The East Neuk
The East Neuk
the East-Nook Coast c.1706 SND1 [DSL, from its earliest record of the name, in J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 70: ‘But now, good Sirs, this Day is lost, The best Dog in the East-Nook Coast’]
the East Nook 1710 Sibbald 1803, 78 [where, Sibbald states, the Scots were overthrown by the Danes in 874]
the East Nook of Fife 1790s OSA 445 [Kilconquhar is ‘in that part of the county of Fife, which, on account of the narrowness of the land, jutting out into the German Sea (the North Sea), and washed by the friths of the Forth and the Tay, is called the East Nook of Fife’]
the East Neuk 1845 NSA ix, 90 (KBS) [‘the easternmost point of land of what was called in the olden time the Kingdom of Fife’]
Sc east + Sc neuk
Sc neuk can mean ‘corner, recess’, but ‘also used in place-names of a projecting corner of land, especially the East Neuk of Fife’ (SND1, DSL). This would appear to be an early modern coining. It must go back to the Older Scots meaning of nuke, referring to a ‘point of land projecting into the sea; any projecting point of land’; an English source of 1577, quoted in DOST, referring to the Mull of Galloway, has the following: ‘As for Galloway it selfe, it yeeldeth out a great point promontory or cape (which the Scots call a Mule or Nuke) into the Irish Sea’.
In modern usage ‘The East Neuk’ refers to the area from Elie to Crail, including the hinterland up into the east Fife upland known as the Riggin o Fife. St Andrews never seems to have been considered part of it, though it is obvious from the NSA reference quoted above that KBS was. If not within an obvious Fife context, it is usually referred to as ‘The East Neuk of Fife’.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3