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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Det, n. Also: dett, debt(t; dete, deit, deatt. [ME. dette (a 1225), dete, det(t, OF. dette, dete, pop. L. debita.]

1. That which is owed or due to one, esp. a sum of money one is entitled to receive. 14.. Acts I. 26/2.
A burges may … put hym till athe at nytis him his dett
1455 Lennox Mun. 71.
Ane hundreth pundis of vsuale monaye … as of principale dete to the said Patrik
1456 Hay I. 180/3.
Suppos I have put in his procuracioun … all othir causis and dettis
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 241.
To pas to the schireffis of Abirdene … and Inuernes for the inbringing of the Kingis dettis
1512 Reg. Privy S. I. 375/1.
All uther soumez, dettis and clamez that his grace may ony wise ask or craif at the handis of the said G.
1530 Ib. II. 66/1.
With the malis and proffittis of thame … as dete aucht to him untakin up
1549 Compl. 124/2.
Quhen i craiff my dettis quhilk suld sustene my lyif, i am bostit
1554 Grant Chart. 113.
That the said Christaine … labor at hir power for the ingetting of the dettis
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII. 372 b.
To … ressaif all & sindrie dettis & auchtingis … that is iustlie auchtand to him
1622-6 Bisset I. 244/25.
The creditour … may … arreist the said dett in the handis … of the thrid person
fig. 1375 Barb. i. 253.
Gyf … in the samyn tym come him to His wyff, and askyt hym hyr det
1531 Bell. Boece II. 122.
The quene, seand hir self defraudit of the det of matrimony [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. lii. 32.
Thay covet not the man that thay may get; For him thay hald as propper det

2. A sum of money which one person owes to another. 1386 Rotuli Sc. II. 85/2.
That nane fundys sal be tane of nouther syde for na manere of det ne trespasse
1461 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 22.
That man … sal … kepe the toun vnscathit … of all dettis and chargis acht be hym
1476 Acta Aud. 55/2.
Elene Tulloch … wes marijt the tim that the said det wes recouerit apon hir
1483 Acta Conc. II. p. civ.
The dettis that his fader was awing
1495 Douglas Chart. 149.
The said xij merkis wortht of land … wes prisit … for the said schir Iohnnis dete
1529 Crim. Trials I. 244.
That he … mak wais for outred and payment of his faderis dettis
1533 Bell. Livy I. 167.
This dett … was ay duplyit on him be vsure and okkir
1543 Lanark B. Rec. 19.
The persone that tha aw the det to
1562-3 Winȝet I. 107/25.
Thai ar nocht eschameit nocht to satifie thair inferiouris … in thair deuitie of dettis or siklyke
1596 Grant Chart. 187.
To … pay … the sowme of fywe hundrethe markis … as liquidatt and dett restand awand be me
1600-1610 Melvill 7.
The burding of houshaulding and deattes contracted in biging
1622-6 Bisset I. 253/2.
Dettis awchtand be ony persone himself
1622 Orkney & Zetl. Test. I. 88.
Debttis awand be the deid

b. Obligation to pay what is owed; the state of being under such obligation. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 854.
Sa throw thi helpe I ma hyne twyne But schame, det, & dedly syne
1456 Hay I. 136/20.
He may demand his scathis at the lord, be way of accioun of dett
1457 Peebles B. Rec. 123.
That ilk dai custumaris gaif thair cont, and thai lefit in det … at the cont
a1500 Seven S. 841.
This large knycht fell so in det That dedly mister with him met
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 229/9.
He brocht all the place to fredome … and left it out of all kynd of det
1533 Bell. Livy I. 166/24.
Eftir that he was haldin in lang captivite be his creditouris for dett in quhilk he was deuoluit
1566 Waus Corr. I. 38.
I haif mekle ado and gret cummerisse cumin apoine me of det
1577 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 40 b.
He … wes in dett … of sindrie sowmes of money to Ionett Carmichaell

c. In fig. uses, esp. the ‘debt of nature’. 1375 Barb. xix. 209.
To pay the det That no man for till pay may let
a1400 Leg. S. i. 662.
Quhen thai The deit of dede suld one pay
Ib. xl. 611.
The dete of flesche he can ȝeld
c1420 Wynt. i. 80.
I than, set in lyk assay, Wylfull is my det to pay
c1450 Cr. Deyng 19.
The payment of naturell det
1490 Irland Mir. I. 92/23.
A thing that is nocht sua oblist to God be ane vthir maner … of dete
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lviii. 16.
This blynd warld euer so payis hir dett
1513 Doug. ix. iii. 70.
The ful tyme of det, By the werd sisteris schaip, is now compleit
1560 Rolland Seven S. 160.
In schort tyme … Hir naturall det scho completit of deid
Ib. 9705.
Of Rome the empreour Payit his dew det

3. Obligation to do something; obligatory action or conduct; duty. 1375 Barb. i. 262.
Sen thai mak sic comperyng Betwix the dettis off wedding, And lordis bidding to his threll
c1420 Wynt. iv. 765.
It is myn honest det For my land my lyff to set
Ib. v. 2102.
I ga … to ma Till Iupityr my sacrifyis, As is my det
1461 Liber Plusc. 384.
Sic is thi det, sic is thi dwyté
c1475 Wall. xi. 464.
For stait at thow art in, It war my det for till wndo thi kyn
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 1292.
With thé farder to ga is nocht our det
1531 Bell. Boece II. 472.
Scho had bot xi yeris in age, and micht nocht sustene the det of mariage

b. To do (one's) det, to do one's duty. a1400 Leg. S. l. 120.
In thair stat euir ar thai stabill, Dowand thare deit
1397 Acts I. 208/2.
The Iustice sal tak knawlage … gif thai do deuly thair det to thair office
c1420 Wynt. i. 620.
Quhat walde he for ws all set, Gyff we tyll hym walde do oure det
Ib. viii. 1693.
This Edwart … Cald Jhon the Balliolle … To do the det off his fewté
1456 Hay I. 192/33.
I do bot my dett to defend him
Ib. 208/34.
And the Emperouris did thair dett thai suld ger it obeye
c1460 Consail Wys Man 110.
Quhen ony thing he chargis thé … do thi det cum as it may
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 177/9.
Thair sall neuer man do wele his det that in armes first seikis proffit
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. ii. 85.
Euterpe eik whilk daylie dois her det In dulce blastis of pypis
Id. Æn. ix. iii. 184.
So dowchtely we schape to do our det
Ib. 206.
Ilk man dyd hys det
a1540 Freiris Berw. 402.
He … sweris be the mone That Freir Robert weill his dett had done
c1550 Rolland C. Venus ii. 375.
Likit we to do to thé our det, Fra top to ta thy bodie wald be bet
1552 Reg. Cupar A. II. 105.
Thai sall do thair det and dewitie to our corne myln of Blaklaw
1573 Sat. P. xxxix. 319.
My Lord Ambassade I haue lang forȝet, Quhairfor indeid I haue not done my det

c. Of det, as a matter of duty; in duty bound, as is due and right. Also in det. c1420 Wynt. i. Prol. 64.
At hys cownsalle Off det I spendyt my trawalle
Ib. vi. 1169.
I bare me noucht than As I suld hawe dwne off dete
1424 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 14.
To charge vs nocht alsfer as we aw of det, bot in alsfer as we can & may
1456 Hay I. 127/27.
Quhat persounis ar behaldyn for to defend ilkane othir of dett
c1450-2 Howlat 519.
I sal devoid thé of det, Or de in the place
1474 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 32.
The saidis craftis sall … gar bery him honestlie as thai aucht to do of det to thair brother of the craft
1490 Irland Mir. I. 48/1.
He offendis him, and aw in det to amend to him
1513 Doug. xii. vi. 13.
Of det & ryght I aucht … Allane Turnus recontyr
1535 Stewart 1196.
This fatall stone, … Quhair it wes brocht in ony land or erd, … Of verrie det the Scottis thair suld ring

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



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