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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.

Custum(e, n. Also: custwm(e, -toume, cwstume, -twme, coustum(e, costume. [ME. custum, -tume (c 1200), OF. custume, med. L. custuma. Cf. Custom(e n.]

1. A custom, practice, habit. = Custom(e n. 1.(a) c1420 Wynt. vii. 718.
In sic fredome As thai yhit oysys, and cwstwme
Ib. 1933; etc.
Yhit be custwme and manere The Pape it oysys ilke yhere
1423 Edinb. Chart. 55.
Payand of the chaldre as vse and custume is
1456 Hay I. 241/1.
The custume that is in Provence that women bare the sede to the laboure
Ib. 252/8; etc.
Be custumes of the cuntreis that men usis commonly
1662 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 487.
He had no reasonable grund but onlie old vse and custoume
(b) 1375 Barb. v. 551.
That the king had in custum ay For to rise airly euerilk day
a1400 Leg. S. ii. 652.
Throw a custum of his barnehed
Ib. xviii. 1139.
As thai in custum had
c1420 Wynt. iii. 156.
As in that land thai custum had
1447 Dundee Chart. 24.
At al … batis cumand within the saide havin sal pay the ancorage as ois and custum is
1456 Hay I. 202/25.
Efter the custum of the contree.
Ib. 233/8.
Againis all gude faith and gude custum
a1500 Henr. Fab. 53.
Throw custum and daylie ryte
1513 Doug. 913/15.
Thai … has sik custum to jangill and to bakbyte
1549 Compl. 7/16.
It vas the custum of Perse, that none of the subiectis [etc.]
(c) 1563 Lennox Mun. 246.
As the coustum of Scotland is
Ib. 247.
Ony terme langer than the coustum is
c1590 J. Stewart 81/64.
So is the coustume of thy fatall chance
1616 Lett. & State P. James VI 295.
According to the coustume of all other daft youthes

2. The impost or duty levied on commodities in course of transit. = Custom(e n. 2.Also with the adjs. grete and litill, petty, or small.(a) 1389 Liber Melros 449.
The custumers of the grete custume of the burows of Edynburgh, Hadynton, and Dunbarr
All the custume of all thair wollys
1398 Acts I. 212/1.
At thai pay nocht for custume of wol, hydis, na skynnys, atour the som that thai war wont to pay
1482 Edinb. Chart. 169.
The quhilk strangearis … sal pay for custume of thare gudis outward to the toun
1540 Ib. 212.
In continewale possessioun of ankerage and small custume in … Leith
1542 Treas. Acc. VIII. 154.
For custume, veying, pynour, palking … in Denmark
1580 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 174.
The maist speciall … custume of the said burgh consistis in the custume of salmound yeirlie
1619 Haddington Corr. 223.
When they haue giuen vp their cocket and entrie and payed their custume
(b) 1398 Acts I. 212/2.
The statut made … touchande the paying of custum of … salt flesche, gresche, buter [etc.]
Ib. 336/2.
Hukstaris … by leddir and barkis, and concelis the kingis custum
1449 Lanark & R. 171.
Alsway that nan of yhou said burrows, … tak tol or custum be watter or land
1457 Peebles B. Rec. 119.
The custwm was set to Thom Dawison … to xiij mark and a half
1491 Dunferm. B. Rec. 28.
The borch … for wrangwis haldyn fra him his custum of the abbay
1508 Rentale Dunkeld. 2.
Ane tabirnacle to my Lordis altar … the price witht custum, fraucht and al uthir uncostis in Flaundris, thretty pundis
1536 Dunferm. B. Rec. 17.
The said James and Dauid sal bryng the gudis to the Merkat Cors … and pay the custum thairfor
1572 Reg. Privy C. II. 141.
In … Aprile last [he] wes departit furth of the said watter … without custum or schawing of cocquet
1596 Dalr. I. 117/14.
Quhen na man … in the tounes of Scotland, is nocht sune rich, for the fridome foirsaid fra custum
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 151 b.
Custumers of the litill custum (that is, of gudes cumand to the market)
Custumers of the great custum (that is, of gudes exported forth of the realme, or imported within the same)

b. pl. Separate imposts or dues.(a) 1398 Acts I. 212/1.
The complayntis of … the qwene anentis hyr pension … to be raysit of the custumes of syndry bowrous
1471 Edinb. Chart. 134.
In the rasing, vptakin, and paying of the said custumes and dewiteis in tyme tocum
1488 Acts II. 209/1.
That the said strangearis … pay thar dewites and custumes and tak thar cokket as efferis
1515 Reg. Privy S. I. 409/1.
He frelie and unpaying ony custumez may discharge … v townis of quhat merchandis it sal ples hym
1543 Ib. III. 3/1.
Ane lettir maid to Maister David Ramsay and … his sone, … makand thaim … clerkis of the grete custumes of Edinburgh
1609 Haddington Corr. 219.
The Bischop of Santandrois … acclamed … your Maiesties custumes and cokquet of Santandrois
1615 Highland P. III. 229.
They pay thair haill custumes and impoistis of all thair wairis
(b) 1471 Edinb. Chart. 133.
Thir custumis and dewiteis vnderwritin to be raisit … be thame and thare successouris
1471 Acta Aud. 13/1.
The actioune … anent the tak of the custumys & tollis of Annanderdale
1478 Ib. 60/1.
The actioune … anent the pettit custummis of the tovne of Disart
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 251/2.
To be paiit … of oure soverane lordis grete custumys of Edinburgh
1555 Peebles B. Rec. 223.
Quhairthrow our Souerane Lady custummis ar defraudit and our said burgh depauperat and heriit

3. A customary payment or service. c1420 Wynt. iv. 106.
He wes the fyrst kyng … That gert the Romanys custum pay
Ib. vii. 1186.
Pesybly to joys that land Wyth fewte full, and thaire homage, Seruys, custwme, and trewage
1504 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 216.
The landis of Strathde … with all proffittis, custumis, mertis, woddis, … courte plante, hereȝeld [etc.]
1574 Ib. II. 435.
The custum of the teynd schaves of the twa pairt of Aikeinshill
1576 Oppress. Orkney 87.
As they wer wont to pay of befoir to our Souerane Lord and his fowldis, for his Hienes toll and custume
1596 Dalr. I. 114/12.
Quhen thay ar frie of al custumes, with quhilkis ar opprest the subiectes of vtheris princes
1668 Misc. Hist. Soc. III. 270.
That the haill tennentis … sall pey … all byrun costumes foules, weadderes and quhatsumever costumes restand for the crop

4. A customary right or privilege. c1420 Wynt. vii. 1770.
The Pape … renewyd all thare priwylage, Thare custwmys, and thare awawntage, That thai had lawchfull befor thai dayis
Ib. viii. 1017.
Thai said a cwstwme in Ingland Wes oysyd the Comownys sare grewand
1456 Hay I. 75/20.
The king of Fraunce … wald hald up the custumes of kingis and emperouris and princis agaynis the commandement of the kirk

5. Attrib. (esp. in sense 3) with ate (atis), boll, corn, fyr, foul, lamb, malt, mart, meill, scheip, silver, stane, wedder. 1459 Exch. R. VI. 521.
Pro duabus celdris … avenarum que dicuntur custum-ate comitatus de Marr
Ib. 525.
Que dicuntur custum-atis
1574 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 238.
Set to the tennentis for yeirlie payment of … iij bollis … custume meill, iij bollis … custume aittis
1552 Ib. III. 227.
Cum … uno lie custum wadder et una bolla auenarum vulgo ane custum boll of aittis … annuatim
1527 Liber Aberbr. 479.
[Paying yearly] a boll of custum corn
1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 127.
The tane half of all the custum fyr that was gottin … be thame at Maremes and the Rudemes last was
1649 Misc. Spald. C. V. 229.
The haill tennentis that ar in vse to pay thar custoum foulls of all sorts and kynds
1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 124.
Thai pay nocht thair custum lambes to thair maistyr as wse of cottaris is to pay
1458 Exch. R. VI. 387.
De xij bollis brasil Anglicani, que dicuntur custum malt
1455 Ib. 71.
De precio triginta quatuor martarum que dicuntur custummartis
1574 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 238 (see custume aittis above).
Custume meill
1476 Acta Aud. 50/2.
Certain scheip callit the custume scheip
1574 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 435.
Tua pairt of ane custum scheip
1540 Reg. Privy S. II. 511/2.
Payand tharefor ȝeirlie, … the soume of fyve merkis … of custume silver
1628 Peebles Gleanings 96.
To cairrie the custume staine to Edinburgh to mak guid with thair staine
1552 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 227 (see custum boll above).
Custum wadder

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



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