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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).

Thorto(u)r, Thwortour, Thwartour, adv., prep., n., adj. and v. Also: thortoure, -ar, -ur(e, -er, -yr, thoirter, thourtour, -ar, thuortour, -ir, -er, thworter, twhartyr, thrortar, thortwart, -ward, -word. [ME and e.m.E. þwertouer (a1225), thwart(e ouer (Trevisa), twarte offere (c1400), thawrtouer (1422), thwart ouer (c1430); Thort adv. (etc.) and Our adv. and prep. Cf. Ourthwort adv. and prep., Ourthortour prep. Also in the later dial.]

A. adv. Athwart; obliquely, transversely; from side to side, sideways. = Thort adv. 1. c1475 Wall. v 1110.
Feill off thaim dede fell thwortour in the fyr
1494 Loutfut MS 18b.
His een lukis thortour ay
1533 Bell. Livy II 100/2.
Ane parte of the samyn rivere passand thortoure oure the sam
a1538 Abell 1b.
In euirilk side of the leif thai ar twa lynis thortar rewlit with leid
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i 124.
His hois … All thortour drawin with taffateis of blew
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI 104.
Thay … caryit hir thairfra bound thortour with the said Gawin on horsbak

B. prep. = Thort prep.(a) 1533 Bell. Livy I 39/6.
Incontinent the buschment foresaid come thortoure thare gate [L. transversam … aciem] to gif thame batall
1533 Bell. Livy I 62/20.
The fader … dang ane staik in the erde thortoure [L. transmisso per viam] the gate
1533 Bell. Livy I 285/1.
This ȝoik was made of thre speris, of quhilkis twa war dentit in the erde, and the thrid laid thortoure [L. transversa] thare hedis
1556 Peebles B. Rec. I 230.
Passand northeist … thortour the gait abone Hammildone croce
1581 Lanark B. Rec. 82.
Hie saw William Bannatin talyour twys gang thortour Thomas Forest yet
1609 Acts IV 443/2.
Beginnand at the watter of Tarres … downe Litchell to Rowaneburne and thorter Ingreis ȝeattis [etc.]
(b) 1531 Bell. Boece II 243.
Mony treis war hewin down, lyand thortwart the land
1663 Buccleuch Mun. II 467.
Doune Liddell to the Rowane burne, and thortward Ingrishillis by the foot of Maylwood

C. adj. Cross-wise, transverse. 1451 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V i 120 (29 May).
Thai fynd the gavill of John Henrisonis thuortir hous standis all hale apon Nachtijs grond
a1500 Rauf C. 567.
In ane thourtour way, Seir gaitis pas thay
c1475 Wall. iv 540.
A cleuch thar was, quharoff a strenth thai maid With thuortour treis
c1475 Wall. ix 1632.
A thourtour bande, that all the drawcht wpbar, He cuttyt it
1489–90 Reg. Great S. 407/1.
Terra … ex parte occidentali de le Thwortour-Raw dictiburgi [sc. Dundee]
1490 Lanark B. Rec. 8.
His tenement … besyd the forland … and the thuorter land of [etc.]
1495 Prot. Bk. J. Young V 175.
Alsua we find the gavill and est end of the thortour stable
1509 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 275.
The thortword straik and dracht of the samyn colour as the drachtis of the scheilde is of
1533 Bell. Livy I 35/33.
& be preis of thair thortwart cuming devidit & put sindry the armit oistis
1533 Bell. Livy I 251/12.
Incontinent thai rasit thare baneris, & with thortour passage [L. transversisque itineribus] come throw the Labicanis to the Tusculane montanis
1535 Aberd. B. Rec. MS XV (Jam.).
To remoif, red & flit out of the said inland thortyrland, yard & forentres
1539 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) No. v (Elphinstone v. Innes).
Ane greit chenȝe in the foir entres and tua thworter bandis of irne
1542 Eeles King's Coll. Chapel 23.
viii thwartour bandis & five lang gret bandis
1569 Prot. Bk. D. Gray 51.
Thre aikiris of infeld land lyand in est syd of the … thuortour gaittis of Korstoun
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 120.
For iron to be thrie thortour boultis and bandis to bind the pilleris quher the bell suld hing
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 185.
To caus mak sufficient thorter barris of irne, and infix thame in the window of the mid hous

b. Of a way or route: Tortuous; inaccessible. 1531 Bell. Boece I 80.
The Romanis … [are] sa agill of thair bodyis, that thay may dant all thortour and difficill gatis

c. In fig. context: Cross-grained. 1677 Hay Fleming Six Saints I 209.
His name is Welwood; but if ye take that unhappy course to depose them, they will turn thorterwood

D. noun. 1. The transverse member of a window. See also Thort n. 2. 1530 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 31.
For … thre uprychtis and ane thortour for the lycht of the trance
1530 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 46.
Twa thworteris to ane archar windo
1531 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 68.
Twa bund bois irne wyndois ilk wyndok of vi standartis & xiii thorteris contenand in weycht maid werk … lxix stanis xiii pund
1561–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I 432.
Thourtaris and glass bandis to the lords twa schalmeris
1563–4 Edinb. Old Acc. I 448.

2. A difficulty, dilemma; a setback; an instance of contention or strife. Cf. Overthort(e n. 1597 Cal. Sc. P. XIII 101.
[There shall lack none in us to see this insolent attempt and] thortour [in this work exemplarily both tried and punished]
1600-1610 Melvill 124.
The thrid thortar and debat quhilk he haid was with the … counsall of the town
1600-1610 Melvill 532.
Anent quhatsoevir the thorteris and accidentis fallin out, thais tua yeiris bygaine
c1598 Milne-Home MSS 72.
Thar ar invyeris inventing thortouris and thingis to increse expense
1603 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 57.
Lest hir hienes wraithe continewing suld heirefter produce unexpectit thortures
1610 Hist. Carnegies 344.
I wald maist willingly … redeme ȝow out off the smallest thorter or adversite
1629 Boyd Last B. (1629) 72.
The most godlie heart must encounter with manie thorters
1638 Johnston Diary I 304.
To searche out the cause of this crosse and thorter in the Lords busines
?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadful Alarms 14.
He never lets one of these crosses or thorturs answer, but he gives God the glory of all his doings

b. A dispute, contentious exchange (of words). 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 559.
[He says on] thortor [of words, strife arose between him and one Roger Tempeste]

E. verb. 1. tr. To thwart, frustrate, impede.pres. 1597 Cal. Sc. P. XIII 119.
[The said Treasurer shall not refuse his subscription to whatsoever shall be thought necessary … for the furtherance of his Majesty's profit nor shall directly or indirectly] thortour [nor impugn the same]
1603 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 49.
Thir vnluiked for mishappes falling furth heir in this cuntrey; thortureing that contentment quhilk ȝoure maiestie resaues in these pairtis
c1610 Melville Mem. 220.
The hattrent of a wickit societe against Grange wha mycht not abyd his honestie, credit and reputation, thortering at all occasions ther parcialites
?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadful Alarms 15.
Our doing thorturs our light and our light thorturs our doing
p.p. 1589 Stirling B. Rec. I 84.
The conventioun of our estaittis … being thortourit and deserted be the intervening of this lait insurrectioun
1591 Crim. Trials I ii 245.
The Dewill ansuerit he soud do quhat he could, bott itt wald be lang to, because it wald be thoirterit
1607 Reg. Privy C. VII 532.
For the better floorisheing of the Gospell … having bene hithertillis mony wayes thortoured by the unreulie turbulent and unquiet spirittis of some of the ministerie
1608 James VI in Calderwood (1678) 581.
Their willingness … hath been ever thortered and impeded by too many … advocations

b. To contradict. 1685-8 Renwick Serm. 138.
The words may also be understood thus, when [etc.] … yet some read the words thus, without thortering one another, that [etc.]

2. intr. = Thort v. ?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadful Alarms 14.
He brings up his practise to his light and never one of them thorturs with another; he lets no thorturing betwixt these two
?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadful Alarms 15.
And it were kent how much we have thortured with God
a1658 Durham Clavis Cantici 141.
Proud unbelief … when it's opposing and thortoring with Christ's call

3. absol. To come along, pass by. 1563–4 Inverness Rec. I 110.
James Duff burges of Innernes chansit to twhartyr seikand the prowest beleiffand na ewill

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"Thortor adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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