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

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

Tod, n.1 Also: tode, todd(e, toid, taid; (thod). [North. ME and e.m.E. tod (c1170), todd- (1503). Of obscure origin.]

1. A fox. Also, tods body, the name of a game.In early use in place-names and as a personal name. 1165–82 Reg. Episc. Glasg. I 29.
Ad sicum quod est propinquius sub Todholerig
1214–49 Liber Melros I 256.
Totam terram meam quam habui in Thodholesid et Standestanerige
c1250 Liber Calchou 90.
Subtus locum qui dicitur Toddeholes
1329 Sutherland & Cai. Rec. I 97.
Magistro Johanni Todd
13… Liber Melros II 429.
Thoma dicto Todde
1483 Reg. Dunferm. 372.
Thome Tode de Scherefhaul
1647 Bk. Pasquils 152.
Was't you sent fourth yon man of God, To make sick hunting on the tod
(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 670.
Seand this volff, this wylie tratour tod On kneis fell … ‘Welcome,’ … Quod he, with mony binge and mony bek
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2314.
The volff braid furth his fute, the man his hand, And on the toddis taill sworne thay ar to stand
a1500 Henr. Fab. 982 (Ch.).
1506 Treas. Acc. III 198.
To Fynlaw Makneill that brocht toddis and brokkis to the king, be command, ix s.
1531 Bell. Boece I xli.
Ilk hous of this cuntre, nurisis ane young tod certane dayis, and mengis the flesche thairof, eftir that it be slane, with sic meit as thay gif to thair fowlis, or uthir smal beistis; and sa mony as etis of this meit ar preservit twa monethis eftir fra ony dammage of toddis, for toddis will eit na flesche that gustis of thair awin kind
1535 Stewart 57240.
To him he sent ane herald … And bad him cum out of that toddis hoill, And gif him feild
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4531.
Birdis had thare nestis, and toddis thare den
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 483.
In ane wood … he slew thrie hairis and ane tod
c1590 Fowler II 122/3.
Whils as a prence is necessecitat to play the beast, he suld applye his humeur to the complexions baith off the tod and lyon
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 86.
Haray … hes nather wolfis, toddis [Balfour MS taides], nor edderis in it
1606 Dundonald Par. Rec. 110.
William Housson [etc.] … wrocht at the todis hollis in Barrassie to get the young todis
1622-6 Bisset I 28/33.
The wyld beistis, sik as hart, hynd, dois, rais, hairis, wolfis, toddis, foxis, beiris, bairis, sangleiris, wyld swyne with uthir savaige and distroying bestiall
1661 Soc. Ant. XXII 254.
She did sie Johne Tailȝeor sometymes in the shape of a todde and sometimes in the shape of a swyn
(2) Urquhart Rabelais (1900) I 82.
There he played … At Tods body [F. reniguebieu]

b. Of a person compared to a fox in behaviour. Cf. 4 below. a1538 Abell 96b.
He [sc. Pope Boniface] entrit in the papait hes ane tod he lefit hes a lion and deit lik ane dog
1570 Sat. P. xxiv 78.
Thair sall ȝe se ȝour bastard Bischop blist Out of his hoill weill houndit lyke ane tod
a1574 Three Reformers 14.
Kirk men that are with Christ unkend … Lurkand in holes, lyke traytour toddes
1584 Sempill in Sat. P. xlv Pref. 54.
Judas Iscariot, … Betrayed his Maister lyk a traytour tod
1619 Sel. Biog.I 81.
The bishops … entered like tods and false foxes
c1630 Scot Narr. 50.
Mr. Patrick Adamson had lurked a long tyme in the castle of St. Andrews, like a tod in a holl diseased of a fearful feditie

c. proverb. Passing into 4 below. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 321.
He is a proud tod that will not scrape his own hole
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 707.
Quhen the tod preaches, beware of the hens
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 112.
As long as ye serve the tod, ye man bear up his tail
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 542.
It is ill to make a blowen horne of a tods tail
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1508.
We may not speak a word in mowse but it is taken in earnest quoth the tod
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 990.
It wilbe a gude fyre quhen it burns, it is beginnand to reik, as the tod said quhen he schete on the yse
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1164.
Manie tume word in your heid quo the tod to the bell

d. comb. Tod-holes; tod-stripe, a strip of land inhabited by foxes; Tod Lowrie (Laurence), see Laurence and Lowry 2 for examples. c1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 250.
He takis of litill Dummetht part fra the tode stripe to Edinglasse
1607 Dundonald Par. Rec. 141.
[They] did confes thair wirking at the tod holes in Barassie Mwir on the Saboth

2. Chiefly attrib. and possess. The fox used as a commodity, esp. the skin. 14.. Acts I 303/2.
Of a tymmyr of skynnis of toddis [L. De tymbria wlpium]
attrib. 1511 Treas. Acc. IV 198.
Ane lyning of tod pultis
1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV 200.
To lyne the samyn goune vij mantillis tod pultis
1522 Treas. Acc. V 194.
Item, for ane lynying of tod powtis to the kingis nichtgoun of chamelot viij li. v s.
1424 Acts II 6/1.
Otter skynnis and tode skynnis
1451 Edinb. B. Rec. I 13.
Tod skynnis
1551 Exch. R. XVIII 175 n.
1568 Edinb. Test. I 100a.
Send to Flanderis of plading and kensyis … of lamb and tod skynnis
1582 Edinb. Test. XI 161b.
Four wolf and tua tod skynnis price iiij li.
1590 Exch. R. XXII 91.
[£4 10 s. of 460 skins called] todskinnis
1591–5 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 125.
Ane tod skyn
1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI 116b.
Sextene quhyt tod skinnes at xiij s. iiij d. the peice
1614 Mar & Kellie MSS 71.
[Table of Scottish Produce Exported Yearly] Of tod skynnis, 1,012, at 40 s. the pece … Of otter skynnis, 44, at 40 s. the pece
15.. Lord Fergus' Gaist 18.
To coniure the littill gaist ȝe mon haif Off tod tailis ten thraif
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1729.
Ye are lyke cuik Murdo that made 9 meaces of a tod taile [Ferg. Prov. MS No. 616, todes [pr. codes] taill]
possess. 1612 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 191.
To John Wedderburn vj cranca and a toddis heid and burz

3. ellipt. A fox-skin, freq. of a young fox. Also, attrib.: Tod gorgis, fox-skin cut from the throat area. 1500 Edinb. B. Rec. I 240.
jc gait skynnis or [toddis]
1482 Edinb. Chart. 169.
Of a pak of cunyngskynnis, lambskynnis, otteris, toddis … and sic like
1498–9 Acta Conc. II 297.
A clok, the price xl s., ane lynyng of toddis, the price iiij li.
1506–7 Treas. Acc. III 249.
For bordouring of it [sc. the king's gown] with toddis xxiiij s.
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 421.
vj mantillis Franche toddis to lyne the samyn goune
1530 Balmerino and L. Chart. ii 31.
Ane syed jacet lynit with todds
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 20.
Gevin to the furrour for ane lynyng of toddis to the bak quarteris of the kingis nycht goune
1564 Reg. Privy C. I 308.
Ane gown, lynit with toddis of blak
1586 Conv. Burghs I 213.
Declaring the inhabitantis of the said burgh to be previlegitt … from all maner of customes of … toddis, cunningis, calfis, otteris and foumart skynnis
1603 Stirling B. Rec. II 383.
[Shore customs] ilk thowsand lamb skynnis vj d., … ilk scoir toddis vj d., twa hundryth gaitis, vj d.
1605 Glasgow Trades House 543.
Neither to buy any wild skins … as todds
1626–7 Glasgow Chart. II 586.
Lambskins 2500, scheip skins 500 … toddis 20
coll. 1570 Inverness Rec. I 190.
That wrangusle and aganis the law thai occupe the place of fremen of this burcht in bying of tod and otter and all maner of merchandice and leddyr
attrib. 1531 Treas. Acc. VI 18.
Ane lyning of tod gorgis to the samyn goune … xvij li. x s.

4. fig. Applied to a person, his nature, behaviour or appearance, esp. to the perception of a fox as cunning, a crafty person. Cf. 1 b above. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 414.
He [sc. the bishop] is na hird to keip thay sely sheip, Nocht bot ane tod in ane lambskin to creip
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 200/37.
Sum sweiris and forsaikis God, Sum in ane lambskin is ane tod
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 112/3.
Ane tod wes with ane lame And with hir playit and maid gude game
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3548.
Thow art a tratour wylie tod
1573 Davidson in Sat. P. xli 4.
Thow pure contempnit Kirk … baith the tyger and the tod, maist cruellie cummis thé to rent
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 74/34.
The vnthankfull dealing of sik vylie toddis, as hes laborit to bring your maieste in contempt
1581 Burne Disput. 78b.
Thay ar na pastoris, bot volfis, and toddis
a1651 Calderwood VII 2.
These apostats are craftie tods, and filthie dogs and swyine
1659 Blairs P. 161.
Sleet and heal and euen drift uhich almost had drifted Chateau Renard to the other uorld, had not been your Reuerence good prayers uho conserued the tod his sken

b. Tod's birds (Bird n.1 2), offspring of bad stock. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 354.
Suspect ever your affections … for the devil is in them … they would ever be handled as tod's birds; for they are aye the worse of over great libertie
1639 Baillie I 196.
Argyle … put … the rest [of the armed men] on the head of Lorne, to hold the islanders and these tod's-birds of Lochaber, in some awe
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1537.
Tods birds, ane gude and all gude

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"Tod n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 May 2024 <>



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