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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Wag(e, Waige, n. Also: va(i)g(e, weage, wadge. Pl. also uages, waggis, -es, vaiggis, waygis, -es, weyges, veagis, waddges, waidgis, -es, waidgies, vaidges, wedges. [ME and e.m.E. wage (Manning), pl. wages (Manning), wagis (Wyclif), wagies (1535), wadges (1540), wayges (1551), AF, OF wage. Cf. Gage n.1]

1 A pledge, chiefly const in(to) wage. Cf. Gage n.1 1, Wed n. 3. a1400 Leg. S. xli 400.
Here-of in vitnesyng Remanis ay the forsad ryng One the fyngire of that ymag Of vad of weding in to vag
a1500 Seven S. 1178.
I dar lay my hed in wage Maire mischeif fall sall ȝhe
1513 Doug. v iv 132.
Or thai thar lawd suld loys … Thai had far levir lay thar lyfe in wage
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8493.
Under the pane to put my heid in pledge … for to fulfill the wage

2. a. (A) payment or allowance made to one serving as a soldier; the pay of a hired soldier, chiefly pl. Also const. at wage, in (to, under) wageis, on the kings waiges. Cf. Gage n.1 2.(1) sing. 1456 Hay I 121/20.
Quhethir suld he hald prisoun with him that takis him or with the lord that payis him wage
1456 Hay I 147/20.
The hale ȝeris wage
1460 Hay Alex. 896.
Quhan Alexander haid ordand his battell attyre, And all was payit of wage and of hyre
1460 Hay Alex. 3564.
Ane strangere cumand to be ane sodeoure … 'I haue the kingis gold and wage tane'
c1475 Wall. ix 828.
The wod till ws is worth a ȝeris wage
1501 Treas. Acc. II 94.
Payit to Hannis, gunnar, … his wage and fee
pl. c1420 Wynt. viii 3029.
For wagys and for large feis Wageowris scho gaddryde
1456 Hay I 114/9.
In the tyme that he takis ony … lordis wagis
1456 Hay I 136/12.
Gif a lord that has weris on hand sendis ane of his knychtis … and givis na wagis with him
1456 Hay I 137/12.
Gif he be nocht of his ligne or … will do it for cheritee, … he may … ask his wagis
1456 Hay I 140/11.
He may nocht compell him to pay his men wagis
1456 Hay I 143/35 (see b (1) pl. (a) below). 1489 Treas. Acc. I 124.
To Ormond herrald to pas in Fyf and Angus to the kyrkmen for the wagis of Dunglas
1533 Boece 300a.
Gawane … suld haue landis and wageis of Arthure
1561–2 Treas. Acc. XI 105.
To James Borthwik meltar and gunnar for his ordinar wagis
1565 Crim. Trials I i 467.
The vnlawfull putting of thame self in armes as raisit men of weir … taking wageis to serue thame aganis our soueranis
1565–6 Reg. Privy S. V ii 10/2.
To Alexander Hunnyman makand him ane of our soveranis gunnaris ordinar … thairfore … monethlie … for his feis and waigis the sowme of aucht pundis money
a1578 Pitsc. II 241/14.
To pay the wadgeis to the regentis men of veir
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 176.
Proclamatioun … dischairging all burges … to … resaue wedges [marg. nane resaue wedges as sowldiouris] of any maner of persoun in debaitt of thair priuate querrellis
1675 Argyll Justic. Rec. 57.
Gariesoneing of houses … and the keiping of men armed wpon wadges and allowance are expreslie forbidden
(2) c1475 Wall. v 909.
xxxty with him off nobill men at wage
pl. 1533 Boece 350b.
Charlis … Resaving syne the Scottis weremen to wageis, commandit that … thai suld in his garde be
1547–8 Corr. M. Lorraine 218.
I hawe gottin sa mony men as was dewysyt to me to hawe had in waygis bot … I can nocht get thame to order … because thai will nocht resawe ane part off thair waygis withowt the haill
1565 Moncreiffs 99.
Raisit men of weir aganis our Soverans … in wageis under William Moncreiff
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 86.
Thay had under thair charge … fyve hundreth men; and besides thir, thare was a hundreth horsemen in wayges
1596 Dalr. I 91/22.
Thay war not now vphaldne to the weiris on the Kings waiges, both nurissed and brocht vp in the hous, and thair sustentatione to the feild was brocht out of the hous
1600-1610 Melvill 318.
Companies of horsmen and futtmen under wages

b. (A) payment for work performed or a service rendered. c. An allowance or expenses, freq. a daily payment, paid to an employee out of pocket for any reason in the service of his master. Chiefly pl., also, once, appar. construed as sing. Also const. in (for) wage, at thair wadges. Also attrib. and transf.See Treas. Acc. XII xxxi ff. for further information.b., c. (1) sing. 1456 Hay I 145/10.
Wage is gevin anerly for service gudely maid
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2752.
His seruand … may not be spaird To swing and sweit withoutin meit or wage
1501–2 Treas. Acc. II 136.
To the Franch gardiner, to his wage
1502 Treas. Acc. II 48.
To Johne Merlioun, mason, his quarter wage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 134/22.
Had I my wage wantit quhill Ȝuill
1513 Doug. viii Prol. 37.
The lard langis efter land to leif to his ayr The preist for a personage The seruand efter his wage
1517 Treas. Acc. V 124.
To gif dowble vaig xxviij s.
1535–6 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 73.
That thair be twa honest persouns eikit … to the ports … ilk ane of thame to haif xvj d. daylie wage
1540 Misc. Hist. Soc. X 46.
For ane boys wage that kepyt the erd doggis with hyme
1542 Mill Mediæv. Plays 155.
That the maister of thair grammar scuyll sall haf iiij s. Scottis of the sobirest persoun that resauis him … till his vage at the leyst
1567 G. Ball. 9.
Commit na thift … Leue on thy waige, thy rent, or wark
1671 Dunferm. Coal Acc. 1b.
Item to Andro Wilsone ane weiks wadge
pl. 1543 Rentale S. Andree 178.]
[Gagiis [of household servitors of the Cardinal with their horses remaining] extra familiam [from Feb. 9]
(a) 1456 Hay I 144/7.
The quhilk chiftane sais rycht gladly walde he do that sa he war payit of his wagis for a ȝere for him and his menȝe … the law sais that gif ane advocate in parlement of pape … has begonne to do his office of a ȝere he suld have all his ȝeris wagis; … he [pr. his] sall have his full feis and salare
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 272.
To Martin Buschard, carwoure … for his wagis
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 288.
In haill payment of the marynaris wagis and feis
1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 2.
To thair v dais vagis ledand wall stanis
1540–1 Linlithgow B. Ct. 4 Feb.
1546 Mill Mediæv. Plays 155.
That euery … freman … gif him [sc. the schoolmaster] thair wagis of the auld maner efferand to thair estatis
1558–9 Rentale Dunkeld. (SHS) 362.
He had verre grit trawell in the contre sua that oder he or sum servandis vas ay furth in my lordis effaris … and my lordis vagis is nocht sufficient, that is to say v s. on the day, to beir sik chargis
1567–8 Inverness Rec. I 159.
To be compellit to rander hyme ane serwand vagis
1567–70 Treas. Acc. XII 116.
To Williame Striviling and Johnne Morisone, messingeris, for thair ordinar wagis remanand upoun the comptar in Glasgow … fra the ix day of this moneth … to the last day of the samyn ilk ane of thame takand in the day v s.
1571 Treas. Acc. XII 275.
To Williame Brysoun maser for his ordinar wageis awaittand upoun the counsalhous dur be the space of this moneth takand in the day v s.
1571–2 Treas. Acc. XII 303.
To Johnne Buckhame, messinger, for his extraordinar wageis remanand and awaittand upoun the comptar, … be the space of viij dayis … ilk day vj s. viij d.
a1578 Pitsc. I 354/9.
[The king] caussit … craftismen to apparall his pallaceis … and gaif thame large wagis and pensiouns thairof ȝeirlie
1580 Exch. R. XXI 154.
Valtero Craufurd, famulo domini regis pro suis stipendiis lie vagis
1600 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 382.
Provyding he and the drummar per the Yule vages betuix thame
1610 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 83.
v merkis for his pairt of the wages gottin for lichting of ane schip of salt
1645 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 624.
Him who giveth the hireling both his leave and his wages
1678 Fawside Coal Compt 33.
1686 New Mills Manuf. 120.
1698 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 325.
Elects John Thomson … one of the … sergeants … he to have the ordinar emoluments and casualities belonging therto, with … the Yooll wages nixt ensueing
(b) 1504 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 99.
That the absents … sall haif na fie nor waiges for the draiges and sawle mes
1531 Mill Mediæv. Plays 250.
That Mowngo Myllar faillit in his preif quhilk tuk this day & the laif of his marrois to preif thair waigis for thair dansyne
1538 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 198.
Schir Thomas Skune to do mes at ony altar … for his vaigis heycht and promist
1559 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 299.
[To] Sande Bake v daiis waygis
1567 Crail B. Ct. 2 Dec.
In the actioun … persevit be Jhone Mortoun … annent … daly vaiggis
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 372.
To Alexander Crystie maissoun in consideratioun of the lawnes of his waigis haiffing promeist him viii s. weiklie
1623 Perth Kirk S. 14 May.
The said Margaret … ressaueit for waigeis, ane sark and ane pair schone
1622-6 Bisset I 29/19.
He brocht the first craftismen within this realme with fies, and dewities, for thair wayges
1659 Melrose Reg. Rec. I 242.
[Liable … of their proportions] of thair waidges for half ane yeirs service done be him [sc. the schoolmaster]
1662 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 263.
Fyftie ane punds … payit to the said David for certane vaidges quhairin he was comissionat for the toun & uthir particulars payit for the toun
(c) 1592 Conv. Burghs I 379.
In … deleying of the merchandis of thair veagis
1622-6 Bisset II 256/26.
They that be at his coistis … he … aucht to raise there weyges … eftir the reat of there hyre
(d) 1499 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 77.
Ilk ane of thame to haif for their wadges xij d. in the day
1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 145.
To Robert Luikupe and Hendrie Lawder wrichtis be coditioune promeist to thame at the end of the wark in respect of good cheapnes of thair wadges
1629 Misc. Maitl. C. III 377.
For the haill expensis debursit … for his Majesteis … garden warkis thair warkmenis wadgeis and uther furnisching thairto [etc.]
1641 Laing MSS 209.
Workmens wadges
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 11b.
1698 Misc. Bann. C. II 365.
This is in all 21 lib. 18 sh. ster. per moneth, and very good wadges
1699 Kingarth Par. Rec. 209.
He [sc. the schoolmaster] is to have the dues formerly possest … with 6 s. for each child of quarter wadges [v.r. wadge]
1699 Old Ross-shire I 195.
For John Ross his care … ane hundreth merks as master and overseer besyds his monthly wadges
(e) 1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 33.
1624 Peebles B. Rec. I 412.
(f) 1509 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 124.
For the quhilk clenging … it sall be lefull to thame to raise and ressaue yeirly … thir proffeitts wedges and dewteis vnderwrittin, viz. … of euery buith … ane penny [etc.]
1582 Bk. Old Edinb. C. 14.
To tak compt of the warkmen, feying of thame & paying of thair owlklie wedges ilk Setterday at evin
1589 Dundee B. Laws 522.
In the feing of thair servands promecing wnto thame sic gryt and lairge wedges or feis
1590–1 Edinb. B. Rec. V 36.
The dene of gild to compt with Nicoll Gilmure, wrycht, for his wedges in making the parpell wall
1610 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 61.
To sett pryces upoun the wedges of craftismen
1539 Glasgow Prot. IV 118.
I wyll thai provide … swa that thame self may say mes de requie … or ellis wtheris to be chosyng in thair steddis and to haif thair waigis … and thame that ar specyfeit heir, everilk ane to haif ane lyik waigis
(2) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 346.
To ane Franche menstrale quhilk suld entir in wage with the laiff of the menstralez
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5117.
Gold was hid Quhairof he culd get na … knawledge Except sic men as thir he had in wage … sa … the empreour … thame feit
1596 Dalr. I 183/13.
He hyres for wage twa cutthrotis to put doune the king
pl. 1598 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 31 Aug.
Allowit to twa off hir majesties weshairis and ane of the fyirmen being at thair wadges in Halyruidhous … ilkane of thame haveing in the day allowit to thame ten schillingis
(3) attrib. 1481 Aberd. B. Rec. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 157.
Dauid Gethane had brokin common ordinance in the denying of mett & wage-giffing to the common menstralis
(4) transf. a1568 Bann. MS 256b/12.
Quhen I wes pege I did vaslege … Now is that rege turnd in dotage … Gud aile & sege salbe my waige
1567 G. Ball. 36.
How mony seruandis for thair waige, Hes fude in to my Fatheris hous?

d. Livery expenses for a horse, also ? the hire of a horse. 1540 Rentale S. Andree 110.]
[In gagiis [for the horses of the Cardinal's household when he was in Edinburgh … 12 d. per horse per day]
1528–9 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 97.
We ordand Rob Hog to gef Jhone Vait the vagis he tuk fra hyme for to keyp his hors
1558 Treas. Acc. X 393.
For … hors wagis passand of Edinburgh to Coldinghame caryand jm vjc pundis of lyonis to be deliverit to ane part of vc horsmen … iiij li.
1559 Rentale Dunkeld. (SHS) 355.
The said horse vagis to the nummer of xxi fra the xix of Merche … to the xvij of Aprill that the hay vas spendit
1571–2 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII 66.
To Jeme Tod for his hors wage quhen schir Thomas Stevin raid to Samelstoun on him
1573–4 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 196.
[£41 was asked for the] wark laubor hyirgang and waigis [of the horse]
1589 Burntisland B. Ct. 5 April.
Anne hors sett in hyirgange … thay thame seluis hes hors to sett for wadge
1601 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 9 Feb.
To warrand the toun of James Wynrame's expensis that voyage except his hors waigis
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 109.
For tua hors waiges in laiding of sand xvi dayes at xii s. ilk hors daylie
1625 Peebles B. Rec. I 413.
To James Elliott for his naiges wages, xx s.

e. School waidgis, the expenses involved in maintaining a school. 1627 Rep. Parishes 196.
Thair hes ever mor beine a school heir … but … without any founded rent for vpholding of itt … And the most pairt of the parentis is not able to pay thair school waidgis

3. Money earned from property or other assets, rent. 1460 Hay Alex. 2076.
Gif thai keip na law to laborage The labour aw nocht for to paye thair wage

4. Of land: In wage = in fe (Fe n.2 3), in fief, in heritable possession. c1475 Wall. xi 72.
A keyn capdane than clemyt in heretage Office off it, and gret landis in wages

5. fig.Recompense, something gained or achieved by one's behaviour or actions; a reward, esp. the outcome of one's behaviour after death, heavenly reward or punishment; also used ironically, one's deserts.sing. a1400 Leg. S. xxii 139.
Fore thu … The fere mare trawale is the hycht, & fere mare joyful wictorag Thu sal resawe syne to thi wag
c1420 Wynt. vii 2309.
The kyng off Frawns … [to] pas than in till Ingland And take it … The erle off Flawndrys mad hym let … Swa wes he lettyd wyth that wage
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1059.
He bad the meir compeir And scho allegit to ane priuilage, ‘Cum neir, and se, and ȝe sall haiff ȝour wage'
a1500 Sir Eger 2105.
I will now ask her for my wage, And have her into marriage
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 550 (Asl.).
Is nane that waite quhat to resaif to wage … Quhiddir hevyn or hell for fynale heretage
1513 Doug. xii xii 175.
Na for small wagis thai debait and stryfe, But apon Turnus blude schedding and lyfe
15.. Clar. iv 494.
When I was in my maist distres … Thir wyfes me resavit … Scho gart delyverit be unto thir thrie … Thrie hundereth merkis worth to thair waige
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 135.
Ȝour latter waige, Quhilk is the heuinnis heritage
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8855.
That ȝe for sic message Sall haue na thank nor wyn of me na wage
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 57/81.
Trew monising dois mak inimitie And feinȝeit favour takkis vp the wage
1570 Misc. Bann. C. I 48*.
Bot yet, I think I will be evyn with him, and gif him ane heill wage for takin part with the Erle of Rothes aganis me
a1585 Maitl. Q. 139/85.
Mark … the waige of vntreuth tressoun and of tyrannie And how sone honour hes ane heritage And lyffis lost for thair deloyaltie
1581 Sat. P. xliv 281.
Nou for ȝour vage, that ȝe may byt and gnau, For euerie day I mak ȝou assignation, To tak the curse … Of infenit people
1600 Cal. Sc. P. XIII 680.
[It were worth a great] vaige [to her Majesty to be acquainted with my foresight and skill in this action, and in our beginning it had been worth thousands to have followed the same]
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xiv 47.
Love can not be bot very ill … Sen sik as suld be sage Ar korpit in that cage I work not for sik wage
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix.
For ther can be no cedence to such a succession. And last, for to win such a wadge [pr. wagde] sen none can propone such a pryse, I think shame shold neuer let them say it
pl. 1570-3 Bann. Trans. 243.
The prowest … lowsit dovne his poyntis, and gave him his vages vpon his bare buttockis with a brydle
1581 Sat. P. xliv 234.
I gif ȝou als, to be the dispensature Of ȝour vnthriftie vaigis

6. A bribe, payment for wrongdoing, esp. betrayal.There is some overlap with 2 above. c1475 Wall. iv 724.
Thai gaiff till hyr … gold … Thus tempt thai hir, throu consaill and gret wage, That scho thaim tald [etc.]
c1475 Wall. vii 632.
Thus falsly he gaiff our his heretage And tuk at London off Eduuard grettar wage
c1475 Wall. x 1124.
He delys myn heretage, … to traytouris wage
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 829.
I am sa ful of lust … For gold, for gude, for wage or ȝit for wed, This nicht I wald haue hir to my bed
1504 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 100.
Portares that sall be of sic guid rewle and gyding to keip the said portis nother to tak wageis for the inlatting of infect persouns
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 196.
Anent the … purpois of the down-putting of the young Lady Balnagowne, thou gaif him vse of vadge; and on Witsunday evin … for the said cause, thow gaif him xx s.
1600-1610 Melvill 783.
Thais Balaams … that for the waigis of unrychteousnes hes pervertit the wayis and prophetis of the Lord, thais Judases … quho for money hes betrayit Chryst

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"Wag n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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