Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).

Sclander, Slander, Slaunder, n.1 Also: sclandir(e, sklander(e, -ir, -yr(e, -re; sclandder, sclanndire; sclaunder, -re; sklender; shlander, slawnder, sleander. [ME and e.m.E. sclaundre (c1290), sklander (Cursor M.), sclondre (1340), slaunder (c1440), slander (1590), AF esclaundre, OF esclandre, altered form of escandle, L. scandalum.]

1. The uttering, or spreading, of false statements or reports injurious to the reputation of the person, persons or institution who is their subject; defamation, calumny.To cry sclander, to spread slanderous reports.Also personified.(1) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 284.
Cresseid … Ane blind goddes hir cald … With sclander and defame iniurious
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 67/10.
I haue synnit … heryng wilfully sclander bakbiting detractioun lesingis and vane langage
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 499.
That I drink nocht the winaker of sklander or infidilite
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 950.
A laitlie ryme, … reheirsand loude and hie Sclander, dispite, sorrow and velanie To me … for ay
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 97/12.
That fulle … Quhois crewall sclander servis ded
Ib. 97/17. 1549 Compl. 126/16.
It is nocht possibil to gar … diuisione [be] vitht out desolatione and sklandyr
1555 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 758.
The said Johnne … hes vtterlie fallit to preive … the samin and suay put the said … Johnne [Forbes] to greit labouris and expens and oppin sclander
1563 Peebles B. Rec. I 291.
That the samyng custome be mesurrit justlie for ewading of sclander
a1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii 102.
Bot now, allace! the men ar loppin aback For oppin sklander, callit ane speikand devill
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. 325/32.
Thairfore na man mak ballattis nor indyte Off detractioun ill sclandir nor dispyte
1574 Misc. Maitl. C. I 100.
For taking of tryall and cognesioun of sclander committit be … ane of the senatouris
1584 Elgin Rec. II 4.
The eldaris decernis Andrew Alwes to be giltie off sclander and ordanis him … to confess his sclander and offence, crawe pardon of Martein Petrie [etc.]
1602 Misc. Spald. C. II 290.
We haiff chosin rather … to committ our selffis to your lordschipis wounted courtoisie … nor to the sklander off the wardill miserabill and bestle
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 3.
Jhone Strang is accuseit upoun sclander and evill speitch and speciallie for the sclandering of the commonis of that haill parochin
Ib. 13.
For the entrie of them bayth … to underly the law upoun sclander of evil speitche
Ib. 55.
Unlawis … James the brabanar for sclander iiii merkis
1608 Hist. Fam. Seton 909.
I … am raeddy … to abyde thaire accusatioun … nocht onlye in the heest kynde off offence … bot eivin for the offer off the leiste obiect off sklander
(b) 1587 Elgin Rec. II 7.
The eldaris considering the wyce of slander abunding within this burgh [etc.]
c1590 Fowler I 91/150.
But slaunder maid me … feare a gretar shame
1681 Stair Inst. i ix §4.
Slander is competent to be judged by commissaries
(2) 1488 Lanark B. Rec. 2.
Quhar John of Hetoun fallowit a borch apon Andro Fidlaris dochter for the sclander of his wif
1540 Elgin Rec. I 53.
To call John Ȝoung … for the greit sklander and defamatione of him
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 137.
Any purpose of reproch, or sklander of his majesties person, estate or governement
(3) 1530 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 124.
The inqueist findis that this [is] ane mater of sclander & aw to be [pr. the] kyrk law
1563 Edinb. B. Rec. III 164.
The actioun and caus of sklander and iniurie persewit before the prouest baillies and counsale
1574 St. A. Kirk S. 399.
Anent the complent of sclandir gevin in to the seat be Besse Wylie … aganis Margaret Colyne
1579 Ib. 440.
Jonet Murray producit hir bill of complent of injuris and sklandir againis Johne Scot
1590–1 Burntisland B. Ct. fol. 135a (26 Feb.).
Anent the bill off sclander producit be Robert Quhit
1620 Elgin Rec. II 164.
Contenows the actioun of sklander betuixt [etc.]
1622 Falkirk Par. Rec. I 31.
Cristiane Watsoune … gave in ane bill of sclander against John Dun
1661 Rothesay Par. Rec. 49.
Finlay Galie gave in a klame of sklander against … Jonet Galie
(4) 1642 Alyth Kirk S. in Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. XII 59.
For remowing the abhominable woman Jean Boys for hir crying sclander out of the town
personified c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 28/100.
Syne Matremony … Chest Sklander to the west
a1568 Bann. MS 80a/30.
Sklandir fra hir toung hes pullit out the thorne

b. Report; rumour. c1475 Wall. ii 338.
For Marye scheyne, Lat sklandyr be, and flemyt out of your thocht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3263.
Hir luifar … on the day he durst neuer cum neir, For greit sclander of pepill and commoun vois
1566 Peebles B. Rec. I 303.
Gif ony nebur … hes just actioun to complen that thai ma be haird for the awodin of sclander

c. Censure; disparagement. c1590 Fowler II 67/10.
Surely sic many things for the sclander of halie and trubilsome persons frelie I dar not improue
1591 Reg. Morton I 172.
I request ȝour lordschip to assist this caus sua that we resaue nor deserwe na sclandder of God nor the warld

2. A false or malicious statement about a person made with the intention of damaging his reputation; an imputation (of some wrongdoing).(1) c1420 Wynt. v 2488.
[The Pope] ordanyd als that na pagane Or herytik a Crystyn man Chalange suld on ony way, Or ony sclandyr on hym say
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3396.
Throw thy lesings thow hes maid throw the toun Ane greit sclander & foull defamatioun
1558-66 Knox II 155.
The complaynt and sclander [were] proponit to the kirk, and tryall takin that he wes nott maryit with the secund woman
a1568 Wedderburn Bann. MS 279a/41.
Men that sklanderis wemen to thair defame That same sklander redoundis to thair awin schame
1570 Conv. Burghs I 21.
Becaus of the evill brute and sclander rasitt … that [etc.]
1573 Cath. Tr. 5/27.
The … dessaitfull practises of thais personis colorit and set furth be sic vtragius and dispytfull sklandres
1576 Orkney Oppress. 49.
The laird … chargit ten houshaldis for scoulding, that is to say, for ane sclander and brute that was rasit upon sum of the town
1596 Paisley B. Rec. 172.
The sclander usit be the comunitie of this burgh, alledging that sundrie fremen [etc.]
1599 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 170.
Anent the eleist [pr. cleist] and sclander off Alexander Nicholl and Catharine Clerk … aganis Margaret Leslie
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 122.
Annent the sclander … aganis Bessie Boy annent hir kirne milk, suspect to be witchcraft
1611 Lothian Dioc. Synod 109.
To sumond the comitaris of the sclander and ryat to compeir … quhat day thay sall think expedient to determyne anent the sclander and to censur thairfoir
1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 5 Jan.
Forsamekill this sclander lyis Johne Gow hir maisteris hous he is ordand to be warneit to compeir
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 84.
Ane sclander laid upon him be the parochen in reporting him to be [etc.]
(b) 1584 Gowrie P. 40.
This is no just accusatione, but a malicious slander
1630 Dundonald Par. Rec. 296.
Summoned for tryal of ane slander past vpon Bessie Sympsoune of witchcraft
a1652 Dickson Psalms (1653) I 204.
It is Satan's policy first to laden the godly with slanders [etc.]
(2) 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 91.
We mair feir … the blame of to mekle lenitie, then … the sclander of crueltie
1580 Fam. Innes 139.
Quhow he suld eschew the bruitt and sklander of the moyane maker of the slauchter of his father
1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 90.
[Money] promeisit … to haid doun the sclander of the incestuous adulterie
1680 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 109.
Becaus of the said Agnes Listounes raiseing a sclander of adulterie upon [blank] … quhilk Agnes Listoune could not prove and becaus shoe could not prove and hade made a great report of that sclander befor manie hearers. Thairfor the court reffers the said Agnes Listoune and hir sclander to the kirk

b. A rumour. 1460 Hay Alex. 288.
[Nectanabus] Was neirest him [sc. Alexander] and maister of his teching, Throw quhilk thair rais a sclander preuelie That he suld be his father sickerlie
Ib. 310.
Than Alexander to the sclander tuke hed
1550–1 Corr. M. Lorraine 345.
I t[h]ocht it neidfull to breik with my lord governour gife he harde ony thing of this sclander or gawe ony credit thairto
a1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii 12.
Grit foulis ȝe wer with fallowis to defeme hir, Havand na caus bot commoun voce and sklander

c. ? An inclination to backbiting or malice. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 834 (C).
To whome Eccuba in-to wodnes Ryght gret sklandere in hyre wes Seyde [etc.]

3. Disgrace or shame falling upon a person or persons, an institution or a thing in consequence of some alleged reprehensible act; ill-repute; opprobrium.Under sclander, ? in disgrace, accused of shameful behaviour.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxi 618.
[They] huntyt hym owt of thare towne With s[c]landyre & confusione
1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 139*.
Hafand ee to mesur and rychtwysenes consyderand to lete mykyl yl, scath and grete sclandyr [etc.]
1490 Irland Mir. III 51/27.
And sene the synnis publict & manifest inducis publict offence and sklander tharfor thai suld be punyst manifestlie
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 21.
Flyting … is … Incres of sorrow, sklander and evill name
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xxvi 31.
Than Jesus said to thame, al ye sal suffir sclander in me this nycht
1535 Stewart 57.
For euerie man desyris … till haue his gude name in memor And naturallie abhorris ay with blame As till vmschew fra sclander, lak, and schame
1558–9 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I lxiv.
For the honour of God … and … eveting of greit sclander
1565 Reg. Privy C. I 340.
Quhilk taill and brute, besydis the sclandir that it importis to thame … , is to hir hienes self verie prejudiciall
1567 Ib. 522.
The ignominy, schame, and sklander, quhilk … scho hes sustenit under pretense of the said unlauchfull mariage
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 115.
And be just execution therof to dryve the sklander of that abominable fact from the haill nation
1570 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II 307.
That [the minister] … continew in honest and godlie conversatioune, swa that nay sklander arrys be him to the Euangell
1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix 216.
Doun fra that crage Kirkcaldy sall reteir, With schame and sclander lyke ane hundit fox
1582–3 St. A. Kirk S. 494.
The said ministrie … understanding the great offence and sklander that hes rissinn … on this mater
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 295.
Gif ony persoun sclander, blaspheyme, or iniure his nychtbour be malicious and vndecent wourds importing sclander and offence [etc.]
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI 42.
Without ony pane skaith censureing reproche or sclander to be incurrit be thame thairthrow
(b) 1567 Anderson Collect. Mary I ii 129.
And to purge this realme of the infamie and slaunder, whairewith as ȝet it remanis bruitit amangis al nationis
1571 Sat. P. xxv 41.
Ane vncouth land, Whair wander & slander With enemeis none sho fand
c1602 Lett. Jas. VI to Bruce 288.
Excusing his lang incredulitie and the sleander arrysing thairfrom
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxviii 229.
For-thi in sclandir mone we ay Be had hyne to domysday
c1460 Consail Vys Man 153.
A man is sone brocht in-to sclandyr
1570 Conv. Burghs I 22.
That … the innocent … persoun remane nocht in sclander
1596 Dalr. I 135/7.
Ferleg … past ouer his lyfe in miserie, sclandir and yll name
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 409.
Ane deceiving lown, that begins to bring the truth in sclaunder
(3) 1579 St. A. Kirk S. 439.
The seat … desyrit them to acknauledge thare offence [sc. murder], and tak away the sclander
1588–9 Ib. 634.
That God may be glorifiit and sklander removit fra this congregatioun
1591 Lothian and Tweeddale Synod 34.
The said presbyterie … to tak farder ordour seing the sclander is not removit
1595 Misc. Maitl. C. I 71.
The minister … to wse his diligence for to have the sclander lyand wpone the lard … remowit
(b) a1651 Calderwood IV 622.
The said admissioun to be undone and annulled … to the effect that the slander may be removed from the kirk
(4) 1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 5 Jan.
Jeane Philp seruitrix to Johne Fergussoun … is wnder sclander with Williame Andersone … and accuseit anent the said sclander, scho declairit that scho is innocent thairof

b. Const. of the person or thing disgraced, or qualified by a possessive.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 201/21.
Think ȝe not schame Sa litill polesie to wirk In hurt and sklander of ȝour name
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 9.
To thair sklander and schame
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 110.
To the havy and grevows sclander of the Ewangell of Crist Jesus
1562 Crim. Trials I i 421.
It wes done to the skayth and sklander of the toune
1567 Anderson Collect. Mary I ii 126.
To the sclander, reproche and infamye of the quenis majestie
1575 Reg. Privy S. VII 57/2.
To the greit contempt of his majesteis authoritie and sclander of the haill natioun
a1578 Pitsc. I 93/30.
It can not be withtout great sklander of the pepill
1587 Aberd. Council Lett. I 17.
He was evill handlit and abusit to the gryt sklander of our burgh
1590–1 Reg. Privy C. IV 562.
To the dishonnour of God, sklender of his worde [etc.]
(b) 1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I i 38.
Certane payntit paperis … tending to hir majesties slander and defamatioun
1568 Ib. IV ii 131.
Procuring her slawnder so far as in them was
1584 Crim. Trials I ii 113.
And becaus the memorie of tratouris suld remane to the shame and slaunder of thame that ar cum of thame
1593 Lett. Jas. VI to Eliz. 89.
I uolde not incurr the shlander of the breaking of, it waire, but the shaddou of a promeis
1595 Mill Mediæv. Plays 174.
Ryotus banquetis … to the dishonour of God & slaunder of the relligioun

c. A discreditable act; a wrong; a crime.(a) 1419 Wemyss Chart. 45.
Na wrang, schame, na sklandyr hade done
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1037.
Me think farar to dee, Than schamyt be, verralie, Ane sclander to byde
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 82.
That I maye cum befoyr the hayll congregacion, and thar penetenle mak ane oppyn amendis for the offence and sclander committed be me heirintyll
a1578 Pitsc. II 213/11.
Thay war innocent of the foirsaid sclander quhilk was layed vnto thame be the fals enarratioun of the Quein of Scotland and hir factioun
1591 Lothian and Tweeddale Synod 31.
The assemble hes ordanit that they use thair diligence for the tryell of the said Johnns sclander
1596 Dalr. II 90/29.
From this proceidet the first and foul sklander that efter infected monasteries and mounckis throuch al Scotland
1607 Reg. Privy C. VIII 5.
To cleir himself of the fault and sklander, or ellis gif sufficient satisfactioun of his offence
1638 Baillie I 161.
His [sc. the bishop's] proper faults were great sclanders of frequent simonie
1603 Dundonald Par. Rec. 32.
Andro Thomsoun … accusit of the sclander of fornicatioun … confessit he was in naikit bed with hir
(b) 1574 Aberd. Chart. 232.
And that thai cullour nor foster not the vices and slaunders of thair tenants and houshald servandis
1614 Misc. Maitl. C. I 423.
Incaice he be found guiltie of the slaunders persewit, to depose him simplie fra the functioune of the ministrie
1640 Kirkcaldy Presb. 164.
Bot these [faults] that wer committed within thir four or fyve years whose slanders wer fresh sould be taine order with

d. A source of shame or disgrace. 1444 Aberd. B. Rec. I 11.
It war great lak and sclaundre to the king and the realme and lessing of yhour worship
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xvi 23.
And He turnit, and saide to Petir, … thou art a sclandir to me
1596 Dalr. II 392/26.
[It] war na smal blek and na litle sclandir baith to the quene and to the hail Scotis

e. Scandalous behaviour; wickedness. 1589 Logie Par. Hist. I 23.
He [sc. the minister] … could find na thing quhairof ony … could complein on him [sc. the reader] ather anent sclandir in his lyf or negligence in offeice

4. A weakening of faith or morals consequent upon the failure of an adherent of a religion to live up to its principles; discredit brought upon religion by such failure; a cause of moral lapse; a ‘stumbling-block’. Cf. Scandal(l n. 1.(1) a1500 Quare Jel. 397.
And Crist He saith that quhom of sclander [b]redith Wo be to him
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rom. xi 9.
And Dauid sais, Be the burde of thame made into a girn before thame, and into taking, and into sclanndire, and into yelding to thame
1532 Acta Conc. in Grey Friars II 227.
To be punist for thair … evill example, occasioune and sclandir gevin be thame baith to spirituale and temporale within the realme
1533 Gau 30.
Ve prech Jesu Christ crucifeit, sclander to the Jowis and folie to the Gentils
1560 Bk. Disc. 227.
But drunkynnes [etc.], … wantoun wordis and licentious leving tending to sklander, do propirlie appertene to the Churche of God, to punische the same
1562-3 Winȝet I 53/33.
That I being a preist suld notht hef bene iugeit be the waik to thair sclander (to quhome my conuersatioun afore wes knawin)
Ib. 55/32.
I … [being] desyrus to hef wtterit my religioun, to avoid all occasioun of sclander till wtheris [etc.]
1565 St. A. Kirk S. 262.
For nocht presenting of thar child to baptisme … tharthrow gevand occasion of offence and sclander to the holl congregacion
1597–8 Elgin Rec. II 61.
Margaret Cumming is ordered by the session to keep a honest and chaste behauiour in all her doings for avoiding of sclander
1607 Ib. I 229.
[George, Marquis of Huntly] abstenis frome the communion … and thairby gives verie just occasioun of sclander to the kirk
1627 Justiciary Cases I 72.
Or quhan thay ar suspect of adulterie and thairby gevis sclander to the kirk
(2) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xviii 7.
Wa to the warlde for sclaundris, for it is nede that sclaundris cum; neuirtheles wa to the ilk man be quham a sclandire cummis
1596 Dalr. II 465/32.
That winking with monie thingis, … to the infirme and waiker sort tha [sc. the clergy] brocht a sclandir, cheiflie to the nobilitie selfe
1596–7 Warrender P. (SHS) II 303.
The greit sclaunder quhilk the ministeris of the towne hes done to the religione be [etc.]
1600-1610 Melvill 115.
We salbe na mair a sklander to uther nationes as we hithertiles haiff been, for … causing of the Word quhilk we profes to be evill spokin off
(b) 1548 Knox III 9.
Blessed be that Lord, whose infinite goodnes and wisdome hath tane from us the occasion of that slaunder
1572 Bann. Memor. 275.
Calling to mynd our former defectione and hynous slander gevin be us to our darrest bretherin

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Sclander n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: