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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Privi-, Privelege, n. Also: privie-, priwy-, priwe-, priva-, priv-, and -leg, -llege, -ledg(e, -lledge, -legde, -leage, -lage, -lidge, -lyge; plur. also -legez, legies, legeis. [ME and e.m.E. privi- (c 1230), pryvelege (a 1340), privilegge (c 1390), F. privilège, -lége (12th c. in Littré), L. prīvilēgium, whence also ME privilegie (a 1154), privylegie (14th c.). Cf. also Previlege.]

1. A right, special advantage or immunity conferred on or enjoyed by a person, class of persons, corporate body, institution, etc., an advantage enjoyed in particular cases; a concession.See, for further examples, Fredom(e n. 4, Liberte(e n. 7 and 8, and Indult n.(a) 1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
Nocht agaynstandand ony privilege alleggit … in the contrare
c1420 Wynt. VI 2287.
Off that priwylage evyrmare Partles suld be the slaare
1424 Acts II 3/1. 1456 Hay I 96/21.
Quhat thingis … has sauf condyt be privilege unaskit at the princis
Ib. 213/34.
Na that the King of Fraunce occupyis wrangwisly the privilegis imperialis
Ib. 224/7.
Trewly gude faith … will that the maister his servandis and his gudis suld … jois all a privilege
Ib. 125/36, 181/32, 241/10, etc. 1460 Ayr Chart. 34.
A fayr to be haldyn yerli … with all privilegis and dewteis pertenyng thareto
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I 166.
The mylnar jeosand and broukand his fredomis and priuilegys as he was wunt
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1058.
On ȝour behalff he bad the meir compeir And scho allegit to ane priuilage
1482 Edinb. Chart. 155. 1500 Acta Conc. II 464.
Andro Halyburtoune conservatour of the privilegis of the nacione of Scotland
1507–8 Edinb. B. Rec. I 113.
The burges doichteris … to haue the priuilege of the secund son
1518 Fife Sheriff Ct. 107.
Thar predicessouris has had … priuilegis to thar schippis … past memour of man
1565 Smit Bronnen II 915 n. 1567 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 562.
Na signatouris, lettres, or writingis, other of giftis, dispositionis, graces, privilegis
1569 Stirling Chart. 100. 1577–87 8th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 298.
That thai war off the clane of Makduff and thairfoir aucht to haif the formar privilage
? 15.. Rec. Earld. Orkney 34.
1596 in Melvill 343.
1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 512.
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 125.
This priviledge [of paying at the old rate] to endure to Lambnes therefter
1697 Conv. Burghs IV 227.
A papable breach of our privieledges
(b) 1456 Hay I 275/4.
1473–4 Treas. Acc. I 3.
For a lettre grantit to thame [the community of Peebles] vnder the priue sele anent certane priuelegez
1541 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 105.
Sua that the toun of Campheir grantit nocht nor gaif thame larger priuelegis nor Myddilburgh
1558–9 Statut. Sc. Ch. 159.
Notwithstanding ony exemption or immunitie or privelege spirituale or temporale
1576 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 3.
Renunceand ony vther priuelege or jurisdictioun thai haif
1592 Burntisland B. Ct. 24 Nov.
1596 Dalr. I 127/21.
To … defend the priuelegeis of the cities selfes
Ib. II 319/2.
The Protectour … for a certane dayes … granted that priuelage to his [sc. Huntly's] wyfe [sc. to visit Huntly in prison]
1673 Edinb. B. Rec. X 151.
(c) 1565 Dysart Rec. 21.
Commissionar of the Scotts privaleges in Flandaris
a1578 Pitsc. II 310/16.

b. The rights or immunities collectively pertaining to an individual or attaching to an office, institution, membership of a corporate body, etc.; privileged position; prerogative. c1420 Wynt. vii 1769.
The Pape … renewyd all thare priwylage [C. prewalagis, W. preuiliegis], Thare custwmys, and thare awawntage
1456 Hay I 111/32.
And as to the lave of the argumentis, … thai ar nocht understandin agayne the privilege of Sanct Petir
Ib. 192/20. 1469 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. ii 3.
And tharin has brokin thair privilege
1471 Ayr Chart. 36. 1484 Acts II 166/1.
Anent impetraciouns made in the court of Rome incontrare oure souuerane lordis priuilege
1497–8 Acta Conc. II 130.
To pley aganis our sade soverane lordis privilege of his croune
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II 13.
The said provest ballie and counsale relaxis hir fra the said bannessing and admittis hir till hir priuilege, and to cum till hir avne house as abefore
1532 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 99.
The smyths to haif privileg and fredom to the craft for [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy I 130/12.
Thir first consullis bure the samyn privilege [v.r. preuilaige] & ornamentis during thare auctorite as the kingis afore rehersit
1540 Acts II 358/1. 1556–7 Edinb. B. Rec. II 262. 1558 Ib. III 18.
1560 Inverness Rec. I 47.
1561 Ib. 62.
Makand ane stappyll place in defraudyng of this bruch … of thair priuillege
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 16.
The conservatour of priuilege
1596 Dalr. I 53/21.
The eldest toune … is Forfare, and of grettest priuelege and authoritie, quhair is ane jugement sait
c1650 Spalding II 91. 1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 147.
Is it possible that the sun hath halfed his privilegde with you?
1695 J.M. Beale Fife Schools 190.
[David Wilson] had incroached upon his priviledge and did teach musick to several persons
1697 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 257.
What privilidge for trade may be obtained

c. With dependent constructions defining the nature of the privilege, also with defining terms.(1) 1456 Hay I 167/7.
That privilege of were
Ib. 176/25.
Thare he tynis the privelege of lawe that he had of fredome to escape gif he mycht
Ib. 218/18.
I saw never storye na statute na privilege na decree na decretale that ever said na declarit privilege of exempcioun to the king of Ingland fra the obeysaunce of the Empire
Ib. 214/12. c1515 Asl. MS I 225/13.
That samyn ȝere the priuilege of the vniuersite of Glasqw come to Glasqw
1495 Reg. Cupar A. I 246.
The said Patrick [etc.] … sal bruke and jos … al priuelege of burgh in baronry
1496–7 Acta Conc. II 58.
That he micht haf the privilege of the summondis that day siclike as this day
1508 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 113.
Vnder the pane … of depriuation of that persoun … fra his facultie and priuilege of burgesry or gildry
1512–13 Reg. Privy S. I 379/2. 1545–6 Rec. Earld. Orkney 230.
1562-3 Winȝet II 44/31.
To defraude the haly Virgine of the priuilegis of the grace of God
1581 Glasgow B. Rec. I 83. 1596 Dalr. I 15/18.
1668 Glasgow Chart. II 134.
With the priveledge and liberty also of all the louse stones within the bay … for bigging of the said harbour
1671 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 27.
1685 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 136.
1691 Conv. Burghs IV 644.
The privieledge of the ferrie sett for [etc.]
(2) 1456 Hay I 200/1.
Law naturale has grauntit that privilege till all creature naturale, to gaynstand and resist to thair undoyng
Ib. 240/20. 1509–10 Edinb. B. Rec. I 128.
And that the said kirkmaister [etc.] … sall haif full faculte leif and priulege with ane officiar of the toune to pas with thame poynd distrenye [etc.]
1518 Fife Sheriff Ct. 107.
[To find] quhat … thar predicessouris has had … of fredome & priuilegis to thar schippis to lois & laid … within the watter of Edyne
1612 Acts IV 517/2. 1628 Dundee B. Laws 527.(3) 1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix.
To proceed of the reseruation of a buriall priuiledge
(4) 1686 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII 79.
The privelege that minors may question deeds done in their minority
(5) 1456 Hay I 186/26.
Passagis commouns ar ordanyt till all creature … and be privilege speceale, suld be denyit to na man
1478 Acta Conc. I 13/1.
A speciale priuilege of the curtasy of Scotland that [etc.]
1487 Acts II 183/2.
Sene oure souerane lord … has a speceale bull of priuilege vnder the lede … that his hienes sal ressaue na legate … withoute it be knawin [etc.]
(6) 1456 Hay I 223/20.
Be the generale privilegis of the King Charles Maigne and of the Pape

d. The right of sanctuary: cf. Immunitie n. 1 b. 1529 Rec. Earld. Orkney 59.
And cruellie slew thame in hie contemptioun of God and Holy Kirk, and breking of the privilege of the girth
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2118.
And als he gaif to that ymage Off sanctuarie the priuilage
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Clan-Makdvf. 1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 73.
The Macduffs … had the great priviledge of girth at Croce Macduff near Newbrugh

e. A document conferring a right or rights or an immunity. 1456 Hay I 219/26.
For nathing that I can fynd be writt, privilege na exempcioun
a1500 Henr. Fab. (O.U.P.) 1015.
Let him ga luke and reid ȝour priuilage
1575 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 38.
The townys writingis following, … vizt. … the priuelege of the confrerie of the Hally blud

2. A special privilege granted by the Pope.See Indult n. for the examples.

3. a. (A period of) privileged delay or grace. 1515 Acta Conc. in Sc. Hist. Rev. XVIII 160.
The xl dais of privelege that all lordis and barounis aucht to have to ansuer apoun tresoun

b. In Edinburgh High School: The right of absence for a specified period; leave, holiday.Only with the def. article. 1601 Edinb. B. Rec. V 285.
Grants unto the schollers of the hie schole the privilege and vacance … quhill Sonday cum aucht dayes at nicht
1610 Ib. VI 62.

4. plur., in collective sense: The territories within which a burgh's privileges run, its trade precincts. 1662 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 144.
The present ebnesse of money requyres that new favours should be inlarged than new priviledges lessened
1678 Cullen B. Rec. 8 b (8 June).
All persons both within the towne and privileages thairoff who us to carrie peitts … upon thair backs
1700 S. Leith Rec. 2 Ser. 1/1.
And that the magistrates had banished her out of Leith and Edinburgh and the privileges therof
1701 Ch. in Orkney 62.
Laying one ane cast of money on the parochiners for the libertie and privileges off thair seats in the kirk

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"Privelege n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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