Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Vagab(o)und, Vacab(o)und, adj. and n. Also: vagabownd, -bond, wagabond, -bund, -bound(e, (-mound), vagoband, wagobound, waigabond, wacabond, vacobond, waikab(o)und. Pl. also wagabonnes. [Late ME and e.m.E. vacabound (1404), vagabonde (1426), vagabounde (c1430), vacabunde (1453), waykabound (1483), wacabon(e (1556), OF vagabond, vacabonde, L. vagāri to wander, vacāre to be unoccupied.]The c forms in Scots seem to be due to anglicisation of the spelling rather than any influence of L. vacāre, cf. Vag(e v. and Vak(e v.

A. adj. 1. a. Of a person or (a) people: Wandering, itinerant; homeless. b. specif. Of a scholar: ? = a above or ? irregular, not typical, cf. c. c. Of a law: Not included in the usual catalogue or books of laws, irregular, stray. d. = Waith adj. d, q.v.There is considerable overlap between the senses.a. 14.. Acts I 361/2 (see Pip(o)ud(e)r(o)us adj.). 1531 Bell. Boece II 89.
Sindry monkis quhilkis war that time vagabound throw the realme
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 294.
That na vagabound pepill, menstralis nor iugillouris be ressauit in ony toun withoute thai had sum craft
1531 Bell. Boece II 382.
Quhen he had bene vagabound and wilsum in sindry partis
1533 Boece 39b.
Come ane nacioun vagabund and errant fra that parte of Grete Almanȝe callit now Denmark
1533 Boece 195b.
How Carance … exilit the realme had bene lang tyme destitute of help vagabund and indigent
a1538 Abell 7b.
Eftirwert vagabund on the see he come to Albion
a1538 Abell 37b.
The Scottis men … wes wagabund in diuers cuntres far fra thare natife land
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1152.
Cayn flemit and uacabound
1573 Reg. Privy C. II 210.
Certane vagabound ydill and countirfute people of diverse nationis, falslie namyt Egiptianis
1573 Macritchie Gypsies 63.
Command … the saidis ydill vagabound … people … that thay … owther depart … or ellis settill thame selffis at certane dwelling places with maisteris
a1578 Pitsc. I 322/9.
He staw away … and ȝeid wagabund dissagyssit ane lang quhill
b. 1574 Acts III 87/2.
All vagaboundis scollaris of the vniuersiteis of Sanctandrois Glasgow and Abirdene not licencit be the rector … to ask almous
c. 1456 Hay I 258/32.
Thare [is] othir lawis callit lawis extravaganis, that is for to say lawis vagaboundis, that ar nocht incorporit in othir bukis of lawis of Lombardy
d. 1513 Doug. vi Prol. 68.

2. Having no settled occupation or way of life, idle, good for nothing; ? of a gipsy family or background. b. Characteristic of an idler. 1578–9 Conv. Burghs I 76.
That na person … bring hame Inglis clayth … becaus the samyn is … the occasion of mony vagabund wemen to pas ydill … for laik of woll
1608 Inverurie B. Ct. 13 May.
That all seruandis being fund wagabund & nawayis stapillit & send to maisteris nocht to be recept be ony within the towne
1618 Old Kirk Chron. 64.
The restraining of idill and vagabound beggaris
1629 Justiciary Cases I 111.
He had nather calling nor estait bot was ane vagabund spending fellow gevin to drukynes and harlotrie
1634 Aberd. Trades 218.
Ilk servant … [that] is vagaboundis on the sabbath … be playing at lynks, kyillies, bou'lls [etc.]
1648 Sc. N. & Q. XII 74.
The session refers to the balȝie of Alicht ane vagabownd voman callit Janat Ray that shoe be put owt of the barronie of Alicht
1663 Ellon Par. 126.
John Pirie ane vagabound pyper
1679 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 341.
Apprehending of certaine vagabound thieves and travellers
(b) 1586 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 207.
Gif ony be of the saids tennents waikabunds sall happin to commit ony thift
b. 1574 Acts III 87/1.
Being apprehendit he salbe … scourgit … quhilk … he sall not suffer agane … Bot gif … he be found to haue fallin agane in his ydill and vagabound trade of lyff

B. noun. 1. An itinerant or wanderer, one of no fixed place of residence or occupation; a gipsy. Passing into sense 2 below.(a) 1502–3 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 97.
At na vagabounds … be fundin within the towne bot sic as are in seruice haifand a sustentatioun in practik or vtherwayis bot thai haiff and the said taikinis [sc. tokens permitting begging]
1513 Doug. iv v 69.
Ȝone woman, lait exile and vagabund
1533 Bell. Livy I 69/4.
Gif thai suld stand in thare dur threschaldis or gif thai suld pas as vagaboundis [B. wagamoundis; L. errabundi] and vncertane pepill throw thare howsis & tak thare leif
1539 Aberd. B. Rec. I 165.
That the balȝes … cerse … all maner of codderaris, vagaboundis and puyr boddeis quhilkis ar nocht natiue of this towne borne [etc.] … And … that no induellar … harbre na maner of strangear, vagabound, nor codderar
c1575 Balfour Pract. 312.
Gif he be a vagabond, havand na certane domicile … it is sufficient to summound him … at the heid burgh of the schire quhair he maist commounlie hauntit
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Pede.
Pede-pulverosus … dustie-fute or an vagabound, speciallie ane merchand or cremer quha hes na certaine dwelling place
1613 S. Leith Rec. 10.
1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 496 (28 March).
Accuisit of furnicacioune with Barbray Jakson wagabound
1616 Crim. Trials III 398.
The assyse … declairit the saidis Johnne Faa [etc.] … all vagabundis and repute and haldin to be Egiptianis, to be … convict of contravening the tennour of the said act
1617 Cramond Cullen Ann. 32.
Helen Barclay, vagabond, and hir dochter ar banissit
1653 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 61.
Robert Stewart wagobound … enactit himselff newer to be seine wageing but sould imploy him selff in sume lawfull caling
1677 Lauder Notices Affairs I 187.
The Faws (another tribe of thesse vagabonds … )
(b) 1550 Edinb. Hammermen 2.
That thar be na vacabundis seruand … nor resauit amangis thame … excepand that thai … be feit with ane master
1550 Edinb. Hammermen 2.
Anent vacabundis & vtheris nocht hauand masteris nor intendis nocht to be feit bot vsis about fra butht to butht
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 123.
Sindrie beggaris sornaris and vacaboundis … ar brokin fra thair … clanis out of the Hilandis and … ar enterit within this contrie … lyk as the forsaidis … vacaboundis with … sindrie ydill peipill, prophane harlotis, borne in this contrie, quha hes na will to wirk nor serve ther maisteris nor leife godlie under the discipleine of the kirk ar … myndit to transport them selffis to Yeitland quhair thai houpe to haife libertie to leiff wickedlie

2. A person without a regular lifestyle or occupation; an idler or waster, unwilling to work; a vagrant.Boece quot. may belong in A 2. 1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II 8.
Ony persone be fund bikkyrrand that thar faderis and masteris sall ansuer … for thar deidis and gif thai be vagabondis thai to be scurgit and bannist the toune
1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II 40.
Housis … quhar ony hussis vile personis or vagabundis duellis in, that wantis husbandis to wyn thar liffing
1533 Boece 441b.
Ane idil vane harlot vagabond liffand apoun the industrie of vthir men
1553 Edinb. B. Rec. II 181.
1574 Acts III 87/2.
Marinaris allegeing thame selffis tobe schip brokin without thay haue testimoniallis … salbe … pvneist as strang beggaris and vagaboundis
1574–5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 14.
The actis was maid on the beggaris and waikabu[n]dis
1575 Misc. Maitl. C. I 120.
All wagabondis and idill personis that hes nocht quhairupoun to sustene thame selfis
1579 Reg. Privy C. III 138.
Certane weill knawin and notorius lymmaris and ydell vagaboundis
1586 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 207.
That na man … set ony hows to ony waikabound quha hes nocht sufficient of geir or ells sum honest craft to sustene him
1587–8 Crim. Trials I ii 159.
Hobbie Nisbet, vagabund. Dilatit of [etc.]
1605 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 10.
That all kills … sall haif ane close dur … that na … vagabundis lye thairin
1623 Linlithgow B. Rec. 4 April.
[The Council] considdering the great pykrie … committit within this burgh be ydell wagabonnes [etc.]
1622-6 Bisset I 42/34.
All vagaboundis, fuilis, bardis, skudlaris and siclyke idill peopill salbe brynt on the cheik, … bot gif they find sum craft to wyn thair leving
a1651 Calderwood VII 225.
That the minister give up the names of idle sangsters and minstrellers within the paroche, to the end they may be … punished as idle vagabounds
1663 Cullen Kirk S. 18 Dec.
For selling drink to wacabonds on the Sabath day
1684 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IX 138.
1684 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IX 139.

3. A rogue or ruffian. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 101 (M).
Vane vagabund wedefull
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 121 (T).
Scybald knave … Vyld vagabound
1590 Reg. Privy C. IV 478.
[The same persons had come as] brigandis and vagaboundis [to the said Alexander's castle] … and hes … convocat to thameselffis ane grite nowmer of debosheit vagaboundis, sornaris and oppressouris be quhais assistance thai intend … to keip … the … hous … aganis his majestie
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 31.
Apprehending all sorners, oppressors, and waigabonds, beggars wandering athort, Egiptians
1635 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. VI 5.
Haveing corrupted all the equipage of the ship, who are bot vagabounds

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Vagabund adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: