Glossary

Note the Scots plural form –is (we’d use –s/-es), and the Scots past participle –it (we’d use –ed), which you may want to drop off a word when looking for definition.

U, v & w were interchangeable before spelling was regulated. Also ‘i‘s in place of ‘j‘s (or otherwise when in Roman numerals).

Qu – is often used instead of “wh“. Hence the abbreviations qm – “whom” / qr – “where” / qch – “which“.

Þ þThorn – “th“. Often a “y” is used instead as in “Ye olde pub“, which was always said “The old pub“.

Ʒ ʒYogh – “y“. An archaic Scots letter that made the surname “Menʒies” pronounced “Mingus”. Often a z replaces it being aesthetically similar rather than for the “z” sound.

The  majority of archaic Scots text becomes clearer on reading it aloud. The  varying spelling can make it seem like a daunting task but I find  saying the text out loud usually makes it obvious.

 

Abone / Abowe   Above.*

Abrogat   Repealed.

Acavite   Aquavitæ, whisky.*

Accompt   Account. 

Accres    Increase.

Adettit   Indebted.*

Adjunit   Joined.*

Adscrived   Subscribed.

Advertit   Notified.*

Adwysse    Advice.

Aell    Ale. 

Aeriare    To build aeries as hawks. 

Afoir / Afor   Before.*

Againis / Agane   Against.*

Airt and Part   Aiding.*

Aisiament   Convenience.*

Aitht / Aithe*   An oath or pledge. 

Aitmeill   Oatmeal.*

Aittis   Oats.*

Allanerlie / Allenerly / Alleanerly*   Only.

Almoigne   Tenure where a religious corporation holds lands given to them and their successors forever.

Almus   Alms.*

Alls   As.*

Alluterlie   Completely / Entirely.

Als / Alsua   Also.*

Alsmekle   As much.*

Amanuensis   Transcriber – someone who writes/types up documents or dictation.

Amit   Lose.*

Analeys   Alienates.*

Analyt    Transfer. 

Ane   A / An / One.

Anent   About / Toward.

Ansuare   Answer.*

    Abbreviation of Anno [year]. 

Appearand   Appearing.*

Appenage    Patrimony. 

Appropreys   Appropriate.*

Appryle    April.

Appunctuat   Fixed by agreement. / Appointed. 

Arguit   Blamed.*

Argwn   Challenge.*

Arras    Tapestry / ies.

Arryssade / Arisad   For a full description of this form of common Highland female dress I give a quote from M. Martin’s ‘A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland’ (1703);

The ancient dress wore by the women, and which is yet wore by some of the vulgar, called arisad, is a white plaid, having a few small stripes of black, blue and red; it reached from the neck to the heels, and was tied before on the breast with a buckle of silver or brass, according to the quality of the personThe plaid being pleated all round, was tied with a belt below the breast; the belt was of leather, and several pieces of silver intermixed with the leather like a chain. The lower end of the belt has a piece of plate about eight inches long, and three in breadth, curiously engraven; the end of which was adorned with fine stones, or pieces of red coral. They wore sleeves of scarlet cloth, closed at the end as men’s vests, with gold lace round them, having plate buttons with fine stones.”

Arrysse    Arise.

Assoilzied / Assolye*   Absolved, released from blame.

Assoor   Assure.*

Assurit   Assured.*

Ather    Either.

Attoure   Over and Above.*

Aucht   Ought / Eight.*

Auctoritey    Authority.

Auen    Own.

Aught   Eighth / Possession.

Auisytly   Attentively.*

Auld / Aulde   Old.*

Authoreiss   Authorize.*

Aventale   Vizor.*

Awin   Own.*

Aye   Yes / Always.*

Ayles   Alleys.*

Ayrschep   Heirship. 

Bailye   Officer.*

Baine   Bone.*

Bairn   Child; Bairn’s part of gear, a child’s legal share of inheritance.*

Baith   Both.*

Bakyne    Baked.

Balzirie    Baillie.

Ban   Curse.*

Bands   Hinges.*

Bangster   Bully.

Bannok   Cake.*

Barmekyn   Barbican.*

Barrikin   Sort of cloth.*

Barronfrew    Renfrew.

Bataling   Battlement.*

Be   By.*

Beadds / Bedis   Beds.*

Beadle   Church official who may keep records/assist in religious functions. 

Beand   Being.*

Bearand   Bearing.*

Begud / Begwd*   Began.

Beircorie   Sort of Cloth.*

Behoved    Found it necessary.

Beseikys   Beseech.*

Betuix   Between. 

Biggit / Bygyt   Built.*

Bigged   Inhabited.

Bignes   Size.

Bigod   Bigoted.

Birlings   Galleys.*

Black-maill   Protection money.*

Boitis   Boats.*

Bonds   Serfs.*

Boord-cloaths   Table-cloths.*

Bordoyris   Borders.*

Bot / But   Without.*

Bot-gyf   Unless.*

Bouage   A tenure of pasture.*

Bowkill   Buckle.*

Bow-houssis   Cattle-houses.*

Boaks / Box / Bocks*   Vomits.

Braid   Bread loaves.*

Braik ward   Escapes prison.*

Brecbennach   Banner of St. Columba, kept by the Abbey of Arbroath.*

Brekis   Breeches.*

Brekkys   Breaks.*

Brifflie    Briefly.

Broads / Brods   Pictures.*

Brueria    A thicket of broom.

Bruiking / Bruikyt   Enjoying / Enjoyed.*

Brouderit   Embroidered.*

Brunt    Burned.

Buird    Table.

Burna    A burn or brook. 

Buttis   Boots.*

Bwrnis   Burns.*

Byilzeitt    Boiled. 

By-name   Nickname.*

Calceia-ae    A causeway.

Cannel    Cinnamon.

Calumnies    Lies. / Slanders. 

Caparison    Harness / saddle covering.

Cessionaris   One to whom a cession of property is made. (Usually coupled with “assignais”/”assignay”)

Chairged   Summoned.*

Chalmer    Chamber / room.

Chalmer-fie   Room hire.*

Chargeit   Loaded.*

Cherisse    Cherish.

Chikynis    Chickens. 

Chirurgian   Surgeon. 

Claia wiscata    A wattled hut. 

Cnoll    A knoll. 

Cobella    A coble, or flat fishing boat. 

Coillis / Colys*    Coal. 

Colpindach   A heifer.*

Compeir / Compear(ed)   Appear in court. 

Composition    Agreement.

Compt   Account.*

Concurse    Consent.

Contravenier    Offender.

Contre / Cwntray   Country.*

Contumacious   Stubbornly disobedient towards authority. 

Contumely   Insolent or insulting language or treatment.

Conversi   Lay brothers of a monastery.*

Coram / Quorum   Company / gathering.

Corda    An instrument of hunting. 

Cordiner   A shoemaker.*

Cosing   Cousin.*

Craiges   Necks.*

Craiftious   Skilful.*

Cramosie   Crimson.*

Craying    Melting.

Cro   Penalty for slaughter.*

Croise / Croyse    Cross.

Croysaid    Crusade.

Cundos(um) / Condosum*   The ridge of a hill. 

Cudbear   Purplish / red dye from some lichens. 

Cuik    Cook.

Cunzie    Coinage.

Cursouris   Stallions.*

Cut-thrott   Short pistol.*

Dae    Doe (female deer).

Daft   Crazy.*

Dames   Damask*

Damnache   Damage.*

Dauach (of land)   What may be tilled by a plough of oxen.*

Deasoil   Clockwise. 

Delate   Report. 

Delaitit   Accused.*

Demitted   Resigned. 

Denunced    Denounced. / Proclaimed.

Depones   Gives testimony.

Depones   Deposed.*

Depredat(ion)    Driving away cattle with use of arms.

Dereckly   Exactly.*

Detruded   Discarded. 

Deyn   Dead; applied to any dignified churchman.*

Diffident   Reticent / Lacks Confidence. 

Dinmont   A wedder of the second year.*

Disais   Disease.*

Dischone   Breakfast.*

Disinterested   Unbiased / Actions taken without thought of personal gain. 

Dispone   Legally transfer property. 

Disson   Dozen. 

Divers   Diverse / Various.

(In) Dominico   In the actual possession of the lord of the soil.*

Dornik   Kind of linen.*

Dowis    Doves. 

Dowsand / Dussone   Dozen.*

Duil-weid   Mourning clothes.*

Durst   Dare. 

Dwne   Done.*

Dyet   Fixed time* / Appointment.

Dyittit / Dyteing   Dictated / Dictating.*

Earth-doggs   Terriers.*

Eig   Age.*

Ekit   Added.*

Eleemosynary   Relating to charity. 

Egyptians   Gypsies. 

Enach   Ransom.*

Enfilade   Direct a volley of gunfire along a course. 

Enlarged    Released.

Enow   Enough. 

Erd   Earth.

Ere    Before.

Escheat    Forfeiture of property.

Extrude    Extract.

Eyre   Plough.*

Fader    Father. 

Faile   Turf.*

Fain   Willing.*

Fair fall thee   Good luck to you.*

Falda    A fold. 

Fellon   Fierce.*

Fenyeit   Feigned.*

Ferrioris   Ferrymen.*

Feu   Perpetual right of inheritance.*

Fiar   Person in the fee of an estate.*

Fico   Fig, in the, “I don’t give a fico,” sense.

Fluand   Flowing.*

Fomenter   Inciter.

Forasmeikle / Forsamekil*   Forasmuch.

Forby    Besides. 

Forfault    Forfeit. 

Forisveiae / Forsveiae    A penalty for trespassing; perhaps for turning out of a road. 

For-quhy   Because.*

Frathynfurth   From thenceforth.*

Fraught   Travel by water.

Froward   To be openly rebellious.

Fuiresday   Thursday.*

Fulyie   Filth / Manure.*

Furnesing   Provisions.*

Furnest   Furnished.*

Furnisar    Supplier. 

Gallepyn    Turnspit / under-servant. 

Galnes   Satisfaction for slaughter.*

Gart   Made.*

Gewand   Giving.*

Gif    If. 

Gile   A Gill, still used in the north of England for the cleft of a hill of the channel of a brook. 

Glaslawis   Instrument of torture.*

Gossep    Godparent.

Grait    Greet / Great  (context req.) 

Grateumly    Greatly.

Greive   Farm-overseer.*

Gresmen   Pasture tenants.

Grimell    Grumble.

Guerdon   Reward.

Guerra    [En]Querré / Enquiry.

Gutt   Gout.*

Hafande   Having.*

Haill   Whole.

Hain    Enclose.

Hakbuts   Muskets.*

Haldand   Holding.*

Haldin / Haldyn*   Held.

Half-hag   Short gun.*

Halghes / Halkahs / Halechs / Hauhwes    Haughs or meadows.

Hamesukin   Assault in one’s own house.*

Harrang    Speech.

Haud / Hawd*   Hold.

Haugh   An alluvial plain by a river side.*

Heighted   Raised.

Heirintyll   Hereto.*

Heithertills    Until now.

Hes   Has / His (context req.). 

Hewit   Coloured.*

Hog  A sheep before it has been once shorn.*

Hogaster    Perhaps a hog or young sheep. 

Hogus / Hogh    A hill or mount. 

(Put to the) Horne   Denounced a rebel.*

Hosting   Military service.*

Houndir   Hundred.*

Ilk   Same* / Each.

Ilkane   Every one.*

Imbutet   Instructed.*

Imprimis    Firstly.

Incontinently    Immediately.

Indewe    Endow.

Indytit   Indicted. Accused / Charged with a crime. 

Infeft(ment)   Official or symbolic bestowal of heritable land on a person. 

Inlaik   Failure.*

Inlangis / Enlang   Along.

Inrun   Incur.*

Intermedle    Interfere.

Inwere    Civil war.

Inwitt    Invite.

Insewing    Ensuing.

Irne   Iron.*

Iter    Roman footpath.

J (roman numeral)   1 – the last “i” can be a “j” but denote the same number.

Jack   Vest of mail.*

Jois   To enjoy. / Have the use of. 

Josit   Enjoyed.*

Joynter    Jointure. The estate held by a wife for as long as she survives her husband.

Julij    July.

Junij    June.

Kain   Petty rent paid in kind.*

Kend   Known.*

Kist    Chest.

Kitching/Kiching    Kitchen. 

Klept   Named. 

Knapit   Knobbed.*

Kye   Cows.*

Kyngrikis   Kingdom.*

Kythit   Showed.*

Ladit    Laden.

Laich   Low.*

Laidnar    Larder. 

Land    In relation to Edinburgh’s history, lands were buildings containing apartments. Houses.

Landae    Arable lands. 

Lauandrie    Laundry. 

Lauchfull   Lawful.*

Laute   Loyalty. 

Lave   Rest.*

Lawer   Jug.*

Lazar House   Leper hospital or place where lepers were quarantined to. 

Lecche    Small stream through a ditch. 

Leid    Load.

Leidge   Subject.

Leill   True.*

Lent    Slow (fever).

Lèse-majesté    Treason.

Lesum    Legally permissible.

Lethron   Leathern.*

Leyth   Light.*

Libra / lib / (l., s., & d).    £, (pounds, shillings & pence). 

Licentiat    Allow.

Limer / Limmar*   Thief / Villain / Rogue.

Logiae    Lodges. 

Lollardry / Lollardy   Mediaeval English movement for ecclesiastical reform. 

Lubberdly   Lazy / Idle. 

Lunt   Match.*

Lyand   Lay down.

Maij    May.

Mair   More.*

Maison-dieu   Hospital or foundation of charity.*

Maist   Most.*

Man   Servant / Vassal.*

Mannyr   Till or cultivate. 

Manrent    A solemn oath to support another.

Manteined / Manteym*   Maintained.

Marchis   Boundaries.*

Markque (Letter of)    Authorisation from a Regent for the holder to seek redress from any national of the country that did them wrong.

Mart   An ox killed at Martinmas.*

Maser   Bowl.*

Maugre   Despite / Notwithstanding.

Mayling   The action of leasing property. 

Meetest    Best.

Menschattis   Fine flour rolls.

Mercat   Market. 

Mereburne    A boundary stream. 

Meruaille    Marvel.

Midden   Dung / Rubbish heap.

Moeta    A meute or cry of hounds.

Mon be    Must be. 

Moneth   Month.*

Montebanck    Charlatan / Con man.

Mot   Might.*

Moyane   Means.*

MS. / MSS. Manuscript/(s).

Murren    Grumbling.

Murrions   Helmets.*

Murthering    Murdering.

Muskingis   Mutchkins.*

Mussa    A moss or peat bog. 

Mutch   Cap.*

Nather    Neither.

Nayn / Nane / Nain*   None. 

Napery   Table-linen.*

Nativi   Natives / Neyfs / Villains.*

Nocht  Not.*

Nooks   Corners.*

Noutis   Nuts / Pine Cones.*

Nutrix    Wet nurse. 

Nychtbour   Neighbour.*

Obleissis   Oblige.*

Obloquy    Strong public condemnation.

Obtest    To bear witness to.

O’er / Owr*   Over.

Office-houis   Workshop.*

Of-tuik   Took off.*

Ony   Any.*

Orison    Plea / Prayer.

Ouklie    Weekly. 

Owche   Jewel.*

Owrlukyt   Overlooked.*

Pallium   Robe appropriate to an Archbishop.*

Pasmentis   Stripes sewed on.*

Pasquil   Satyrical rhyme. 

Pastisar    Pastry chef. 

Pecuniall    Pecuniary / Monetary. Relating to money.

Penis   Pens.*

Perfyte    Perfect.

Persawend   Perceiving.*

Persewes    Pursues.

Petae / Petaria    Peats, a peatary or peat moss.

Placks    A type of coin.

Plenissing   Furniture.*

Plwche   Plough.*

Pock   Bag.*

Posseid   Possess.*

Pot-valiant   Courage due to drinking alcohol.

Privity/ey    Knowledge.

Priue   Privy.*

Prodigies    Omens.

Promove    Promote.

Propyn    Something given as a gift.

Prorogat    Extend / Lengthen.

Pryce    Seizure. / Something seized.

Pwr / Puir   Poor.*

Quaich   Small drinking cup.*

Queit   Wheat.*

Quha    Who.

Quhairin    Wherein. 

Quham   Whom.*

Quhatsumewyr   Whatsoever.

Quhen   When.*

Quhidder   Whether.*

Quholsome    Wholesome.

Quhome    Whom. 

Quhilk   Which. 

Quhingear / Quhinzeir   Short sword or dagger. From the Gaelic ‘Cuinnsear’. Sometimes ‘Whinger’.

Quhipt   Whipped. 

Quhois / Quhais   Whose.*

Quhyt / Queyt*   White. 

Quinzdor   Gold piece.*

Quytclaim    To Renounce a Claim. 

Rae    Roe deer.

Rancountred   Engaged (in battle).

Randred    Rendered.

Ratch   Lock.*

Reasit   Raised.*

Reid   Red.*

Reiterat   Repeated. 

Reiving   Robbing.*

Relict   Widow. 

Remeid   Remedy.*

Reparel   Repair.*

Repone  Reinstate. 

Repyn    Complain.

Requyste    Request.

Resaitting    Receiving / Accepting.

Resaue / Resauit   Receive / Received.*

Reseing    Resign.

Restand   Restituted / Restored. 

Reuelled    Ruled.

Rockariss/Rokkaris    Rockers [nannies] of royal infants. 

Rounged   Nibbled.*

Rowmis   Rooms.*

Rubricate  Add decorative initial to a manuscript. 

Ryal    A type of coin.

Saintjohnstown   Perth.*

Sair   Sore.*

Sammyn   Same.*

Sanctis   Saints.*

Sarkis   Shirts.*

Saulis / Sawlys   Souls.*

Scalinga    A summer hut used by hill shepherds. 

Scauts   Little boats.*

Schath / Skaith   Harm.*

Schauand   Showing.*

Schenes    Scenes.

Scho   She.*

Schone   Shoes.*

Schyris   Sirs.*

Sederunt   The sitting of an ecclestiastical assembly. 

Senistrously    Maliciously. 

Sensyne   Since then.*

Sessnatt   Fine silk fabric.

Sic    Such. 

Sicker   Secure.*

Sicklyk    Such like / such as. 

Sicus    A syke or ditch. 

Sickirast   Securest. 

Simpliciter    Simply.

Sinistrows    Misleading.

Sixte   Sixty.*

Sklaitts    Slates.

Sorner    Someone who stays in your house & eats your food without contributing. (Scrounger is what we’d use but sorning was considered a crime.)

Soverty    Surety.

Span   Orkney measure of weight.*

Speats   Floods.*

Spekyne   Speaking.*

Spenis   Spanish.*

Spoliated    Plundered / robbed. 

Spulyeit   Spoiled.*

Stagnum    A yare or wear in a river. 

Staincros    Stone cross.  

Standande Stane    Standing stone. 

Steel-bow   Tenure of land where the stock belongs to the landlord.*

Steugh   Commotion.*

Stirks   Young oxen.*

Straik / Strayk   Struck.*

Sture    Conflict.

Sua   So.*

Subscriving    Signing.

Suld   Should.*

Symmer    Summer. 

Tack   Lease.*

Tain / Tayne   Taken.*

Takand   Taking.*

Targe / Targatt    Shield.

Teinds / Teynd*   Rent from land that maintained the local clergy. 

Tergiversation    Equivocation. 

Thairanent   Thereabouts. 

Theking   Thatching.*

Therof / þerof   Thereof.

Thesaur / Thesaurer     Treasure / Treasurer.

Thocht   Thought.*

Thole   Suffer.*

Throch   Through.*

Tinsell    Loss.

Toucher / Tocher / Tochir*   Dowrie.

Traist    Trust.

Trewes    Truce.

Trims    Dresses.

Trump(e)ry    Deceit. 

Toures    Towers.

Traist    Trust. 

Trigild    The penalty / fine for destroying trees. 

Tua   Two.*

Tulʒie, Tulyie    Skirmish.

Turbae / Turbaria    Turfs, a place from which turf for fuel is cut. 

Twichit / Tuich   Touched / touch. 

Tysday   Tuesday.*

Umquhill / Vnquhill*   Deceased. 

Upland   Rustic.*

Utheris   Others.*

Utwere    Foreign war? 

Veschell    Vessel / utensil. 

Viands    Food / Edibles. 

Vilepend    Express contempt.

Violaris    Viol players / instrumentalists. 

Virschypful   Worshipful.*

Vyff   Wife.*

Vyne/Wyne    Wine. 

Vynter    Winter. 

Waccand    Vacant.

Wadset   Land held in pledge.*

Waickand   Alert. 

Waiked / Waulked   Thumped. 

Waird   Prison / Ward.*

Wald   Would.*

Waxes    Says a lot.

Weil / Weyll   Well.*

Weill   Wellbeing / veal (context required). 

Wes   Was. 

Wha   Who.*

Whilom   Previously. / Formerly.

Wictuall(s)    Victuals. / Food. / Provisions.

Widdershins   Anti-clockwise. 

Wodset / Wadset   To give / pledge in security, specifically a mortgage (land or other heritable property).

Woir   Wore.*

Wold / Wald   Would.*

Wotting    Voting.

Wounted    Usual.

Wpe   Up.*

Wpoun   Upon. 

Wsse    Use.

Wther   Other.

Wtherwayes    Otherwise.

Wylie coat   Vest.*

Yarnand   Yearning.*

Ye / þe   The.

Yeattis   Gates.*

Yklept / Yclept    Previously named. 

Yis   Ice. 

Yule   Christmas.*

Zeir(e) / ʒeir(e)   Year. 

Zow / ʒow   You.

 

For anyone interested, I direct you to the  online Dictionary of the Scots Language.

For ‘Balfour’s Historical Works’, the original transcript (rather than the updated) mentions dates often as being the “(no.) of the ides of (month)”, or the “(no.) of the kalends of (month)”, and “(no.) of the nons of (month)”. I initially took as read the date was the (no.) of the (month) but I quickly found I was wrong. If you come across a date mentioned in this way, to obtain the correct date referred to please visit a Medieval English Calendar, it’s a super handy site for this purpose.

For further information of any Acts of Parliament mentioned in ‘Balfour’s Historical Works’, or elsewhere in Random Scottish History, that interest you I recommend the University of St. Andrews’ Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707.

 

*  From the Glossary to ‘Sketches of Early Scotch History‘ by Cosmo Innes (1861); at the end of the definition the entire has been quoted from ‘Sketches’ and after the word to be defined an alternate spelling has been added to a previously extant word.