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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.

Blak, Blac(k, a. and adv. [ME. blak, blac(k, OE. blæc. See also Blake a.] Black in colour.Found early in various place-names as Blachope (1218), Blackewel (a 1227), Blacsikis (1321), Blakhall (c 1330), Blacklyn (1361), Blacwatyr (1400).

1. In general use. (See also Bla a.) 1291 Acts I. 7.
Crux que uocatur la blak Rode
1375 Barb. i. 399.
Ector had blak har
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 899.
Full blak smek
Ib. 1707.
Cluddis blak
c1420 Wynt. i. 662.
Wytht that rek thai oys to mak … this pepyr blak
Ib. vi. 654.
A blak loucht
Ib. 1109.
On a blak hors
1456 Hay II. 132/11.
The tyme is myrk and blak
Ib. 142/14.
The liver, quhen it is brynt with blak coleris
1483 Echt-Forbes Chart. 77.
Ane … ox blak with gray hornis
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 86.
In a blac coffre
c1500 Rowll Cursing 152.
Als blak … as ony taid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxviii. 1.
The dragon blak
1513 Doug. iii. iii. 86.
A watry clowd, blak and dyrk
1531 Bell. Boece I. p. xxxvi.
In Fiffe are won blak stanis
1549 Compl. 67/5.
Sourakkis, that vas gude for the blac gulset
1577 Edinb. Test. V. 177 b.
Blak muttoun skynnis
1583 Ib. XII. 92.
Half ane barrell of blak saip
1612 Bk. Rates 326.
Sadles covered with blak leather
1612 Acts IV. 516/2.
That buik callit the blak buik

b. Of fabrics or garments. 1375 Barb. x. 375.
With blak froggis all helit thai The armouris
c 1450 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 199.
Ane [baltken] of blak sylk
1473 Treas. Acc. I. 13.
The kingis dowblat of blac vellous
1542 Ib. VIII. 74.
Thre elnis blak sating
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 136.
Ane blak bonet lynit with taffytye
1554–5 Ib. 358.
Ten quarteris of blak serge
1566 Fleming Q. Mary 500.
Yallow silk, quhyt silk and blak silk
1605 Bann. Memor. 366.
Tua blak cloikis
1629–30 Misc. Spald. C. V. 147.
A quarter of blak carseyis

c. In various special applications (see quots.). 1467 Acts II. 89/1.
The striking of the blak pennyis to be cessyt
1531 Bell. Boece II. 505.
The day [17 June 1460] mirknit half an houre togidder, as it had bene nicht; and thairfore it was callit The Blak Houre
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II. 90.
Payand thairfor ȝeirlie … ij pectis blak aitis
1554 Ib. 117.
Tway peckis blak atis
1605 Dunblane Test. III. 90 b.
In the barne ȝairde ane lytill rouk of blak corne

2. Of persons, in respect of complexion, hair, dress or armour, etc. (1337) Liber Plusc. I. 284.
Comitissa Marchiæ, dicta vulgariter Blac Annes of Dunbar
(1356) Ib. 300.
Archibaldus, dictus Blac Archebalde
1375 Barb. xv. 538.
The blak Dowglas
1448 Acts I. 350/2.
In blak Archibald of Douglas days
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 448.
The blak Deuill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. liv. 2.
Of ane blak [lady] I will indytt
1513 Doug. i. vii. 126.
On blak Memnon
1549 Compl. 52/21.
The pepil that duellis vndir the equinoctial ar blac of ther cullour
1570 Leslie 19.
Sir James Stewart, called the black knycht, the Quenis husband
1600 Acts IV. 208/1.
He beleves that ane blak man that wes thair … wes Hew Moncreif
1628 M. Works Acc. XXI. 18.
Fra blak Alexander Jak 100 … cast of gray sklait
16.. Hist. Kennedy 15.
Thair was ane Blak Bessie Kennedy, quha wes mareyit … to the Laird of Colzeone

b. spec. Denoting orders of monks or friars. See also Blak Frere. c1420 Wynt. v. 4677.
A collegye place … Off blak chanownys regulare
Ib. viii. 677.
The Blak Ordyr Jacobitis, and the Qwhyt Carmelytis
c 1450 Howlat 178.
The se mawis war monkis, The blak and the quhyte
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 248/17.
About the quhilk tyme sanct Austyne … began the ordour of blak channonis
Ib. 261/12.
His fader foundit … thre placis of black chennonis
1622-6 Bisset II. 118/11.
The ordoure of blak monkis called Sanct Benedictis ordoure

3. fig. Dark, dismal, unfortunate, shameful. See also Blak Monanday, Blak Sattirday. Blak parliament: see Parliament. c1500 Rowll Curs. 12.
Black be thair hour
c1515 Kennedy Asl. MS. II. 272/4.
That bathis oure blak syn
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1972 (B.).
I sall declair to ȝow the blak veritie
a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxx. 40.
Blak falsheid is namit sutteltie

4. Used as an intensive with deid (dead). 1596 Dalr. I. 327/18.
All cause of diskyndnes, … was outher laid black deid or presentlie laid asleip

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"Blak adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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