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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Plak, n. Also: plac(k, plake, plaik, plauk. [MDu. and Flem. placke, plecke a small coin of Brabant and Flanders, current in the 15th c., f. a word = ‘flat disc, tablet’; also F. plaque id. (1425), med. L. placca, and e.m.E. plake (1479), placke (Caxton), plakk (1526), applied to the coin of the Netherlands.]

1. A small billon coin of Scotland, first minted under James III and last under James VI, appar. normally with a nominal value of 4 d.First issued c 1470, prob. at a value of 4 d. Scots.With various qualifying words, as gray, layit, stampit; for Mauchlyne, Scottis plak see the first element. 1639 B. M. Addit. MS. 28566.
[Small coines of brasse. Bothwells, vj make a penny English. Placks, 3 make a penny English
But they account the Scotsh marke thirteene pence English & one of their placks
(a) 1473 Acts II. 105/1.
As tuiching the plakkis and the new pennyis, the lordis thinkis that the striking of thame be cessit, and thai haue the cours that thai now haue vnto the tyme that the fynance of thame be knawne and quhethir thai halde v s. fyne siluir of the vnce as was ordanit be the Kingis hienes
1485 Ib. 174/2. 1513 Doug. viii. Prol. 93.
Sum penys furth a pan boddum to prent fals plakkis
1517 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 101.
That all plakkis … be takin out throwch this realm … nochtwithstanding ony cullour or matell thai be of; and … that thar be … serchiouris … to decern betwix the richt plakkis and fals plakkis
1523 Carnwath Baron Ct. MS. 5 b.
& ane plak of erllis
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4032 (B).
It will hurt bettir I wad ane plak Richt now
1565 Prot. Bk. J. Foulis MS. 85.
James Crechtoun … offerit to him ane grit soume of money in plakkis, babeis, lyartis & vther vsuale money of Scotland
1574 Acts III. 92/2.
Anent the crying doun of new plakkis and hardheidis. … Ordanis the saidis new plakkis last cunȝeit to haue cours … for twa penneis the pece
a1578 Pitsc. I. 169/21.
The wyffis [under James III] wald refuse the said cunȝie quhilk was callit ane Couchrinis plak
1591 Acts III. 526/2.
All vther allayed money, … as babeis … and gray plakkis
1593–4 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 107.
Laitt plaks
1600–1 Cal. Sc. P. XIII. 777.
[I shall cause a Scots] tua penny plak [impoverish England one hundred thousand crowns]
(b) a1578 Pitsc. II. 319/34.
And the plack to twa pennyis … quhilk befoir gave four pennyes
1603 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 194.
Ewerie servand ane plack of his fie
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) 65.
As Achisons, balbies and placks
(c) 1490 Exch. R. X. 238.
[£51/11/2] receptoram in le novis plakis
1515 Reg. Privy S. I. 401/2.
For his … fals fenȝeing, cunȝeing and stryking of the kingis money, plakis and pennys
1560 Stirling B. Rec. I. 73.
Ane leddorone wallat with … tua s. peces, plakis, babeis, hardheidis, and sic uthir usuall money
1570 Conv. Burghs I. 22.
Allegitt to be the hame bringaris of the fals hardheidis, fals plakis, and vther fals cunȝe
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 95.
He … wald haue givin him ane plake to make ane act vnder his handwrit of the former wordis
1592 Aboyne Rec. 175.
Stampit plakis
a1605 Birrel Diary 32.
The 7 of Januar [1594] the 4 penny plakis proclaimed
(d) 1514–15 Rentale Dunkeld. 265.
14 lib. 13 s. 4 d. in plaikis
(e) 1532 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 125.
To gef Robert ane plauk for pairkaigis

b. Latterly also as a money of account. 1629 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 104.
Ye … saught ane plack of silver in almis fra him
1634 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 102.
The whole bulyeoun … to be converted into … 4 s. peices, 5 and ane plak peices
16.. Boyd Fam. P. No. 251 c.
A plac for a candel, item a plack for a les

c. ? In the following applied to the Flemish plack. — 1498 Halyb. 237.
Som of thir plakis, 18 s. 10 d.

2. Typifying a negligible sum of money, a ‘penny’, a ‘farthing’.Only in negative contexts. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 3052 (B).
Ȝe gar me wryt mony sindry act And to me ȝe nevir cast in a plack
Ib. 3072.
The feind ane plak was left
15.. Dunb. App. ii. 68.
All his freindis … He wald nocht mend thame worth ane plack
a1568 Flemyng Bann. MS. 160 b/77.
Or I had lettin him spend a plak I lever haif [etc.]
1571 Sempill Sat. P. xxviii. 118. 15.. Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 59.
I haif nother testane, grot, plak nor balbe at this tyme
1582 Edinb. Test. XI. 254.
That he wes not awand ane plak to ony persone
1584 Waus Corr. 290.
I newer mellit with ane plaik of my gudschouris gair
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 665.
Bot yit they shall not want a plak
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1153. c1650 Spalding I. 188.
For nather covenanter nor antecovenanter gat payment worthy ane plak
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1751) 14.
Making lines not worth a plack
1686 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 94.
Your poor petitioner … is not able to gaine himselfe ane plack

b. transf. (Not) the least amount, (not) at all. 1530 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 108.
Jhone … said … that the hors suld nocht be the vor ane plauk, for ve haif na haist in our rydding

3. a. A plack's (plakes) worth, a quantity to the value of one plack. lit. and fig.(1) 1643 Sharpe Witchcraft 116.
For sending back a plack's worth of salt
1676 Grant Chart. 356.
I … bought a plakes worth of snishing
(2) ? 1660–90 J. Walwood in P. Gillespie Rulers Sins (1718) 14.
Atheists, who have not a placks worth of religion, hope to be saved

b. Twa and a plack, a substantial sum of money. 1692 Presb. Eloq. 85.
I hazard twa and a plack, saith God, there is a whap in the nest

c. In proverbs and proverbial expressions. 1576 Waus Corr. 130.
Your plak sall wyrth mair nor ane wthir mans babbe
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 386.
Even as yow lov me lend me a plack
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 46.
Acts will give plaks and puddings pennies
Ib. Nos. 587, 1587, 1688. a 1686 Hay Fleming Six Saints I. 100.
Thou witch-wife … quit the devil's service … thou will never make thy plack a babee of him

4. Attrib.a. That costs a plack, worth fourpence. b. Plak purse: ? a purse for small coins; in Inverness, such a purse customarily used in the payment of burgess and gild entry money. (Cf. penny-purs, Penny n. 9 c.) 1550 Dundee B. Ct. II. fol. 6 (16 Oct.).
Jhone Rob amerciat for the … selling of plak ale quhare it wes put till thre d. the pynt
1560 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. XXIV. (Jam.).
His wyf brewit plak-aill
1678 Aberd. Trades 227.
That none … baik plack bannaks of oatmeal or pairings
1539 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 29 Jan.
That na breid be bakin bot plak breid, tua peny breid, and peny breid
1567 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. (App.) 308.
Plack braid
1582 Ib. 74.
To … sell ane pound of sufficient breid for vi d. and the plak breid effeiring thairto
1589 St. A. Baxter Bks. 45.
[Not to] sell ony sex penny bred for plack braid
1589 St. A. B. Ct. 19 Sept.
That the thrid off ewerie bache be plak breid
1604 Elgin Rec. II. 130.
That ane plak candill be provydit ilk nycht to the evening prayeris
1646 Ib. 255. 1545 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 23 Apr.
xxij unce the plak laif
1551 Dundee B. Ct. II. fol. 92 (6 Oct.).
The pace of xxij vnce the plak laif gud & sufficient
1552 Perth Guildry MS. 288 (Nov.).
Selling … four vnce of ilk plak laif mair nor the baxtaris … dois
1570 Elgin Rec. I. 123. 1597 Ib. II. 52.
The minister sall gif her [a witch] ij plak leif and watter
1567 G. Ball. 204.
His plak pardonis ar bot lardonis Of new fund vanitie
1679 Glasgow B. Rec. III. 274.
To build ane oven to baik plack pyes in
1690 Curiosities Charta Chest.
For 6 plack pyes [ed. pigs] 00.02.00
a1706 Watson's Coll. i. 23.
Sheepheads, cheats, plack-pyes, Lamb legs
b. 1686 Inverness Rec. II. 346.
Admitted burgesses & gild brethren … the said William Stephen for five shillings in a plack purse

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



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