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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Son(e, n.2 Also: sonn(e, sun(e, swn(e, soun(e, sounne, sown(e, soine, soyn(e, soon(e, schon. [ME and e.m.E. sun(e, sone (13th c.), sonne (Manning), son (Rolle), soone (Wyclif), soune (c1400), OE sunu.]

For further examples see Brother son, Foster-sone, Godson(e, Gud(e)son(e and sister-son (Sister n.1), also Liberal(l adj. 5, Litill son n. and Natural(l adj.

1. A son, a male child in relation to one or both parents. Also (once) of an animal.(a) 1375 Barb. vii 265 (E).
Ik haiff twa sonnys
1375 Barb. xx 124.
He thoucht he wald in his liff Croune his ȝoung sone and his vif
c1420 Ratis R. 314.
For-thi my sone tak kep thar-to, To men the gud
14.. Burgh Laws c. 112 (B).
A burges son als lang as he is at his fadyr burde he sal hafe that ilk fredome to by and to sel as his fadyr has
a1500 Colk. Sow i 152.
That sowis sonis hard I nevir Win so grit wirschep for euir
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 402.
I buskit up my barnis like baronis sonnis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) l 29. 1513 Doug. iii iii 65.
Syne said he, ‘Son, thou irkit art algatis By the contrarius frawart Troiane fatis’
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. x 21.
Sonn [W., P. sone]
1531 Bell. Boece II 267.
1533–4 Treas. Acc. VI 186.
To be ane play coit to the Kingis son
1604 Elgin Rec. II 130.
Gauldis sone playand in the Channonrie kirkyaird
1619 Highland P. III 309.
Since it hathe pleased God to tak from me my laufull soneis
1653 Hossack Kirkwall 254.
Louing sone, yours deatit from Chanrie, the 30 May, I resaivit
1686 Dunlop P. III 24.
Your tuo sons are very thriving littl ones
(b) 1385 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 7.
Robart … Kyng of Scotland and his eldeste sune Jon Eryl of Carryke
1406 Rep. Hist. MSS, Var. Coll. V 78.
c1420 Wynt. ii 116.
Scho lete hyr awne swne ly hyr by
c1420 Wynt. vi 370.
He to swne gude Charlys gat
1559 Wemyss Corr. 14.
Hawyng consederacioun of the trew service done to our derrest swn and dowchtir, and tw ws be Jhone Wemys
1564 Inverness Rec. I 117.
Johne Flemyng … to be entrit to his fredome doand thairfor as burgessis sunes aucht to do
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xi 5.
The sownis of Marie, That spousit wes to Cleophe
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 57.
c1420 Wynt. v 4376, etc. 14.. Acts I 299/3.
1512 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 185.
Dauid Lindsay yownngar sovnne to Dauid of Lindsay
1587 Edinb. Test. XVII 242b.
His haill buikis and librall quhair of the buikis of law he leiffis to his eldest soune
(d) c1460 Dietary 17.
To euere tale soyne gif thou na credans
1481–2 Misc. Spald. C. II 324.
1568 Maxwell Mem. II 132.
I ordanit my soine to speik with ȝow
1585 Thanes of Cawdor 186.
I laiff John Campbell … my only executor and I laiff him my soyne Coleyne
1595 Stirling Chart. 218.
(e) 1580 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. viii 9.
I … am herteli sori that he miht not schou his commission to my soon
1630 Haddington Corr. 168.
My soone, berar heirof
1630 Haddington Corr. 169.
My dohter Caett … is in the mending hand, and hir soone a lyflie lyk baern
1663 Wemyss Corr. 110.
I shall speak with my eldest soone, in uhoes persone I haue deuoluit all the debt uas auen to me
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 433.
Fart in a widdie good fatheris sonne
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 274.
Better be the happie mannis self, nor the happie mannis son[ne]
fig. a1500 K. Hart 510.
Delyte … wourde … powrit to the pane Ȝit Appetyt, his sone, he bad duell still

b. Son and (apperand) heir. Also const. to (the father). Also fig.For further examples see Apperand ppl. adj. and Appering ppl. adj.(1) 1393 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 26.
Sir Jamez of Douglas lord of Dalketh and Sir Jamez of Douglas his son & his ayre
1460 Hay Alex. 188.
Me think it best … That as my sone and air he fosterit be
a1500 Henr. Fab. 796 heading (Ch.).
The taill of the sone and air of the foirsaid foxe, callit father wer
a1500 Henr. Fab. 470.
Ȝe ar ȝour fatheris sone and air vpricht
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4394. 1547 Misc. Spald. C. II 204.
For recouering of his eldest sone and ayr out of captiuitie
1570 Sat. P. x 31.
We brocht him vp, as our deir sone and air
(b) 1576 Exch. R. XX 372.
(c) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 138.
Jon of Logy, squyer, the sune and the ayre of Syr Jon of Logy, knycht
1435 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 189.
The sun and the ayr of the sad Schir Robert
(d) 1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 6.
Soun & appearand air to the lard of Pre[st]vik
1557–8 Inverness Rec. I 17.
He auch nocht to be … enterit thairto, becaus he is nocht his sowne and ayr … as vse of burrois is
(2) c1568 Lauder Minor P. iv 15.
Thocht thow war to Sathane sone & air Ȝit for thy bagis thow sall be takin owt
fig. 1567 G. Ball. 21.
All that will … traist On Jesus Christ … Thow makis thame thy sone and air, Throw him thow will thame saif from cair
1567 G. Ball. 33.
Quhome God ressaifis to his sone and air, Him will he scurge with plagues sad and sair

c. = Son(e)-in-law n. 1549 Lamb Resonyng 23/5.
Kyng Henry the Sevint, being requirit be his sone kyng of Scotland for justice, ansuerit [etc.]

d. possess. Sonis-son, -dochter, a male or female grandchild. 1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 72.
Gif ony of thair sonnis or of thair sonnis sonnys … makis ony riot, debate [etc.]
c1515 Asl. MS I 192/23.
Throw the titill and richt of Edmond Irnsydis sonis dochter
1513 Doug. iii ii 61.
And thar sonnys, and sonnys sonnys syne, And al that evir succedis of thar lyne
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 424/165.
Tobias … luit him see his sones sonnes seid

2. Used of Christ: a. As the second person of the Trinity. b. As the son of God or Mary.a. 14.. Acts I 106/2.
In the name of the individit trinite the fadyr the sone & the haly gast amen
1456 Hay I 129/20.
We rede in scripture that the fader and the sone ar repute junct persounis
1461 Liber Plusc. I 336.
In the name of the Fadir and the Son and the Hali Gaist
a1500 Henr. III 158/63.
The sone alswa, The haly gaist conding, Thre knit in ane be perfyt vnitie
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 695. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxv 29.
The Fader, the Sone and Haly Gaist, The mirthfull Mary virgene chaist
1562-3 Winȝet I 116/23.
Denyand … the Father the Sone and the Haly Gaist to be callit godly
1571 Bann. Trans. 288.
Kis the sonne, leas the Lord be angrie, and so ye peris from the ryght way
b. a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 39.
Of Mary & hir sone Jhesu
a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 48.
Til scho consawit Godis sone of Hewyne
c1450-2 Howlat 723 (A).
Haile grane full of grace … Ferme our seid to the set quhar thi son is
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1061.
Mary, farest of face, Beseik thi sone in this cace
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 980 (Asl.).
The son of God was scurgit cruellye
1490 Irland Mir. I 137/20.
On hire dependit the cummyn of Goddis sone
1490 Irland Mir. III 4/12.
The haly sacramentis that His blist sone Jhesus has institut
1492 Myll Spect. 273/12.
My deir and ynkerly belouit sone
?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 7.
O sueit Jesu Crist, sone of God of life
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 8/30.
Gif sone of God thow be Quha straik thé now thow tell us tyt
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 116/5.
This is my beluffit Son, in quhom I am veil complesit
1562-3 Winȝet II 43/16, etc. 1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. 21b.
The sone of God haif mynd of me
c1590 Fowler II 46/13.
For Peter in that place confessed Christ to be the sonne of the leuing God

3. In fig. context: One who is regarded as a son. 1490 Irland Mir. II 57/25.
He sal sit hie in the air aboue the mont of Oliuet … and his blissit childer and sonnis and dochteris sal be in the air on his richt hand
1490 Irland Mir. III 8/9.
The vii sacramentis … mariage in the generacioun of the sonnis and dochteris of the kyrk [etc.]
?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 306.
Quhen ȝe commandit ȝour blist moder Mary to ȝour discipill Sanct Johne, & said: ‘Woman, lo thair thi sone’
1513 Doug. x Prol. 165.
The scripture clepys thé God, of goddis Lord … Mak ws thy sonnys in cherite but discord
1549 Compl. 137/28.
O thou my ȝongest soune callit lauberaris to burgh ande land
1549 Compl. 143/19.
Quhou the affligit lady [sc. Dame Scotia] accusis hir eldest sonne callit the nobilis and gentil men

b. Used as an affectionate mode of address to a young man by an older, more experienced or more senior person. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 443.
And now dere son I sal tel thé Al vtrely myn priwete
a1500 Henr. Fab. 447.
‘Knew ȝe my father?' (quod the cok) and leuch. ‘Ȝea, my faire sone, … I held his heid, Quhen that he deit'
a1500 Henr. Age & Yowth 58.
This breif thow sall obey, sone, be thow bald
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xx 30.
With wilfull men, son, argown thow no tyd
1528 Lynd. Dreme 789.
Weill, sonne (scho said), that sall I tak on hand
1567 G. Ball. 31.
Mark weill thairfoir, my sonnis sweit, How Christis croce is for ȝow meit

c. To becum son and man to (another) (see quots.). 1492 Coll. Rebus Alban. 83.
The said Alexander and Duncane sall obserf and keip kyndness and brethirheid to utheris as carnale brethire suld do … and the said Farchar [sc. Duncan's son] is becumin sone and man to the said Schir Alexander for all the dayis of his lyff
1492 Coll. Rebus Alban. 84.
And the said Farchar and his airis in lykwys to the said Schir James and his airis are to be bundin sonis and men for evir

4. fig. Sonis of God, etc., persons spiritually attached to God; believers. c1490 Irland Asl. MS 48/18.
Be the sacrament of bapteme thai ar maid the sonis and douchteris of God
1562-3 Winȝet II 26 heading.
Quhou the inuentaris of this hæresie ar the sones of God, and the defendaris thairof … the sones of perditioun
1567 Acts III 17/2.
The sonis of God … dois sob and murne quhan thay persaif thame selfis temptit to iniquitie
1558-66 Knox II 436.
Ye ar godis, and everie one of you the sones of the moist heichest; but ye sall die as men

5. a. Son of man, a human being, a mortal. Also sonis of men, and manis son(is).In most of the following quots., derived from some part of the Bible, and contrasted with (the) son of God.(1) a1450 Fifteen Ois 9.
Thou sayis thi delit is ay tobe With sonnis of man in cherite
1562-3 Winȝet I 14/2.
Thow sone of man, the house of Israell is turnit into drosse
1611-57 Mure Psalmes cxlvi 3.
Trust not in princes, in the sone Of man who can not save
(2) a1568 Bann. MS 23a/1.
Ȝe sonis of men be mirry and glaid And leif in consolatioun
1598 Melvill Propine 75.
For being man he hes tane on the burden that was dew To all the sonnes of men
(3) 1456 Hay I 67/30.
Here speris the autour quhilk was the first juge that ever was ordanyt amang mannis sonis
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 180.
He consideryt al the lawbore … that Gode has gevyne manis sone in erd

b. specif. The son of Man, Jesus Christ. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 481.
The sone of man … Cum … to iugement agane

6. A male descendant of some person, or representative of a particular race. c1450-2 Howlat 577 (A).
The Dowglas … Wan wichtly of weir … Fra sonnis of the Saxonis
c1475 Wall. ii 227.
Compleyne for him that … Off Saxons sonnys sufferyt full mekill der
1587-99 Hume 69/52.
All the wichts that in this valley wuns, Are bretheren all. Are they not Adams suns?

b. One who displays the character of some person, deity, etc., or shows signs of a particular type of ancestry.Usually with pejorative connotations.1490 Irland Mir. I 27/13 (see c below). c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) vii 12.
Welcum the soun of Mars of moste curage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxiii 4 (B).
A sweuyng swyth did me assaile Off sonis of Sathanis seid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 97/2.
A refing sonne off rakyng Muris Hes magellit my making throw his malis
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 249 (B).
Dathane deiuillis sone and dragone dispitous
1562-3 Winȝet II 81/2.
Vincentivs … callis thame the sones of Cham, quha, knawing ony licht falt or negligence in thare forefatheris, reuelis it fra hand til wtheris
1558-66 Knox II 142.
Such as in all thingis schaw thame selves the sones of the father of all lyes
1637 Rothes Affairs Kirk App. 198.
Hee is a sonne of a witches breeding and the divels gett

c. A member of the (Pre-Reformation) Catholic Church, a baptised member or faithful adherent of the Church. 1416 Liber Melros 539.
Til all the Sonnys of oure hali modir the kirk gretyn
1456 Hay I 295/23.
For thai ar verray sonis of haly kirk all gude kingis
1490 Irland Mir. I 27/13.
The fadere of hevin … quhen we ware pure nakit sonnis of the innemy … resauand ws of his grace to the haly bapteme makand ws sonis & dochteris of haly kyrk
1562-3 Winȝet I 62/31.
Sua I wald it war to nane vnknauin, me euir to be an humil sone of the haly Kirk vniuersal
1562-3 Winȝet I 64/1.
The faythfull sones of the holy catholik Kirk in Scotland

7. a. One who is associated with a certain quality or condition (cf. 6 b). a1400 Leg. S. iii 592.
Now her thou me, Sone of ded and iniquite
1456 Hay II 20/7.
Aganis the rebellouris and evill willaris of the kirk that are callit sonis of iniquitee
c1590 Fowler II 43/5.
The Pape (the sone of perditioun)

b. One who is regarded as the product of a certain place. 1618-60 Lithgow Poet. Remains 79.
Scotlands welcome to her native sonne, and soveraigne lord, King Charles

c. A member of a particular craft guild. 1500 Edinb. B. Rec. I 82.
That … all manir of prentice … sall stand in prenteischip for the space and termes of sevin ȝeirs and na les without dispensatioun of the principall master of the said craft, and specialie favour of the sonnys of the said craft

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"Son n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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