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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.

Commounis, Commonis, n. pl. Also: com(m)ownys, -nis, -ns, com(m)ouns, communis; commonys, -ne(i)s, comon(i)s, cowmonis; commound(i)s, -ondis, comontis. [ME. comouns, comons (1330), pl. of Commoun n.]

1. The common people; the ordinary part of the community; the general body of citizens.(a) 1375 Barb. ii. 497.
All the commownys went him fra
Ib. 501.
In commownys may nane affy, Bot he that may thar warand be
1398 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 377.
This is the cunand made betwex the comownys of Aberden on the ta part and Jon Lambynton and Crawfurd mason on the tother part
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 462.
Quharthrow gret rygour oft scho wrought To the comowns
c1420 Wynt. v. 1548.
He his comownys on na wys Wyth imposityownys wald supprys
Ib. viii. 1018.
A cwstwme in Ingland Wes oysyd, the comownys sare grewand
1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 7.
Master John … sal come … and ask the alderman in the nam of the commounes forgiffines
1456 Hay II. 40/4.
Evill sett knychtis … gerris mony ruggaris and revaris … destroy the commouns
1482 Edinb. Chart. 146.
Burgesses, merchandis, and commouns of the aboue nemmit toune of Edinburgh
1492 Dunferm. B. Rec. 38.
Thomas Calland comperit befor the … balyeis, and askit ane ward of the commownis … gif he was … air til his fadir
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 221/11.
Quhat was thar amangis thaim wes counsall to commounis
a1568 Scott i. 150.
Thy pursevandis ar socht To pund pure communis corne
1570 Sat. P. x. 232.
With burghis and commounis fordwarts furth thay went
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. .
The … erle of Angus and Alexander Drummond … quha did great skaith to mony puir commounis
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xv. 81.
God send the commounis will to wirk
Ib. cx. 50.
Ryche comownis ar rycht proffitable, Quhone thai to serue thair lord are hable
1604 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 59.
Feiring that the brunt thairof should breid ane mislyking of the vnion amanges the commouns
(b) 1423 Edinb. Chart. 55.
Baylyes of Edinburgh and sindri of the comons
1461 Liber Plusc. 394.
Men of gude … , Quhilkis has the votis of al the commonis hale
1490 Dunferm. B. Rec. 22.
The said Dauid Bennet has maid request to the comonis that [etc.]
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 177/30.
Thai … that takis … the gudis and substance of pure commonis and lauboraris
1513 Doug. ii. xii. 72.
Of commonys a sort sa miserabill
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4104.
Howbeit the commons eyne ȝe bleir
c 1568 Maxwell Mem. II. 131.
Commonis is hard to caus vnderstand thair avin weillis
1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 72.
Commonis may crye, ‘lang mot that frendschip stand’
1585 Waus Corr. II. 339.
Your commonis that ar occupeit in winning of the cornis
1615 Crim. Trials III. 274.
Haifing assemblit ane grit number of the best affectionat gentilmen and cowmonis of the cuntrie
(c) 1542 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 30.
Thair is ane grite nummer of commoundis tane and slane
1549 Compl. 137/7.
Gif the pure comontis … be nocht of ane qualite … to resist there enemeis
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 314.
The wrangis sustenit be the saidis pure commoundis

b. The common people serving in an army; the ordinary foot-men. c1420 Wynt. viii. 4700.
Fra he assemblyde abade nane; The comownys all the flycht has tane
?1438 Alex. ii. 4489.
On the comouns of Effezoun Sic pay he maid, he dang thame doun
1456 Hay I. 57/24.
Thare deid of armyt men, but commonis, … mare than xxiii thousand
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 756.
Better is fewe worthi men in batall, na mony comonis
c1475 Wall. v. 945.
This is bot waist foly, Comons to slay, quhair chyftayns gayis away
Ib. ix. 1077.
Of comowns part into the forest fled
1513 Doug. ix. vi. 83.
A multitude of commonys of birth law … He vmbeset
a1578 Pitsc. I. 205/18.
The king was of haill number … xxxm abill men, by the commones

2. The allowance of food or money assigned to a member of a society; commons. c 1500 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 259.
That nain commondis be … gevin bot allanarlie to thame that … kepis thar seruice affixt to thame
1553 Reg. Great S. 167/2.
Reddendo … iij celdras frumenti [etc.] … dicto conventui ad eorum pittantias, lie pitte communis
1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 314.
The hayll cheplanis of the said kirk consentit … to gif to Rechert Reid, singar, the commounds of the stall now vacand
1564 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 55.
His part of the pittane siluer, cheis, and commonis vsit and wont to be payit

3. To quit commonis, to make repayment or retaliation. (Cf. Commoun n. 8 b.) a1578 Pitsc. I. 280/14.
Thinkand that it was tyme to quitt commoneis quhene the Prince was ȝoung

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



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