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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.

Mes, n.1 Also: messe, mese, meis, mis(s, mise. [ME. messe, misse (14th c.), (north.) mese (1457), ME. (Cursor M.) and e.m.E. mes(s, OE. mæsse. Cf. Mas.]

1. The mass or Eucharist or its celebration.With and without the defin. article and variously const.(1) c1420 Wynt. v. 1243.
In to the mes he ordanyd syne The watyre to be put in wyne [etc.]
Ib. 1376.
Syxt … ordanyt ay Sanctus at the mes to say
c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 1.
Her begynnis the vertewis of the mes
1456 Hay II. 42/21.
The tyme of the messe
a1500 Henr. III. 171/53. a1500 Seven S. 1418. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 33/4. 1494 Edinb. Hammermen 7.
For a row of wax to the mes
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 304.
For it was ayr morow or tyme of mes
1531 Bell. Boece I. 202.
Nathalak … tuke the aithis of fidelite … in presence of the messe [L. facta re divina; M. messis]
1551 Hamilton Cat. 282.
Be celebratioun of the mes
1558-66 Q. Kennedy in 1558-66 Knox VI. 196.
I define the messe … to be the sacrifice … of the Lordes bodie [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I. 56/18.
The mayst … haly sacrifice of the mes
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 85/2.
All his argumentis to impung Christis real præsence in the messe
1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 237.
I coniure thé, baith mair and les, With all the vertewis of the mes
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxix. 1.
Of haly messe in the secre Syndry sanctis set we se
c1475 Wall. xi. 1291.
For dayly mes [1570, godlynes]
1499 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 79.
To serue thame of mes and sacramentis of halie kirk
1513 Reg. Privy S. I. 375/2.
At the kirk on Sonday the tyme of mes
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 143.
The maltmen … to remayne in warde quhill mes
(2) a1400 Leg. S. x. 423.
Syne, quhen he had sad the mes
(b) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 74.
He wes fyrste that mese can say
1456 Misc. Bann. C. III. 97.
Til ilk prest that cummys to myn erdyng and says messe for me
1471 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 53. 1509 Liber Coll. Glasg. 209.
To saye Exequias Mortuorum witht mes of the requiem
1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV. 184.
To the preist at said mis to the King
1517 Misc. Spald. C. II. 79.
All grayth … for saying of mes
1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 36. 1533 Treas. Acc. VI. 90. 1531 Bell. Boece II. 391. 1548 Treas. Acc. IX. 234. 1551 Acts II. 486/1. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 99.
A puir priest quhilk sais mes or ministaris ony other sacrament
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 749.
He is lyk the preest that can not say mess of his awin book
(3) c1420 Wynt. vi. 1024.
Quhen the Pape rewestyd wes Be the custwme to syng the mes
1456 Hay I. 147/31.
That he mycht nouther preche na teche na syng messe
1535 Stewart 33002.
Singand the mes that tyme
15.. Clar. v. 1769.(4) 1375 Barb. xi. 384 (E).
Quhen that the mes wes done
c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 12.
Quhill the mes is in doinge
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 114.
[He] thocht do mes he suld stande
1531 Bell. Boece II. 350.
King Alexander … causit mes to be done to his army
(5) 1496 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II. 339.
To singe keep and vphalde mes … within our paroche kirk
a1500 Seven S. 2477.
Quhen mes and mariage ware maid
1532 Murray Early B. Organ. 383.
That he [the chaplain] sal dailly kep mes, evensangis and processionis
(6) c1420 Wynt. vii. 873.
Than herd he mes and mad offerand
c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 36.
That day that scho has hard mes
15.. Clar. ii. 1441.
Quhen they hard mese and syne disjunit
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 4.
He was large of almous, and devoit of hering of mes
a1578 Pitsc. I. 217/23. Ib. 343/28.
The King beand in the chapell royal and heirand the mese and ewin song
(7) 1450 Peebles B. Rec. I. 15.
Nane sal ga to the mes at Our Lady altare quhil [etc.]
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 68/13. 1540 Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 213.
I trow scho be gane to the mes
(b) c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 51.
Al the steppis at a man makis to the mes
1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 43.
Scho past … to the chapell … on Sonday to the mes
1562-3 Winȝet I. 89/11.
[To] cum daylie to the mes
(8) Dunb. Tabill Conf. 84 (Arund.).
To keipe … The mes on Sonday
(9) 1456 Hay I. 19/3.
[To] sla the Pape at the messe
1471 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 53.
Tua lychtis at the dirige and at the mes
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lvii. 17.
Sum at the mes levis all devotioun
(b) c1460 Dietary 43.
Be tymley at mes, thou sall the bettir eschewe
1520 Stirling B. Rec. I. 5.(10) c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 44/28.
The kirkmen … suld pray … bath in mes & houris
a1538 Abell 72 a.
Quhen he wes in the mes
(11) c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 26.
Quhat euer met or drink a persone tak efter mes
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 161. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxviii. 6. 1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV. 332.
For ane boit at brocht the King to the schip efter mis

b. With article, possessive or defining term: A particular instance, occasion or mode of celebrating Mass.Also with ordinal numerals, esp. first mes, in various contextual applications.Freq. also with the name of the saint etc., in whose honour the mass was celebrated, as defining prefix, the resultant compound being used in many, though not all, cases as the designation of the festival and of the date on which it fell, as, e.g., Alhallowmes, Andermes (Andro(s)mes), Candilmes (Candillismes), Christinmes, Hallowmes, Haly blude mes, Lady-mes(se, Lammes, Lukismes, Martinmes, Marymes, Michaelmes, Rudemes, and see under Saint n. and Sanct n. Hence also New ȝere mes, = New year's day or tide.See also hie-, he-mes, morne-, morning-mes, and saul-mes.(1) 1375 Barb. xi. 376 (E).
Thai herd thair mes commounaly
a1400 Leg. S. xvii. 206.
Thane at Petragorycas, Frontus … In that sammyne tyme his mes begane
Ib. xliv. 34.
Ymang vthire wes a mes
Ib. xviii. 125. c1420 Wynt. v. 1396.
On the yhule day He bad thre messys be sayd ay
Ib. viii. 5277.
And here thi mes welle, And schrywe thé
Ib. v. 2356. Ib. 3872. Ib. vi. 1015. c1460 Vert. Mess (S.T.S.) 45.
For ilke mes … sindry saulys ar … fred
1444–5 Irons Leith I. 542.
For a mes to be saide ilk day at the hee alter of Sant Anton for the saulis [etc.]
c 1450 Books in St. Salvator's College in Misc. Maitl. C. III. 201.
iiij bukis with iiij messis and antemmis
1456 Hay I. 291/34.
Becaus he servis the Pape at his mes umquhile
1473 Liber Coll. Glasg. 186. c1475 Wall. v. 735. 1481–2 Misc. Spald. C. II. 324.
Tyll say or synge a daly meis tyll and for a mychty … lorde
1490 Ib. 327. 1491 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 255.
Fra the beginning tile the endinge of houris, messis, matyngis and evinsange
1491 Reg. Episc. Glasg. 482.
At ȝe will … ger doe special messis for us
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 129.
Throu ȝour mes and vrisoun Myne enemyis [ȝe] suld put to confusioun
1497 Douglas Chart. 166. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 49.
Vnto no mes pressit this prelat
1508 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 205.
For the vphalding of the said mes
1511 Treas. Acc. IV. 175.
For tua trigentale missis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 204/23.
In this Kyng Stevinnis coronacoun at the mes
1515 Treas. Acc. V. 26.
To offer at the mes of the forsaid obsequijs
1525 St. A. Formulare I. 271.
[Interdict] fra all messis sayng
1531 Bell. Boece II. 297. 1535 Stewart 57465. Ib. 57469. a1538 Abell 79 a.
He institut at nane suld here the mes of ane oppin concubiner
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 75.
To by ane messe Fra drounkin schir Johne Latynelesse
15.. Clar. v. 733.
Ane mese was singin ryght solemnitlie
1567 G. Ball. 210.
Thinking it was contritioun trew To dance ane mes [: ges v.]
a1578 Pitsc. II. 124/15.(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 366.
Thare he sang the fyrst mes That in the warld evyre sungyn wes
Ib. 1397.
At the cokcrawe the fyrst mes
1450 Peebles B. Rec. I. 15.
The first mes sal be of the Trinite … the secund mes sal be of Our Lady [etc.]
1473 Lanark & R. 194. 1490 Treas. Acc. I. 169.
To the King to offer at Master Wilȝeam Blakkis first mes, iiij li. x s.
1511–12 Ib. IV. 182.
For offeraund to ane first mis in the abbay
1511 Ib. 181. 1512 Ib. 377. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 235/2. c1520-c1535 Nisbet III. 278. 1547 Treas. Acc. IX. 137.(3) 1469 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 51.
And on the morne a mes of the requiem wyth not
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 330.
Ane trentale of messis of Sanct George xx s.
c1590 Fowler II. 54/34.
Cyprians buik … is adieterous, & Chrisost messe is attributed wrangfully vnto him
(4) 1489 Treas. Acc. I. 126.
The lordis [of Angus] to cum to the King at New Ȝere mes
(5) 1511 Treas. Acc. IV. 179.
Offerit at the hie missis in the chapele

c. (In plur.) rendering Latin sacra, sacred things or places. — 1596 Dalr. II. 428/9.
Al the messis tha pas throw vnuiolated [L. sacra prius non violata]

d. Attrib.: see also Mes-brede, -buke, -clathis. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 358.
For ane chessable [etc.] … , ane corporall, ane mise buke. ane mise belt, and for making and sewing of thaim

2. spec. Used by Protestants as the distinctive term for the Catholic or ‘popish’ form of service of the Eucharist. 1559 Q. Kennedy in Misc. Wodrow Soc. 265.
Willok had prechit with intolerabill exclamatiouns, cryand out on the messe
1559–60 St. A. Kirk S. 11.
Thir chaplanes … renunceis … the mes, the Paip [etc.]
Ib. 17. 1560 Hossack Kirkwall 69. c 1560 Instructions to the Abbot of Cupar in Sc. Hist. Rev. XXI. 142.
And that na mes be thair done heiraftir, nowthir privilie nor opinly
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 81. 1563 Acts II. 535/1.
That na maner of person say mesis nor ȝit heir mesis … vnder the pane of [etc.]
1558-66 Knox II. 358. Ib. 139.
The devill, the messe and wyttches
Ib. 277. Ib. 338; etc. a1568 Scott i. 97.
With mes nor matynes nowayis will I mell
a1568 Bann. MS. 77 b/88.
Quhat sall awaill vane messis and evin sang
1567 Sat. P. iv. 33.
For plesoure of hir mes
1567 G. Ball. 207. Ib. 209. Ib. 212. c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 312.
Tha maid Christ reallie In to thair messe
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 72. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 68. 1580 Conf. Faith in Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxx. 1581 Burne Disput. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. 126/8. 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 757.
When monsieur gaid vnto his mes
Ib. 122. 1590 James VI in Bk. Univ. Kirk II. 771.
It is ane evill said messe in English
1592 Reg. Privy C. IV. 774. 1593 Acts IV. 17/2.
Aganis the … sayaris of messe
1601 Crim. Trials II. 348. 1602 Reg. Privy C. VI. 716.
Of the saying of messis within the burgh of Dumfries
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. 118/3.
But quhen the messe went down
1618-60 Lithgow Poet. Rem. 19.
Thou knowst to heare a messe
1622 Perth Kirk S. MS. 9 July. a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 288.
Willfull hearers of mess
1664 St. A. Presb. 80.
They are bussie within at the messe, and yon is the old messe got up again
1676 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 261. 1685 Nat. Reg. Archives (Scotl.) Rep. (Ewart Lib., Dumfries) 32.
The godless … proselite, our Chanceler, goes every day to messe

b. Attrib. and comb. in mes-herar, -sayer, -saying, mes-manteinar and mess-house, and also Mes-mongar(e, Mes-preist.(1) 1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 83.
Quhair ony sic vsurpit muster messaying
Ib. 102.
That … all mes sayaris and mes manteinaris … depesche thame of this toune
1558-66 Knox II. 339. 1572 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 254.
For apprehending of the mes sayaris
1600-1610 Melvill 317.
Streat actes maid against mes-heirars and papists
1608 Bk. Univ. Kirk III. 1053.(2) 1689 Acts XII. 61/1.
King James … did invert Protestant churches and chappells to publict mess houses

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"Mes n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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