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 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Soverane, n. Also: soveran, soverrane, soveraine, -ayne, -aign, -agne, -aing, -ang, -yne, soweran(e, -agne, souuerane, -ain, -ayn, souveraign, suwerane, soferand, sowfarran, sufferane, suffrane, sophrayne, souvrain, sowren. [ME and e.m.E. souerein, -eyn (late 13th c.), -ayn (c1315), -eign (Piers Plowman), suffrain, -ayne (1538), sovereign (1551), OF suv-, sov-, souverain (c1050, 12th c. and 13th c. respectively in Larousse), vulgar L. *superanus, f. L. super above.]

1. A superior, overlord, ruler. Also const. of and abufe. Also transf. and fig.(1) c1450-2 Howlat 903 (A).
The howlat … As souerane him awne self throu bewte he baire Counterpalace to the Pape
1456 Hay I 95/6.
A citee that allegis to na soverayne
1456 Hay I 108/13.
Sen he has na temporale soverane he may mak weris at his awin list
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1593.
Thair lordis and princis quhen that thay se Of iustice mak nane executioun … That garris thame thair soueranis misknaw
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 435/52.
Reid quhane the Saxonis gat preeminence How sone thay socht as soueranis for to sitt
(2) c1420 Wynt. v Prol. 61.
In to the pape is the honowre … Off the grettest governale And off the les state syne all hale The soverane is the Empriouwre
1460 Hay Alex. 1830.
[He] thocht he suld throw hevinlie desteny Conques this erd and soueran of it be
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4214.
Than Julyus wes prince and souerane Abufe the hole warld empriour and kyng
transf. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 144.
Than said the syre of the saill and the souerane
fig. c1450-2 Howlat 863 (A).
Thai wald natur bespeike of hir gret grace, To discend that samyn houre as thair souerane

b. One who is set in authority over (to) another. c1520-c1535 Nisbet 1 Thess. v 12.
We pray you that ye knaw thame that labouris amang you and ar soueranis [P. souereyns, W. ben bifore to ȝou; L. præsunt vobis] to you in the Lord and techis you

c. specif. A monarch; a king or queen. Also const. of. Also fig.Also with various honorific modes of address.(1) 14.. Quon. Attach. c. 57.
Other soit he aw nocht to be led to bot be auctorite of his souerane
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 398.
Our souerane Arthour Gretis thé with honour
1521 Douglas Corr. 78.
Towart the kingis grace ȝoure soueraine
1525 Douglas Corr. 97.
1525 Douglas Corr. 97.
1532 Douglas Corr. 140.
That … the said erle … recognise us as supreme lorde of Scotlande and as his prince and souveraign
1532 Acts II 335/2.
Becaus our souerane … tendis to institut ane college … for the doing and administracioun of justice in all ciuile actions
1540 Lynd. Sat. 334.
Sensualite … That soverane [Ch. soverance] serene
1549 Sutherland Bk. III 107.
The quene, my sowren
1560 Facs. Nat. MSS III xliii.
I vrait onto your grace … conserning my deperting touirt our souirans in Frans quhilk your grace thocht gud
1566–7 Edinb. B. Rec. III 229.
Dauid Rowane, maister iuellar to our souerane
1568 Reg. Morton I 33.
1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV 711.
According to sic warning as salbe gevin by my selff or other levetennent for the king my soverane
a1585 Maitland in Maitl. Q. 181/74.
1582 Cal. Sc. P. VI 181.
1584 Douglas Corr. 374.
To do the king, your souuerayn, service
1586 Rait & Cameron King James's Secret 90.
In taiking of owr sowfarranis motheris lyf
1586 Cal. Sc. P. VIII 448.
It hath beyn his majesty my souvrain's pleasure to deale with me verray often
(2) c1450-2 Howlat 373 (A).
Of gowlis sygnet & set to schawe in assay, Our souerane of Scotland his armes to knawe
(3) c1475 Wall. vi 670.
‘Souerane [sc. Edward I]’ he said, ‘till our consaill concord’
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1024.
Na soveraine or wee farther gang Gar Sensualitie sing ane sang
(4) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 420.
Our seymly souerane
1562-3 Winȝet I 2/2.
The maist excellent and gracius souerane, Marie Quene of Scottis
1603 Maxwell Mem. II 54.
My dred sophrayne
1615 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bks. 63.
All maner of … persones … sall honour thair dread soverang the kingis majestie
1619 Red Bk. Menteith II 73.
His sacred maiestie our dreade soueryne
1636 Melville Corr. 85.
To … my most dred soueragne
1641 Wemyss Corr. 68.
Most gratious soveraine
1661 Laing MSS 325.
In obtaining our most gratious souverains dispensation
(5) fig. c1420 Ratis R. 100.
Fore-thi, my suet sone, procur grace To be soferand of thi purches, Fore, wit thow weill, fore-out that thinge May na man cum to hie ȝarnyng
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xlviii 170.
The merle scho sang, … ‘Haill, of all flouris quene and souerane’
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxviii 2.
London … Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight

d. In the phrases lord (hede, mastres) soverane (also, soveraing and maister), in both the above senses. 1456 Hay I 208/4.
Askand first justice at thair lord and soverane
1456 Hay I 253/27.
[The] king of Napples mon … mak speciale aith … to the pape … to kepe all condiciouns … that was wount to be kepit till him as hede and soverane
1456 Hay II 99/1.
The egill is lyknyt till a king as lorde and soveraine amang all foulis
1490 Irland Mir. III 107/38.
Gif thou speris at me, quid est lex, quhat is law, I say that it is a takin be the quhilk a man may knaw the thing that his lord and souuerane oblisis him to
c1515 Doug. (Sm.) I p. xxii.
Yff I shulde dysymull with the quene my mastres and suffrane, or with the kyng my nateff prince
c1590 Fowler II 71/13.
Be him that is present lord and soveraine
1597 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 31.
His soueraing and maister

e. Used of Christ.(1) 1567 G. Ball. 79.
With Christ our cheif and souerane
(2) a1400 Leg. S. l 595.
Criste … is … s[u]werane of myn hart with-all

f. transf. Used by a lover of his mistress, the ‘ruler’ of his affections. 15… Edinb. Univ. MS La.iv.6.
Quha sould me succour or support Quha sould me saiff or ȝit supplee Bot ȝe sueit hart & souerane

g. As a jocular and quasi-respectful form of address to an audience.Perhaps also chosen for alliterative purposes. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 12.
Scilence soveranis I requyre For now I begyn

2. The chief official or magistrate of a burgh.For details of the various titles by which this official was known at different periods, see Alderman n. b, Mair n. 2 and Provest n. 5. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 107 (A).
In all burrows of the kynrik of Scotlande the souerane that is to say the mar or the alderman of that ilk burgh

3. A gold coin of variable value. Also dowbill soverane, and attrib.First recorded in England in 1503 and worth 22 s. 6 d. in English money. 1587 Argyll Fam. Lett. 72.
Ane pece of gold callit ane souerane, price thairof xiiij lib.
1608 Paterson Ayr & Wigton II 486.
Ane dowbill souerane, pryce sax pund
1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI 171b.
I leif for ane taikin to my cousignne … ane dowbel sowerane peis of gould

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

"Soverane n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: