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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Actioun, Accioun, n. Also: accioune (akseoun), accion(e, accyon (akcion, acceine); actioune, actyowne, actione, ac(c)tion. [ME. accioun, accion, etc. (14th c.), later actioun, action, OF. action, L. actiōn-, actio. As in Eng., the legal sense is earlier, and in Sc. more usual, than the general. The printing with acc- or actis sometimes a matter of editorial judgement, as c and t are written so nearly alike by many scribes.]

1. A legal process or suit against a person or persons; a ground for legal action; a claim at law.In common use throughout 15–16th cent.(a) 1429 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. viii. 10.
All accyons, qwilkis he hasse or may haf to the … forsaid Wilham
1456 Hay I. 74/7.
He is behaldin to mak him a grete amendis for the accioun of injuris
1482 Reg. Morton II. 246.
I sall tak … part wyth hyme in all & syndry his accionis & querellis
1530 Maxwell Mem. I. 262.
Dischargand the sayd Erle … and thar arris … for all akcionis ciuile … aganis tham
1574 Bk. Old Edinb. Club VI. 68.
To be jugeis in small akseounis
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii. 614.
This Erle, that sawe this cas led swa, … He gave wp all hys actyown
1456 Hay I. 249/5.
All sik grete actiouns that ar doutous standis in … the grace of God
1466 Chart. (Reg. H.) No. 396.
To delyuir and discerne the said actioune and finaly ende it
1483 Acta Conc. II. Introd. 102.
The actioun … anent the wrangwise occupacioun of the landis
1539 Reg. Privy S. II. 472/2.
The said Johnne to be … unpoyndit and untrublit for ony actioun civile bigane
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. 174.
The party to haue actioun aganis thame for his skayth
c1568 Lauder Minor P. ii. 41.
The falsest actioun … Sall no wayis want ane Procutoure
1614 Highland P. III. 174.
The said Donald … intendis to furneis actioune and pley aganis me

b. A charge against a person; a civil or criminal offence. c1420 Wynt. vi. 2284.
The slaare suld … hawe full remyssyowne Fra thine for all that actyowne
1456 Hay I. 272/8.
Suppos the king remyt him his accioun, quhethir gif he aw to content the party of the expens resonable
1473–4 Treas. Acc. I. 4.
A remissione for all accionis except tressone … and thyft
1483 Acta Conc. II. Introd. 132.
Uther actionis to be contenit in the ditta
1509 Reg. Privy S. I. 277/2.
A Remitt … for all actioun and crime that may be impute to thaim for the taking of certane gudis

2. A matter concerning a person or his interests; one's ‘cause’. c1420 Wynt. viii. 3239.
Swa, for the Kyngis actyown, He suld have sic punytyown, As the lauch wald gyve hym than
c1420 Ratis R. 1528.
Tharfor thar propre accioune, With al thar procuracioune, Wyll besy thaim
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 238/4.
The erll of Huntlie … displayit the kingis banere, and said it was the kingis actioun and he was his luftennend
1531 Bell. Boece I. 238.
Sa far as pertenis to our actioun
1560 Rolland Seven S. 293/25.
Fortoun will fauour ȝour querrell and actioun
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 23.
To be ennemeis … to yow, becaus ye manteine the kingis actioun

b. A (good or bad) cause. 1531 Bell. Boece II. 375.
The Paip … decernit the Scottis to have just action of battal, in defence of thair liberteis
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 35.
Having sa evill ane actioun … , thai haif provoked the quenis grace of Ingland [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I. 55/6.
Sa he dieit … in ane goode actioun, laborand to put Christiane men to peace and rest

c. A cause, ground, or reason to do something. 1566 Peebles B. Rec. 303.
Gif ony nebur … hes just actioun to complen, that thai ma be haird
1603 Elgin Rec. II. 111.
Being inquerit quhat actioun … scho haid to go … to Spynie

3. An act or deed.1456 Hay I. 211/18 (all his accioun was oure instruction). c1450 Cr. Deyng 251. c1475 Wall. iii. 363 (I defy thine actioune). a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 7 (in all your actiouns and effairs). 1611-57 Mure I. 5/64 (my actiounes all).

4. The celebration of the Sacrament or the Mass. 1558-66 Knox II. 139.
The actioun of the Messe
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 49.
The kirk duiris sall be closit … and remane sa quhill the actioun be endit
1659 Lamont Diary 148.
Mr James himselfe preach[ed] before the action
1659 Hay Diary 82.
After sermon Mr Rob opened the actioun, and served 2 tables

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"Actioun n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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