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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.

Upper, adj. Also: uppher, wpper, uppa. [ME and e.m.E. vpper (14th c.); cf. Over adj.]

1. Of topographical features: Situated higher. Also, on the upper hand. = Over adj. 1.(1) 1642 Lothian and Tweeddale Synod 137.
To exercise his ministry in ane place of the upperland of Tweed
1681 Sc. Hist. Rev. XVII 23.
Anent the mairches of the uppa balk, beginning at the entrie of the little burne at the loch
1684 Lauder Observes 136.
They … beat them from the nather toune to the upper toune and castle
(2) a1540 Freiris Berw. 22 (B).
Most plesand to be sene The tovne … the castell … the land The he wallis vpoun the vpper hand

2. That is situated on a higher level or floor of a building; (the) upstairs (room, etc.). = Over adj. 5. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 70.
[The] laicher rowme … and the … upper rowme
1630 Bamff Chart. 223.
Ane aiken bed in the upper chamber with ane litie camp

3. Of greater rank or position; senior. 1477 Aberd. B. Rec. I 36.
That Alexander … be continevit vpper and principale maister of wark

4. To get, have, win the upper hand, to prevail, obtain mastery over (in, wpoun others). 1558-66 Knox I 344.
The Quene and hir Frenchemen have the upper hand
1567 G. Ball. 206.
Thir lymmaris … Thinking to get the vpper hand
1571 Ferg. Tracts 73.
Quhen darknes and ignorance had the vpperhand
a1578 Pitsc. I 329/5.
For he had evin the wpper hand wpoun all thame that intendit to put him frome the court
c1590 Fowler II 102/18.
Having by there assistance the vppherhand
1597 Melvill 425.
The standart of Thy treuthe is troden down, And lies and falshod hes the upper hand
1587-99 Hume 117/14.
Neither will sinne haue dominion, or the vpper hand in him

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"Upper adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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