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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.

Note, Noit, Not(t, n.2 Also: noitt, noyt; notte; noett; noat(e. [ME. (Layamon, Cursor M.) and e.m.E. note, not, noot(e (14–15th c.), noate (1587), F. note (12th c.), L. nota a mark.]

I. 1. A musical note.A note in musical notation; such a note as sung or played.(a) ?1438 Alex. ii. 10770.
Than menstrallis changit thame notes new
a1500 Henr. Orph. 242 (Ch. & M.).
For in my lyf I coud newir syng a note
1490 Irland Mir. II. 110/29.
Consonaunt as the voces and the notis in the sang
Ib. I. 32/32. Ib. II. 150/7. c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 104.
They sang ballettis … With amourouse notis lusty to devise
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10503.
And euerie note [of a bird] I sall ȝow interpreit
1567 G. Ball. 232.
Ȝour curious notis in the queir
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 694.
Syngand this anteme distinctly Ay noyt to noyt til hyme sadly Al out
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 24 b; etc.
The quantaties of all noittis and pausis in equall voces dewydit
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6819.
Singing hir noitis sa curious
1580 Edinb. Test. VIII. 363
Tuentie sevin psalme buikis with the noittis
(c) 1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. vi. 646.
Singeth to the harpe sevin nottis [L. differentias vocum]
1585 James VI Ess. 72.
O blesse Him now with notts that are enioyde
a1605 Montg. Son. xlviii. 6.
Vhill as thy changing, chivring nots thou chants
1562-92 Wode's Psalter (ed.) 178.
Composit be Shir Jhone Futhy, bayth letter & not
16.. Ib. 239.
I sall sing the laichest notte
1687 Bk. O. Edinb. C. XXVII. 140.

b. Applied, in plur., to the singing of birds, and also = next sense. 1375 Barb. xvi. 65.
Byrdis syngis … Melland thair notys with syndry sowne
?1438 Alex. ii. Prol. 3.
And nychtingalis thare notis neuis
c1450-2 Howlat 716.
In come the menstralis The mavis [etc.] … And thar notis anone … War of Mary the myld
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1697 (H). a1500 Sir Eger 359. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 32/28.
The foulis of the aire singis sueit notis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. li. 3.
I hard ane merle with mirrie notis sing Ane sang of luif
Id. Tua Mar. W. 5, 516. Id. xlvi. 17; etc. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 191.
The lustye lark … Numerand hir naturall notis craftelye
15.. Clar. ii. 853.
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8388; etc.
1570 Sat. P. xv. 35. a1585 Maitl. Q. lxix. 6.
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 2. 1587-99 Hume 26/39.
For ioy the birds … Takes vp their kindelie musicke nots
1580 P. Hume Promine 109.

2. An air, tune, melody; also applied to the song of birds.Preket not, music sung from notes written down as distinguished from that sung by ear: see Prikit ppl. a.(1) a1500 Henr. III. 106/3.
Ane ald man … hard I syng Gay wes the noit, suet wes the woce
1562-92 Wode's Psalter (ed.) 134.
Psalm cxxxvi … is set wyth the note of Give laud unto the Lord
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 21.
The birdis sang … With curiouse note as Venus chapell clerkis
Id. xxii. 17.
The pyet with hir pretty cot Fenȝeis to sing the nychtingalis not

b. (To sing or do mass or a religious office) with note, i.e. with music, sung, as opposed to merely recited. c1420 Wynt. v. 3298.
He Ordanyd that the creyd suld be Sayd or songyn as the mes Done wyth note or prywe wes
1454 Liber Coll. Glasg. i 77.
With placebo and dirige tyll be songin in the quer and a messe with not
1473 Ib. 186.
The forsaide mes salbe changit fra a saide mes till a songyn mes witht noyt
1491 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 257. 1500 Rankin St. A. Ch. 128.
To convene dayly … to do devyne service … with noyt
1527 Guide to St. Andrews (1953) 19.
The queyr … sall syng daly matenis … and evinsang with nott of the best fasson

3. Any cry, call or sound. a1500 Henr. Fab. 479 (H).
Be he had crawin ane note
1549 Compl. 38/28.
The depe hou cauernis of cleuchis … ansuert vitht ane hie not
1573 Sat. P. xxxix. 144.
I saw thame fane To cry ‘peccavi’ with the waithman noit

4. fig. a. To change one's note, = to change one's tune.Cf. F. changer de note, and e.m.E. (1633). a1585 Maitl. Q. lxvi. 84.
[The fowler] Quha sueitlie tonis his instrument & sang Thairefter then he beginnis to chaunge his not
1600-1610 Melvill 460.
And now sa soone to turn our toung for hope of ritches and promotioun, and change our not with the clok on the uther shoulder
1644 Baillie II. 203.
These men are lyke now in a sudden to change their note

b. In collocations with rise v.: The conclusion or inference which emerges from a statement or argument. 1591 R. Bruce Serm. 166.
Now tak tent where my note riseth. … The estate of the … best princes is … subject to continuall … vexation
a 1599 Rollock Wks. II. 29.
The words are plain, ye may easily perceive the note that riseth of this

c. To come to a note, ? to come to the point, to reach a definite decision. — 1638 D. Dickson in Sel. Biog. II. 24.
Our doctrine … garres him either come to a note or professe himselfe to be hypocrite

II. 5. A distinguishing mark, sign or token, in material and non-material applications; a distinguishing characteristic or feature. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 23/7.
Quhow … the durris of certane Caluinianis wes calket also with sum notes of dishonour
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 12.
Thair is mony notis quhilkis schauis ane man infectit be pest
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 39.
Bot that voydenes of feir I construe to be ane note of maist obstinat haitrent
1625 Garden Kings 62.
O naughte, notor and ignoble nott Which Time sall ay to his discredit quot
Id. Worthies 74.
To come of kings & doe from dooks discend, Be these the trew nots of nobilitie
1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 241.
All of them … diversified thair armes from others … by additionall nottes of distinction

b. spec. A distinguishing characteristic or sign of religious authority or truth. 1560 Acts II. 531/1.
It is … maist requysite that the trew kirk be decernit fra the fylthie synagogis be cleir and perfyte notis
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 173/1.
The first note and propirtie quhairby we sall ken ane godlie doctryne is antiquite. … The secund … vniuersalite [etc.]
1573 Tyrie in Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 18/18.
For the apostoles did conione thais tuay notes together, I beleif the halie catholick Kirk
1627 Ellon Presb. 124.
Speiking impertinentlie and not raising the notts of doctrine as he suld have done

c. Applied by Hume the grammarian to grammatical ‘particles’ or form-words as serving to distinguish gender, case etc. c1616 Hume Orthog. 28.
He is the noat of the male
Ib. 29; etc.
The difference [of case] we declyne, not as doth the Latines and Greekes be terminationes, but with noates after the maner of the Hebrues, quhilk they cai particles

6. a. Signs or marks of punctuation, collectively; punctuation. b. An orthographic symbol or representation (of a sound). a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxvi. 9.
Reid this wers acording to the meitter & it is guid of wemen bot reid it to the nott ewin the contrair
c1616 Hume Orthog. 13.
H, quhilk we have called a noat of aspiration

III. 7. A formal record of some action, statement etc., esp. one entered in the register of a court by its clerk. Also note of court.Also applied to a notarial instrument more generally.See also Instrument n. 5 and 5 c for further examples. 1491 Acta Aud. 147/1.
William Bischop of Abirdene askit ane not that Gabriell of Towris producit & schew ane decrett arbitrale [etc.]
1494 Acta Conc. I. 354/2.
Richard Lawsone … askit a not that Robert Charteris haid said iniuriously that [etc.]
1532 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 61.
Master Abraam protestit at the notis, instrumentis and protestationes tayne be the saidis Robert [etc.] … becaus thair is nocht sic lyk tayne in the scribis handis
1540–1 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 169.
1561 Dumfries B. Ct. 4 a.
Thairvpon the said Marcus requiritt noitt & act
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 106.
Quhairupon the said Erle Bothwell askit ane note of court and instrument

b. Under (the) note of, appar. = as noted or recorded by a notary.Perh. after the formula ‘eaque … sic fieri sciui vidi et audiui ac in notam recepi’ in the attestation of a notarial instrument. 1532 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 72.
The stait and saisyng of the saidis landis grantit to David Orrok vnder note and subscriptione Schir Thomas Tod chaiplan notar public
1563 St. A. Kirk S. 160.
Ane instrument … under not of Thomas Malwll notar publict
1565 Perth B. Ct. 305 (13 April).
Ane sesing of the samyn vnder the note sign & subscriptioun of William Ramsay
1577 Stewart Mem. 100.
Vnder the not signe and subscriptioun of vnquhyll Henrie Walcar noter
1588 Prot. Bk. A. Lawson 169 b.
1592 Burntisland B. Ct. 17 Nov.
Vnder the not and subscriptioun off [etc.]

c. To mak ane note, to make a written or mental record, to take note (of some statement, decision etc.). ?1438 Alex. ii. 3771.
‘Dame,’ said the Bauderane, ‘God forbeid!’ ‘Mak thare ane note!’ said Cassamus
1590 Cal. Sc. P. X. 411.
It pleassed the Quenes majestie … to will me to mak ane noett of our conferrens towards my nygosiatione in Denmark
1628 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 288.
Ye have made nottes of the ansser

8. plur. A written digest of the essentials of a matter; a summary account; a brief memorandum; and applied also to lecture-notes. 1570 Leslie 302.
Sum breve nottis as are already … set furth
1622-6 Bisset II. 275/18.
Certane nottis of croniclis and utheris ancient monumentis of the kingdome of Scotland
c1650 Spalding I. 57.
As it so fell out and be thir nottis do appeir
1647 Courses Taught K. Coll. in Rait Univ. Aberd. 155.
[It is] recommendit … that the regentes spend not too much time in dyteing of thair notts

9. A mental record or impression.a. A comment based on one's recollection of a reading. sing. and plur. b. plur. One's impression or recollection of the essentials of, or noteworthy points in, a sermon or scriptural reading, on which school-children were examined following the sermon or reading.a. 1594 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. IX. 91.
He [the schoolmaster] had … red the prayeris dayly in ane hous of the Pannis and had gevin notts upon the chapteris
1600-1610 Melvill 78.
Thairefter a chaptour read, and everie man about gaiff his not and observation thairof
b. 1603 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 25.
That sa mony of the scholeris as … ar habill to giff ane compt of thair edificatioun sall sitt in the loft … and thair tak thair nottis of the preichingis
1620 Perth Kirk S. MS. 15 May.
The sessioun ordenis that … the bairneis of the grammer scole … at thair going abak agane to the scole for giffing of thair notis that they go tua and tua
1649 Peebles B. Rec. I. 387.
At the ending of the afternoone sermone he shall conveane the … bairnes and tak ane compt of their noittes of preaching and of their Sundayes lessounes
1674 Dundee B. Laws 61.

10. A statement or list of particulars.To take (up) a note, to compile a list. 1604 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 313.
Ye sall ressave ane mynut of thair names … and ane not of the money lent to thame with ane not quhat they get for thair labour
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 226.
The generall missive … quhilk bearis a nott of all the particular materis to be treated thairat
1637 T. Hope Diary 69.
With the nott of the aittis, peiss, cheiss [etc.] … sent to him
1638 Black Bk. Taymouth 395.
Send … the said list … with a nott of forder weapons … they will neid
1645 Spalding II. 497. 1647 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 72.
The foirsaid subscrivit not, bearand that the toun sould furnishe first [etc.]
1649 Bk. Dunvegan I. 121.
1652 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 281.
I am not so cleir in this not [sc. a list of levies paid] as I vold becaus the rol is fallen by my hand
1656 St. A. Presb. 173.
To have a notte of all the stipends which had wacked since the yeir 1651
1661 Aberd. Council Lett. IV. 159.
Ane nott of the … skipers name and of the guids he his in
(2) 1625 Conv. Burghs III. 200.
The skippers sail caus the clarkis of thair schippis tak vp ane iust nott of the hard guides schippit
1626 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 300.
That ilk commander sall … tak up ane nott of thair provisioun … as lyikwayes sall give up ane nott of the haill airmour thay sail find
1652 Lamont Diary 39.
They tooke a note of the oxen, kaye, sheepe, and cornes
1661 Blairs P. 60.
I … did luic and tak a nott of landis hade been alineat and neglectet
1699 Cramond Kirk S. IV. 13 Nov.

11. a. A written extract from a register. b. A written document acknowledging a concession. c. (? ). 1637 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 105.
The said commissionar producit a nott of the said continewatioun extract furth of the bookes of secrett counsell
1657 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 363.
That the provest and bailleis subscryve ane nott of the abeatment of the tounis cese of seaven pund [etc.]
1657 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 165.
[That Marion Fogo] loused the contract frome the not and that sche deliverd it [etc.]

12. a. Note of resait, also, gevin for resait, a signed receipt. 1624 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 511.
Intreating hir to delyver vp ane not of my hand gevin for resait of certane diamondis
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 226.
Taking a not of ressaitt frome the secretarrie vnder his hand
1646 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 90.
[The town's munitions to be] put in ther keippeing vpon ther noitts of recaite
1650 Ib. 523.
Debursit … to Cuthbert Campbell, conform to his not of recept … 540 li.
1650 Irvine Mun. II. 75.

b. A signed acknowledgement of a debt, a note of hand or promissory note. 1666 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 530.
Frome Mr. Jolly when he borrowed of your grace vpone tuo severalle nots now reteired £107/00/00
1680 Foulis Acc. Bk. 42.
The 1000 lib. he hes my not for

c. A billeting order, a billet. 1649 Acts VI. ii. 264/2.
It being provin that they quartered in such and such places and did not leave billets or notes for thair quartering conform to the just number quartered

13. a. An explanatory comment. b. A noteworthy observation or remark. c1590 J. Stewart II. 242/168.
Constance … Quha me remembrit of the nobill not, That nane [etc.]
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 660 (T).
Quhois honorabill origine the note of his name, Callit etimoligie, beiris richtlie record

c. A marginal ‘note’. 1622-6 Bisset II. 320/18.
A marginal mark or writing of any kind to indicate, or to amplify or comment on, the corresponding passage in the text; a marginal annotation. They ar … marked be figouris on ilk mergin; and sua it is that at the first luik or sicht of these nottis of the samyn, ȝe may get suir knawlege thairof
1640 Baillie I. 242.
My notts on the margine

IV. 14. Distinction, eminence. a1568 Bann. MS. 141 a/12.
Ane agnus day with nobill nott
1640 Lanark Presb. 19.
Men of nott
c1650 Spalding I. 221.
To call so many of suche nott, without ony command or warrand sent to them selffis, seimis strange

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