Scottish word of the week: Pluke

MOST frequently spotted on a teenager’s forehead, the pluke (or plook/plouk) marks the growing pains of all adolescents.

Fresh-faced school pupils this group may be, but others of their age face an arduous battle with plukes. Picture: Paul Chappells

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!”).

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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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