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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.

Cognosce, -nos(s, Cognosche, v. [L. cognōscere, to get to know, to investigate.]

1. intr. To make judicial inquiry; to take cognizance or jurisdiction. Usu. const. upon or in (the matter investigated).Freq. coupled with other verbs, as decern, decide, determine, juge.(a) 1544 Fraser P. 154.
Iames Wischart … overman equalie chosin … to cognosc[e] & decide upon the clame … concerning the landis
1562 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 30.
That no minister … take in hand to cognosce and decide in the actiouns of divorcement, except the superintendents
1572 Wemyss Chart. II. 208.
Schir Thomas Wallace … wranguslie cognoscinge in ane caus of diuors … , he havand na iurisdiction to cognos … thairin
c1575 Balfour Pract. 548.
Na court that is inferiour to ane baron court, has powar to cognosce anent life and limb, … except [etc.]
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 340.
The schirrefis and thair deputis … , quha vsurpis the saidis burrowes iurisdictiouns vpoun thame be sitting and cognoscing vpoun caussis and actionis propirlye belonging to the prouest and bailles of burrowes
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 39.
Because it perteins not to my court to cognosce vpon bastardrie, I send them to ȝou
1622-6 Bisset I. 91/10.
Ane ecclesiesticall prelat … and fourtene uthir persones, … quha sall cognosce, heir, and decyde … on the causis of his liegis
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 438.
Warrand to the saids justices … to sitt, cognosce and proceid … aganis the uplifteris or intromettours with calps discharged be Act of Parliament
a1650 Row 57.
It is declared, that the Kirk hath power to cognosce and decerne upon heresies, blasphemie, witchcraft [etc.]
1664 Stirling B. Rec. I. 246.
His lordship and they hes aggried that maister George Norvell cognosce upon both parties rightis & determine the difference
1677 Ayr & W. Coll. IV. 145.
Quhich he referres to the determination of the iudge … to cognosce thairupon
a1686 Turner Mem. 224.
These accounts being red … , a great Committee is appointed to cognosce of them
(b) 1551 Elgin Rec. I. .
The prowest and bailȝies cognossand vpoun the richtis producit befor thame … decernis [etc.]
1556 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 297.
Ane commissioun gewin … to him … to cognos and decerne in all thingis concerning his office and jurisdictioun of admiralitie
1634 S. Leith Rec. 23.
To meit … certane of the Sessione and cognoss upon the land and quhat can be most had for it
c1650 Spalding I. 5.
[A commission] to sit, cognoss and decerne vpone four capitall poyntis allanerlie
(c) 1557 Ayr Charters 44.
To tak thame to the tolbuith, cognosche and decerne upone the wrang and distribulance of the burgh [etc.]
1643 St. A. Baxter Bks. 113.
[A meeting] for hearing and cognosching vpone the positouris comptis for the last ȝeir bygane
1645 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 89.
They appoynt … James Fergisoune to cognosche vpon the loisses of this toune by cornes cuttine and plunderit

2. tr. To declare or assign judicially; to adjudicate. 1558 Inverness Sheriff Ct. 45.
Donald McIntoche … desyrand to be cognoscit narrest agnate of the fader kyn to Lauchlane McIntochie
1560 Stirling B. Rec. I. 75.
The said Elen & Kathrene Maknellen salbe cognoscit to all & syndry the landis … in the quhilkis thair umquhill brodir deit last vestit & sesit
1566 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 60 b.
To cognos the said Margret Urquhat to ane iust and ressonabyll secund terce of all and hale the landis following
1634 Contract, Memor. Dr. Wilson of Falkirk v. Forbes of Callendar p. 2 (Jam. (1825) s.v. Cognosce).
They being of full intention … to cognos and designe be deuision to ilk persone thair part off the foirnamit outfeald arable land
The saids lands being cognossit, meathit, mairchit and acceptit [etc.]

3. To investigate or examine; to inquire into, get knowledge of. 1576 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 27.
It is statuit … to wisit and cognosce the rycht methis, boundis and mercheis of this burght
1594 Misc. Spald. C. II. 124.
Quhilk knyfe Williame Innes cognoscit and avowit in your awin presens to be youris
1645 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 89 marg.
Anent cognoscing the touns loisses
1648 St. A. & Cupar Presb. 118.
All young students … [are] to frequent the Presbyterie, that the brether may cognosce what they ar reading
c1650 Spalding (1829) II. 141.
Thir persones had pouer … to meit, sit and cognos Mr Androw Logie … for unsound doctrein
1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. 12.
The fornameit persones to revise and cognosce the tounes registers
1663 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II. 79.
They appoint the saids Tweddall, … and Lee … assessors … for cognoscing that verdict and probation … and pronouncing their sentence
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii. iii. § i.
Since the Parliament is the supream iudicatory, it may certainly cognosce all causes, in the first instance

b. To decide after investigation; to know. c1590 J. Stewart 61/146.
The vanteur Spangard … Sayis, ‘I cognosce be pruif the contrare plaine’

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"Cognosce v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2024 <>



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