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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lauch, Lach, n.1 Also: lache, lagh, lacht; lauche, lawch(e, laucht; laugh. [North. ME. lagh (a 1300), north midl. lauh (c 1330), OE. lah- in comb.: see Law n.1Found only in the sing. (for plur. lawis see Law n.1) and chiefly in early texts (before c 1440). For rare later instances, in set phrases, see senses 1 (3), 2 (2) and 5 (2). Occas. in Leg. S. and freq. in some MSS. of Wyntoun, esp. the Royal MS. Found in rhyme only in Wyntoun in one place (see 1 (2) below), (but the regular word in rhyme in Wyntoun and elsewhere is law).]

1. The body of law of a state or polity. Chiefly in phrases.(1) 1390 Acts I. 216/2.
That yhe grant na confirmacion thare apon in hurtyng of the commone lauch of the kynryk and of my wyvis richt
1397 Douglas Chart. 37.
Tha landis … o the qwhilkis I ame or may be ony titil o lach ayr to ga to the saide George
1398 Acts I. 212/1.
With ther protestacions at the lach be haldyn thaim as is beforsaid
c1420 Wynt. iv. 674.
[Xerxes] gouernyd witht his lauch the land
Ib. viii. 432.
That custwme off that rewme beforne Suld be preferryd, and haldyn ay Agayne all, that the lauch may say; For that custwme al by drawys, That ar wryttyne in till the lawys
(2) 1389 Reg. Cambuskenneth 259.
To deme and to determe as lauch and richt wald all actionis
1390 Acts I. 216/1.
Ony sic contract in preiudice of my saide wife of that at aucht of richt & of lauch perteigne til hir
Oucht to do … that suld ryn ony man in preiudice of thair heritage attour the commone lauch
1399 Melville Chart. 15.
The forsaide landis to halde … but ony entermettyng … of myne ayris or ony of thair name, outhir in the lauch or by the lauche
1413 Bisset I. 314/14.
Savand that wranguslie and aganist the lauch that he had manured … his … land
The foirnemmed landis that wes domed of befoir to be in his handis quhill that they wer derenȝeid fra him as lauch wald
c1420 Wynt. v. 1033.
All the dedys … done throucht Domytyane … ware fundyn all off ylle, Done by the lauche for-owtyn skylle
Ib. vii. 1612.
Rogere … mad that coronatyown Agayne all lawch and all resoun
Ib. 1846.
The decrete than sene and red, And the electyown in lawch all led
Ib. viii. 554.
He be lauch to gyve award
Ib. 995.
Dawy, that wes Erle off lauch [W. throu laugh] Off Hwntyngtown and the Garwyauch
Ib. 1217, 1247.
Off lauch [C. lauche, W. lagh]
Ib. 5912.
Thai trowyd that war Sumthyng to the lauch contrare
(b) 1392 Lennox Mun. 46.
In case gyf the saydis … dissesys, … the sayde Erill sal delyuer fre sesyng … to thair hayris, as the lach wil eftir
1405 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 201.
Dame Isabel … sal mak the saide Erle als sekir as can be done be lach and resone endurant the saide tyme
1412 Melville Chart. 19.
And I forsuth, … oblys ws to warand and defend the saide land with the portenance as the lach wil
(c) c1420 Wynt. v. 1126.
For thi sone I sall ger do That laucht wald war done thareto
Ib. 1138.
Schyre Empryoure, Thow art off laucht to me dettoure
Ib. 3146.
This consent wes done indede, And let the ayrys be laucht succede
(3) a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 6 b.
[Every land hes the lauch, and everie corne hes the caffe
1678 Ess. Inscr. Macduff's Crosse (1678) 6.]
Lag & Lagh, Lex … sayes Spelman; but what needs me cite Spelman, have we not the phrase, ilk land has its laugh

b. Sone-, bruthir-in-lauch. 1375 Barb. xvii. 219 (E).
Waltre, Stewart of Scotland, That … syne in laucht [C. sone in law] wes to the King
1429 Wemyss Chart. 61.
My derreste and beste beluffit bruthir in lauch

2. A particular law or enactment; a specific branch or point of law.(1) 1357 1st Rep. Hist. MSS. 121.
Una cum lege Fleminga que dicitur Fleming lauch
1379 Douglas Chart. 29.
Fra all maner of rycht and colour, lauch of askyng, folowing, outhir to possession or proprete … be ws excludit and assoillit
1389 Wemyss Chart. 23.
Landys that … mycht have bene trocht ony rycht or lawch tyl hym pertenand
c1690 Reg. Morton I. App. xl.
Gif thou be the man that this nitis I sal outrak it apon thé as lauch of protectioun wil or as this gude court schewis me of lauch
14.. Acts I. 12/2.
Al the ministeris that is duelland wythin the wonning steddis of haly kirkis … sal … oise rychtuisly thar lauch
c1420 Wynt. ii. 374.
In tyll Egypte yhit thai say That lawch is kepyt to this day
Ib. v. 2438.
Nowthir be rycht off lynage Na be laucht off herytage
(2) 14.. Acts I. 23/2.
Thruch lauch of burgh he sall were him
1488 Dunferm. B. Rec. 10.
The balye deliverit … possessione be erd and stane with ane inpenne as laucht of burchg schew
1553 Prestwick B. Rec. 62.
As ws & lach of burch is
(3) c1420 Wynt. vi. 2289.
Off this lawch [of Clan-Macduff] are thre capytale; That is the Blak Prest off Weddale, The Thayne off Fyffe, and the thryd syne Quha ewyre be Lord off Abbyrnethyne

b. transf. A fixed or unbreakable mode or rule of behaviour. c1420 Wynt. viii. 6096.
Qwha will off Fortown wndyrstand, It is hyr lauch to be movand

3. The rule or authority of law; administration of the law; judicial action in enforcement of the law; legal proceedings, legal redress.(a) 1385 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 410/2.
Sir Patrick Gray … wele awisit that the forsayde personaris … souch hym nother with grace, lufe, na with lauch, to delay his dome
With proces of lauch
1389 Wemyss Chart. 24.
Gyf euer thai mak ony questione or mouyng be the lawch into the contrary of this endenture … or euyr thai be hard before ony iuge
c1420 Bute MS. 157 b.
Gyfe the aldirman refoysis to gyfe lauch of thaim the catel … sal be in the wyl of the kyng
14.. Acts l. 29/2.
Gif ony man of the castell has ocht misdone til ony man of the burgh, he sal aske lauch at the castell ututh the yhettis
Ib. 33/2.
Gif scho makis ivil ale … scho sall … thole the lauch of the toune, that is to say be put on the kukstule
c1420 Wynt. v. 1146.
Down he sat And dyd full lauche and jugement Off thame that slwe that innocent
Ib. 3846.
Be lele lauch and lawte All thyng may welle dysponyd be
Ib. viii. 2456.
Sum wes bydand in exyle That durst noucht hys lauch byd that quhille
Ib. 3146.
The Erle of Murrawe, Schyre Thomas, … off Scotland Wardane was, the lauch haldand
Ib. 3203.
Be lawchfull jwgement The lawche he gert thame suffyre thare
a 1447 Bower Fordun's Scotichr. xvi. i. (1759) II. 474.
Lauch liis down our all; fallax fraus regnat ubique
(b) 1399 Holyrood Chart. 113.
Gif the fiffe mark … mai be recuverit of him or his airis be the lach
1400 Maxwell Mem. I. 141.
Na remede of lach canoun na ciuyle to be proponit in the contrary
1413 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 364.
Na remede in lach canon na ciuile agayne standand that may be proponyt in the contrary
(c) c1420 Wynt. v. 1134.
My successoure For thi sone I trowe he wyll Off hys dett the laucht fullfill

b. Minister of the lauch, man of lauch. 1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 74.
Butte ony leve of oni juge or mynistir of the lauche
c1420 Wynt. viii. 654.
The custwme off ilke land … suld be preferryd ay Till all that men off lauch couth say

c. Day of lauch. = Law n.1 5 a. 14.. Burgh Laws xcix (B).
Gyf he ... at the day of lauch na law wyl do

4. a. The divine law, the law of God or Christ. a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 72.
He gert hyre be tacht In Cristis lacht
Ib. xxxvi. 332.
Quha hofine is … resawis than the haly gaste … to kepe hym ay Of Godis lacht in-to the way
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1410.
The pepill off Ireland … led [thame] all be fretis wyle, Nowcht be the lauche off the Ewangyle

b. The Jewish or Mosaic law. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 992.
Thow, as ws think, vald put don The lacht of circumcisione
Ib. vii. 190.
Faraseis & wysmene Of Jowis lach mad answere thane
c1420 Wynt. v. 24.
Scho [Mary] puryficatyown Tuk, the tyme that ordanyd wes Be the lauch statute off Moyses
Ib. 4844.

5. A religious system or faith. Upoun my lauche, by my faith.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 985.
[Saul,] defend oure lacht we pray thé now, Sene thu art borne man of Hebrew
Ib. 1005.
God hym restit on the vii day, Als our elderis lacht ws leyrit
Ib. l. 506.
We will richt now Lewe that lacht that we ay can trew, & trew the law that Katrine schawis
(2) 1571 Fam. Rose 258.
Maistres, upoun my lauche I sall allow so mekle to yow [etc.]

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"Lauch n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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