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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.

Child, Chyld, n. Also: childe, chylde, chyle, chyild, chaylde, schild, schyld; pl. childer, -ere, -ir, -yr, -ar, chylder, -ir, -yr; childrin(e, -yn(e, -en(e, -eene, -ein(e, -eyn(e, -eane, -erin, -erene, -areine, chyldreine, -erein, schildreine, shildrein, shil(l)drin; childr(e)ing, -yng, -ering, -eryng, chyldering, chayldring, schildring. [ME. child, chyld, pl. childer, -ir, etc., child(e)ren, chyldrin, etc., OE. cild, pl. cildru. See also Cheld(e n. The plurals in -ene, -eine, etc., and -ing, -yng, appear to be peculiar to Scottish.]

1. A young boy or girl.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xii. 73.
Thane tuk scho the chyld priwely & gert foster it tendyrly
c1420 Wynt. v. 1995.
The chyld than gert thai tendyrly Be nursyt, quhill thare wes gane by Oure hys eyld full sewyn yhere
1456 Hay I. 253/1.
To tak at thair plesaunce a childe, and mak him thair aire, takand him for a conquest bairn
c1420 Ratis R. 1128.
Sa lang havis child wyl alwaye With flouris for to jap and playe
c1475 Wall. i. 145.
Scotland was lost quhen he was bot a child
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 350.
He is maid on mold meik as ane child
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 257/24.
This Kenneth statut … that the nixt of the blud, suppos he war a child of a ȝere ald, suld succeid to the crowne
1545 Douglas Corr. 155.
The hole pepille belevis that … ther is no thing bot detht to … , man, veymen, and chaylde
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3779.
Ane ȝoung childe, of ȝeiris being sa ȝing
1567 G. Ball. 152.
Quhen I was bot ane chylde, … The Jewis did me dispyse
a1578 Pitsc. II. 61/6.
Thair was ane body of ane ȝoung chyld found in ane kaise of leid
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 661.
A child thai saw hym playand, As ȝonge childir ar wont to do
1416 Maxwell Mem. I. 150.
The said Iamys [to act] as tutowr to the perfyt eld of the said childir
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4285.
Nane durst thaim than wythsay … Bot chvldyr
Ib. 5573.
Chyldyr and women for to sla
1464 Peebles B. Rec. 152.
Schyr Wylyam Blaklok … to be sculmaster and tyll teche the chylder
1496 Treas. Acc. I. 305.
To ij childer that chasit dukis in the dubbis
1513 Doug. x. ix. 63.
Sa mony talentis … Do kepe onto thy small childyr and ayris
1535 Stewart 3869.
All ȝoung childer sould rudlie nureist be In meit and drink
1562-3 Winȝet II. 58/9.
The samyn ar auld men quha afoir wes childer
(b) 15.. Clar. iv. 2464.
In come ane gyse Of small chyldreine
a1578 Pitsc. I. 190/12.
Fra tyme he was in possessioun of thir twa childreine foirsaid
1612 Bk. Rates 288.
Babeis or puppettis for childrene
1613 Highland P. III. 127.
Wyfis and ȝoung childrine murthoured
1625 Edinb. Test. LIII. 56.
The … said fatherles childreine
1655 Douglas Chart. 340.
To be tuttores to the said childreine
(c) 1513 Doug. ii. xii. 13.
The ȝyng childring … Stude al on raw, with mony petuus screik
1545 Douglas Corr. 157.
The extreme vare that is usit off killing veyman and ȝung childering
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10106.
Bot ȝit nane wist that the childring was slane
a1578 Pitsc. II. 300/18.
The castell schot downe gret ordinance … and slew sindrie men, wyffis and childring
1597 Bk. Rates 2 b.
Babies or puppettis for barnis and childring
1629 Stirling's Royal Lett. I. 343.
To … mak ressonabill offers unto the said widow and childring … for assithment
1679–86 Wodrow MSS. 4to. XXXVII. No. 13.
Ther wives and some smalle childering remaning

2. A lad or boy, a young fellow; spec. a young servant, attendant, or apprentice.See also chalmer-, chamber-child.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xvii. 128.
Rayse this chyld [= a ȝunge mane, 104], that al ma se
c1420 Wynt. i. 201.
A child [= boy, 206] bad him he suld draw nere Quhar that he said he saw a dere
1456 Hay II. 36/8.
Quhen a childe is maid knycht, he thinkis nocht on the poyntis of the ordre that he sueris to kepe
1473 Treas. Acc. I. 15.
To a child of the chalmire … ij sarkis
c1475 Wall. iv. 24.
Wallace … Our tuk the child Schyr Ranaldis sowme couth leid
a1500 Rauf C. 235.
[I am] Ane chyld of hir chalmer
1513 Doug. vi. v. 55.
Anchis get, heynd child, curtas and gude
1527 Carnwath Baron Ct. 34.
The inqueist ordanis the chyld to be restorit to his scheip agane
1533 Bell. Livy I. 149/12.
Than was in Rome ane nobill childe of hie sprete and curage
Ib. 258/30.
Ane feirs and hardy childe
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 297.
Maister Talbart said: My gude chyld, It wer maist lyk that thow wer wyld
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1374.
This Quene … Willing put down this proper chyle [: fyle]
(b) 1429 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 42.
Sex chyldir to uphald and minyster Goddys seruice in the sayde qwere and kyrk
1456 Misc. Bann. C. III. 97.
The bere, quheyt, and yrn, he tuk fra my childyr in Abyrden
1476 Peebles B. Rec. 176.
The childer that sall serue in the sayd myllis sall nocht … tak knayfchep of na corn bot of attis
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 90.
To my Lord of Ergile. his childer and hors met
Ib. 129.
To ij childer that bure organis and thair bellysis our the Month
1507 Ib. III. 320.
Carsay to be … cotis to the thre childer of the stable
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 224/5.
Thai … said that thai come for na ill of him ne his childer, and thai held the clerk & his brother
1529 M. Works Acc. I. 8 b.
To the forsaid Robert Dwnnys childer for the schoing of the forsaid quhelis in drynk siluer
1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 307.
To the childer at even in drinksilver
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 114.
The craftis childer had trublit and molestit diuers nychtbouris in thair passeg to Leyth
1581 Conv. Burghs II. 544.
Payit to Mr David Guthrie and the rest of the childer in the clerkes chalmer in drinksylver
1592 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 69.
The seditioun and tumult rayset … yisternicht be certane crafts childer, speciallie of the tailyeouris
1613–4 M. Works Acc. X. 3.
To the lyme menis childer to drink
(b, c) 1513 Doug. v. vi. 108.
Ȝour enterprys, childeryng [L. pueri], … Remanys sovir to ȝou
1562-3 Winȝet I. 101/8.
Quhy admit ȝe to be ȝour precheouris … ȝoung childring of na eruditioun
1571 Peebles B. Rec. 328.
He … causit the childrene quha wes reddaris thairof [sc. sheep] fra the thevis to … keip thame togidder
1622-6 Bisset II. 323/9.
This Clement … ordaned bischopin of childring … ony time eftir thair pupularie or maioritie

b. pl. The common sailors or hands on a vessel. 1445 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 13.
Twa of the ballieis … hes resauit in to saafgarde … Roger Yhong, Inglisman, and his childer
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 267.
I am appunctit with the master of the saidis schip and childer, that … I sall have … , for the bottisman and his met thre pond stirling
1557 Admir. Ct. Bk. MS. 8.
The fiche lynnis to pertene to the childer as pillage
c1575 Balfour Pract. 615.
Quhen ane master is readie with his ship to depart … , and thair is sum of his childer auchtand silver in the town or countrey quhair thay ar [etc.]
1565 Reg. Privy C. I. 333.
That Scottis skipparis and thair childir sall obey to the Conservatour
1588 Wedderburn Compt. Bk. 222.
The childer has of portaig thrie last and ane half; the rest appertanis to the awneris, mercheandis and maryneris

c. pl. Fellows, persons, people. 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 11.
Lat thea childer want the heidis, which sall make yow quite of thair cummer
1596 Dalr. I. 246/6.
This king … to rest hes … put thae childre of the Iles & Lennox
Ib. II. 373/5.
Al maist was na … place meit quhair sik childre mycht meit, quhair commounlie thai mett not

3. A girl or young woman. a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 569.
This barne we bring to thé, … For dene Theodorus … Our childe [= a ȝung maydine, 527] difforsit & it gat

4. A child (esp. pl. children) as offspring, or in relation to the parent(s).Originally, and frequently, implying sense 1, but also used irrespective of age.(a) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 732.
Law warnis … That ony chyld … Suld defowle the modir that hym fed
1490 Irland Mir. I. 59/12.
He maid the man as his proper child, barne, and heretar
1513 Doug. i. v. 50.
The fader of goddis and men … kyssit his child [L. natae]
1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 63.
Quhen hir father … Till his deir chyld mycht mak no supporting
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1578.
Howbeit he be my onlie gottin chylde
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxi. 51.
As for his Quene and onlye chyild
(b) 1375 Barb. xv. 536.
Quhen wiffis vald thar childir ban
a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 224.
That I mycht se myn childir twa
?1438 Alex. ii. 179.
Quhan Gaudefere was dede, He left tua childer in his stede
14.. Acts I. 359/1.
Quhether that ony burges … may gif til ane of his childer mar than till ane other
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 205/18.
Becaus … Richert had na childer, his ȝoungast brother Ihon was maid king
Ib. 260/21.
Donald wan his brother … and put away his childer
1513 Doug. ii. ix. 20.
Hecuba thydder, with hir childer [L. natae], for beild Ran al in vane
1533 Boece ii. v. 67.
Lat ws … defend our livis, … spoussis and childer
1535 Stewart 18657.
He … Ane sone that tyme and no mo childer hed
1549 Compl. 9/4.
He statut ane ordinance til excerse his propir childir … to vse them til indure excesse of laubirs
(b) 1513 Doug. iii. iii. 21.
To the starnys eik we sal exalt The childryn for to cum of thine ofspryng
1531 Bell. Boece II. 49.
He past, with the residew of Britonis, with thair wiffis and childrin, in Walis
1558-66 Knox II. 15.
Whiche the poore woman had to susteine … the lyves of hir poore chylderein
1568 Peebles B. Rec. 73.
My fadir has mony childrene ma nor I
1572 Sat. P. xxxiv. 88.
Ȝour childeris childrein may it ban
a1578 Pitsc. I. 237/12.
Quhairin was sex scoir of Murrayis witht thair wyffis and childerin
1584 Douglas Corr. 182.
Your assured freindis to be vsed as your childrene
16.. Hist. Kennedy 3.
Wantene childreyne of his awin, [he] maid his foster-sone his air
1613 Rep. Southesk MSS. 14.
That the mairiage of oure childrine might … be compleit vpon Tysday
1632 Annandale Corr. 286.
Till show myselffe so dewtyfull to your lordship and all your childareine
1635 Sutherland Corr. 160.
I hawe sent him to Leidene … to be acquantit with the qveenes schildreine
1638 Dumfries Test. I. 9 b.
Iohne and Marione Hairis my childerene
166. Carstaires Lett. 175.
I hope they who love God … will mynd my wyfe and childrine
1667 Edinb. Test. MS. LXXIII. 68.
Quhilk Iohn & Androw Howats ar sister childreene to the said vmquhill Androw Carmichaell
(c) 1513 Doug. ii. x. 36.
Hir frendis agane and childring sal scho se
Ib. iv. Prol. 56.
Thy fury … moderis taucht … Fyle handis in blud of thar ȝong chyldering
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4020.
Thare husbandis nor thare chyldring Mycht geue to thame na conforting
1567 G. Ball. 131.
Thy childeris childring thou sall se
1572 Sat. P. xxxiv. 76.
The gold ȝe gat … Will neuer by ȝour childring meit
a1570-86 R. Hudson Maitl. F. clxxxii. 7.
His childaris childring florisch day buy day
1625 Garden Kings 66.
This calme king (cross'd with his childrings chance … )
c 1630 Fam. Innes 219.
Yow to whom all your childring ar bond for so … cairfull ane father
1659 Ann. Banff I. 141.
Everie mane to be comptable for his childring and servantis
1668 Edinb. Test. LXXIII. 237.
I nominat … my lawchfull schildring to be my only executours
1683 Lett. to Earl Aberd. 107.
Their wyfes and schildring were broght to sterving

b. In transferred or figurative uses. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1114.
My childere dere, This demand … Is a demawnd without profit
1490 Irland Mir. I. 26/11.
God … luffis our all his awne proper childer and infantis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 245/12.
About the tyme that the childer of Israell war in the desert
c1520-c1535 Nisbet II. 44 marg.
He suld gadder to gyddir the childyr of God quhilkis was skatterit abrade
1562-3 Winȝet I. 119/27.
Quhow sall ȝe nocht iustlie be reputit … the childering of arrogance

5. In phr. with child, and related contexts. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 406.
Quhen Elizabeth Mary mylde Hailiste, that wes with chylde
a1500 Henr. III. 146/23.
That gay … Wox in hir chaumer chaist with child
1492 Myll Spect. 285/1.
With quhom he conversit sa that scho wox with child
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 293.
Suppos the churll wes gane chaist, or the child wes gottin
1513 Doug. iv. Prol. 97.
Childir to engendir oys Venus, and not in vane
1530 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 477.
Becaus sche was seiklie and greit with chyle
1571 Elgin Rec. I. 127.
Thow castis bot kitlyngis and nocht childeryng
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 31.
That … scho sould beir na ma childrene
a1578 Pitsc. I. 394/23.
Scho within schort tyme … become witht child
Ib. II. 126/20.
Airis of his bodie gottin vpone our quein as maill childering
1649 Wemyss Chart. 231.
My shoud [= sewed] beid I boir my shildrein in
1672 Edinb. Test. LXXIV. 209.
I nominat my said spouse tutrix to … Margaret with the schyld in hir bellie

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"Child n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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