Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A cuckoo.
  • noun A stupid fellow; a gawk. See gawk, 2.
  • To make (a person) look like a fool or gawk; puzzle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To make a, booby of one); to stupefy.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The European cuckoo; -- called also gawky.
  • noun A simpleton; a gawk or gawky.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Northern England, Scotland a cuckoo
  • noun a fool

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Old Norse gaukr ("cuckoo").

Examples

  • _Durak_, -- a "ninny" or "gowk" -- is sent to take care of the children of

    Russian Fairy Tales A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore

  • The Scotch employ the term "gowk" to express a fool in general, but more especially an April fool; and among them the practice which we have described is called

    Connor Magan's Luck and Other Stories

  • GOWKED, from "gowk," to stand staring and gaping like a fool.

    Every Man in His Humor

  • Thus "hunting the gowk" is to send someone on a fool's errand.

    April 1st -- Feast of Fools

  • Thus "hunting the gowk" is to send someone on a fool's errand.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • I looked at the Bailie, who acknowledged, in a whisper, “that the gowk had some reason for singing, ance in the year.”

    Rob Roy

  • He loved all Jenny's children deeply-especially Ian, the wee gowk whose mixture of foolishness and pigheaded courage reminded him so much of himself at that age.

    Drums of Autumn

  • When I heard her knock, I soared from the chair where I had been grinding at return-trip calculations, hit my knee on the desk, and in the pain swore at myself for a lubberly old gowk.

    Explorations

  • All the gowk in him came uppermost; he did not know what he was doing; he put the Bible awkwardly on the book-board in front of him, and it, too, slid to the floor with a noise even more alarming than that of the rolling sweet.

    Gilian The Dreamer His Fancy, His Love and Adventure

  • Leevie was makin 'a gowk o' ye to gar ye hang oot signals for her auld jo.

    Doom Castle

Comments

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  • Old Norse - cuckoo. May also be remnant in regional dialects of English.

    February 4, 2008

  • Also golk. --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    May 20, 2011

  • A gowk's-storm referred to "some days of tempestuous weather which is believed by the peasantry to take place periodically with the visit of the cuckoo in April." --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    May 20, 2011