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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.

Nombre, Noumber, Number, n. Also: nombir, -e(i)r, nommber, nomebar, -ber, numbre, numbir, -yr, -rie, nummber, nwmber; noumbre, nowmber, -yre; nimber. [ME. noumbre (a 1297), numbre (Cursor M.), nombre, noumber (a 1352), numbur (Cursor M.), e.m.E. nomber, number, OF. nombre, nonbre, numbre. The commoner Sc. form is Noumer.] Number. = Noumer n., in various uses.(1) 1456 Hay I. 151/1.
For a king settis nocht by sa that he have his nombre and of als gude
1513 Doug. xi. vii. 77 (see Noumer n. 1 (b)).
1545 Douglas Corr. 161.
We hawe sein yowr letters … not adwertessing ws whou … or what nwmber they sal cum
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3030.
The noumber of this gret armie
1560 Bk. Disc. 190.
Of the nomber, effect and use of the sacraments
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 8.
The nombre of the classis at the leist sex
1612 Inverness Rec. II. 91.
Quhat nowmber of jayelles … ar … necessarie
1613 Highland P. III. 131.
Wherby the noumbers of men of warre … is particularlie sett doun
c1650 Spalding I. 347.
The cordineris of both Abirdeins wes commandit … to give wp … the number of thair ledder and to mak wp … thair portioun of 20,000 pair of schois
1650 Misc. 3 Spald. C. II. 196.
(2) 1562-3 Winȝet I. 103/14.
Citand thair names to the numbre aboue xxxvj
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 297.
Their wes … slauchter to the nummber of xvij and xv lamit
a1578 Pitsc. I. 357/29.
Ib. II. 205/30.
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 40.
1605 Glasgow Trades House 5.
1629 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 51.
Unleveyed … of the nomber of threttie sax
1643 Dundee Chart. 89.(3) 1456 Hay I. 180/22.
Bot quham that me lykit to tak in my nombre
1513 Doug. vii. iv. 46.
That now a god is clepit our all quhar, And to thar numbir ekis hys altar
Ib. xiii. xi. 47.
1562-3 Winȝet I. 32/4.
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 16.
Al that entres in the nombre of the vniuersite
c1575 Balfour Pract. 634.
Nevertheles … the lordis may adjoin ane certane of thair nombre
1584 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI. 119.
The outward pure that ar nocht of our nomber
1587 Aberd. Trades 84.
The said craftismen to choise sax persons of their awin number ȝearly
1587 Cal. Sc. P. IX. 473.
The bearer … who comptis himself amongis the nombre of your servantis
1615 Highland P. III. 174. a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) 451.
Out of which number the commissioners … were to elect four
1690 Cramond Kirk S. III.25 Oct.
The session … had suspended John Aikman oneof thair number
(4) 1456 Hay I. 6/25.
And with him … grete nombir
Ib. 219/3.
With grete nombre and quantitee of men of armes
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3669.
Gif all the men of Grew Be sic as thir few nomber war ynew
c1475 Wall. ii. 24.
1492 Myll Spect. 294/4.
Sic nomber of folkis
1535 Stewart 7097. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 626.
They wer of greiter number
1558-66 Knox II. 356.
The few nomber that war marching upoun foote in ordour
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cxi. 13.
Grit nwmber ar in dyuers landis That prince and magistrat ganestandis
1572 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxiii.
My … thanks … to yow or to the most number of yow
1574 Conv. Burghs I. 34.
Be the small nombre of commissionaris
a1578 Pitsc. I. 120/15.
1611 Macgibbon & Ross V. 6.
Lichtis … in sufficient nomber
1621 Perth Kirk S. MS.8Nov.
Of the great decay and few number present of the bairnes of his scole
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 13.
Of such number as ar impoisit on the toun
(5) 1513 Doug. ii. i. 11.
Of choys men syne … thai tuke A gret numbyr
1568 Lyndesay Pref. (S.T.S.) 400.
Thay murderit in presoun Johne Astoun [etc.] … with ane infinite noumber ma
a1578 Pitsc. II. 120/16.
The Scoittis lordis war sic ane nomber … that thay cuired nather quein nor king
1579 Irvine Mun. II. 26.
The wrange … in makieng of ane grit number cuntre lanvert men … burgessis
1587 Conv. Burghs I. 235.
Thatt … thair be ane equall nomber of dry and sea burrowis
1596 Dalr. I. 16/22.
Ane academie nocht obscure … or of ane smal numbir
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 97.
With a few numbre … of His miracles to prouve His godhaid
1600-1610 Melvill 442.
To put upon the lyttes a guid number of the thrie presbyteries that war against tham
1641 Acts V. 503/1.
(6) 1558-66 Knox I. 365 (G).
Daylie thair was suche numbers [B. nomber] of lions … prented that [etc.]
1619 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I. 239.
Nomeberis of his maiesteis subiectis
1629 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 66.
Be beggarlie lymmaris of whom lykeways nombers lyes between Leith and Edinburgh
(7) 1570–2 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxii.
Composed of a certane nombre of the principallis of the nobillitye
1587 Acts III. 463.
Becaus … thair wilbe a number of vagabundis vnplegeit … be thair landislordis
1608 Kinghorn Kirk S. 10.
Gif ewer he be fund heirefter ryoting and intertening ane number of pypers
1612 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 157.
Ane certane number being gevin in in lyttis
1626 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II. 9 Aug.
Thay war bot ane number of bairnis in ane hous togidder
1629 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 174.
Ane nomber of gowffe ballis
1637 Baillie I. 6.
A number lope to their friends for recommendations to court
c1650 Spalding I. 46.
Ane company of hielanderis … liftit … ane number of goodis
1693 Rothesay B. Rec. 485.
A sert nwmber to … revise the cesse book impost
(8) 1560 Grey Friars II. 341.
Being aucht in nomebar
1562-3 Winȝet II. 76/32.
And quhow mony preistis in number, almaist for the maist parte metropolitanes
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 75/26.
The Macedonians and Arrians daylie incressit in nomber
1624 Huntar Weights & Measures 1. c 1634 Sc. Ant. VI. 60.
[Sheep] nyne scoire and fyve in number
(9) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 180.
Men but nombre als haf I Gert synk
c1420 Wynt. viii. 6922.
Qwhill thai hostage ware, Expens but nowmbyre mad thai thare
1456 Hay I. 18/7.
(10) 1619 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I. 239.
Through the diuersitie and nomebar of forreyne speaceis of gold
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 34.
That some proportion may be keeped both anent the number & distance of place
(11) 1494 Loutfut MS. 12 a.
Armorie suld be set be nombre & be mesour of compas
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matthew xxvi. marg.
Legioun … is a noumbre of sex thousand sex hundreth lxvi
1562-3 Winȝet I. 2/11.
Thre questionis … quhilkis ar in noumbre the xxxiii, xxxiiii and xxxv of the four score thre questionis
1588 King Cat. H iij.
Adde to the ȝeres of God 9 and diuyde the haill be 28; quhat restis is the nombre of the circle of the sone for that ȝere
Ib. H vj.
Foregainst quhilk is placed the goldin nombre of that ȝere
1585 James VI Ess. 33.
So sybills tolde in verse what was to come, The preests did pray by nombers all and some
Ib. 58.
Alwayis tak heid that the nomber of ȝour fete in euery lyne be euin and nocht odde
(12) c1550-c1580 Art of Music ii.
With cyphris of trinar and bynar numbrie [sic] to the forsaidis cirkillis adionit
1585 James VI Ess. 31.
The harmony of nomber tone and song
(13) 1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi Sig. D ii b.
He sayis not that he wil oppin a wyndow bot in the plurall number wyndowis
attrib. 1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 30.
The neatt of the foirsaid quheill that guyds the numberquheill [of a clock]

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"Nombre n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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