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

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Waiter, n. Also: waitter, wayt(t)er, watear, vyttar. [ME and e.m.E. weyter, wayter (both Wyclif), waiter (1537).] See also Onwait(t)er n.

1. One who watches over or guards (a person). b. comb.Waiter-on, that which keeps a watch over a person's actions etc. Only fig. That the saidis baillies suld … apprehend the said John Chalmer and put him in custodie in stark lokfast hows with vyttaris and vaychearis to awyt and keip him fra doing of skayth; 1553–4 Aberd. B. Rec. I 281.
b. He has appointed everie ane of your consciences to be ane keeper, a waiter-on, and a careful attender, upon everie action done by you; R. Bruce Serm. 105.

2. A customs officer. b. ? One who collects customs dues from a mill or ? takes care of a mill more generally. c. One who takes care of a clock. d. In one of the above or a similar sense. To bestow upone him ane office of waitter in the poirt of London; 1590 Cal. Sc. P. X 333.
A wayter in extraordinary here takes care of these places, & advertises the heall port when anything comes in thither; 1654 Paterson Ayr & Wigton III 42.
[George Lesly, collector of his majesty's customs in Fife] to cause waiters enter a ship presently in Bruntilland harbour … and to doe their deuty … prohibiting shipes from Holland to come in to any harboury … be reason of the sicknes there; 1665 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II 16.
I Archibald Inglis late waiter of his Majesties customes at Aberdein whereas upon the complent … for … embazlements be me of the loadnings of tuo shippes [etc.]; 1676 Aberd. Council Lett. VI 23.
Sundrie merchands ar pershued … for entring their goods uncustomed … and for bribing and corrupting the waiters at the ports and elsewheir to let them passe; 1679 Lauder Notices Affairs I 216.
Alexander Hendersone mairiner … imprisoned for baiting and abussing of the kings waitters; 1681 Bk. Old Edinb. C. VIII 115.
They appoynt the present taxmen and his collector to uplift the said dewty and to imploy his waitters for ingathering the said impost; 1685 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 155.
To the waiter that was aboard efter the takeing in of the tabacco; 1696 Dumfries Doc. (Discharge Grierson of Lag and Robert Grierson) MS.
We … command all our collectors, customers, or waiters to make … diligent search and inquiry in all ships arriving; Wodrow Hist. IV (1830) 268.
b. Andrew Turnbull waitter on the mills to cleir how he has payit the rests of the first yeiris count of the mills upliftit be him; 1662 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 264.
Robert Napier, waiter at the touns milns was … complained of for his rude … carriage … by laying doune … the keys of the borrowmilne and refusing to attend as waiter any longer; 1719 Stirling B. Rec. II 161.
c. This burgh [sc. Tain] payes yeirly to the knock waiter and bell attender the sowme of fourty pownds; 1692 Conv. Burghs IV 641.
d. Andro Car, watear; 1590 Sc. Ant. VIII 39.
[He is suspended on confessing to] the exercesing of ane uther office and imployment at Kirkaldie, by being ane waiter; 1658 Writers Signet xxv.
Recived from Alex. Smylem, waiter, five libs. Scots for half a yeirs meall of his house; 1705 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI 149.

3. One who attends on the needs of another; an attendant. Officers and attendaunts vpon the queens syde in the courte, … two gent vshers daylie waytters twoo quarter wayters; 1603 6th Rep. Hist. MSS 672/2.
The commissioners sent from Huntly, in ther returne towards Aberdeen … they and ther waiters did espye [etc.]; J. Gordon Hist. II 223.

4. ? One who is present at a place. He keeped dailie in the castle of Dunce ane honourable table for the nobles and strangers with himself, for gentlemen waiters thereafter, at a long syde table; 1639 Baillie I 214.

5. A watchman, guard or porter at the city gates. Also waiters lodge, see Lodge n. 1 a (2). That the … scholleris of the colledge may have a passage throw the wickets of the Potterrow and Societie ports … the counsell appoynts that the day waitter … keip the kie … and give them passage; 1665 Edinb. B. Rec. X 3.
John Weir, waiter (at the West Port); 1665 Greyfriars Interments 680.
[Major Weir] got a charge over the waiters att the ports of the city, being a check to them, about the year 1650; 1670 Fraser Providential Passages in
C. J. Larner A Source-book of Scottish Witchcraft (1977) 201.

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"Waiter n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/waiter>



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