Scottish word of the week: Pluke

Fresh-faced school pupils this group may be, but others of their age face an arduous battle with plukes. Picture: Paul Chappells
Fresh-faced school pupils this group may be, but others of their age face an arduous battle with plukes. Picture: Paul Chappells
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MOST frequently spotted on a teenager’s forehead, the pluke (or plook/plouk) marks the growing pains of all adolescents.

The word’s forceful, monosyllabic thrust accurately articulates just how unsightly a bout of acne can be.

And, in a strange and coincidental lexical link, the word for the yellow ooze that bursts forth from a squeezed pluke - pus - is also a Scots word for a face (it’s most frequently employed in the quest of telling someone to be quiet, ie. “shut your pus!”).

Pluke’s origins are opaque, but the story of how acne came to be is illuminating. It’s a result of a misspelling of the Greek word acme, which translates as “the highest point”. It certainly gives the humble spot a certain nobility, though most teenagers will be of the view that it’s unearned.

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