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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Men(e, Mein, v.2 Also: meine, meyn(e, mean(e, meen(e, main, menn. P.t. and p.p. menit etc., also meind, ment, mynt. [ME. mene(n, p.t. mende (Ancr. R.), mænde pl. menden (Layamon), ment (Manning), (north. and north midl.) menit, -et, mened, -id, -yd, meind (Cursor M.), OE. mǽnan, p.t. mǽnde. After the 15th c. only Sc., and in the mod. dial. Sc. and north. Eng.]

1. tr. To mourn or lament for (a departed, esp. a dead, person).(a) 1375 Barb. v. 451 (E).
[He] menyt his men that thai had slayne
Ib. xi. 579. Ib. xviii. 207. a1400 Leg. S. v. 226.
For-quhy that vedo can hym mene [: bene p.p.]
Ib. xii. 201. Ib. 203. ?1438 Alex. i. 1529.
Emynedus him menit sua And grat
Ib. 1798. Ib. ii. 9065.
Smartly in hart he menit thame then
Ib. 9691. c1420 Wynt. vii. 3446.
The lordys … That than remanyd qwyk lyvand Menyd be-for the kyng rycht sare Thare kyne … that peryst ware
Ib. viii. 6127.
This Raynald menyd wes gretly
Ib. vii. 1550. Ib. viii. 6031. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 244/24.
[He] was richt mekle menyt be the king & mony vther lordis
c1475 Wall. iii. 206. c1490 Porteous Noblenes 183/11 (Asl.). 1513 Doug. vi. viii. ii. Ib. ix. v. 157. Ib. xi. i. 96. a1605 Montg. Misc. P. lii. 27.
[Women] menis him [a repudiated lover] quhen he is ago
(b) 1375 Barb. xv. 237 (E).
For he wes nocht custummabilly Wont for to meyne men ony thing Na wald nocht her men mak menyng
?1438 Alex. ii. 4525. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3530. 1513 Doug. x. vii. 94.
Meyn [: eyn]

b. To bewail, bemoan, regret (one's misfortune etc.). 1375 Barb. iii. 186 (E).
Menand the scaith that thai haiff tayn
Ib. ix. 300. Ib. xii. 97.
The King ansuer has maid thaim nane Bot menyt hys handax schaft [etc.]
Ib. xv. 237 (C).
For he wes nocht … Wount for til meyne ony thing
a1400 Leg. S. xxiv. 100.
Thai had na barnys thame betwene, & that gretly cane thai mene
Ib. iii. 699. c1420 Wynt. iii. 393, vii. 1149, ix. 2060.
Menyd, -yt (p.t.)
c1475 Wall. i. 432. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 269.
And now in ws ȝe meyne ay mare & mare In to ȝour tyme ȝe fynd the hole contrare
1513 Doug. i. viii. 127.
The gret wirschip of sik men quha wald nocht meyn?
Ib. v. ii. 16. 1531 Bell. Boece II. 479.
Mony lordis of Ingland war menand thair hevy woundis
1587-99 Hume 77/314.
Bot now the court I will not discommend, I may it meane bot may it not amend
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1120 (Wr.).
Compleaning, and meaning, Our absence did him ill
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 19. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 57/9.
His fall is littill meanid be … his subiectis
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xiv. 5.
Absence I meane [: tene, grene]
1596 Dalr. II. 125/21.
Quhither tha sulde mair meine his dolour or meruel of his dafrie
1606 Craig ii. 132.
Luck be not such as sometime I haue seen'd But what remead, I may not mend, but meen'd
1619 Sel. Biog. I. iii.
He never said ‘Alace!’ or meaned any pain
1629 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 108.
Sho maining that sho was poor
Colvil 1681 Whig's Suppl. i. 54.
Some mean their elbow, some their head

c. intr. To mourn, lament (for a person); to bewail, lament, express sorrow or regret (to a person, for or of a thing). d. absol.c. (1) a1400 Leg. S. vi. 513.
Carisius … for his vif gretly can men [: quen = queen]
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 744.
Thane Dacyane … til his wyf gretly can mene [: tene]
1461 Liber Plusc. 388.
Quhy suld we then for faire deed murn or meyn [: cleyn]?
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 1211.
Quhat is thair mair of this mater to meine [: sene]?
1528 Douglas Corr. 17.
In cais the said erle wald meyne wnto ȝou of ȝour onkyndnes
a1568 Scott xx. 22.
Off all thy wo … It mends thé nocht to mene [: bene]
a1568 Bann. MS. 224 b/5.
I will go mene ȝit on to my maistrece
d. (1) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 771.
Yit makis he mery, magry quhasa mynt [: hynt, stynt, brynt]
a1500 Sir Eger 1852.
Such old malice made her to mean [: teen]
a1500 Quare Jel. 211.
Loveris compleyne, … Help for to mene
a1500 Seven S. 2500. 1513 Doug. xiii. iii. 29. a1570-86 Maitl. F. cxxx. 3.
I hard ane may sair mwrne and meyne [: grene]
(2) a1500 Sir Eger 566.
I will not mend suppose I mean [: been]
1609 Garden Garden 25.

2. reflex. To bemoan or complain.Variously const. c1420 Wynt. viii. 1627.
He … menyd hym rycht sare that he wes Noucht trettyd as kyng in that proces
a1500 Seven S. 2127.
Ane nycht he menyt him to the quene
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvii. 64.
Quhilk will me guerdoun gif … And mercy ay quhen I me mene [: bene]
1509 Hay Geneal. Sainteclaires xxi.
And quhen I come to mene me of the samyn, his servandis bostit me
1533 Bell. Livy I. 235/16. 1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 61. 1587 Waus Corr. 408.
My broder was menand him self not to be weill

3. To pity (a person or his misfortune). Also absol.(1) a1450 Fifteen Ois 94.
Vgsumnes that Thou sustenit Quhen Thi innomes Thé nocht menit
c1500 Makc. MS. vii. 6.
Forgyf our dettis as we our dettowris men [: amen]
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 1091.
Be me … thow art but lytill meind; Pas on … and seik another freind
Ib. 1145. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 501.
I am so mercifull in mynd, et menys all wichtis
1535 Stewart 36679. Ib. 7713.
The husband men full lytill now ar ment Quhome be we ar vphaldin and sustent
Ib. 42771. a1568 Scott xxvi. 32.
Thay wald be menit and no man menis [: wenys]
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. 19 b.
Thi frende … Condeme him not bot ay him meine [: beine]
c1590 Fowler I. 227/1. 1603 Philotus clxv.(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 2818.
Petyre … Apperyd to this empriowre That gretly menyd hys languore
?1438 Alex. i. 1975.
He menit thair perplexite And suith his scheild than braissit he
1587-99 Hume 57/160.
Yea they that wisht their wrack and death before, Their miserie sall mein and pittie sore
(3) 1535 Stewart 537.
Quhairfoir thair mister wes the moir to mene [: sustene]
Ib. 21012.
All the laif sen syne richt soir to meyne [: teyne] Sen thai war puneist for thair falt so soir
1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xxvii.
The meikill fouls wer not to mene [: mentene] So meikill as the small
(4) 1606 Craig ii. 58.
absol. Yet … stood he still And … would neither mend nor meene [: beene, seene, eyne]

b. To express pity for, commiserate with (another's misfortune). a1500 Sir Eger 1061.
She … all amazed spake to him: Then meened to him his distress, Heart or the head, whether it was

c. intr. To feel or display pity towards (unto) another. 1535 Stewart 58470.
Wes nane that tyme that durst so hardy be, To mene him vnto or to mak him remeid

4. To present formally as a grievance; to represent, esp. by way of a (chiefly formal) complaint; to state as a formal complaint. a. tr. b. reflex.With clause or with noun as object. Cf. also Mene v.1 3.For some further examples, see Humil(l)y adv.a. (1) 1460 Swintons xliii.
Mast humily and lamentabilly menis and complenȝeis ȝur simpil seruitour … that [etc.]
1475 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 33.
Fersamekil as it is lammentabilly menit till ws be our louit Johne of Spens, litster … that [etc.]
1489 Acts II. 222/1. 1500 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 82. 1513 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 6. 1525 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 110.
1529 Rec. Earld. Orkney 57. 1555 Peebles B. Rec. I. 222.
It wes humlie menit and hevelie lamentit to the … provest … that [etc.]
1562 Inverness Rec. I. 76.
Thair billis mennand that the prouest balyes and consell hed done expres wrang in [etc.]
1568 Maxwell Mem. II. 133.
The lard of Pollok hes menit vnto ws that [etc.]
1579 Conv. Burghs I. 106.
Being menit be thame thatt by and attour all lovabill vse obseruit [etc.]
1579–80 Irvine Mun. I. 71.
They meanit unto his hienes … how that [etc.]
1586 Conv. Burghs I. 213. 1587 St. A. Kirk S. 604. 1600-1610 Melvill 549. 1614 Fraser P. 116.
1655 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 152.
In name of … the said burgh … means and schowes that [etc.]
1692 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes.(2) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 733.
This is the case I haif to ȝow to mene [: quene, serene, pertene, sene]
Ib. 819. 1557 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 303.
To ryde to Edinburgh and meyne to the quenis grace and lordis of secreit counsell the grit exhorbitant charges [etc.]
1560 Spotsw. Hist. 144.
We were forced to mean our estate to the Queen of England
1565 Inverness Rec. I. 129.
Menand and schawand him the kaise foirsaid
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 61.
Ordaning baith the parties … to meyne the mater to the said Generall Assembly
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cxii. 11. 1581 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 87.
The said complaynt wes … hevylie menit to the said baillies
1584 Cal. Sc. P. VII. 54.
I talkit withe ȝou and menit the cause of ane fayetful brother of ouris
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 314. 1591-2 Rob Stene 5.
Ȝe sowld cheifly mene his caice, To quhalpis ar of his nobill raice
1596 Cal. Sc. P. XII. 377.
[Anent the] grefe [of the ministry] meanit [to us]
1597 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 189. 1600 Elgin Rec. II. 85.
A commission to Alexander Annand to mene the estait of the countrie to his Maiestie and his consell, and to bring Bell the cleinger out of Dundey
1606 Conv. Burghs II. 221.
To meyne the fraud of the gadgeris … to the lordis of secreit counsall
1600-1610 Melvill 24.
To pray in my hart and mein my esteat to my God
Ib. 250.
Na thing was meined to me of that mater be the King bot onlie be his maister haker
1622 Conv. Burghs III. 132. a1651 Calderwood V. 363. Ib. VII. 164.b. (1) 1425 Acts II. 10/1.
That hostelaris … menys [Skene meenis] thaim to the King that his lieges … herberys thaim nocht [etc.]
1456–70 Liber Aberbr. 105.
And in speciale we meyn ws lamentabile ontyll your nobile lordschypis quhow we ar greitly hurt [etc.]
1530 Crim. Trials I. i. 145. 1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 162.
Quhair your lordschip writtis that Oliver Sinclare menis him to your lordschip that I am scharpe to him
1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 65.
The saidis David [etc.] … menit thame to the said barroun baillie [etc.] … allegeand that [etc.]
1609 Coll. Rebus Alban. 158. 1614 Crim. Trials III. 286.
The said laird … meanit him self that he wes a gentleman of small moyene
1638–9 Peebles Gleanings 245.
Who humblie meaned himselfe to the proveist that [etc.]
1654 Maxwell Mem. II. 284.
I gave in ane bill and meined myself to them, showing that I was not hable [etc.]
(2) 1456–70 Liber Aberbr. 108.
Than we menyt ws of that vrang to owr bailye for the tyme
1592 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 7 March.
Comperit personalie Johne Buchane … & menit him to thame of his necessitie
(3) 1502 Acta Conc. III. 176. 1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 264.
Thai menit thaim to ȝou & ȝe [etc.]
1546 Grant Chart. 98.
Quhare upoune the said James hes menyt him to ws
1562 Montgomery Mem. 184.
Scho menit hir to the loirdis of secreit counsale to the effect scho mycht be declairit frei
1565–6 Reg. Privy C. I. 415. 1569 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 167. 1570 Reg. Morton I. 51.
I knaw nocht to quhome I suld meine me vnto nor vnto ȝow
1600-1610 Melvill 7.
Meining my self to the plat
1615 Highland P. III. 256.
I moist mein me to ȝour lo. fawour … that ȝour lo. hawe sume compation on my presentt affaire
1641 Spalding II. 72. 1674 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II. 264. 1677 Aberd. Council Lett. VI. 133. 1685 Wodrow Hist. IV. 213.(4) 1600-1610 Melvill 9.
For the quhilk I meined my self againe to my sessioun
1616 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 71 (13 Mar.).
Vnto ȝour wisdomes I Agnes Pendriche … does meane my selff for clearing & confort
1697 Edinb. Surgeons III. 66.
To close up his shop till he should mean himselfe to the calling for a new priviledge

c. In passive, with the authority with whom the complaint is lodged as subject. 1634 Cullen Ann. 38.
The counsall being havelie meanit … that dyvers few dewteis [etc.] … ar restand awand

d. intr. To make formal complaint (against (upon) a person or to a person, of (or on) a grievance).(1) 1530 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 137.
Forsamekill as it is humelie menit and complenit be our louittis the provest [etc.] … vpone the personis vnder wrytin, quhilkis … daylie inuadis … thame [etc.]
1545 Ib. 213.
My lord prouost [etc.] … humelie meins and complenis I, your daly oratour, … vpon Gilbert Mar … that quhair [etc.]
1554 Crim. Trials I. ii. 371.
Forsamekle as it is humlie menit and complenit to ws … vpoun Wiiliame Chalmer of Drumlochie
1585 Glasgow Prot. IX. 151.(2) 1575–6 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 96.
I haif oft menit and complenit … Of my evill … handilling in the said seruice
1577 Inverness Rec. I. 256.
That your wysdomes as our superioris … meyne on the said novation to our souerane
1579 Conv. Burghs I. 86. 1583 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 82.
That it be menit to my lord … of the greit hurt [etc.]
(3) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8949.
Ȝit not the les sum grace I haue obtenit … sa far to hir I menit
1570 Cal. Sc. P. III. 333.
[Thus briefly I am forced to] meane [unto your highness, protesting always]
1583 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 90.
That he hes reasonable cause to meane and complene upoun that behalf

e. To petition (to an authority for something); to represent, claim (that something is so). 1570 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 30 Mar.
The counsall ordanit Johne Aytoun provest … to pas to Edinburgh to mein to the sessioun for ane minister
1593 Montg. (Suppl. Vol.) 333.
Quhilk tacite importis, as the defandar wald meane, ane gracious restitutioun

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"Men v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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