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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Rethorik, Retorik, n. Also: rhetor- and -ic(k, -yk, -ike. [ME and e.m.E. rethorik (Chaucer), rettorike (14th c.), rhethorike (1509), OF rhétorique (c1130 in Larousse), L. rhētorica (med. L. reth-), f. the Gk.]

1. The art of using language for purposes of persuasion; the study or science of how to achieve this. Also, fig. c1420 Wynt. iv Prol. 1.
Tullyus that of rethoryk A tretys made to be publik Fourme off dyte and fayre spekyng
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 269.
Of rhetorick the prettick he micht leir
1531 Bell. 1531 Boece II 72.
He wrate … of logik, rethorik [etc.]
1563-72 Ferg. Answer in Tracts 6.
When the reader shal find the reules of rethorick transgressed
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 9.
And sum introduction of rhetorik
1596 Dalr. I 277/18.
fig. 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 11.
For quhy the bell of rethorick bene roung Be Chawceir [etc.]

b. (The title of) a treatise on rhetoric. Also pl. 1456 Hay I 119/30.
In a buke that he maid callit Retorik
1490 Irland Mir. I 164/12.
Arestotiles in his Rethorik
1549 Compl. 11/18.
Cicero gyuis ane exempil in his Retoric
1628 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 111.
The regent instructes theme in the Rethorick of Cassander or any uther commoun rethorick
pl. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 9.
Thyr classis sal reid the Rethorikis of Cicero
a1568 Bell. Bann. MS 367b/43.

2. Eloquent, elegant or ornate language; language designed to persuade.Colouris of rhetorick, see Colour n. 4. a1500 Lanc. 181.
My febil negligens, That … is … bare of eloquens … and ek of retoryk
a1500 Henr. Fab. 38.
In hamelie language and in termes rude Me neidis wryte, for quhy of eloquence Nor rethorike [Makc. rethory] I neuer vnderstude
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 70.
Tullius quhois lippis suete Off rethorike did in to termes flete
Ib. 117.
Mercurius … Of rethorike that fand the flouris faire
Ib. 270.
This ile before was bare … Off rethorike, or lusty fresch endyte
1528 Lynd. Dreme 593.
The portratour of that p[a]lace … is … By rethorike … inpronunciabyll
1530 Id. Test. Pap. 24.
[Gavin Douglas,] … in our Inglis rethorick the rose
1535 Stewart 11605.
Thair goldin toungis in rethorik did fleit
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 103.
Go hence, pure buke, … Off rethorick heir I proclame thé quyte
1562-3 Winȝet I 25/19.
As I persaue rethorik thairof verray small, swa I can espy na thing thairin abhorring fra the treuth
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 740 (T).
Quhilk schawis the rimde but rethorik or airt
1586 Cal. Sc. P. VIII 361.
Yit my rethorik was not so sufficient as to fully satisfy him in this poynct
1596 Dalr. II 450/13.
As gif thair elegant termes, … thair … brauatie in rethorick, war able to draw men fra the Catholick religione

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"Rethorik n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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