Scottish word of the day: Glaikit

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Glaikit (pronounced glay-kit; also spelt glaiket) is an adjective used to describe a stupid, foolish and thoughtless person or action. It is mainly used in Scotland and Northern England, like in: “Don’t just stand there looking glaikit, do something!”

The origins of this word are quite obscure. It seems to come from the Scots word glaiks which means tricks, pranks, and evolved in the first half of the 15th century to the Middle English word gleek. Before designating the fans of the Glee series, gleek, which isn’t used in everyday language anymore, means a jest or a trick. “To give someone the gleek” is to mock someone.

Glaikit is used in The Irish Cottier’s Death and Burial by 18th century Ulster poet James Orr:

“An’ now an’ then divert awa their care by tellin’ tales to please some glaiket wean”