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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.

(Ringledar,) Ringleidar, -leadar, n. Also: -leder, -leider, -lead(d)er. [e.m.E. ryngledre (1503); f. the phr. to lede the ring, s.v. Ring n.1 7 c.]

1. One who starts off or leads a ‘ring’, or ring dance. 1579–80 Reg. Privy C. III 273.
The said Archibald … drew ane gret nowmer of the people to danse befoir the kirk dur in tyme of prayaris he being alwyis ringleidar himself
1587 Carmichael Etym. 16.
Praesul, a ringleader
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 102.
That he was ringleader of the dans on a Hallow evin last

2. One who leads or organises activity hostile to established authority, as rebellion, mutiny, etc. 1600 Reg. Privy C. VI 72.
Allaster McGregour of Glenstrae, thair cheif and ringleidar
1609 Crim. Trials III 25.
And some otheres of the principall ringleadares in this rebellion
1613 Ib. 245.
And ȝe, the said Neill, ar airt and pairt of the saidis tressonable and barbarus crymes, and was the speciall ringleider and chiftane
1615 Denmylne MSS in Highland P. III 185.
Ringlederis
1639 Spalding II 488.
Ringleadderis
c1650 Spalding I 102.
For the ringleidares of the covenant amongis the ministrie left there owne kirkis
1662 in Law Memor. Pref. lxxii.
In that business some were cheifs and ringleaders, others was bot followers
1691 Sc. N. & Q. XII 90.
Baillie Burnet was on off the greatest ringleaders off all the rest; he went thorow the toune with ane sheit off peaper causing evry person to subscrive it

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"Ringledar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/ringledar>

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