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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.

Laiser(e, Laser(e, n. Also: laisar(e, -our(e, -ur, laizour, layser(e, -ir, -ar(e, -ure; laseir(e, lazer, lasar(e, -air, -ayr, la(s)zar, laseur, -ur(e, -o(u)r(e, lassure, -our, lazure. [North. ME. laiser (Cursor M.), layser, laisure, laisour (1486), e.m.E. layser (Caxton), layso(u)r, etc., midl. ME. leiser(e, leyser(e, OF. leisir (F. loisir), subst. use of the infin. repr. L. licēre to be permitted. Cf. Leaser and Leisur.]In rhyme, mostly with words in -ere, -eir, but also occas. in -ar or -air.

1. Freedom or opportunity to do something specified or implied. Also to tak lasure, to take occasion or the opportunity.(a) 1375 Barb. vii. 424 (E).
For thai thre men … wachyt him sa bysyly, To se quhen thai vengeans mycht tak … That thai thocht than thai layser [C. laser] had
c1420 Wynt. viii. 3460.
Men suld gyve thare innymys Laysere to fley
Ib. 3519.
Qwha sa in that gret thrang fell Had nevyre laysere to ryse agayne
?1438 Alex. i. 3022.
Sen thow hes sic inuy To venge my harm, … Thow may haue laisere sone thair-till!
1595 Lett. Eliz. & Jas. VI .
If they gett layser again, it will but learne thaime experience to wrestle the more cunninglie the next tyme
1605 Reg. Privy C. VII. 36.
The pairtie wranged hes not choise of witnessis or laiser to bring witnessis
(b) 1513 Doug. iv. x. 84.
Quhy wilt thou not fle spedely be nycht, Quhen forto haist thou hes laser [Sm. laisar] and mycht?
1570 Leslie 230.
Thay had no laser to employe thair forces aganis Scotland
(c) c1420 Wynt. viii. 3509.
Had thai hade to feycht laysare, Thai had noucht bene dyscumfyt thare
(d) a1400 Leg. S. iii. 999.
Waitand bot lasare quhen he Mycht purches oportunite
Ib. xxiv. 338.
Askyt he … Pene, ink and parchemyne &, quhene he saw lasare, syne wrat
1549 Compl. 158.
In drede that thou repent thy neclegens quhen thou hes na laszar nor oportunite to remede thy abusion
1564–5 Breadalbane Lett. MS. (Reg. H.) No. 38.
The commissioun ar sa handillit in bankatin that we can get nay lasar as ȝet, bot quhowsoun the bankat takis end [etc.]
(e) 1569–70 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 650/1.
Me lord of Mar and Lard of Lochlevin and I could get na laisur to speik togyther
(f) 1594 Bk. Univ. Kirk III. 826.
Jesuitis … haue tane occasioun and lasure to perswade sindrie of his hienes subiectis to apostacie

2. Opportunity afforded by freedom from other occupations, sufficient free or undisturbed time, breathing-space or respite (to do something). To tak layser, to take time.(a) 1375 Barb. vi. 660 (E).
Better than thow I mycht it do, For Ik had mar layser [C. lasair] tharto
Ib. xiii. 602.
He leyt thaim nocht haff sic layser [: ner; C. laseir] As anys watre for to ma
1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
For faut of laiser
c1420 Wynt. v. 3267.
Than thaire fayis, that laysere had, Sloppys in syndry placis mad
1456 Hay II. 117/19.
Syk men that ar of syk abstinence … ar lang hale, for nature in thame has laisere till expell his superfluitee
Ib. 148/33.
Thus sall thai be better avysit, and tak layser to ansuere the mare … ryply ane othir tyme and nocht ansuere sa hastily
c1475 Wall. ix. 152.
For him that deit on rud, Layser to mend
a1500 Lanc. 727.
We lat hyme duel here with the lady still, Whar he haith laisere for to compleine his fyll
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 251.
a1568 Bann. MS. 270 b/129.
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI .
The Queyne … escapit suddenlie to the Castell of Dumbar, and therby laiser was offerit to convocat thair forces on both sydis
1607 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 262.
Two of the deakins protestit thei micht haif laiser to adwys with thair brethering
(b) a1500 Henr. Fab. 303 (Asl.).
The spensar had na lasere [B. laisar] for to byde
1488–91 Treas. Acc. I. 166.
This ȝe do alssone as ȝe may haue lasere for our grete materis of Parliament
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 6.
Sa lang to luk I tuk laseir [: presoneir]
1513 Doug. ix. xiii. 79.
Ne gat he laser [R. lasare] anys hys aynd to draw
1533 Bell. Livy II. 167/32.
Two dayis lasere war gevin to ilk man to recognos his awne gere
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5537.
Quho bene apone his hous aboue Sall haif no laser to remoue
1567 G. Ball. 27.
The flesche said … Laser yneuch and tyme thair is In age for till amend my mis
(c 1580) Alex. I. 571.
And I micht get [sa] lang laseir That I micht pres[t] me in my gere [etc.]
c1650 Spalding I. 189.
Whill he had aucht dayes laser to be advysit with his freindis
(c) c1450 Cr. Deyng 267.
The sek man … suld … sell all his gudys, … and he may haf laisare thar-to
(d) a1500 Rauf C. 634.
My self hes na lasair Fra thir ȝettis to fair
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 31.
Asking wald haif … Convenient tyme, lasar, and space
1532 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS. I. 118.
Gif the saidis comptrollar … can gett lasar to vesy and consider the said strenth
1570 Leslie 234.
The Governour was so bissie … that he had not the lasare nor commoditie to put ordour to the particuler effares within the realme
1596 Dalr. II. 329/17.
The Inglismen … skairse to drawe thair end had … lasare
1602 Colville Parænese 92.
My distressit estat admitting no lasar to amuse my self vpon the quantitie of syllabes
(e) 1586 Warrender P. MS. 176.
We have ever since attendit on the consalis laisoure to heare ws
(f) a1578 Pitsc. I. 195/16.
I haue no lasour at this tyme to be occupyeit in sic matteris
c1590 Fowler II. 139/19.
That there subiects and pepill … suld not have laseur to think vpon rebellion
1592 Elgin Rec. II. 23.
The communioun is ordanit to be quhen lasour may be haid at the ischew of the beirseid
1600 Misc. Bann. C. I. 170.
I gat nocht lassure quhill now
1604 Acts IV. 262/1.
The Commissioneris … will haue sufficient lasure to considder it throwchlie

3. A state or period of leisure, free or spare time.(a) ?1438 Alex. ii. 7720.
Quhen luffaris … haue laser thame allane … bot ane quhyle mais ane day
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. iii. 470.
Tuitchand this buik perauenture ȝe sall heir, Sum time after quhen I haue mair laseir
1567 Sat. P. vii. 95.
Sum douts thair is of quhilk … , Gif laser lat, I wald resoluit be
1599 Maxwell Mem. II. 38.
A seruant … wes below attending my laser
1629 Boyd Last B. 16.
No man can sufficientlie esteeme the high price of a daye's laiser vnto night
(b) 1526 Douglas Corr. 340.
I watit quhill his lordship had lasayr
a1568 Scott xv. 35.
Prolong with lasar … Sic tyme that we may boith tak our confort
1583 Wemyss Corr. 29.
It is vncertane to ws quhen we may spair that laisar quhilk the hearing of your particulariteis will require
(c) 1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 49.
We pray ȝou, gif your lassour and commoditie may sut, addres ȝou to be at us heir in Edinburgh
1581 Bk. Univ. Kirk II. 530.
The Kings Commissioners shew they had no laizour
1598 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 660/2.
To hasten wnto yow how sone my lasor micht … permitte the trew pourtraicte of my thochtis
1629 Boyd Fam. P. No. 134 (21 May).
If about that time your laysure and pleasure might so serve you, as to be at Glasgow
1639 Baillie I. 237.
Much lasur and longsom vacations
1664 Carstairs Lett. 121.
I have now, getting more lazure, wreaten a lyne to Thomas Patersone

4. Leisureliness, deliberation. 1535 Stewart 11832.
And thus thai sang in mony royall rout, With greit laser, and mony rycht loud schout
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 16.
Gif I wald treate this argument at sic laser, as it is to be lamentit, I shulde enter in ane patent campe
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 8.
[The regent] tellyng nocht only to thayme [sc. students] … the word but als the accent in sik lasar that the bairnis may easely writ eftyr his pronunciation

5. At laseir (also greit laseir, one's laseir), at lenth and laser, in gud lasere, of laser, at leisure, at one's leisure or convenience, with time at one's disposal, without haste, with deliberation.(1) 1375 Barb. v. 390 (E).
The yhaitis then he gert sper [C. spare] And sat and eyt all at layser [C. lasare]
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4806.
He … schayre a thwayng all at laysere, And thare-wyth festnyd wp his gere
?1438 Alex. ii. 2474.
Ideas spak to the King, Wysly at layser and at deuyse
1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 17.
[Death] wald nocht giue hir respite … To remane with hir … paramour That scho at laiser mycht haue tane licence
1536 Id. Answ. Flyting 28.
The day wyll cum, … That ȝe wyll draw at laiser with ȝour feiris
c1552 Id. Mon. 2657.
Kyttoke thare, als cadye as ane con, … Gaiff Lowre leif at layser to loupe on
(b) ?1438 Alex. i. 1380.
With tyme and at laseir [: weir] He dicht him in his apparell
1535 Stewart 17841.
Throw Gallia he passit hame to Rome, Remanit thair at laser as him lest
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 167.
To the pulpet gar ane oratour Pas vp, and schaw, … At greit laser, the legend of my life
c1552 Id. Mon. 3639.
Thow did aye blude schedding thryste, Now drynk at laser, gyf thow lyste
15.. Clar. iv. 410.
Romaryn … with … whom … Meliades … Wald speik allone full faine at thaire laseire [: cleir]
1600 Crim. Trials II. 294.
Gif your Majestie war at lazer
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 203.
At lazer as lint growis
(c) c1475 Wall. viii. 79.
Wallace ansuerd, We may at laysar ryd
1535 Stewart 7572.
To Ewin hes he past, Thair to remane at laisar him to rest
(d) c1475 Wall. xi. 49.
Ye may at lasar waill
a1570-86 Balnavis Maitl. F. cxxix. 10.
Suppois ȝe thrist Ȝour mouthe at lasar cule
(e) 15.. Clar. ii. 383.
To be thair … To speike at lasour with ȝour ladyheid
1586 Douglas Chart. 288.
Ȝe mon hald ane vther iustice court in Jedburgh at gretar lasour
(2) 1535 Stewart 25342.
The mater all … At lenth and laser [to] commoun and redres
Ib. 39523.
[To] leit it stand at greit laser and lenth
Ib. 51245.
On the nycht at greit laser and lenth, The Scottis passit till ane vther strenth Neirhand
1596 Dalr. II. 341/6.
It sall be done faithfullie sho promisses at lenth and lasar
(3) a1400 Leg. S. iii. 904.
The bischope … made hym chifte In gud lasere to here hyr schrift
Ib. xxix. 34.
Happyn man is he That, befor he thire taknis [of old age] se, … wil … in gud lasare mend his syne
(4) 1522 Mar & Kellie MSS. 12.
Ane … clerk of the expens … sall nightlie … take the compts and write thame, gif they may be of laser at them

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"Laiser n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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