Loving The Vernacular

Red oose

Red oose

This morning, as I was writing a fight scene for Boiling Point, the sequel to Boyle’s Law, I used the word juked, as in he juked out of the way.   It was the perfect word for the scene but when I came to type it I realised that, like oxster and oose, I could not recall ever having seen it written down.

As is often the way with these things, the more I looked at juked, the stranger a word it seemed, until finally I began to think I’d made it up.  The fact that it makes no appearance in my Chambers Dictionary didn’t help.  However, I did find it on an Australian website, Online Dictionary.  According to the references there, from the 1913 Webster Dictionary, it comes from the Scottish word jouk, meaning to bow or duck the head.

Oxster, in case you are wondering, turns out to be spelt oxter, and means armpit.  Extensive online research revealed that it is used in Irish and Northern English, as well as Scottish dialects.

Oose is a lovely Scots dialect word for fluff.  Good places for oose discovery are under beds, in the corners of pockets and beneath cushions, but probably not in crime thrillers.

Next month Thrillers With Attitude  brings you skelf, dreich, and fusty.

LG Thomson is the author of Boyle’s Law, Each New Morn, and Erosion.

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