Scottish word of the week: Gowk

The cuckoo bird is also known as the gowk. Picture: Contributed

The cuckoo bird is also known as the gowk. Picture: Contributed

If you’ve ever found yourself gawking at a gowk, the chances are you will have been looking at a cuckoo - the species of bird that feeds on insects, fruit and has been known to lay eggs in other birds’ nests.

However, the term is not exclusively reserved for bold birds. Should you ever decide to hunt the gowk, you would not be on a mission to catch a cuckoo. Rather, you would be partaking in a mischevious mission to send someone on a fool’s errand - more commonly known as an April Fool.

Gowk Day, or April Fool’s day to the privy pranksters amongst us, lands on the 1st April every year. If you become a huntegowk on this day, then unfortunately for you, you are the butt of a spring joke.

Earlier this year, The Scotsman participated in Gowk Day when we announced that athletes competing in next year’s Commonwealth Games could choose to represent either Scotland or Great Britain.

Some pranks however can cause a storm in a teacup. This is also known as a gowk storm.




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