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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
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Kinbut(e, Kynbut(e, n. Also: kinbuit(e, -butt, -bot(e, kinnboot; kynbuyt, -butt, -bwt; kenbut(e. [Kin n.; Bute n.1 2. Only Sc. (OE. cynebót = compensation for a king, payable to the community.)]

1. A compensation for manslaughter, paid by the slayer to the kin of the slain person.a. According to the special arrangement of the so-called privilege or law of Clan Macduff: see quots. and further s.v. Law n. b. In general use.The amount and the method of its payment (by lump sum or by instalments) was either agreed between the slayer and the kin of the slain man, or adjudged by arbitration or by a court of law after consideration of the circumstances and heinousness of the slaying and the financial circumstances of the slayer and the kin. The slayer had then to find security for the payment, and the ensuing letter of slains, subscribed normally by ‘the principal persons of the four branches of kin’ of the slain man, was a necessary condition of the remission of the crime. For further details see esp. (on assithment) Balfour Pract. 516–8 (also Morison Dict. Decis. 13903–4, Stair Inst. i. ix. 7, Hume Comm. Crimes (1819) I. 279–82; etc.) Cf. also Assithment n. 1, which, in specialised use, in the 16–17th c. superseded kinbute.a. c1420 Wynt. vi. 2282.
[In Fife, by the law of clan Macduff] Gyve he swa slayne wer gentill-man Foure and twenty markys than; For a yhwman twelf markys ay The slaare suld for kynbwt pay, And hawe full remyssyowne [etc.]
a1447 Bower v. ix. 252.
Quod ipse et omnes … de sua cognatione … gauderent privilegio legis Macduff, ubi generosus occidens solvendo viginti quatuor marcas ad kinbot … remissionem plenariam exinde reportaret
b. (a) 1495 Chart. (Reg. H.) No. 596.
We … sal neuir … challance forthir than this assichment amendis and kinbute that is maid
1574 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 37.
For full assyithment, haill satisfactioun and compleit kinbut paying for the slauchter of … Johne Mure, … to … pay to Janet Mure [the relict. £233/6/8d.]
c1575 Balfour Pract. 516.
The assythment or kinbuit maid or adjudgit to be payit be the committaris of slauchter, to the kin, bairnis and freindis of ony persoun that is slane, is gevin … in contentatioun of the … skaith, … and for pacifying of thair rancor
1586 Edinb. Test. XV. 115 b.
That my said wyfe and bairnis at the sycht of the rycht honorabill Johne Broun … or ony ane of thame to mak compositioun and kinbut for the said slauchter
1590 Ib. XXI. 303 b.
I leif my thrid to the payment and the furthering of the kinbuite that happynnis to be grantit to the laird
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Bote.
Ane man-bote is assithment for the slauchter of ane man, kin-bote for the slauchter of ane kins-man
1606 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 32.
[Offerring 3000 merks for] kinbute [and satisfaction]
1623 Reg. Deeds in Douglas of Morton 704. 1680 Argyll Justic. Rec. I. 121.
For which murder ... he or others in his name payed of kinnboot four hundered merks
(b) 1478 Acta Conc. I. 9/1.
xxv mercis for the quhilk he is bundin to the said Walter be ane obligacioune shewin be public instrument before the lordis for a kynbute
1490 Ib. 153/1.
Anent the … slauchter of vmquhile Johne the Brois faider to the said Robert & for amendis, kynbute & frendschip to be … betuix the saidis partiis … the said Archibald [etc.] … sall … cum to the merkat cors of Edinbrugh in thair lyning clais [etc.]
1491 Lennox Mun. 143.
As for the kynbut of Rob Dik, we [the judge-arbitrators] counsall and ordanys that master Mathow ger pay to the wyff and the barnys tene pund at thir termes wnder wryttn
1496 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 304.
To haue resauit … ane hundretht markis … for the assithtment … ande parte off … recompensation callit kynbutt for the … violence committit … be the said Alexander … one umquhile schire Alexander Fraser … fader to to me the said William and utheris our kyne and frendis at the Brig of Polgony
1536 Prot. Bk. J. Cristisone (S.R.S.) 55.
[The price of safety or of killing of the Laird of Meldrum, namely his] kynbuyt
1563 Prot. Bk. T. Johnstoun (S.R.S.) 135.
[Declaration … of the due implement of the contract … by payment … of the] kynbutt [for the slaughter of his son]
1575 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 45.
To content and paye to the said Margaret [the relict] and Williame [the son and heir] … , for thameselfis and in thair name of the said vmquhile Niniane McLitsteris remanent barnes, the sowme of thre hundreth merkis … , in name of kynbute for the said slauchter, at the termes following
(c) 1556–7 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 29.
[Letters of Slains forgiving Murchie McWilliame,] his frindes, kin, servandes [etc.] … the kenbutes and crewall slauchter of the saidis personis, [remitting and discharging] the kenbutes [of the said late William Kyle, etc., … and that because of certain sums of money received by the granters from the said Murchie for the] kenbutes [of the persons slain]

2. gen. A compensation, recompense generally. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1592 (H).
Of tymes is sene ane man of small degrie Hes quit ane kinbute baith of gude and ill As lordis hes done rigour and grace him till

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"Kinbut n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Dec 2022 <>



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