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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).

Richtwis, Rychtwis, -(e)ous, adj. and adv. Also: -wis(s)e, -wys(e, -uis(e, -wijs; -eouse, -eus, -ews, -ieus, -ius, -ious, -iwis; -ows, -us; -wous, -uous, -ouis, -owis, -wus, -uus; -is, -ys; richtewise, -wous; rychtt(o)uous, -eous, -eus, -uis; rychth(o)us, -owys; rightuis, -eous, -ious, -is; ryghtwys, -wise; rigchtuis; rychwise, -wys, -wysse, -uis, -eouse; rithwis; rythwys, -is; rithtwise; rythtwis; ryhteous; rechtuys; reightous. [ME and e.m.E. rihhtwis (Orm), riȝt-wis(e (c1250), ryghtwis (Chaucer), also ryghtwos(e (15th c.), -uous (1523); righteous (1526), OE rihtwís, ryhtwís; Richt n. Cf. ON réttvíss.For ryt- spellings, see the etymological note to Richt n.]

A. adj. I. Of a person.

1. Virtuous; upright; acting in accordance with recognised moral principles. Also transf. and fig. a1400 Leg. S. iv 398.
That I ma haf than Part in hewyne with rychtys men
Ib. vii 169.
Rychtwyseste Of almen and the halyaste
Ib. 140.
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1552 (C).
A good & rythtwis man
Ib. 1584.
1456 Hay II 45/4.
For as the spere is evin and rycht, sa suld he be bathe evynlyk and rychtwise
c1475 Wall. x 523.
Wallace said; ‘Stud thow rychtwys to me, Cownter palys I suld nocht be to thé
?c1500 Rathen Manual 28/2. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. i 19.
Josephe hir husband, for he was richtuise, … wald priuelie haue left hir
1533 Gau 50/21.
Ve haiff ane aduocat befor the Fader, richtus Jesus Christ
1551 Hamilton Cat. 128.
This is the faith quhairwith the rychteous man leiffis
1562-3 Winȝet I 76/22, 23.
That the rychteous man is rychteous, as Christe his heid is rychteous
1596 Dalr. I 308/14.
A prince maist godlie and rychtuous
transf. a1400 Leg. S. xii 276.
Rycht-wyse blud betraisit he had
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2774.
God, as thow all rychteous prayer heiris
a1500 Colk. Sow ii 186.
Povert may prewaill Be it rychtwis aganis men of grit availl
1601 Sc. Ant. IX 2.
That I salbe saued in the ry[ch]tteus merits of Jesus Christ
fig. a1568 Bann. MS 373a (Table).
The richtieus funtane of halefull sapience

b. In ellipt. const., or absol., with omission of noun. a1400 Leg. S. vii 204.
Do stane we Jamis the richtwijs
a1400 Leg. S. xvi 105.
Scho had gret rednes til apere Ymange rychtwyse
c1450-2 Howlat 984 (A).
Bot thow reule the richtuis thi rovme sall orere
a1500 Colk. Sow ii 204.
Quhair the richtous frome all feir sall go fre
1533 Gau 94/10. 1562-3 Winȝet II 66/7.
[God] giffis his rayne to the richtus and onrichtus

2. Just in judgment. a1400 Leg. S. x 199.
Merciful God ȝete thane rychtvise Brocht hyme til hewyne-lyk paradyse
?1438 Alex. ii 2183.
And swore that he suld richteous be Quhill he was in his maieste
c1420 Wynt. viii 961.
Before the rychtwys dwmmys man … Quhen thé behowys for till appere
1456 Hay I 298/15. a1500 Henr. Fab. 534.
A just prince … the quhilk in his jugement was sa rychtwis that for na corrupcioun he wald never … vary in jugement
1494 Loutfut MS 111a.
I ȝour liegis man … presentis me here … before ȝow as my rychtwis ande wndoutable juge
1562-3 Winȝet I 91/15.
Ane God … quha … is guid, rychtews [ed. ryhteous], trew, and merciful
a1568 Bann. MS 86b/1.
Be rychtuus regent and wele exerce thy cure

3. = 1 or 2 above, but not clearly defined by context. ?1438 Alex. ii 436.
Richteous king, rise vp in hy
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1091.
Schir Gawyne … said to the reuerend, riche and rightuis

4. To make (a person) richtwis, to justify, make free from the consequences of sin. 1533 Gau 107/14.
Neyne of our varkis makis ws richtus
c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 3.
Quhasaeuir [bele]vis … salbe blissit, that is to say deliuerit fra [synn,] deith and hell, and made rychttuous
Ib. 4.
[Be] faith he is made rychtuous
1567 G. Ball. 5.
We being maid richteous, be his grace, suld be airis of eternall lyfe

5. Of a person assuming lawful power (as, e.g., a king), or an heir: Rightful, legitimate.(1) 1375 Barb. ii 159.
He come to mak homage Till him as till his rychtwis king
1456 Hay I 255/15.
And as of Provence, thare was never dout; bot thai help ever with the rychtwis pape
1460 Hay Alex. (S.T.S.) 2938.
King Dare is rychteous lord of Tyre
c1475 Wall. vii 1306.
His rychtwis king
a1538 Abell 63b.
The thing at wes wnlefull that is wrangus battell aganis thare richtus king
1535 Stewart 38094.
Our rychtteous king and prince
15.. Dunb. App. viii 3.
Jesus … is rissin as rychtous roy
1598 James VI Minor Prose 80/1. 1606 Acts IV 285/1.
The … vniting of … both the kingdomes in the royall persone of his … maiestie, indoubtit and richteous monarche of the samyn
(2) 1420 Balmerino (1867) 258.
The said Sir Williame is oblist … [not to alienate] ony parte of hir heritage fra the richtwis airis
14.. Acts I 389/2.
Twa sisteris frewomen hes an heretage as rychtwys ayris
1454 14th Rep. Hist. MSS App. iii 10.
His rychtwyse ayeris
1476 Sc. Ant. XIII 182.
Quhell the said lands be laufully recauyt fra us be the rychuis ayeris
c1515 Asl. MS I 190/20.
1530 Reg. Privy S. II 90/2.
The richtuis are or airis tharto
1540–1 Ib. 594/2.
The richtuis aire or airis … of … Thomas Mawle
1542 Treas. Acc. VIII 85.
Landis … disponit to the rychtuis heritour
1554 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 299b (27 April).
Dauid Seres lauchfull & rigchtuis aire to his vmquhile fader
(b) 1460 Hay Alex. (S.T.S.) 194.
As rychtteous are of Armenie
1549 Compl. 3/8.
Our nobil princes, and rychteous heretour of Scotland
1570 Reg. Privy S. VI 184/2.
1573 Douglas Bequest 8D/9P.
The richteus air or airis thairto being lauchfull aige
1574 Rec. Earld. Orkney 136.
As rychtious roythis voman thairto
1584 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 189.
1587 Ib. 221.
1587 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I 212.
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 136/6.
Lying na maire in the … peopils handis to disposesse the richteouse [1603 righteous] aire
1689 Grant Chart. 359.(c) 1516 Rec. Earld. Orkney 91.
As maist rychtwus air thairto
1532 Stirlings of Keir 344.
1546 Maxwell Mem. I 290.
1558 Acts II 508/1.
And remanent rychtuus blude anent the sade successioun
1570–1 Canongate Ct. Bk. 313.
1577 Aboyne Rec. 129.
(d) 1548 Reg. Privy S. in Douglas of Morton 780.

b. Richteous (to do something), entitled. a1578 Pitsc. II 3/12.
Dawid Bettoun … desyrit to haue the autorietie heirof, thinkand that the earle of Arrane quho was richteous to wse the samin but … nocht worthie to gowerne the … realme

II. Of a non-material, also (rarely) a material, thing.

6. Of the pertinents of an estate, also of its boundaries: Correct; fixed or recognised by law or custom; sanctioned by legal procedure.(1) 1312 Facs. Nat. MSS II xix.
[Totam terram suam … cum … suis] rithwis diuisis
1422 Stirlings of Keir 208.
Hafand … al tha for-sayid landis … be al rychtwys markis, marchis, and thair dewyssis
1461 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 362.
Be all thare rychtwys wont merkis merchis and dyvisis
1483 Grant Chart. 35.
Be all rychtwys merches, alde and diuidit, as thai ly in lyntht ande brede
1492 Reg. Episc. Morav. 249.
The werray richtwis merchis … of the saidis landis
1539 Stirlings of Keir 347.
Be al and sindry rythis markis, methis and devisis
1593 Reg. Privy C. V 98.
Chargeing … deputis lieutennentis … to perambull or caus perambulat the richtis methis, marcheis and divises betuix the landis [etc.]
1595 Aberd. B. Rec. II 128.
Anent the richteous boundis, methis, and marchis of the said hill
1620 Grant Chart. 318. 1669 Burnett Fam. P.
All and haill the said townes and landis … with rightis meithes and merches off the samyn
(2) 1398 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 5.
All thair rychtwyse pertina[n]ce
1400 Ib. No. 7.
Al rychwysse pertenense
1406 (1427) Reg. Great S. 17/2.
1407 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 32.
To be haldyn … in all rychwise pertenance to the forsaide landys
1428–9 Cal. Charters Suppl. 7 Feb.
His landis … with all thair richtwyse pertenents marchis & merys
1454 14th Rep. Hist. MSS App. iii 10.
1480 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I 53. 1490 Foulis Chart. MS (Reg. H.) 4 Dec.
With all … rychttuis pertenens pertenande to the saide lande
1545 Perth Guildry 230 (6 Nov.).
(b) 1488 Peebles Gleanings 271 n.
With all rychtwus pertinents
1536 Soc. Ant. XVI 194.
With all … semyng and ry[ch]tows pertinentis
1542 Reg. Cupar A. II 16.(c) 1552 Rec. Earld. Orkney 246.
With all rycheouse pertenens tharto pertenand or be the law justlie may pertein
1568 Maxwell Mem. I 301.
1581 Sciennes Conv. 76.
1680 Edinb. B. Rec. X 419.

7. Of a claim, plea, etc.: Legitimate, justifiable on legal grounds.Also, of possession or of a payment.(1) 1391 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 249.
Quharfore his clemeis is nocht like to be richtwise
1415 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 36.
Sa that we heir na rychtuis complaint therof in tyme to cum
14.. Acts I 59/2.
And tharof maid rechtuys soyt
1451 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 163.
Sua that in defalt of ministratioun of ȝour office we heir na rychtvis complaint in tyme to cum
1456 Hay I 105/7.
Thai have occupyit it wrangwisly, and but rychtwis title
Ib. 191/28.
His frendis salbe herd in jugement till appele to ane hyar juge for his defens, for rychtwis defens is ay privilegit
c1515 Asl. MS I 193/29.
The kinrik of Scotland the quhilk the worthy kingis of Scottis brukit on richtuis titill
(2) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 53 (A).
& rychtwise multer tak & lelly serf til ilkane in ilk stede of the mylne
Ib. c. 113 (B).
Qwhedir he be in rychtwys possession or in wrangwys possession
1463–4 Kennedy Aberd. Ann. II 473.
Be thai nocht lachfull na sufficiande nother to wirk na for na richtwis payment within lachfull tyme
1464 Liber Aberbr. II 141.
The kyng … ratifiis … the … occupacioune of the said Kingis Mor … as lauchfule and rychtwis

8. Of a judgment, decision, law, etc.: Informed by justice; based on considerations of justice and equity, just. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1094 (C).
That kynges … Tholys a wirgyne innocent Ageynes all rithtwise jugement To be peryst
c1420 Wynt. v 1301.
He mony rychtwys [C. richtwisse] lawys made
Ib. 5548.
Goddys rychtwys jugement
14.. Acts I 70/2.
Gif the defendour be foul, thar sal be done on hym rychtuis dome
c1460 Regim. Princ. 226 (Marchm.).
Gude justice has twa partis principale: The tane is dome and richtwis [Maitl. richtwous] jugement
c1475 Wall. iv 37.
It is nocht lewyt be na rychtwis racord
c1508 Ch. & M. Prints 172/40.
1533 Boece 65.
Juristis, without quhais decrete … thai admittit na jugement as richtwis
a1568 Bann. MS 1b/39.
Be richtouis jugement

9. Of weights or measures: In accordance with the standard set; correct.Also applied to the vessel used as a measure. 1543 Aberd. B. Rec. I 187.
vj barrallis of salmond, full reid and sueit, of the rychtus bind [pr. kynd] of this toun
1545 Ib. 213.
Four barrellis of salmond, sufficient merchand guid of the richtuus bind of Abirdene
1551 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 92b (6 Oct.).
All mettis and mesouris … to be veseit gif thai be rychthous & the falty mesouris brunt & brokine

10. Of conduct, motive, action, etc.: Morally or legally justifiable; just; upright; fair, equitable. a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 440.
Prowe sal we Quhethire that it mare richtwis be Til honoure God … Thane Appolline … That autore is of dewilis al
1407 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 66.
We oblych vs to … defende … Syr Harbarte in all hiis ryghtwys cause
c1420 Wynt. v 4868.
Thai … lowyd ma goddys than nature, Or ony wertu mycht comprys Inspyryd orbe wyt rychtwys
Ib. viii 719 (C).
1452 Douglas Chart. 79.
1456 Hay I 82/22.
He has all his plesaunce … to defend rychtwis causis and querelis
Ib. 163/3.
Suppos the were be rychtiwis and resonable
1471 Banff Ann. I 20. 1490 Irland Mir. I 19/15, 16.
This orisoune is richtwis for … is na thing desirit bot it that is richtwis and plesand to the diuinite
1497 Reg. Morton II 248.
We salbe til … his barnys … defendour and manteinour in thar rychtwis actiouns and querrallis
1517 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 63a.
Jonot Thomsone hais maid Georg Murray procuratour to defend hir in all hir rychthus materis
1520 Thanes of Cawdor 137.
c1530-40 Stewart Maitl. F. 353/23.
Bot I sall mak thé rychtuous recompence
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 258.
Quhat richtius thing of Christ that we sal craue
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xli 16.
He did him haillie indeuoir Thy [sc. the Kirk's] richteous actioun to mantene
1596 Dalr. II 59/8.
Sum way to slokne seditioun and be sum rychteous rasone … to conclude peace

b. Gained by just means. a1568 Bann. MS 75a/6.
Bot richteous gud quhair grund is gud lestis for euir mair

11. Due, merited. 1596 Dalr. I 71/16.
The Ægiptianis strukne with a richtuous and true terrour
Ib. 156/30.
Nathir … wanted Claudius Cæsar the due & ry[ch]teous proffite of his gloir

12. In other, rare, senses. a. Of descent: Direct. b. Of a colour: Pure.a. 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 61.
Forsuth tha that of rychtwys lyne discendis aw to be prefferyt thaim that cumis o lyne transwers
b. 1494 Loutfut MS 11b.
Pourpre … suld nocht be … comptit for perfit colour for of the selff it may nocht be tane for richtwis [Lindsay MS rychttouous] colour and for caus it is mixt with al the colouris forsaid

B. adv. Justly; lawfully; legitimately. c1450-2 Howlat 474 (A).
Our Saluatouris sepultur and the samyn place Quhar he rais, as we reid, richtuis to ryng
c1475 Wall. vii 374.
And ye ar her cummyn off als gud blud, Als rychtwis born be awentur, and als gud, … As euir was I
1521 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 62.
Dik Robeson allegit the said mer com to him rychtus fra Roger Tait

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"Richtwis adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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