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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.

Lance, n.1 Also: lans(e, launce. [ME. and e.m.E. launce (c 1290), lance, lans(e, F. lance. Cf. Lanch(e n., ? and Lence n.]

1. A lance, the horseman's weapon; occas. also, more generally, a spear.(1) ?1438 Alex. i. 158.
His helme and lance baith hewin wair
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 553.
With lufly lancis and lang … On stedis stalwart and strang
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 10.
Hir … fresche bewte, Hes wondit me but swerd or lance
1513 Doug. ii. vi. 68.
Sum cumpanyis, with speris, lance and targe
Ib. xii. iii.
The legionys … Furth thryngis … With lancis lang and pykkis
Ib. xii. 189.
24 Eneas byg lance or hys castyng speir [L. hasta]
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 278.
To fecht with him with speir or lance
15.. Clar. ii. 924.
Sir Broun on Clariodus brake his lance
Ib. III. 181.
[A word] Scharp as ane lance
1571 Sat. P. xxvi. 103.
Bring in the north with bumbart, bow, & lance
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i. 313.
Bina manu crispans hastilia, schaking tua dartis, lances
1650 Acts VI. ii. 599/1.
The footmen to be … armed with muskets, pikes, … the horsemen … with pistols and lances
(b) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 485.
Men … grathit … With fel lans on loft, lemand ful light
1513 Doug. xi. xii. 88.
Orsilochus … Dressis his lans at ane Remulus hors
1535 Stewart 21661.
The lansis and grit speiris … Maid sic ane brusch
(c) 1587-99 Hume vii. 115.
Strang pousing picks … Bunshes of speirs, and launces light, and lang
1635 Haddington Corr. 302.
Fyue launces, tuo bandit stalffs, nyne gloofe speares
(2) a1450 Fifteen Ois 305.
Throw Longeus lance that thirlit thi syde
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1139.
The crovne of thorne, the croce, eike Longius lance
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxii. 107.
Croce and nalis scharp, scurge, and lance
(3) 1599 Paterson Ayr & Wigt. III. 56.
Thair wes nane culd seine the lenthe of ane lanse befoir him
1629 Maxwell Mem. II. 202.
He … is laid in the Maxwellis ayle, and lyis within the lenthe of ane lans to ȝour fathir
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 75 (30 May).
Ane deep sewghe … which carried the water … doune to the mylve water gaite beneth the clouse within the lenth of ane lanse

2. = Lance-staff n. 1549 Compl. 42/3.
Ȝe soldartis … mak reddy ȝour … lancis, pikkis, halbardis
1605 Crim. Trials II. 475.
All bodin in feir of weir, with suordis, knapskabonnettis, lances and pistolettis
1621 Lett. & State P. James VI 338.
His haill servandis … with suordis, hagbottis, lances, corne forkis, and great kentis
16.. Hist. Kennedy 48.
Strukin in at the knie with ane lanse
Ib. 144.
Jakis, corslettis, secrettis, lancis and vtheris waponis
1650–1 Misc. Spald. C. V. 174.
To George Moriesone, for twa launcis to carie
1680 Lyon Office Register of Arms MS. in Laidlaw Poetry and Prose (1904) 105.
A kynde of launce (called the Jedburgh staff)

3. ? A linstock (= F. (15th c. -) lance à feu). 1638–9 Dumfries & Gallow. Ant. Soc. 3 Ser. III. 338.
For 2 lanses for the cannan, £1 10 s.

4. A lance or lance-shaft used for sounding. c1475 Wall. ix. 57.
Ledys on luff burd … Lansys [1570, Lynis] laid out to [luik] thar passage sound
1531 Bell. Boece I. vi.
So lang I swomit in hir [Fortune's] seis deip, That sad avising with hir thochtful lance, Couth find na port to ankir hir firmance

5. A lancet. a1500 Bk. Chess 1534.
Spwryno a ȝoung man … with a lance his fair face he rast … to keipe his chastite
Ib. 1658.
The mediciner … at his belt lancis and yrnis small To scher the woundis

6. transf. and fig.a. 1536 Lynd. Answ. Flyting 67.
Bot ȝit be war with lawbouring of ȝour lance
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxxiii. 60.
Than think his lance is deir lie bought
b. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1078.
Pers myne herd hart with thi scharp lufis launce
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 76.
Intoxicat with sorrow is poysonit lance

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"Lance n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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