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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.

Kirtil(l, n. Also: -tyl(l, kyrtil(l, -tyl(l; kirktill; kirtl(e; kertill. [North. and east midl. ME. kir-, kyrtel(l, -til, -tle, south-east. kertel etc., west. and south. cur-, cuyrtel(le, cortel, e.m.E. kyrtyll, kirtle, also curtle, OE. cyrtel, ON. kyrtill.] A kirtle.

1. A body-garment for a man, a kind of coat or tunic reaching below the knees, worn alone or under a cloak or mantle.Common in Leg. S., esp. as a rendering of L. tunica, and so also in Wyntoun; in Alex. rendering OF. cote. Latterly, as a man's garment, only as part of an ecclesiastical habit, or of robes of state.(1) a1400 Leg. S. i. 51.
Na clathis he had, … Bot kirtil and clok [L. tunica cum pallio], but mare
Ib. v. 359.
Sancte Johne tuk of than his kirtill [L. tunica], And to the vntreufull gawe it till
Ib. vii. 48.
Quha mycht fyrst Of his kirtil … nycht the liste [L. fimbriam vestimenti … tangere]
Ib. xxxi. 673.
Scho kest the cule away … & raf hyr kyrtil [L. tunicam] til hir kne That al thar opynly mycht se That scho werray wes womane
c1420 Wynt. iii. 166.
Wyth kyrtylis thretty garmentys hale He [Samson] suld gyve thame
Ib. v. 5516.
In Saphat … Crystys kyrtill noucht sowyd wyth seme Wes fwndyn
?1438 Alex. ii. 1924.
Kirtill and mantill [F. cote et mantel] he brocht him swith
Ib. 1928.
Qvhen vnarmit was Cassiell And cled in kirtill and mantell
Ib. 4698.(2) transf. a1400 Leg. S. xlv. 209.
[He] gert a kirtil be mad meet For hire, syd done to the fete, Of yrne, as ane habresone
(3) 1503 Treas. Acc. II. 224.
For x½ elne blak trailȝe to lyne the Kingis kirtill for the rob riall
Ib. 225.
For ixc powderingis to the bordour of the said kirtill
1539–40 Ib. VII. 277. 1542 Inv. Wardrobe 76.
The ordour of France … of purpour velvott … and the kirtill of the samyne lynit with quhyt dalmes
1542–3 Treas. Acc. VIII. 172.
To be ane kaip of stait and ane kirtill to my lord governour agane the parliament [etc.]
(4) 1508 Ib. IV. 62.
For xvj elne quhit carsay to be tua kirtillis to the More freris
a1538 Abell 113 b.
He ȝeid ay … owdir in caip oudir kirtill or fut mantill with abbot huid

2. A woman's frock or close gown.Comprising bodice and skirt and worn under the gown (Goun(e n.) or, in simple or informal attire, as the only upper garment. Very common in the 16th c., when it was the usual name for this principal article of feminine dress.From the many occurrences in Treas. Acc., it appears that upwards of 2½ ells of material were required for making up a kirtle, but, esp. in the earlier entries, most commonly 2½ or 3 ells.Also heland and scheiphirdis kirtill, and with such adjectives as Courtlyke, Eldren, France and Ilk dayis, q.v. for some further examples. Also knie kirtill s.v. Kne n. 1 c.(1) a1500 Henr. Garmont Gud Ladeis 13.
Hir sark suld be hir body nixt, … Hir kirtill suld be of clene constance, Lasit with lesum lufe, … Hir gown suld be of gudlines
1473 Treas. Acc. I. 30.
iiij ½ elne of brade clath for ij govnis and ij kirtillis to the Quene, for the lyning of thaim fra the waist vpe
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 60.
Ane hundreth ladyes … In kirtillis grene, withoutyn kell or bandis
1505 Treas. Acc. III. 177.
To ane pur woman … callit Blew Kirtill
1506 Ib. 310.
For mailȝeis. claspes and bandis to hir gownis and kirtilles ij s.
1508 Ib. IV. 62.
For vj quartaris Inglis red to be ane half kirtill and hude and hos to Jane BairArs … , for iij elne red carsay to be othir half to it
1511 Ib. 208.
To lyne a kirtill of quhet satin maid of ane translatit goune
Ib. 209.
To be ane stomak to the sam kirtill
1522–3 Prestwick B. Rec. 51.
Ane hayk and ane kyrtyll, price xl s.
1533 Boece ix. v. 297.
The bischop resaving the virgine … ordanyng scho suld vse ane quhite kirtill, with ane belt of leddir
1538 Treas. Acc. VI. 435.
For vj quarteris of fusteane to be the bodyis to the kirtill and lyne the bodyis of the goune with
1538 Ib. VII. 121.
To change hir kirtill and mak ane gown of the Frenche fassoun thairof
1550–1 Ib. IX. 472.
Coft to be ane skirt of ane kirtill with slevis [2½ ells cramasy satin]
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 986.
With that, hir kirtill wes vnlaissit
15.. Christis Kirk 15 (M).
The damisallis … Thair kirtillis war of the Lincum licht, Weill prest with mony plaitis
a1570-86 Clapperton Maitl. F. lxxix. 42.
I suld put on my russet gowne, My reid kirtill, my hois of broun
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII. 274 b.
I leue to the nureis that sall foster … my ȝoungest sone my best kirtill
1595 Ib. XXVIII. 240 b.
Scho lewis … to Jonet Gledstaneis hir awin gowne, hir guddameis kirtill
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 7.
Scho had keipit [the stone] … betuix the outtir half and the inner half of hir kirtill
c 1600–10 Rec. Earld. Orkney 380.
Ane new blak wylicot worthe xxx s., Item, ane new garit kirtill worth iij li.
1632 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 235.
Ane blak sattin goun … with kirtill, sleives, and stammager of the same conforme
(b) 1483 Acta Conc. I.* 84/1.
Twa kirktillis [13/4d each], … thre curchis
(c) 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 30.
vj elne of blak for a kirtle and a govne to the Quene
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 657.
Neir is the kirtle, but neirer is the sark
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 857.
It is als meit as the gudewifes kirtle, that wald not gang on quhill her sark was af
(2) 1578 Inv. Wardrobe 223.
A heland kirtill of blak stemming embroderit with blew silk
Ib. 229.
Tua scheiphirdis kirtillis of quheit canves

b. Attrib. with belt, pouch, taill. 1502 Halyb. 268.
A kyrtyll belt vas sald xxvii sturis the ons, weit xii ½ owns
a1540 Freiris Berw. 145 (M).
Hir kirtill belt was silk and siluer fyne With ane proud purs and keyis gingling syn
1553 Lanark B. Rec. 28.
Tua crounis … and tua bawbeis that was stollin furth of his wyfis kyrtyll pouch
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 70.
Ane mureland Meg … In barn nor byir scho wyll nocht byde Without hir kirtyll taill be syde

3. In kirtill allane, kirtill alone, wearing only a kirtle (sense 1 or sense 2), without over-garment.(Cf. doublat, joup, sark allane.)(1) c1420 Wynt. viii. 5202.
It sall lik til ws [at jousting] That ilk man ryn his falow till In kyrtill allane
?1438 Alex. ii. 3221.
Twelue feiris will he with him lede Bareshank but belt, in kirtill alane
Ib. 3260.
Barefut thay went, with hedes bare, In kirtill allane forouttin mare
(2) c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 933.
This fair ladie … Start vp … With pantonis on hir feit … , Kirtill alone, withouttin clok

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"Kirtil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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