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Word of the Week (166): THEEK (probability 8249), by David Sutton

THEEK is a Scots word meaning 'to thatch'. One comes across it in the old ballad 'Twa Corbies':

'And with ae lock of his yellow hair-o
We'll theek oor nest when it grows bare-o'.

A CORBIE (or CORBY) is a Scots word for raven or crow. Another Scots variant of thatch is THACK. There is a dialect variant DAYCH, and a Spenserian form THETCH. Note also that THATCH can take a past form THATCHT as well as THATCHED.

Things can be THATCHY (THATCHIER/THATCHIEST), and you can UNTHATCH or DETHATCH a roof, leaving it THATCHLESS.

One who thatches is, obviously, a THATCHER, but he can also be called a HELLIER, though this applies more often to one who roofs with slate. A bundle of straw laid straight for thatching is called a YELM or YEALM, and both of these can also be verbs. In Ireland, the flexible wooden rod used to pin down thatch is called a SCOLLOP: Seamus Heaney in his poem 'Land' speaks of 'a woman of old wet leaves,/rush-bands, and thatcher's scollops.' But SCOLLOP is more usefully remembered as a variant of SCALLOP, in which case it can be a verb. A thatcher may also use a RICKSTICK, a toothed stick for combing thatch on a stack.


   













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