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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.

Gentil man, Gentil(l)man, n. Also: gentyl(l, gentell, gentle, jentill. [ME. gentil man (a 1275), gentilman, etc., after OF. gentil hom.]

1. A man of gentle birth or rank.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xii. 371.
Gentil man on al half he Wes, & nobil in al degre
c1420 Wynt. ii. 815.
This gentyll man … saylyd Affryk all abowt
Ib. 1221.
The gentyl mennys sonnys thare
1429 Acts II. 18/2.
Ilk burges … salbe hail enarmyt as a gentil man aucht to be
1456 Hay II. 69/2.
Nobleis aud gentill men that ar na knychtis
a1500 Henr. Orph. 9.
It is contrar the lawis of nature A gentill man to be degenerate
c1475 Wall. v. 586.
Befor tyme thai gentill men war off ald
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 216/25.
Of thaim [were] slane … of gentill men and ȝemen xviij
1513 Doug. viii. Prol. 128.
Gyf thou be a gentill man, Or ony curtasy can
1535 Stewart 36452.
The seiknes hecht the gentill mannis ill … causit him tak bed
1543 Lanark B. Rec. 19.
[Acts against] the setting of the kyndnes of commone landis to ony gentyll men
a1585 Maitl. Q. xcv. 41.
Ȝe gentil men, excuise my ruid indyit
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii. 1823.
Yhwmen and gentilmen alsa, The lyvys all thai tuk thaim fra
Ib. 2017.
He wes cummyn off gentillmen
1425 Acts II. 10/2.
That ilk gentilman … be sufficiandly harnest & anarmyt
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 242/22.
The king … heriit mony, bath gentillmen & vtheris
1518 Peebles B. Rec. 48.
Ilk gentilman landyt vnder the pane of ijc merkis, ilk gentilman vnlandyt jc merkis
1561 Reg. Privy C. I. 188.
The quhilk day … comperit the gentilmen underspecifiit
a1568 Scott i. 179.
Ȝung gentilmen for dansing thame addres
a1578 Pitsc. II. 105/26.
Beleiwand that thai had beine bot husband men and fallowis and knew nocht thay war gentillmen
1595 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 146.
The intertenement of bursers in the college that … ar gentillmennis bayrnes
1613 Highland P. III. 127.
Quhen all, boithe noble men, barrounis and gentilmen, … wer conveyned
1631 Reg. Great S. 624/2.
In manibus vnius … landit gentilman infra dictam parochiam

2. One of gentle birth holding a position in a royal or other important household. 1524 Reg. Privy S. I. 493/1.
Ane lettre … to W. Hammiltoun … makand him purs maister to the King and gentilman of his hous for his liftyme
Ib. 494/1.
Ane lettre maid to David Wod, … makand him squiar and gentilman in our soverane lordis hous
1553 Carte Northberwic 67.
To be continually at syk reddiness … that thai suld serue hym conforme to the ois of gentyllmen
1610 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 110.
Sir William Stewartt, … gentill mane of his Maiesties … privie chalmer

3. Appositive with elder, servand, squyar, stranger, uscher; also attrib. with pastime, schone, and comb. with born. 1526 Reg. Privy S. I. 516/1.
Ane lettre to Andro Wod … makand him gentilman squyar in our soverane lordis hous for all the dais of his life
1534 Treas. Acc. VI. 225.
For intertening of ane gentillman strangear
1558 Inverness B. Rec. I. 26.
To sell onie gentyll men schone derrar nor xviij d. the payr
1561 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 502.
Schawand that the said … Williame ves gentilman borne
a1578 Pitsc. I. 163/15.
He wsit mekill huntting and halking with wther gentill men pastyme
1583 Lennox Mun. 454.
His gentillman servand, … to ly nichtlie in the Dowkis chalmer
1632 Mun. Univ. Glasg. III. 480.
Petir Newtoun, gentleman uscher to his Majestie
1638 Dundonald Par. Rec. 521.
The gentlemen elders of the Sessioun … and others heritours
We gentilmen elders

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"Gentil Man n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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