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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Stage, Staige, n. Also: staig, sta(i)dge, stege. Pl. also, once, staggis. [ME and e.m.E. stage (Cursor M.), stayge (1540), OF estage (1080 in Larousse).]

1. A storey or floor of a building. 1513 Doug. xii Prol. 71.
Pynnaclys hie Of kyrkis, castellis [etc.] … Stude payntit, euery fyall, fayn and stage Apon the plane grund, by thar awyn vmbrage
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts xx 9.
Eutichus … sat on the window and quhen he was fallin into ane hevy slepe … he fell doun fra the thrid stage [P., W. stage]
1533 Bell. Livy I 105/12.
Tarquyne … eieckit him with sic violence out of the court, that he fell certane stageis to the ground

2. A shelf. 1565 Hay Fleming The Reformation in Scotland (1910) 609.
Ane copeburd of thre staige of Aisland burd

b. A placement for a statue. c1420 Wynt. v 5530 (W).
Than in the hicht above his ȝet In a faire stage [C. rowme] he gert be set Ane ymage of the Trinité
1533 Boece 131.
The ymage of Claudius emprioure falling of the stage … was brokin

3. lit. and, chiefly, fig. A place, position, level, esp. with reference to relative height or merit; a step, specif. on the ladder of virtue; a (one's) position on fortune's wheel; a degree (of pleasure, etc.).(a) a1400 Leg. S. vi 411, 417.
Till tel the twelfe greis of vertuse. The firste of thame [etc.] … The tothire stage is that we, fore to wyne grace, suld baptist be. … The fyfte stage is … To keep men fra gluttony
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 9.
On hir [sc. Fortune's] tolter quhele, Euery wight cleuerith in his stage, And failyng foting oft
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 81.
In ane othir stage endlong the wall There saw I stand [etc.]
c1475 Wall. vi 64.
Fortoune … Desyring ay his manheid for to pruff In curage set apon the stagis hye
1490 Irland Mir. I 124/27.
The blist sone of God … discendit fra the hiest stage of hevin
1490 Irland Mir. II 35/12.
Hell has four stagis and placis
1490 Irland Mir. II 50/8.
Jhesus … had that he stage and sete in hevin eternaly prouidit for Him
1490 Irland Mir. III 89/22.
I find in the Cristianite ane … leddir of thre noble greis and stagis
a1500 Seven S. 1606.
Ȝour sagis That will sone put ȝow of ȝour stagis And put ȝour dwm son to the crovne
1513 Doug. vi Prol. 98.
As he twichis greys seyr in payn, In blys, elike wys, syndry stagis puttis he
1513 Doug. x v 152.
Bot Turnus hardy stalwart hie curage, For all this feir, demynyst nevir a stage
a1538 Abell 90b.
That halie saule wes … conwoit to the hie stage of the ordur of seraphin
a1568 Bann. MS 217a/10.
Than is thair non to confort me, Quhen I am standand in that stage
(b) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 560 (Arund.).
Is nane that wait for to ressaue to wage Endles sorrow or sempeterne solace, Sa vnsure standis our stummerand staige
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxv 18.
Full mony ane man I [sc. Fortune] turne vnto the hicht, And makis als mony full law to doun licht, Vp-on my staigis or that thow ascend
a1568 Scott xv 2.
Vp, helsum hairt! thy rutis rais, and lowp; Exalt and clym within my breist in staige
a1568 Bann. MS 256b/7.
Stopping in aige, he on staige, and ȝowtheid went & done
a1585 Maitl. Q. 108/24.
Sen hir bontie … To bewtie couplit is collaterall In heichest staige of excellent degrie
(c) a1568 Bann. MS 259b/9.
Thocht ȝe be … extold in Venus stege Remembir quhat ma cum behind
1600 Crim. Trials II 286.
I gat ane letter frome his lo. selff … and upon the ressait therof … God kennis if my hart vas nocht liftit ten steges!

4. One of a number of levels related in height; a step. 1460 Hay Alex. 11262.
Syne enterit thai in-till ane tressoure[re] Was fifty stagis dounwart
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1473.
Emeraut stages, twelf grene precious greis
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1902.
I … ten stages of Topas did ascend
1513 Doug. i vii 55.
The entre rays with hie stagis of bras
1533 Bell. Livy I 85/1.
The ymage of Actius Navius was sett with hede couerit, risand on certane stagis [L. in gradibus ipsis] towart the left hand of the counsel hous
1630 Broxmouth & Pincarton Baron Ct. 14 Dec.
For wynning of lymstanes staggis and vther stanes

5. A platform or staging, erected, chiefly or only, temporarily. a. To allow an exhibition, of any sort, to be viewed by spectators. b. To accommodate dignitaries, etc., in viewing or attending an event. c. fig.Some examples may rather belong in d below.a., b. 1460 Hay Alex. 17458.
In diuers rewis playis and personagis Sum contenance on scaffaldis and on stagis With menstrallis playand apoun gal[er]eieȝ
1533 Boece 254.
Gwitelline … apoun ane hie stage, to the multitude present schew Constantyne
1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 122.
The making of the tua staigeis in the eist end of the kirk for the cessioun
1590 Mill Mediæv. Plays 198.
For … comfetis that was cassin over the staig of the bow the day of hir entres
1590 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 395.
The saitt & staidges off tymber that wes brocht out off the abay to his majesteis sait
1628–9 Mill Mediæv. Plays 208.
To James Mar wricht … making the staige quhair the proveist and bailȝeis sould stand
1633 Mill Mediæv. Plays 271 n.
The watter of Tay quhairwpone wes ane floitting staige of tymber … wpone the quhilk for his majesties welkome … threttein of our brethereine … dauncit
1654 Misc. Spald. C. II 244.
The King ascended the stage and sitteth down in the chair of state. Then the Lords Great Constable and Marishall went to the four corners of the stage
1654–55 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 385.
For 5 seingell tris to be feit to the trests of the staig
1665 Nicoll Diary 443.
Ane doctor of phisick called Joanna Baptista … errectit ane staige betwixt Niddries and Black Friers wynd head, and thair upone … ventit … his drogs
1673 Edinb. B. Rec. X 149.
That the saids masters of the revills have powar to sett up stages in any pairt of the city
1677 Edinb. B. Rec. X 325. 1688 Lauder Notices Affairs II 878.c. 1609 Garden Garden 59.
What is this world, a theater of woe? A golfe of greif … An onstai'd stage of state
1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. xv 28.
Ȝe, whom natour tyes … this spectacle to vieu … This staige of toyes

d. Scaffolding, staging for workmen or to support a construction. 1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II 125.
I tuk the branders of thame and made stagis to the pillaris
1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II 142.
Thar was put in wark in the iij pillaris the pannaling of the eist trevice, the entres of the pulpit with iij stageis on athersyd of the samyne
1661 Funeral Acc. i 5 (Marquis of Montroes).
Ane hundreth daillis to be skaffalds platts & ane staige … for the doune taking of my Lord Marques head

e. The scene in which a play is set or the locality where it is supposed to have taken place. a1649 Drummond Wks. (1711) 224.
[Ben Jonson] had also a design to write a fisher or pastoral play, and make the stage of it in the Lomond lake

f. To put (a person) (up)on the stage, to bring (a person) to the stage, to bring to trial; to call (a person) upon the stage, to call as a witness.(1) 1657 Lamont Diary 101.
Mr. Robert Blair who was supposed to be the man that had put Mr. Hary vpon the stage
1657 Nicoll Diary 203.
William Purves … and Mr. Waird … wer put on the staige
1681 Cloud of Witnesses (1871) 127.
I have never gotten certainty of what brought me to the stage
(2) a1680 D. Blair in a1680 Blair Autob. 595.
People were newfangled, he being the first that was called upon the stage for giving testimony against prelacy

g. attrib. or comb. With play and player.See also Play n. 9 for further examples. 1621 Maxwell Mem. I 329.
At ȝour going to sie the stage play
1661 Thomson The Churches Comfort (1706) 14.
Turning over this holy bible to stage-plays, for will ye but walk down to the Nether Bow, ye shall there almost every night see some part thereof turned over to stage-plays
1668-9 Fraser Lawfulness Separ. 80.
What would the poor people think, but that religion is a stage-play?
1668-9 Fraser Lawfulness Separ. 132.
When these stage-play puppets get up to the pulpit, and cry up holines, and cry down sin
1601–2 Misc. Spald. C. V 73.
To the stage playeris, Inglischemen, 22 lib.
1653 Binning Wks. 630.
Do ye think a stageplayer a happy man that for an hour hath so much mirth and attendance
a1658 Durham Commandments 244.
Stage-players and such like, livers on other folks charges

6. A measure of distance, a stadium, 600 Greek or Roman feet or ⅛ of a Roman mile. = Stade n. a1400 Leg. S. xvi 817, 819.
Ilke stage, … Is of a myle the auchtand parte; For a stage, thu sal wite, Sex score it haldis of fete
1460 Hay Alex. 6109.
Ane hill … The quhilk was fifty stagis to the hicht
c1420 Wynt. iv 284 (C).
That gret cite … fra that mekil ȝet befor Four hundyr stageis [W. stadiis, R. stadys] and fourscore It had in wmgange al about
1513 Doug. Comm. i vi 107.
xxii stageis, that is thre myllis quarter les
1528 Lynd. Dreme 645.
And euerilk myle in aucht stagis deuyde
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2854, 2855, 2857.
A sepultur … The quhilk had stagis [Ch. staidis; Diodorus (see STS Notes) stadiorum] ix of hycht, & ten stagis [Ch. staidis] of breid it wes: Diodore saith it wes no les. For aucht stagis [Ch. staidis] one myle thow tak
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2958. 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 40b.
Passing over the sea to Capernaum … being threttie stagis of land
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. 2b.
Awcht stagis is ane myile
1596 Dalr. I 26/13.
In compase it conteines fyve stages, and ane in hichte

7. A stopping place on a coach route; the distance between stopping-places. Also attrib. with coatches. 1662 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 263.
That Linlithgow may be the first stadge from Edinburgh
1677 Edinb. B. Rec. X 300.
She [sc. the coach] shall punctuallie observe hir houres and seaverall stages
1717 Conv. Burghs V 182.
Their requeist to the commissioners of the general post office for settling of five stages betuixt Dumfreis and Port Patrick
attrib. 1682 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 52 marg.
Act in favour of Alex. Deas anent the stadge coatches

8. A period of time; the period or date of an event. b. transf. Dues paid at a fixed time. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 25 (A).
Ane other is gif his lord war in the kingis castall to ȝem it to the stage of xl dais [B. to kepe it thrw xl days]
a1500 Henr. III 171/35.
For now is exilde all ald noble corage, Lautee, lufe, and liberalitee; Now is stabilitee fundyn in na stage
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 6.
Phebus … Kythyng no syng of heyt be hys vissage, So neir approchit he his wyntir stage
1608 Aberd. Council Lett. I 392.
Stent roll of the burgh of Aberdeen for the second staige of the greatt taxation
b. 1632 Aberd. Trades 222.
Wha pays not their quarter stages, … entries, unlaws, and convictions … sall have no vote in choosing of the deacon

9. fig. The period of one's journey through life. Cf. 5 c to which the first quot. may belong. c1590 Fowler I 61/81.
The lyfe of mortall men … is but a stage of noyes
1618 Lithgow Poet. Remains 11.
But, O deare soule, that life is full of cares … Thy pilgrimage, a tragicke stadge of sorrow

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"Stage n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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