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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.

Lad, n. Also: ladde, ladd-; lade; laid; laud, lawd(e, lawid, lawud(e. [ME. ladde (Havelok), of obscure origin.]

1. A serving-man, attendant, espec. in reference to his low rank or condition; a menial, a groom.Freq. in actual or implied contrast with lord or laird.(a) 1375 Barb. xiii. 341.
Laddis, swanys, and rangall, Quhen they saw vencust the battall, Ran emang thame
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 71.
He saw nane levand leid vpone loft lent, Nouthir lord na lad
a1500 Henr. III. 174/60 (B).
As lairdis so laddis, daly chengeable
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 208/17.
He rewlit him all be laddis and be men of na avale and of law birth
1535 Stewart 15791.
Bot weill I wait it wes ill company Of lad and loun, hurdome and harlatrie
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 391.
Pandaris [etc.] … Loupis vp frome laddis, syne lychtis amang lardis
a1603 Anc. Prophecies 17.
Then shal ladies laddes wed
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. iii. 33.
And ladds uploips to lordships all thair lains
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxi. 4.
Gillettis … That ridden ar baith with lord and lawd
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2482 (B).
I wald hang him for his goun Quhidder he war lord or lawid [Ch. laid]
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 90.
My claith wald be lwd with grit men of gwd, Gif lawdis and lownis wald latt me be
(c) a1568 Bann. MS. 217b/35.
Oft tyme … Ane loird hes luvit ane las full weill And eik a laid ane lady scheyne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 381 (M).
I him forleit as ane laid and laithit him meikill

2. A man or youth employed as a servant, a serving-lad (with more neutral connotation). Also latterly ? spec., a horse-boy, stable-lad. 1497 Treas. Acc. I. 373.
To the laddis of the kechin, be the gait rynnand, … xviij d.
1512 Ib. IV. 188.
To ane pure lawd of the keching to by hyme clathis, x s.
a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 436.
He is a greiter servand nor the very cuik lad
1623 Elgin Rec. II 182.
He charmit ane called Russell, ane chapman laid
1626 M. Works Acc. XIX. 17.
To James Warkman painter … and his lade vj li.
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 4 b.
For the lades met in Brunteland 10 li.
1676 Cunningham Diary 83.
For some bread & ale gotten by the lads, 5.0; To the stable-boys in drinkmoney, 7.0
1685 Sinclair Satan's Invisible World 146.
The servant-man that keeped the horses … was going into his bed in the stable … [when] an old horse comb was thrown at the lads bed stead
1686 Brechin Test. VII. 162 b.
Two beds in the lads loft

3. Any young man; a youth; a boy. Also attrib. with servant.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 4823.
Thai gat welle fra thare innymys, And lefft nothir man na lad
1496 Treas. Acc. I. 324.
To the laddis of Brechin
1502 Ib. II. 141.
For ane maid cote of broun to the rouch lad
1509 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 8.
The wachis to be kepit be menne and na laddis
1512 Ib. IV. 344.
To ane fule lad, xvj d.
1517 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 171.
That nane of the said craftismen send any lads, boyes, or seruands oppinlie vpoun the hie gaitt
1535 Stewart 31792.
Baith wyffe and barne, lad, lymmer and lown
1567 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 229.
To caus steik the gret yet on the est syde of the kirk yaird sua that the laddis get na interes to mak the samyn ane symmar feild
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii. 23.
Bot laddis and lassis will meit eftirnone
c1600 Montg. Suppl. 215/10.
I was persewit with lad and loun, Rycht quyetlie into the nicht
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (S.T.S.) No. 193 (MS.).
Ane ill lad may be ane good man
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 54.
Euerie man and woman, lad and las, wha can reid the Bible in thair mother toung
1602 S. Leith Rec. 3.
The sessioun … comanded … that nane inhabitant … send thair bairnes to ony vther schoole bot all the lads to Mr Thomas Provand and all the lasses to James Hay
a1605 Montg. Son. lxix. 2.
The Lesbian lad, … with Ceres and Cylenus, gled ȝour ging
a1650 Row 451.
When I was a young lad I wes a herd
1679 Kirkcudbr. Sherriff Ct. Processes No. 313.
I cannot get aither lase or lad to hird
attrib. 1674 Peebles B. Rec. II. 89.
That everie able man servant shall pay to the box … threttie schilling Scotts, and everie lad servant tuentie schilling
(b) 15.. Sym & Bruder 65.
Our all the hous, be lyne and levall, The ladis come to luk him
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1024.
Lass let the lade alane I pray yow
Ib. No. 1089.
Luke never to a ragged lade, nor a feltered fole
1619 Calderwood VII. 343.
I was a lade at the schoole in these jollie dayes
1622 Ib. 519.
He called him knave and swinger, a young lade, one that as yit might have been teaching bairnes in the schoole
1626 Elgin Rec. II. 193.
To heall the ladis leg that was hurt with the plough
(c) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 204 (B).
Quhen the laidis [M. laddis] saw thé sa lyk a loun, Thay bickerit thé
Ib. 227.
Of laidis and lownis thair ryssis sic an noyis
Id. Maitl. F. cxlix. 14.
So will thai deyme bayth man and laid [: sad, mad]
1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 279.
For cordis and bussomis to scurge thre laidis
1627 Brechin Test. IV. 273.
Johne Matheris beinge ane ȝounge laid of xiiij ȝeirs of aige
(d) 1509 Edinb. Hammermen 67.
To the lawd at kepit the alter iiij d.
1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 187.
To tua litile lawdis and to the litle las
1527–28 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 131 a.
We ordand four men in ilk tovn end to waik, men and na laudis
a1568 Scott i. 53.
For lymmer lawdis and litle lassis lo Will argun bayth with bischop, preist and freir
Ib. xxxiv. 84.
Bot ȝit auldit rubiatouris To hant the laittis of lawdis [M. laides]
1575 Glasg. B. Rec. I. 457.
To ane lawde to keip the Deynesyde woll

b. A male child, a son. Also attrib. with barne and child.(a) 1501–2 Treas. Acc. II. 140.
To William Sinclair, that he wan fra the King on wedding that his barne suld be ane lad
1600-1610 Melvill 15.
God giff me an uther lad lyk thie
1564 Edinb. B. Deeds 133 b.
That the sowmis of money … salbe … deliuerit to the saidis barnis as thai be of the age of xxi ȝeiris laddis and xiiij ȝeiris lassis
1589 Edinb. Test. XXI. 101 b.
I leif Andro Gordounes lad tua scheipe
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 141.
To dewys, be yoir art of witchcraft, that the said Elspet suld beir laddis
attrib. 1594 Edinb. Test. XXVI. 328.
Gif the barne be ane male and lad chylde
(b) 1598 Ib. XXXI. 308.
To my bastard lade … xx merkis
1667 Kingarth Session Bk. 48.
For each child, both lade and lass
(c) a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 252.
Lucifers laid [M. lade], fowll feyindis face infernall
1574 Edinb. Test. III. 114.
My tua ȝoungest laidis … to be with thair mother
1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 54.
Quhen hirself wes lyand in chyld-bed-lair of hir last laid
16.. Hist. Kennedy 8.
The Laird off Carslandis sister … buir to him tua laidis, and ane dochter
1623 Inverurie 212.
Margaret Forbes … was delyverd of twa twinns, ane lass & ane laid: the laid departit coming to the kirk
1624 Brechin Test. IV. 137.
Gif his bearne beis not ane laid
attrib. 1576 Edinb. Test. IV. 115.
He … levis to the barne now in his spous wambe vnborne, gif it beis ane laid & chyld barne, the haill rest of his thrid
(d) 1567 Stewart Mem. 102.
That the barnis landis … be vsit in maner following, … James Stewart … sall haue ane lawud and tuay lasses … onto the tyme that the … said lawude be of … perfyte age

c. Applied, affectionately or ironically, to a man of any age. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 363 (Ch. & M.).
Thou wald be fayn to gnaw, lad, wyth thy gammys Wnder my burd; [etc.]
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 613.
Have lade & go lad maks ane speidy ladde
1664 W. Guthrey Sermon 42.
Some few items that every lass and lad may make use of for strengthening their faith
1682 Peden Lords Trumpet 18.
Whereever there is a praying lass or lad at a dykeside in Scotland
1692 Presb. Eloq. 86.
You lasses and lads put your shoulders to that work
?a1640 Copie of a Baron's Court 30.
These are the lads that I may lippin till

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"Lad n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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