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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Visag(e, Vesag(e, n. Also: wisag(e, -agh, vissage, wissag(e, vysag, wysage, visaig(e, wisiage, wesag(e, vessage, vesiagh, vsage. [ME and e.m.E. wisage (Cursor M.), vysege, visage (both Manning), OF visage.]

1. The face of a person or, rarely, an animal, etc. b. To turn the visage, see Turn v. 1 b (2). c. transf. A representation of a face, a likeness.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xi 81.
Criste … a lynyne clath tuk … & lad it one His visage
?1438 Alex. i 2990.
And baith thair visage hurt … Till throw the ventale ran the blude
1456 Hay II 7/25.
The … knycht … lang tyme behelde him in the visage, to se gif he wold aucht say
1490 Irland Mir. I 103/25.
Nane mycht luk in hir wisage without lust
1490 Irland Mir. III 17/29.
The croce is maid in the visage and forret of the persoune
1494 Loutfut MS 112a.
Ȝhit sal thai be callit agane befor the king baith at anis with bair visage and face for face
c1515 Asl. MS I 168/6.
Men all fedderis bot the wisage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 10/100.
Soir Contritioun bathit in teiris My visage all in watter drownit
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 145/148.
Than to the ros scho turnyt hir visage And said [etc.]
c1500 Makc. MS iv 27.
In to Thi wisagh spuit, And for dirisione, ‘Kyng of Jowis!’ tha criit
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 138.
Hails ane Frence lady … Scho wyll discouer mouth and neis And … With uisage bair mak reuerence
1581 Treas. Acc. MS 93(2)b.
For certane picturis of his maiesties visage
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii 5205 (C).
Lat ilk man Ryn al bare wissage
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 446.
Sum on the cheik, sum on the wissage baire Spat in His face
1513 Doug. i xii 2.
With mouthis clos and vissage takand tent
1513 Doug. vii ix 74.
With blud bysparkyt vissage, hed, and hals
(c) a1578 Pitsc. II 58/11.
Nocht moveing his continance nor changing his vessage
(2) c1420 Wynt. i 773.
A best thai call Manticora, Off wysage … lyk is he Till a man
1494 Deidis of Armorie 62.
Faces visaiges hedis of fische of foullis and of siclik thingis suld be signifiet eftir the body thai depend apon
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 143/91.
The lyone … Befoir dame Natur come … With visage bawld
c. 1531 Bell. Boece II 461.
The king of France … commandit ane paintour … to paint hir visage to the quik

2. a. The face as indicative of a person's character or state of mind. b. Of a movement of the face indicative of a state of mind. c. transf. (To make) good visage, to make a worthy or satisfactory appearance, to present oneself well.a. a1400 Leg. S. xlii 58.
Thai wald … Hir schore vith visage bald
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 611 (C).
The Gregeois … Graunted it with visage blyth
?1438 Alex. ii 108.
The anger thrang his hart … His vissage blaknit
1456 Hay II 119/31.
He is of hery chere … and suere rousty in visage
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (STS) 387.
The wisdome of a wysman schawis by his contenans, part, and hawyngys of body, and wysage
a1500 Lanc. 460.
Wharof the king stondith heuy cherith And to the clerkis his visag so apperith
1513 Doug. vi xv 39.
His vissage semyt scarsly blith
1531 Bell. Boece I 57.
He ressavit thame sa plesandlie that baith his wordis, visage, and contenance apperit but ony dissimilance
1531 Bell. Boece I 235.
Thay ruschit with terribil vissage, … on the said Romanis
a1568 Scott xvii 10.
This flour so fair … All vertew in hir visage dois remane
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 252 (L).
With deidlie wissag, paill and wane … I widderrit clene away
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 47.
Of a gude and amiable vesage
b. 1513 Doug. iii v 75.
Hyr vissage down scho kest for schame
c. 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 573.
[The Queen commands me to present her hearty commendations … thanking you all for the] good visage [made to St. Colme]

3. A persons face or countenance. a. With regard to its looks, beauty, etc. b. As being similar to another or others.a. 1375 Barb. i 383.
He wes nocht sa fayr that we Suld spek gretly off his beaute. In wysage wes he sumdeill gray And had blak har
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 395.
Scho was sa deformait With bylis blak ouirspred in his visage
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 88.
He stude thame beforne, With vesage lufly and lang
c1475 Wall. ix 1925.
Proportionyt lang and fayr was his wesage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 138/36.
Faid nocht with weping thy vissage fair of hew
1513 Doug. ix iv 37.
Hys florist ȝouth ravest hys vissage ȝyng
1531 Bell. Boece II 212.
His body and visage grew … attenuat and leine
(b) c1590 Fowler I 109/132.
In vsage fair
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 29.
Ane blyth h[eart ma]kis ane bloomand visag
b. a1400 Leg. S. iii 1037.
The maste merwale, that God mad ‘Is in the visage of the mane, That all are lyk, and ȝet … In ilke face … Men fyndis diuersyte'
a1400 Leg. S. xxi 477.
1531 Bell. Boece I 28.
The barne wes haldin his son, to quhome he was maist like in vissage

4. transf. a. The face of God. b. personified. The visible part of the sun or moon, dawn or night.a. 1525 St. A. Formulare I 271.
As … the lycht of this candle fra your sycht sa mot thaire saulis gang fra the visaige of God
b. a1500 Henr. Fab. 624 (Ch.).
Quhill … Hesperous put up his cluddie heid, Schawand his lustie wisage in the sky
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 33.
Phebus visage brycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 161/2.
As ȝung Awrora … In orient schew hir visage paile
1513 Doug. vi iv 75.
The myrk nycht, with hir vissage gray
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6308.
Dame Synthea … With vissage paill vp frome the orient
15.. Clar. ii 1396.
Richt as the lustie candill matutine Begouth with cristall visage for to schyne

5. a. In middes (ymyddis) the visage, in the face of (the enemy), in open battle, also, visage to visage, face to face; in (oure, the … ) visage of (the … ) court (hali kirk), before, in the sight of an authority or authoritative body, openly, publicly. b. Fra the vysagis of the erde, from the face of the earth; from wisage off court, from the sight or presence of a court. c. Be the first visage, at first sight.a. (1) 1375 Barb. xii 578.
Thai with speris [etc.] … Ymyddis the wesag met thaim
?1438 Alex. i 122.
The laif … In middes the visage met thame weill, And faucht sua that … Of deid … fele thair was
?1438 Alex. ii 2842.
Ȝe with displayit banere Sall ishe to thame apartly, In middes the visage hardely
?1438 Alex. ii 8657.
All mellit the remnand, Visage to visage, hard fechtand
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi 370.
Brekare of law … Hou durst thu, wrech, sa mak thé In oure vysag fore to se?
(3) 1430 Ayr B. Ct. 8 May.
Presyt be Jhon Bonar officiar & Jhon Petyte vitnes in vysagis of courte
1449–50 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V i 76 (26 Jan.).
This beand doyne in the wisage of the forsaid curte
1462 Newburgh B. Ct. 7b.
Schir Johne Bane sclanderit hym of his sisteris ded in the wysage of the hail curt
1477 Stewart Mem. 74.
The mariag sal … be lauchfully completit in the visage of hali kirk
1493 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 45.
1494 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 353.
That Henry Chene … sal … haue to wife in visage of haly kirk, Marjorie
1497 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 76.
In vesag of the plane court
1501 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 111.
The quhilk wes done in visage [pr. visagis] of the hale court
1505 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 151.
1514 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 192.
1521 Stirling B. Rec. I 12.
1605 Inverurie B. Ct. 1b.
In oppen visage of the court
1663 Forbes Baron Ct. 242.
The haill millaris … being sworne in wisage of the court
b. a1500 Lanc. 1373.
When he distroys by vengance of his suerd The synaris fra the vysagis of the erde
1582 Burntisland B. Ct. 1 May.
The quhilk personis … admittit departinge fourth frome wisage off court
c. 1456 Hay I 193/15.
As be the first visage it semys that he suld nouthir obey to the tane na to the tothir
1456 Hay I 280/28.
As to the first visage it semys [etc.]

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



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