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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Colour, Collour, n. Also: colowr, col(l)oure, -or, coller. [ME. colour(e, colur (c 1290), OF. colour, colur, L. color. See also Coulour and Cullour.]

1. Colour, hue.(a) 1375 Barb. xvi. 70.
Quhen … feldis florist ar with flowris, Weill savourit, of seir colowris
?1438 Alex. ii. Prol. 8.
Quhen … flouris spredis on seirkin hewes, … As kynd thame colouris geuis diuers
1456 Hay I. 282/4.
Quhat armes ar maist noble be the colouris, and quhat colouris ar maist noble in armes
c1450-2 Howlat 337.
A pursevant … In a cot armour Of all kynd of colour
1490 Irland Mir. I. 58/22.
All manere of colouris, sauouris and precius odouris
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 418.
My clokis thai ar carefull in colour of sabill
1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 125.
The greit Lordis of the Parliament … In silk and gold, in colouris confortable
1596 Dalr. I. 6/24.
This drinke … is thochte baith be the colore and be the taste to be Malmsey
1611-57 Mure Dido i. 595.
Fair Iris in her choisest colowrs clad
(b) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2163.
The gret goddes Mynarue With curious collouris thay wald carue
15.. Clar. i. 429.
Speiring at hir quhat collour he sould taike … Or weir in tournay
1585 Elphinstone Mun. 23.
Ane turkie tapat … of diuers collouris
1595 Duncan Appendix.
Murex, purpura … the purpure collour
1696 Wemyss of Bogie MS.
Meall … good and sufficient clean coller, weel dight

b. Colour of the face or skin; complexion. a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 65.
He … had a dochtir farly fayre, … Of fasone & of coloure bricht
c1420 Wynt. v. 3690.
Nowthir in pyth off oure yhowthed, Na in fresch coloure off oure fayrhed
a1500 Seven S. 2445.
Thar is na clerk … That suld the tane knawe be the tothire Off body, colour, voce and cast
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 158/24.
In Ynd is … men of bla colour

c. The black or white squares of a chessboard. a1500 Bk. Chess 2082.
A quheyne movand scho suld kepe colouris aye
Ib. 2118.
Euer the alphyne kepis colour ay

2. A pigment or paint. c1460 Thewis Gud Women 91.
One haly dais hir hyd hald clen, Bot nocht with colouris, na payntry
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 362.
To Dauid Prat, paintour, to by colouris with
1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 350.
For paynting of the foure greit armis … with oly coloris and gold
1612 Fife Synod 53.
That the paintrie quhilk is vpon the pulpitt and ruid laft, … salbe obliterate … with grein colour

3. fig. Outward show, semblance, or appearance, esp. as intended to mislead or disguise; a pretence or pretext. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1468.
He wmbethought hym how he mycht By ony coloure or by slyght [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1791.
For till eschewe reproffe, and blame, And be colowre to pwt by schame
1456 Hay I. 205/8.
We may mak sum colour tharapon to cover the custume … in that mater
Ib. 274/27.
Suppos thare was a colour of justice extraordinare
1472 Lennox Mun. 87.
I … sall neuer … throw ony maner of colour or ingyn, … folow or perseu the said Lord Dernlee
1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 162.
[I undertake] neuer … to tribule … nor inquiet the forsaidis Iohne … be na maner of way, fraude nor coloure
1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 308.
Neuer to violat nor abrogat the samen [act] be coverit craft, ingin, nor color, fra thin furtht
1568 Pref. Lyndesay .
Vertew and vyce disclosit … In thair richt colouris planelie to appeir
a1578 Pitsc. I. 40/15.
Sie collouris and painttit wordis they send this gentillman to draw him in the snair
1674 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II. 221.
Farder to evidence that there is not the least collour of theft or oppression [etc.]

b. In the phrase under (also in) colour (of something). c1420 Wynt. ix. 2359.
Swa in coloure off justis, Set it wes nane, he rasit assis
1456 Hay I. 133/16.
Under a maner of a coloure of rycht
Ib. 223/18.
Feynyngly under colour of study
c1475 Wall. viii. 669.
Wndyr colour we mon our ansuer mak
1490 Lanark & R. 188.
That nane of our lieges suld tak schippis to fraucht, under colour, to defraud us
1508 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 113.
That na fremen … consele nor colour vnder the colour of his awin ony vnfremenis guidis
1533 Boece iv. ii. 127.
The king … demandit the herald gif his cuming was to betrais him vnder coloure
1570 Inverness B. Rec. I. 196.
Gif the saidis personis vnder colour pretend to leyiff ony of the saidis gudis to the burgessis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 19/1.
The chancellar … hes lost the king, vndir the collour of quhais authoritie he over ran evirie man

4. pl. Literary graces or style of writing. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. ii. 48.
In that airt … Of castis quent, rethorik colouris fine
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lix. 11.
With rycht defamows speiche off lordis Quhilk with my collouris all discordis
1596 Dalr. I. 68/28.
Gif it [the matter] war all painted with colouris of rhetorick

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"Colour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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