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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

(Unlows,) Unlowis, -loose, v. P.p. unlowsit, -lousit(e, -loused, -lawsit, wnlowsyt. [ME and e.m.E. vnlose (Piers Plowman), unlouse (a1470), vnloose (1526); Lows v.1] tr. and intr.

1. tr. a. To set free from (of) bonds; to release from restraint. b. To undo, unravel (something). Only fig. c. intr. To become loose or detached.a. c1590 Fowler I 62/125.
Lowe so leading ws in linkis did so ower ws surmount … Through montanis, medowis, hillis, and wooddis, our chaines did not relent, Nor yit wer we vnloused of thame
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 162/2.
Persephone the aufull quene of hell Unlousing Megere, Alecto & Tisiphone Furies fell
1681 Cramond Ch. Speymouth 37.
The minister then commanded the men to unloose the horse
b. a1651 Calderwood IV 42.
[Lies] linked together, like unto an unorderlie thread runne all together in knotts and knars, that skarse can one tell how to beginne to unloose and rifle up the same
c. a1568 Montg. in Bann. MS I p. 51/10.
Ane tre … Quhais leivis sall nevir faid nor rute vnlowis [Montg. Devot. P. i 18, nor rute sall louis]

2. p.p. Of property: Not redeemed from mortgage or arrestment. = Onlowsit p.p. 1439 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 49.
Josand … the forsaide landis … with all profetis commoditeis & esmentis vnlousite out of the saide wodeset
1520 Prot. Bk. J. Foular II 78.
The said Marion wald be content to adnull and discharge the vij yeris that the said annuell suld be unlowsit contenit in thair reversion
1523 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 2.
For the non furnissin of ane cariage in to the kingis veris … he gart reist [= arrest] the guddis on the grownd & is unlowsit ȝit
1525 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXIX 60.
All the weddis tane and for to be tane for the males of common landis vnlowsit within xxi days sall be disponit be the ballies
1527 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 69.
My lord followit hym … for the brekin of his arestment for the lauboring of the said land it beand arestit & unlawsit
1531 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 25b.
[They] sall brwk the sayd bak land wnlowsyt quhyll the space of … fyf ȝeris be compleit & owt runnyng

b. Of an interdiction: Not revoked or withdrawn. c1575 Balfour Pract. 187.
The samin interdictioun … standand unlousit anent the remanent punctis contenit thairintill

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"Unlows v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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