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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Irisch(e, Irish(e, adj. and n. Also: Irysche, Yris(c)h(e, -ysch, Iyrish, Ireis(c)he, Iresh, Yrage. [ME. and e.m.E. Yrisch(e, Iris(c)h, etc., ME. Irisc (c 1205). Cf. Erische and Irs(c)h(e.]

A. adj. 1. Of persons. a. Of or from Ireland, Irish. b. Of or from the Scottish Highlands. c. Gaelic-speaking, Erse-speaking. See also Irisch(e)man. c1475 Wall. vii. 842.
Off Yrage blud full hardely thai spill
1508 Treas. Acc. IV. 111.
To tua Irisch women
1512–13 Ib. 401.
To ane Irische nuris
To the Irische lady
c 1543 Misc. Bann. C. I. 10.
The names of all the Yrische lordes of Scotland, commonly callit the Reddshanckes
1550 Treas. Acc. IX. 436.
To ane Irische lord of Irland that come hither furtht of France
1574 Acts III. 89/1.
That na Irische and hieland bairdis and beggaris be brocht … in the lawland
1589–90 Ayr B. Acc. 163.
[The young men] directit furth for seiking of the Ireische piratis
1597 Grant Burgh Schools 417.
[The master of the grammar school of Glasgow to catechise his] Irische scholleris [in the grounds of religion]
1615 Highland P. III. 177.
Sir Oliver Lambert, commander of his maiesties Iyrish forces
1641 Baillie I. 369.
Mr. Murdoch … refused to preach to the Irish congregation bot day about
1652 Cramond Speymouth Ch. 12.
To maintain ane Irish boy at the schools for training up of youthes
1652 Inverness & Dingwall Presb. 247.
The contributione allotted to the Irishe boyis

2. Applied to things, practices, etc.: a. Irish. The Irisch gaymyn, a game resembling backgammon (in e.m.E. (1509) as the yresshe game). b. Highland, Gaelic.(1) 1508 Treas. Acc. IV. 101.
To the King to play at the Irisch gaymyn with the Lord Ros
1596 Dalr. I. 170/19.
Betuene the Germane and The Yrishe seyes
1649-71 Lamont Diary 20.
A disease called the Irish aygo, which was a terrible sore paine of the head
(2) c 1543 Misc. Bann. C. I. 11.
Scotland … was inhabitede, as we reide in auncient Yrische storeis, with gyauntes
a1578 Pitsc. (1814) xxiii.
They be cloathed with ane mantle, with ane schirt fachioned after the Irisch maner, going bair legged to the knie
1614 Highland P. III.171.
I professed euir ignorance in all Irische cabale
a 1690 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 6.
The inhabitants of this countrey [Carrick] are of ane Irish originall as appears both by ther names being generally all Mac's [etc.]
(3) 1610 Hist. Kinloss A. p. xi.
Thrie baket stulles of Irysche steiche
Ane Irische roug of woll
1678 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 328.
[He imported] seaverall quanteties of Irish leather and cheis
(4) 1635 Banff Ann. I. 72.
That sort of cunȝie of copper callit fardingis or Irische moneye
1697 Proclamation 4 May.
Foraign black-money … called French doyets and Irish half-pennies

3. Applied to the Irish (including the Scottish Gaelic) language, also to words of or writings in Gaelic.(1) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 628.
Had Sanct Jerome bene borne in tyll Argyle, In to Yrische toung his bukis had done compyle
1569 Hew Scott Fasti (1870) III. i. 248.
[Allan McIntoshe had been] exhorter and reader at Brayevin and Brachlie in the Irische toung
1596 Dalr. I. 86/4.
Thay [the Highlanders] vse thair alde Irishe toung
1616 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 23.
That … the Irische language … amangis the inhabitantis of the Ilis and Heylandis may be abolisheit
c 1620 Sutherland Corres. 359.
The Ireishe langage cannot so soone be extinguished
1644 Acts VI i. 195/2.
The vacand benefices … shall be imployed for trayneing wp of youthes that have the Irishe tongue in … colledges
1662 Highland P. III. 5.
Ane charm … quhilk she repeitted in the yrish language begineing [etc.]
1700 Misc. Spalding C. III. 183.
He heard them [Gipsies] speak a language which he understood not and which wes not the Irish tougue
(2) 1611 Reg. Panmure I. xcvi.
Thierne is ane ancient Yrishe word
1683 Dunblane Synod 198.
To turn the Doxologie into Irish meetre betwixt it and the next Synod

4. absol. as n. Irish or Scottish Highland (people). c1420 Wynt. ii. 794.
Off this folk come the Yryschry … And Yrysch off Yrland callyd ar thai
Ib. 799.
Hys name … Off quhame the Yrysch cumyn are
1596 Dalr. I. 73/28.
Thir of Biskay, the Irishe men and our Scottis Irishe acknawledge the same for thair first and mother toung
1641 Acts V. (1870) 429/1.
The pitifull estate of the Britishe in Ireland be the … creuell outraiges of the Irish ther

B. n. 1. The Irish or Scottish Gaelic language. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 346.
Thow lufis nane Irische, elf, I understand, Bot it suld be all trew Scottis mennis lede
Ib. 350.
Corspatrik … maid Irisch and Irisch men thin
1579 Acts III. 176/2.
I [Atholl] said in Yrishe to him [Argyle], etc.
a1578 Pitsc. (1814) xxii.
The illanderis generallie speak Irisch, which declaireth thame to tak thair originall of the Irisch natione
1614 Highland P. III. 171.
Ane man off my awin, quha had guid Irish
1657 W. Cramond Moray Synod 122.
Some parishes in … Aberlour … where a considerable number of the people have not the English language and the ministers have no Irish
1701 Brand Descr. Orkney (1701) 17.
None in Orkney can speak Irish tho the greatest part in Caithness can
1711 Macgill Old Ross-shire 43.
At Kiltern … Mr John Fraser … preached in both languages Irish and English

2. In plur. form. Chiefly, Irishmen, natives of Ireland. Also, Scottish Highlanders. a1680 Blair Autob. 56.
The Irishes in Ulster … expelled the remnant of the English out of that province
a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1655) 8.
[St. Patrick] was taken prisoner by some Irishes
Ib. 9.
We oft finde the Scots called Irishes like as we yet term commonly our Highlandmen, in regard they speak the Irish language
1643 Acts VI. 12/2.
Thair be many shippes … manned with Spainȝeardis, Irisches, and uthers
1644 Wemyss Corr. 90.
The Irischis [of Montrose] … ar exspectit hier at the bruche of Aberdin
c 1648 Turner Mem. 238.
Himself and his Irishes … fled to the Iles and from thence to Ireland
1689 Melville Chart. 199.
Ulster being now … freed from Irishes
a 1714 Cromarty Corr. II. 506.
The children of Harald … came from Irland with a convocation of Irishes and other runegatts

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"Irisch adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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