1.
``A marble used at the game of taw'' (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2); ``a water-worn
quartz pebble'' (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.
correspondents, Slg.3, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940, mainly in form chuckie.
    *Edb. 1926 A. Muir Blue Bonnet 53:
    They weren't worth bunging a chuckie at.
    *Gsw. 1933 F. Niven Mrs Barry 163:
    The big house . . . stood at the top of a broad avenue strewn with
little stones (chuckies).
    *Rxb. 1833 A. Hall Sc. Borderer (1874) 24:
    Little urchins . . . selecting sets of chucks [for the game] from the
heaps of cow-lady-stanes . . . by the water side.
    2. In pl.: ``A game with marbles played by girls'' (Gall. 1824
MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 134); ``game played with these [pebbles] and a
rebounding ball'' (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Curriehill (a.1868) says that it
is ``played with small whelk shells,'' and Kcb.3 1931 says: ``now always
played with small pebbles.'' Known to Bnff.2, Ags.17, Lnk.11 1940 in form
chuckies, to Fif.13 (for Clc.), Arg.1, Kcb.10 (for Ayr. and Kcb) 1940 in
form chucks and to Ags.2, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1940 in form chacks. Also found in
n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.).
    *Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v.:
    When a wise man is with fules and bairns, he maun e'en play at the
    *Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 187:
    The Chuckies. A few pebbles were placed in the palm of the hand, thrown
lightly in the air and caught on the back of the hand between the fingers
and repeated until one failed to have any left. A variant of this and much
more difficult was at the moment of casting the chuckies the player had to
lift one or more chuckies from the ground.
    *Fif. 1897 ``S. Tytler'' Lady Jean's Son iv.:
    For she's off this afternoon to the Baillie's, to play at the chacks
with Lilias and Bess, wearing out their carpet and crushing her own gown
    *Fif.10 1939:
    The game of chacks was played with chacks (= chackie-stones) by children
(usually girls), who sat round a heap of six small rounded pebbles. The one
whose turn it was to play scattered the heap, picked up one stone, threw it
in the air, and caught it. Another pebble was taken and the two thrown up
and caught; then three, four, and so on. All this had to be done quickly,
and whoever failed in a catch dropped out. The player who got through the
series successfully was winner.
    *Kcb. 1929 (per Kcb.1):
    Chucks. At Carsluith (Creetown) this term means the ``dog whelk''
because children use them instead of rounded pebbles in the game of
    *Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar I. ii.:
    Let me see if you have influence to turn aside ane o' the hailstanes
that the deils are playing at chucks wi' in yon dark chamber!
    [Prob. from Eng. chuck, to throw or toss.]


DSL - SNDS2    CHUCK , n.2 1. Add variants  chuck y, chukkie. Add to defin.:
any small stone; in pl. gravel.
Add quots.:
    *wm.Sc. 1979 Robin Jenkins Fergus Lamont 14:
    I slid off the seat, and tiptoed away, as best I could for the path was
made of white  chuck ies.
    *wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 4:
    He threw away the rest of his  chuck ies, climbed crabways over to the
footholds he knew were there and, grasping at an outcrop of stone overhead,
gripped the first hold with his bare toes. ... "
    *wm.Sc. 1985 Alistair MacLean The Lonely Sea (1986) 9:
    Listening to the screech of the wind, we were, and the hail like  chuck
ies battering against the windows of the hotel.
    *wm.Sc. 1988 Christine Marion Fraser Storm over Rhanna (1990) 234:
    `Ach, it was what the wifie wanted to hear-and Ulva is only a stone's
throw from Uist as the crow flies.'
'Ay, if you were maybe some kind o' giant who could hurl chukkies eighty
miles over the ocean.'
    *sm.Sc. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
      chuck y a small, flat stone.
    *s.Sc. 1991:
    A  chuck ie is a throwing stone.
    *Gsw. 1991 Maud Devine in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 123:
ma cairn
stane oan stane
aye cheyngin aye growin
wurd chukkies wurd bools cast
a mountain

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