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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
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Vapour, n. Also: vapoure, vapor(e. [ME and e.m.E. vapour (Chaucer), vapowre (Prompt. Parv.), vapor (1551), AF vapour, OF vapeur, L. vapōr-.]

1. pl. Exhalations believed to originate within the body and having a detrimental effect on health. Also fig. 1456 Hay II 121/3.
The kembing of thy hede chacis all the vapouris and the humouris that ar ascendit fra thy stomak to thy hede, and gerris thame descend in thy body to the naturale ventis and issues quhare it appertenis
1456 Hay II 121/31.
[Blood-letting] gevis issu till evill vapouris inclosit within thy membris
c1580-90 Rules of Health 1.
Greit windis … and humide placis … prohibitis eventatioun and difflatioun of vapouris furth of the body
a1692 Kirk in Il Cappellano delle Fate 201.
The devil himself uses natural means for the cure as he well knows the secrets of vapours smels
1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 356.
How can once or twice stroaking with a cold hand have so stronge a natural operation, as to exhale all the infectious worming, corroding vapours?
fig. 1653 Binning Wks. 540.
The vapours of our lusts arising up to the mind, do incrassate pure truth

2. An exhalation from the ground, etc. due to natural causes, a mist. Chiefly pl.(a) 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 14.
Vapours hote, richt fresche, and weill ybet, … The siluer droppis on Daseis distillant
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 191/3.
Thir dirk and drublie dayis Quhone sabill all the hevin arrayis, With mystie vapouris, cluddis and skyis
1513 Doug. vi iv 10.
Exalationys or vapouris blak and laith Furth of that dedly golf thrawis in the air
1513 Doug. xii Prol. 129.
The balmy vapour from thar silkyn croppys Distilland hailsum sugurat hunny droppys
1528 Lynd. Dreme 98.
O fair Phebus … Quhy tholis thov thy heuinlie plesand face With mystie vapouris to be obscurit, allace?
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 108.
Without vapour was weill purificate The temperat air, soft, sober and serene
1549 Compl. 59/9.
The deu … is ane humid vapour generit in the sycond regione of the ayr in ane fair calme nycht & syne discendis in ane temperat caldnes on the grene eirbis in smal droppis
15.. Clar. iv 1611.
When mistie vapours rysis from the vaile
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 211.
He tuik ane thing lyke to ane fute-ball, quhilk apperit to the said Johnne lyke a wisp, and caist the same in the see; quhilk causit ane vapour and ane reik to ryis
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 198.
Mayflowers & morning vapours & summer mist posteth not so fast away as these worm-eaten pleasures that we follow
1682 Livingstone Patronus Redux 52 n.
The marish ground doth exhale many vapours, which rendreth the air more thick and unwholesome
(b) 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 10.
As quhan the moudeuart and serpent leauis the eird beand molestit be the vapore contenit within the bowells of the samin
(c) c1590 J. Stewart 144 § 7.
Behold rosmarie spring and lustie greine, Bebatht vith vapor of the morning gray
1688 Sinclair Weather Glass 22.
The atmosphere, is composed, and consists of such vapors, being called sphaera halituum, which no doubt, is of a considerable thickness, and hight

3. fig. Applied to sleep. 1513 Doug. i x 65.
Venus to this ilke Ascaneus The sweit vapour [Ruddim. vapoure] of plesand sleip and rest On all the membris of his body kest

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"Vapour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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