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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).

Ragman, -men(t, n.1 [ME and late ME rageman name given to a statute of Edward I (1276), ragemon (Piers Plowman), ragman (1376), ragement (1377), also (rarely) e.m.E., in historical or allusive use, ? AF ragemon (c1290), ‘a game of chance played with a written roll having strings attached to the various items contained in it’ (c1290), ‘a document with seals attached’ (c1290) (OED), a list (c1394). Of unknown ulterior origin; hence ‘the development of senses can only be conjectural’ (OED).]

1. A document (as, a contract, indenture, etc.) with seals attached.spec. Applied to the document recording the oath of fealty sworn by the Scots nobles to Edward I in 1291 (given up by Edward III in 1328).(1) a1350 Chron. Lanercost 261.
Unum instrumentum, sive cartam subjectionis et homagii faciendi regis Angliæ, cui appensa erant sigilla omnium magnatum Scotiæ, quam fecerant, ut dictum est superius, avo regis, et a Scottis, propter multa sigilla dependentia, ragman vocabatur
a1384 Fordun (1759) II 367.
Editæ sunt indenturæ ragmannicæ [MS Cupr. Literae ragmannicae sigillis] hinc inde firmiter roboratæ
(2) c1420 Wynt. v 2161.
Decyus … wan thaire subjectioune … And ressayvyde thare homage … And gert thame sele thare ragman
Ib. vi 1722.
All Ingland to be delt in twa … thai consentyd than And mad apon this a ragman Wyth mony sellys off lordys
c1475 Wall. x 1149.
The Bruce and he completyt furth thar bandis; Syn that samyn nycht thai sellyt with thar handis. This ragment left the Bruce with Cumyn thar
Ib. 1151, 1153. Ib. xi 975.
1546 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS XX 157.
Thar wes in the said buik certane ragmentis and billis of compt

2. A long or rambling discourse or composition; a rigmarole; a rhapsody.Only Sc. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 162.
To speik quod scho I sall nought spar … I sall a ragment reveil fra rute of my hert
1513 Doug. i Prol. 294.
Gif I had nocht be to a boundis constrenyt … I couth haue fenyt, In ryme a ragment [Sm., Ruddim. ragmen] twys als curyus
Ib. vi Prol. 32.
That euery sort Of his clausys comprehend sik sentence, Thar bene tharof … Maid gret ragmentis of hie intelligence
Ib. viii Prol. 147.
He racht me a roll: to reid I began The roytast ane ragment with mony rat rane
1536 Lynd. Answ. Flyting 1.
Redoutit roy, ȝour ragment I haue red
1559 Corr. M. Lorraine 428.
I beseik your grace to apardon me of this lang ragment to cummer your grace
1570 Crim. Trials I ii 15.
Delatit of the making of ane ragment and ryme in name of Johnne the Commoune-wele
a1585 Maitl. Q. 255/62. a1585 Polwart Flyt. 136 (T).
Thy ragmentis, rasche and raill
c1590 J. Stewart 6/14.
Quhair vyise Minerua stabill still Dois serwe, sall I ane ragment send?

3. A list. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 186/37.
To the juge thow sall mak compt of all; Ane raknyng richt cummis of ane ragment small

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"Ragman n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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