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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.

North, adv., n. and a. Also: northe, northt, (norht, nhorth, nort, nor,) noirth, noarthe, nurth. [ME. norrþ (Orm), norþ, norð, north(e, e.m.E. north(e, OE. norð, norþ, adv.]See also Benorth.

A. adv. 1.Towards the north; in a northerly direction. 1388 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 14.
And sa north tyl the Fyssare fald
The water rynnys north betuene the tua toftis
c1420 Wynt. i. 985.
Cawcasus … Northt on tyll Ewrope merchande nere
c1475 Wall. iv. 324.
Northt so our Ern throuch out the land thai went
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 168/14.
And north fra Medea is … Asseria
Ib. 187/30.
Fra the Scottis se north
Ib. 305/14.
Than north in Asia is Mont Caucassis
1507 Treas. Acc. III. 410.
Passand with the lettrez … fra Forth north
1509 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 353.
1529 Dundee B. Laws 546.
The stane dyke … to be biggit … ewyn vp north in lavell to the hed dyk
1534 Bamff Chart. 65.
The ane of the heids pictours lutand north and the other southour
1595 Aberd. B. Rec. II. iii.
Ascendand lineallie north … to ane laich eirdfast stane

b. North and south, in all directions, everywhere. a1568 Scott i. 140.
That thai ar … hareit north and south
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 288.
In till all airth baith north and south

c. comb. — 1596 Elgin Rec. II. 41.
Sen his north passing

B. noun. 2. The North, in usual senses.Chiefly with the.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. 1110.
Fra the sowth it … strekys In tyil the northt qwhill that it rekys
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 6.
Fra the north
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 153/28.
Till … the rever of Canais in the north
1513 Doug. i. iii. 15.
A blastrand bub out from the north brayng
1531 Bell. Boece I. 5.
Fornens Spanye to the north wes ane ile
1533 Gau 53/2.
Fra the est to the vest fra the sutht to the northt
1535 Stewart 545.
Furth in the north, law vnder the laid st[a]r
1542 Reg. Privy S. II. 420/1.
Fra Pentland Firth in the north to the Mwle of Galloway in the south
1549 Compl. 48/32.
Ane of them standis at the northt quhilk is callit the pole artic
a1540 Freiris Berw. 347 (M).
Than in the north he turnit and lowtit doun
1577–8 Glasgow Chart. II. 559.
Betuix the loyne on the northt and Clyd on the southt
1663 Marischal Coll. Rec. I. 283.
At the north the closs of the tenement
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 553.
Fra north on sowth the streme it strekys
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 153/26.
The breid of the erth fra south till north

3. The northern part (of a region, country, etc.).(1) 11.. Reg. St. A. 142.
Vnam toftam in burgo de Perth … cum botha una in vico de north apud castellum
11.. or 12.. Ib. 214.
? 12.. Ib. 146.
1375 Barb. xix. 121 (E).
The King … askyt him of the north tithing
1491 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 63.
The quhylk hail crofte extends in baith north and south
c1500 Crying of Play 61.
Apon a nycht heire in the north
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 310/16.
The south for … hetis and the north for … caldis ar inhabitable
c1616 Hume Orthog. 23.
In abating from the word following, we, in the north, use a mervelouse libertie
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 1183.
In to the north [C. northe] off Ewrope is A ryver that hat Tanays
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 251/24.
Sa was the north of Yngland cristinnit be Aiadan
1596 Dalr. II. 183/14.
Sent to the north of Ingland

b. Esp., the north, also the north-east (of Scotland). = North cuntré, Northland, Norland. 1558-66 Knox II. 55.
Of all bye-lyeris, and in speciall of my Lord Huntlie in the north
1571 Sat. P. xxvi. 103.
Ding Draffen doun … Bringin the north with bumbart [pr. bumvart] bow & lance
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 298.
The lords of the south and great men of the north that have opposed themselves to the Kirk
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1524.
There came never luk fra the north bot horse and fair women
1647 St. A. Presb. 108.
The people ar burdained with quartering of sogers now goeing to the noarthe
c1650 Spalding I. 5.
Thinking none sould be livetennand in the north bot thame selffis
1665 Lauder Jrnl. 58.
Huntly, the cock of the north
1666-7 Blakhall Narr. 174.
I am indead knowen heir in the north, but no wayes in the south, for since my first comeing north I have ever remained in this syde of the Month
Ib. 148 (see North cuntré n. b). 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 255.
The Lord Lovat was called the common cooke of the north: at the serving in of his dishes he would invit the meanest stranger to dine with him
1676 Meikle Old Session Bk. 108.
Ane letter to be wreat back to the north concerning James T.
(2) 1521 Aberd. B. Rec. I. xxxv.
Alexander Erll of Huntlie … regent … of the northt of Scotland
a1538 Abell 70 b.
Sa that thai maye scantlie get thare nedis … and that principalie in north of Scotland
1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 392. 1549 Compl. 66/18.
Thai dancit al cristyn mennis dance, the northt of Scotland, huntis vp [etc.]

C. adj. 4. Situated in, or belonging to, the north; northerly.a. In place-names. North Ilis, see also Ile n.1 2 (3). Also (c 1605–8) North Britain, = Scotland.(1) c 1211 Liber Calchou 334.
Magistro de Northberwic
12.. Reg. Dunferm. 97.
Cum una particula terre mee in Northflat qua extendit se de North Crag … versus occidentem
Ib. 219.
Cum una perticula terre in Nortflat que extendit se de Nortryg
1358 Exch. R. I. 563.
1461 Montrose B. Ct. 3 May.
Halff of a nete of Nurthesk
1698 Greyfriars Interments 35.
Captain James Baillie, North Morton
(2) 1306 Reg. Dunferm. 410.
Usque le Northlandis
1328 Exch. R. I. 103.
Husbandorum del Northbarnis
1400 Chart. (Reg. H.) Honess Doc. No. .
A tenement in Anderston … liand in the Northgat
1428 Liber Melros II. 521.
At the west ende of the toun on the North Raw
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 216/28.
On the North Inche of Sanct Jhonston
1530–1 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 346.
Betuix the Watir of Forth and the North Watir
1573 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 2.
In the North Loch
1596 Cal. Sc. P. XII. 382.
[To … enter his person in ward in any part] be north the North Watter
1677 Cunningham Diary 91.
To a stable boy in the North Ferry
(3) 1576 Orkney Oppress. 38.
Be the inhabitaris of the North Yles of Zetland
1587–8 Burntisland B. Ct. 24 Feb.
And thre barrellis North Illis heringis
(4) 1605 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 155.
For the sowme of thre hundreth merkis money of North Britane
1606 Scot Narr. 174.
Within his highnesse kingdome of North Brittaine
1606 Highland P. III. 87. 1608 Boyd Fam. P. No. 94 (23 Apr.).
Money of North Britane

b. With common nouns in general use.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. 513.
In the north art of Sythy
Ib. vi. 2067.
The north bate suld be redy made Towart the sowth to hald the trade
1454 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 268.
In parte boreali de le north tuffalo situatum
c1475 Wall. ix. 684.
The north cost
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 408.
Thir bishops cums in at the north window
1497 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 60.
Fra the southt hevin to the northt hevin
1513 Doug. ii. ii. 96.
The north wynd
Ib. xii. Prol. 73.
Of Eolus north blastis
1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 3.
To the northt lycht
1563 Knox VI. 529.
Concernyng the furnissing of these norht bordoris
1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 121.
1630 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I. 252.
The northe quarter of the said college
1689 Cramond Kirk S. III. 6 Dec.
Through this kingdome on the southside of Tay and … through the north pairts of this kingdome
(2) ?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 45.
In the north end of this cuntrey of Barray
1602 Reg. Great S. 474/2.
Fra the north end of the said heidrig
1676 Rothesay B. Rec. 347.
Ground att the north end of the gavill
(3) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 167/15.
The mast north of thir four fludis is Eufrates

c. Elliptically, for North-sid(e n. 2. —1551 Hamilton Cat. 51.

d. predicatively. (Situated) in the north. 1644 Acts VI. i. 84/1.
The course tane … in sending tua of the regimentis that come out of Ireland to the south and one to be north

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"North adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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