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Maistres, Maystres, Mastres, Mestres, n. Also: -ess(e, -ace, -ece, -is, maister-, master-, maesteres, maisters; and Mistres. [ME. and e.m.E. maistresse (? a 1300), maistiresse, mastiresse (14th c.), mestresse (1471), OF. maistresse f. maistre Maister n.1]

1. A woman who wields authority or dominion; a person's female sovereign or ruler, a princess; the mistress or possessor of an estate. Also transf. and fig. (1) Thir sauorus seidis War nurist be dame Natur, that noble mastres; Howlat 32.
Natur, thar alleris mastris; Ib. 276.
Heil neuir this erde … Quhill we haue murnyt the dull of our mastres; Liber Plusc. I. 383.
Caliope … of all musik mastres; Henr. Orph. 44.
Our hir hallowit schaw, Proserpyn maid thé patron and mastres; Doug. vi. ii. 83.
That … your grace will be his gracios pryncis and gud mastres; 1545–6 Corr. M. Lorraine 158.
Praying God to conserff our masteres and your grace; 1547 Ib. 181.
Shiref … to our grece masteres the Quenis grace; 1558 Rec. Earld. Orkney 109.
(b) Maistres of woddis, beis to ws happy and kynd; Doug. i. vi. 44.
Of this … place Ane lustie ladie wes maistres Quhais lord was deid schort tyme befoir; Lynd. Meldrum 864.
Maistres to thame all; Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 509.
The Quenis majestie, my maisters; 1563 Reg. Privy C. I. 244.
O michtie prince and spous to our maistres; Maitl. F. xvi. 55.
That was the Quene of Elfame his maistres; 1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 57.
They wald serue hir as thair quene and maistris; Pitsc. II. 159/12.
Dalr. I. 62/22.
(c) What the Quen my mestres thocht of him; Melville Mem. 126.
(2) transf. Barb. i. 550,
Hay I. 21/22 [see Lady n. 2 (3)].
This goddes ettillit … This realme to be superior and mastres To all landis; Doug. i. i. 30.
Rome (sum tyme maistres and souerane of all naciouns); Boece vii. iii. 224 b.
(3) fig. Quhair melody is the mirthfull maistrace; Colk. Sow Proh. 12.
Quhair mesur is nocht maistres; Ib. i. 32.
Thay sulde weil adoure thé [Perseverance] as lady maistres [Asl. mastres] patrone; Porteous Noblenes 99 (Ch. & M.).
The trew kirk … obeyis the voce of hir awin spouse … bot takis not vpon hir to be maistres ouer the samin; 1560 Acts II. 531/2.
(4) To Goddis moder mastres of mercye; Contempl. Sinn. 1012.
For sche was queyne and mastres of all wertuis; Irland Mir. I. 112/18.
Dunb. lxxxvii. 13.
That wofull maistres of mischeif; Maitl. Q. lxv. 78.
(5) Rowme … thu Wes mastres of errour; Leg. S. ii. 448.
Sancte Johnne the scole of uertuise wes & of clene lif the maistres; Ib. xxxvi. 612.
Fals fortoun, quhilk of all variance Is haill maistres; Henr. Fab. 1605 (Bass.).
Stewart 36547.
To decore … historie quha is … the maistres of lyfe, the lychte of the truthe, with mistie fables; Dalr. I. 68/16.
Calderwood IV. 406.

b. Maistres nurice, a title (? on the analogy of Maister n.1 13 a) given to the nurse of the child James VI, and later (quot. 1598) to the nurse of his children: but cf. 4. c. Maistres sewstar (= sempstress): cf. also Maister n.1 13 a and 15. b. To be schetis to the Ladie Reris and the maistres nureis; 1566 Fleming Q. Mary 499.
Helene Litill, maisteres nutrix; 1567 Mar & Kellie MSS. 18.
Helene Litill … maistris nowris to the Kyngis maiestie; 1571–2 Crail B. Ct. 5 Feb.
To Elene Litill, maistres nurice … 60 caponis; 1590–1 Exch. R. XXII. 138.
F.or ane chayare to the maistres nureis; 1598 Treas. Acc. MS. 110 b.
c. Grissell Hammilton maistres sewstar; 1597 Treas. Acc. MS. 38 b.

2. The female head of a household or family. The maister or maistres of euery howse; 1584–5 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 400.
The masters or mastresses of the families; 1609 S. Leith Kirk S. 7.

3. A servant's mistress or employer. My dochter … I wald wisch yow unto sum gud maistres; Clar. iii. 799.
Ib. 966.
Thair awin maistres thay chancit for to meit; Rolland Seven S. 1847.
Cleker of cair … Greit maistres to Mahoun; Ib. 3518.
The said Alexander salbe ane gude seruand and prenteis to his saidis maister and maistrace; 1565 Edinb. B. Deeds 183.
Bessie Lin … beand ane widow and his maistres; 1603 Dundonald Par. Rec. 30.

4. A woman (or a female personification) who has the care or tutelage of another as guardian, governess, nurse or teacher. Also lady maistres, Lady n. 4 (4). Sa that thu myn mastres be & ledar in wa of sawete; Leg. S. xviii. 745.
Weil mar suld madenis ȝhinge Be stratly kepit … In teching with a gud maistres Quhilk knawis gud thewis; Thewis Gud Women 205.
His saule that was be ressoune souerane lady mastres and gouernour of him; Irland Mir. fol. 312 b.
To the Kingis mastres Elizabeth Douglas; 1517–8 Treas. Acc. V. 146.
I tak the Quenis grace, thy mother, … Thy nowreis and thy auld maistres [etc.]; Lynd. Complaynt 83.
Ydelnes To Lychorie was mother and maistres; Id. Test. Pap. 968.
Our maistrace the Kirk of Rome; Abell 121 b.
To the auld maistres, xx li.; 1541 Treas. Acc. VII. 463.
The maistres sharpe of fuiles, Experience; Hume 71/104.

5. A woman who has the control or management of property etc. b. fig. It is na lytill honour to be mistres of ȝour gudis; Buch. Detect. (1727) 123.
b. Sen of my hairt ȝe ar the cheif maistrec[e]; Bann. MS. 228 b/21.
O Neptune … Protect from rocks the maistres of my mynde; Fowler I. 166/4.

6. A lover's (female) beloved, a lady-love. Sum luffaris wantis … For falt of speich the lufe of his maistres; Scott xiii. 13.
I will go mene ȝit on to my maistrece [: cace, allace]; Bann. MS. 224 b/5.
Fairweill my maistres Margareit; Maitl. Q. lxv. 56.

7. One's wife. Remembring my service and my mastres to yow and your mastres; 1637 Baillie I. ii.

8. Used vocatively. a. As a term of polite address to a woman. Thay … fand the meir … ; ‘Maistres’, quod he, [etc.]; Henr. Fab. 1006 (Bass.).
[To the poet's aunt:] Thairfoir maistres I mon hald ȝow excusit; Rolland Seven S. Prol. 100.
(Katherine Hamilton, wife of Captain Bruce); 1607 Maxwell Mem. II. 191.

b. In sense 6. My fair maistres, sweitar than the lammer; Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 152.
[Song:] Mastres fayr, ȝe vil forfayr; Compl. 65/3.
O maistres myn; Bann. MS. 220 b/10.
Fowler I. 312/18.
Quhairby I hoip, mestres, … For sic revard; Montg. Suppl. xxii. 10.

9. A style applied to the wife or widow of a male heir-apparent of an earldom or lordship. The female correlative of Maister n.1 20. Also ȝong maistres as the style of the wife of the heir-apparent's eldest son. To ane barboure that mendit the ȝong maistres of Sympillis cheik; 1549 Treas. Acc. IX. 307.
[In 1559] to Helynor maistres of Symmervale thre hundreth merkis; Maitland Ho. Seytoun 39.
Lady Dame Jane Hay maistres of Arrole; 1574 Edinb. Test. III. 57 b.
His sister the mestres of Levistoun; 1590 Cal. Sc. P. X. 271.
1597 Gray Lett. & P. App. xiv.
1603 (1610) Reg. Great S. 104/1.

10. Prefixed a. to the surname, or Christian name, of a married woman, b. to the Christian name of an unmarried gentlewoman. In both uses perh. chiefly after Eng. usage. a. (1) For ij elne holland claith to Maistres Francis [sc. wife of John Francis, an English merchant]; 1505–6 Treas. Acc. III. iii.
Than cam in Maesteres Mwsgraeffe; Dunb. liii. 30 (M).
Mastres Musgray; 1511 Treas. Acc. IV. 230.
Quhilk he ressavit fra Maistres Murray for … the pure; 1618 Stirling B. Rec. I. 149.
(2) The lyke jugement sufferit Maistres An Askew [a martyr]; Lyndesay Pref.
b. The saidis Arthour Forbes … and Maistres Anna Forbes … sall Godwilling marie; 1635 Echt-Forbes Chart. 135.
The said Maistres Anna Gray onlie dochter … to the said Andro Lord Gray; 1641 Acts V. (1817) 625/1.

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"Maistres n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/maistres>



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