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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.

Cost, Coist, n.1 Also: coste, coast. [ME. coste, cost (c 1300), OF. cost: cf. Cost v.]

1. Expense, expenditure; amount requiring to be furnished, spent, or paid for something.(a) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 666.
Quhen sik coste tham falȝet wes
1387 Edinb. Chart. etc. 35.
The communyte … fyndand al coste and al grayth tyl that werk
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2015.
He sayd … For na cost that he suld spare [etc.]
Ib. vii. 2771.
For cost … he sparyd noucht, Na for trawell
1456 Hay I. 185/8.
Prayand him … of lyfing till his folk for the cost
Ib. II. 112/24.
That thai suld pas with lesse cost and scathe
c1450-2 Howlat 978.
Thy cude, thy claithis, nor thi cost, cummis nocht of thé
a1500 Seven S. 2141.
Thai war avisit thus To seike Merlyng … And sa thai did and na cost spard
c1500 Fyve Bestes 342.
Now may ȝe cheis to … tyne the cost or tak this tovne on hand
1513 Doug. viii. Prol. 20.
May he cum to hys cast be clokyng, but cost, He rekkis [etc.]
(b) 1478 Acts II. 119/2.
That smytht sall … paye the coist of the hors quhill he be hale
1529 M. Works Acc. I. 9 b.
To ane theikar for the theking of the said brwhous … of all coist, xiii s. iiij d.
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4510.
The feist was preparit Aboundantlie, and for na coist thay sparit
a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxx. 74.
Ay grittest coist is apone thingis vane
1592 Acts III. 559/1.
Thomas Foullis … hes … beiggit housis and mylnis, for this effect to his grit coist
1602 4th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 527/1.
Counterfaitt pasimentis of gold … quhilk shortly becummis sa vncumly and vnhonest that the coist is loissit
1686 Fraser P. 161.
That … might be lyeable to him of all coast, skaith, damnage, intrest and expensses

b. Of, on, or upon (one's) cost or costis, at one's expense. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 663.
Of commowne coste thai bocht A place
1394 Liber Aberbr. 43.
Quhilk Wilyam Plumer sal fynd a man on his awn cost and the abbot and conuent a man alsua of thar cost
c1420 Wynt. v. 3250.
It off comon cost thai maid
1425 Montgomery Mem. 9.
Gife it be outwyth [Scotland], it sal be gotyn on bath thair costys
1447 (1451) Reg. Great S. 106/2.
Hir man sal ly upon the cost of the said Alex. … ay to the saide malis … be fully pait
1456 Hay I. 122/13.
Quhethir the vassallis suld pas to the weris on thair awin cost, or on thair lordis cost
1512 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 109.
In the meyntym the said Henry … sall big apone my cost the said mylne stul
1533 Boece x. iii. 351 b.
That apoun the common coist perpetualie certane liouns in Florence suld be nurist
a1568 Bann. MS. 135 a/25.
It is eith to cry ȝule on ane vder manis coist
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxv. 12.
Thocht ȝe heff serwit … Ane lord one ȝour awen cost and geir
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 149.
Quhen that straungers reuls ȝour roist, It wilbe, sure, on Scotlands coist

c. To mak (the) cost, to be at the expense (of), to pay (for). c1420 Wynt. viii. 2040.
Tharefor thi dame made lytill cost
1445 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 14.
To trete giue thai may get the fredome … and to mak a coste tharapon
1456 Hay I. 28/24.
He gert geve all beneficis till all that wald mak cost thareon
a1500 Henr. III. 152/74.
Ȝe may clamp to this cure, & ȝe will mak cost, Bayth the bellox of ane brok
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xliii. 41.
Alhaill almoist, Thay mak the coist, With sobir recompens
1520 Wemyss Chart. 145.
Geif the said Dauid … makis ony cost … apon the said colehewis, owther in durris, wynning, … or uthir expens
a1578 Pitsc. I. 162/6.
This Alexander … lowit … abill men and goode horse, and maid gret coste and expenssis thairon
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xciv. 87.
Leif, burges men, or all be loist, On ȝour wyfis to mak sic coist
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 138.
His airis … sall haue his haill hyre and furing, for the quhilk thai sall mak the haill coist vpoun his buriall

2. pl. Expenses, outlays, charges. c1420 Wynt. iv. 622.
He … thoucht that tynsall was bot smalle, For to rekyn his costys alle
1427 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 40.
Al thai costis bygane that the said Iohne has made for the forenemmyt landis
1456 Hay I. 166/32.
It that I tuke of ȝouris is scantly the costis of the men that I led with me
Ib. 181/30.
Quhy suld he diffray him or pay his costis?
c1475 Wall. xi. 1439.
Costis herfor was no man bond to me
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 104.
The costis maide in Gedwort be the chanslare, justis, … and clerkis, the tyme of the justis ayre
1562 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 12 Feb.
I will nocht get men to pas to sic ane purpos without costis and expens
1564 St. A. Kirk S. 224.
Wiliam Peblis sall … relev the said Besse … of all coistus and cherge tharof
1573 Grant Chart. 153.
Iohnne Grant … hes maid gritt travellis, coistis and expensis vpoun the dyking, parking [etc.]
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 136.
The said mariner … sall … rander agane that quhilk he has ressauit, togidder with the coistis that ar maid thairvpoun
1622-6 Bisset II. 236/27.
Sicklyke the victularis suld find … ressonabill coistis

b. Expenses for which repayment is made or sought. Freq. coupled with scathis.(a) 1426 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 202.
Twa hundir pundis of lauchful monee of Scotland to be pait to the said Dauy [etc.] … in name of thair costis and scathis
1440 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 11.
Quhil til him of all costis and skathis … fullely be made assithe
1456 Hay I. 276/2.
He aw amendis, and to pay the costis to the party that he sa sclanderit
1485 Breadalbane Doc. (Reg. H.) No. 22.
I bind and oblis me … in the sovme of four hundretht pund … togidder with costis [and] schathis that the said Duncan … sal hapin to sustene thar throw
1506 Peebles B. Rec. 34.
The costis, skathis, dampnagis, and expensis sustenit be the said baillies and communite
a1578 Pitsc. I. 155/7.
To redound to them the costis, skaithis, and dampnagis sustened be thame in the said cause
(b) 1495 Reg. Paisley 405.
The coistis. scathis, dampnage and expensis sustenit and maid be the saidis Abbot and convent
1511 Reg. Privy S. I. 347/1.
All coistis, dampnagis and inkres that thai sall happin to mak and sustene tharethrow
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 196.
For coistis, skaithtis, & expensis sustenit … for the wanting of thair saidis gudis
1622-6 Bisset I. 255/8.
The said burges … sall cause act ane responsall cautioner … quha salbe bund for refounding of all coistis
1662 Melrose R. Rec. II. 2.
To mak payment of the coistes and skaiths maid

3. Price or value. c1420 Wynt. v. 722.
Evore syne, that na man mycht Prys the cost
c1450-2 Howlat 695.
All war merschallit to meit … , Syne seruit … With all curis of cost that cukis couth kyth

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"Cost n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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