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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.

Mesur(e, v. Also: -our(e, -urr, messur, mes(s)o(u)r(e; measor, -ur(e, -ower, -re, meassur(e, -o(u)r. [ME. mesur(e (Cursor M.), mesour (a 1340), e.m.E. mesure (Caxton), measure (1509), F. mesurer. Cf. Mis(s)our.]

1. tr. To measure against a standard or unit. a. As to quantity or capacity. b. As to dimension.For further examples see Met p.p. and Met v.a. 1375 Barb. xvii. 617 (E).
The fagaldis weill mycht mesuryt be Till a gret townys quantite
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 91.
All mettis and messouris … to [be] vesiet and messorit efter the vse … of the burgh
1563 Peebles B. Rec. I. 291.
That the samyng custome be mesurrit justlie
1575–6 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 48.
1576 Orkney Oppress. 18.
Ane can quhairwith thai mesourit thair vlie
1587 Acts III. 521/2.
That all wictuall in tyme cuming salbe mesorit be straik, and be ressoun that malt beir and aittis hes bene wsit to be measorit be heip [etc.]
1643 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 17.
1661 Rothesay B. Rec. 66.
b. a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 552.
He gert mesoure the tre sone
Ib. xxvii. 1036.
Sanct Machor than mesuryt the place
c1420 Wynt. vii. 3608.
A pluch off land efftyr that To nowmyr off oxyn mesuryd gat
14.. Acts I. 387/2.
The rude off the land in the burghe mesurit off a midlyng mane sal be xx fut
1538 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 152.
At nechbouris be chossin … to met and messur thair saidis landis be rynd and raip
1546 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 125.
All vther merchandice that is to be mesurit with elne
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 134.
For ij skenȝeis of pak threid to messur the Newhevin with viijd
1561 Inv. Q. Mary 21. 1578 Glasgow Chart. II. 560. 1576–7 Orkney Oppress. 16.
The lawrichtman quha mesurit oure dewitie callit wadmell and weyit our dewitie of buttir
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 173. 1640 Aberd. Council Lett. II. 163. 1655 Cullen Kirk S. 21 Jan.
Ane croft of land … marchit and measred as followeth
1674 Corshill Baron Ct. 116.

c. transf. To apportion, measure out or off (time, a share of property).(1) a1500 Bk. Chess 1674.
Thaim [sc. minutes and hours] to wey & mesour sekerly Be the verraye sciens of geometrye
1640 Dundonald Par. Rec. 465.
Thair must be a sand glasse to measour the hours
(2) 1595–6 Frasers of Philorth II. 250.
Giff thair be ma nor thre, than the tocher to be measourit at the discretioun of the bairnis maill

d. To ‘measure’ the time of (a piece of music or musical note or rest) in ‘mensurable’ music: see Mesur(e n. 9, Mensural(l a. c1550-c1580 Art of Music 27.
Bot that in perfyt singis and figuris with trinar nummer it is fund to be mesurat

e. transf. To measure (another) on the ground etc., to lay him out at length, to cause him to fall prostrate. To mesure one's lenth, ‘to measure one's length’, to fall prostrate. — ?1438 Alex. i. 1860.
His lenth he mesurit in the meid
Ib. 2920.
This day thris … He hes me measured [F. m'a fait gesir] on the grein, Lyand as into orisounis

f. ? To estimate the distance or position of the target in taking aim with a weapon, to take aim. — 1513 Doug. v. viii. 111.
Hys stern burdon behynd hys bak onhie, With hys rycht hand gan tays and mesour swa, It smait hym evyn betwix the hornys

g. P.p. (Properly) measured or proportioned, having (proper) dimensions. — a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 20.
With browis brent and [ene] brycht & nese mesurit al that rycht

2. fig. To appraise, assess, value, ‘weigh’ (a person, a quality, etc.) (against (be, by, with) something else). c1490 Porteous Noblenes 176/11 (Asl.).
Sen the charge of euery leving suld be mesurit with richt
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. 127/3.
Quha doise mesure the profunde mistery of the sacrament be thair outvard vittes and senses
1573 Tyrie in Cath. Tr. 13/3.
Sum … measures the veritie of the thing thay follow be the warldlie succes thay haue in the following of it
1596 Dalr. I. 296/30.
That ȝe walde mesour with my luue the price of this gift
1600 Crim. Trials II. 149.
Suspecting na ewill bot mesuring the intentionis of that dissaitfuil traittour with the sinceritie of his hienes awin hairt
a1658 Durham Commandments (1675) 105.
If our professions … were met and measured by our reality
1669 Jus Populi 446.
This man measureth others by his owne foot

3. To restrain, moderate. Also reflex., to act with restraint or moderation. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 166.
Nero, mesure thi gret foly
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 291.
Your mycht and your maieste mesure but mys
a1568 Bann. MS. 44 a/16.
In alkyn mater mesur thé

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"Mesur v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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