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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Maidin, Madin, n. Also: mayd- and -in(e, -yn(e, -ing(e, -ein(e, -eyne, -eene, -en, -ne; maidden, mada(y)ne, maddin, meadin. [ME. and e.m.E. maid-, mayden, ME. meid-, meyden, maȝȝden (Orm.), OE. mæᵹden, mǽden.]

1. A young girl, a damsel, a girl of or below marriageable age.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxiv. 114.
Fra he come to fourtene ȝere, A maydine that mycht be his pere Thai socht
Ib. xxx. 527.
A ȝung maydine
Ib. xxxiii. 273.
[St. George to the rescued damsel:] Maydine, ga … & ta thi belt [etc.]
Ib. xlvii. 172, etc. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 387.
Thys Medea, the mayden schene
?1438 Alex. ii. 10250.
To ioys lufe of lady fre Na lede maydin maryit to be
Ib. 1972, 2077, etc. 1456 Hay II. 45/18. Ib. 124/11.
A knycht suld be schamefull as a maydin dredand repruf
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 959.
Ane fair ȝoung man … Fair as ane maidin
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 132.
Ga nocht alane in hir erand, Tak child ore maidinge in hir hand
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8154.
Than said the chylde, ane maydin gif scho be All the greit schame thairof beis laid on me, Gif scho be not ane ȝoung mayd [etc.]
1596 Dalr. II. 231/8.
Baith to the maydne and her parentis
1623 Lanark Presb. i.
[Charin:] For the nyne maidens that died into the buirtrie [etc.]
(b) a1400 Leg. S. vi. 58; etc.
A madyne
c1420 Wynt. v. 2955.
The madynnys … off oure land, Yhoung damysellys and awenand
Ib. viii. 93. Ib. ix. 2799. c1420 Ratis R. 614. c1460 Thewis Gud Women 219.
Fore falt of aw … Gerris madenis oft tak ill endinge
Ib. 277. c1475 Wall. v. 580.
In Lanryk duelt a gentill woman thar, A madyn myld … Off auchteyn ȝeris ald
Ib. i. 164. a1500 Henr. Fab. 71 (Bann.).
As madynis wantoun and insolent, That fane wald play
a1500 K. Hart 346. 1488 Treas. Acc. I. 96. 1492 Myll Spect. 296/11.
With madynnis or wemen of ȝoung age
1513 Doug. i. iv. 55. 1506 Treas. Acc. III. 345.
To the maddinis that sang to the King
1531 Bell. Boece II. 53. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2937.
The fair madin of France, Danter of Inglis ordinance
15.. Clar. i. 717.
1561 Treas. Acc. XI. 84.
To the saidis dammis, dammosallis and madynnis
1562 Ib. 174.
Nicholay Dawalȝeir, allacay to the Franche madingis
a1570-86 Clapperton Maitl. F. lxxix. 11.
Quhen that I was ane madein ȝing Lichtlie wald I dance and sing
1591 Crim. Trials i. ii. 251.
Weill, madin, haif ze lattin this be done?
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 823.
There mae madines nor Makine

b. (One's) daughter. 1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 86.
James Tait and his vyf to keipe thair madyne souerlie to Martynmes quhill [etc.]
1661 Soc. Ant. XXII. 247.
That the said Isabell answered shoe is my maiden take hir to you [addressing the Devil]

c. A girl, daughter, in contradistinction to a son. = Maidin-barn(e, -child. a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 362, xxx. 558 [see Knave n. 1].
Madyne, Maydine
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1498 [see Knave-barn n. (a)].
14.. Acts I. 28/2 [see Knave-chyld n. (c)].
1587 Acts III. 508/1.
Fourty pundis … for ilk man cheild and twenty pund for ilk madin

d. As the designation of all ‘office’ held by one of the younger witches at a meeting of witches (according to the confessions of Isobel Gowdie of Auldearn and Margaret NcLevine of Bute, both in 1662). 1662 Crim. Trials III. 613.
Quhan we ar at meat … the maiden of each coven sittis abow the rest nixt the Divell, and she servis the Devill for all the old peopill that he cairis not for and ar veak and wnmeit for him
Ib. 605, 606, 610. 1662 Highland P. III. 8.
That Annie Heyman at the bay head on hir ordinarly to be their maiden and that she danced ordinarly in the midst of them
A daughter of Alexander Mcill Martins … being a young lasse [etc.] … was maiden at a meitings
Their maiden there was … Ballantyne with the one hand

2. A young woman who has not yet married, an un married girl. b. An unmarried woman, a ‘spinster’.Passing into next sense. 1456 Hay I. 21/19. Ib. 42/21.
The prestis of Grece … may have a wyf anerly maidin
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 188/18.
Thai deliuerit to thaim ane certane of wedowis and madinnis to mak generacioun with
1514 Acta Conc. MS. XXVI. 87.
1533 Gau 16/5. a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxix. 21.
Now war I ane madin as I wes … To weddin suld I never pas
1562 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 8. a1578 Pitsc. II. 141/10.
The bischope of Murray … committit huredome … baitht with meadins and mens wyffis
1589 St. A. Kirk S. 638.
Passing publikle … with hir bair hair coverit only with ane kell as ane madin
1596 Dalr. II. 33/17.
Ane only dauchter … quhome ȝit a madne the gouernour persuadet … to renunce the erldome
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1565.
Ye ar lyk ane old maden ye look aloft
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 971.
It is a sair lyfe, to be lang a maidin and syne a priests wyfe
1622 Misc. Hist. Soc. III. 196.
Cristian Mitchell, maidin [con. tributes] 3 li. 6 s. 8 d.
1623 Perth Kirk S. 19 May in Crim. Trials II. 537.

3. A virgin. b. The Virgin Mary. a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 658.
He had prowit be assay Scho stedfaste wes & madyn ay
Ib. xxxvi. 187.
Criste of maydine is the birth
14.. Acts I. 53/2.
The fest of Sanct Margaret the madin
c1420 Wynt. v. 4673. Ib. 4838.
Efftyre the byrth … Scho madyne clene was as beforne
a1500 Henr. Annunciation 31. a1500 Seven S. 388.
Bot gif that scho a madin had bene
Ib. 1659. 1560 St. A. Kirk S. 32.
That he knew never of Besse Millar bot sche wes ane maden
1565 Ib. 253.
Sche being ane huyr quhom he belevit to have resavit for ane madyn and virgin to his wyff
b. c1420 Wynt. ii. 145.
That Cryst wes off the madyn borne
Ib. iv. 2663.
That ilk nycht … That madyn Mary bare that byrth
Ib. iv. Prol. 40, Ib. 1424, 2616, v. 2121, etc. a1500 Rauf C, 510. a1550 Ave Gloriosa 56. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvi. 33.
O madyne meik

c. Said of a man, chiefly Malcolm IV ‘the Maiden’. 1494 Loutfut MS. 6 a.
That the … office of armes wes tymes bipast governyt … & exersit be notablis madenys without spot
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 333.
Eftir this David, Malcome his oo was crownit, callit the madyne
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 262/20. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 232. a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 4, 17. 1622-6 Bisset II. 194/9. c1615 Chron. Kings 57. 1620 Reg. Great S. 777/1.
Rex … ratificavit cartam per Malcolmum the maidin regem Scotorum (qui vixit a.d. 1153)

4. Applied to an unmarried heiress or female heritor. Also comb. with air (= heir).(1) c1420 Wynt. viii. 4066.
Fra hys brudyre dowchtris away All thare herytage than tuk he That to thai madynnys fell off fe
1478 Acta Conc. I. 13/1.
Bot be a speciale priuilege of the curtasy of Scotland that is grantit bot anerly to the persons that maryis a maydin & feis the land
(2) 1461 Liber Plusc. I. 325.
Ipsa … domina vocata est the fair madin of Niddisdale
a1578 Pitsc. I. 47/12. Ib. 125/12.
The fair maidin of Galloway
1596 Dalr. II. 63/19. 1622-6 Bisset II. 174/10.
Margarett commounlie called the madin of Norroway
(3) comb. a1538 Abell 76 b.
The madin air of Turbouton and Crukistone

5. a. A female attendant, a lady-in-waiting. Also madyn of honnour, brides maiden. a1400 Leg. S. xlv. 40.
Hir twelfe madynis tald hym sone Hale how his dochtire had done
a1500 Henr. Orph. 94 (Asl.).
Erudices … walkit furth … with a madin in a medow grene
a1500 Seven S. 2758. 1507 Treas. Acc. III. 260.
To the blak lady and hir madinnis
1512 Ib. IV. 428.
To the Quenis blak madin
1566 Treas. Acc. XI. 510.
To Cursale, madin and fame in the Quenis gracis chalmer
1594 Reg. Privy C. V. 152.
[£4000] to the supporte of the apparrelling of hir laydis madynis of honnour, gentilwemen and serving wemen
16.. Hist. Kennedy 24.
To mairy his eldest sone on the Quenis maideyne Jonett Stewartt
1658 R. Moray Lett. 21–3 March.
You say I talk lyke a brides maiden

b. A maidservant, a (young) female domestic servant. a1400 Leg. S. xvii. 191.
Myn dere geste, resawe me thé to, & thi powre madyne nov kepe me
1490 Irland Mir. I. 131/17. 1501 Treas. Acc. II. 105.
To Stobois madin that brocht caponis to the King xiiij s.
1506 Ib. III. 346, 1508 Ib. IV. 108. 1510 Edinb. Hammermen 71.
Gevin in Alane Cochrane hous the last compt makin to the madingis xij d.
a1540 Freiris Berw. 107.
Hir madin than scho send hir on befoir
Ib. 251.
He bad the madin kindill on the fyre
1565 Prot. Bk. G. Grote (S.R.S.) 69. 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 78 a.
My wyfe for her madenes … to pot ane of iii madens avay
1607 Dundonald Par. Rec. 127.

6. The name given to a guillotine which was used in Edinburgh for beheading criminals; also appar. gen. as a common noun, = any instrument of the sort.Said to have been introduced by the Regent Morton: 1644 D. Hume Douglas 356.
[Morton sang a hymn] till the axe (of the Maiden, which he himself had caused make after the patterne which he had seen in Halifax … ) … put an end to his life
1683 Lauder Notices Affairs I. 440.
He who procured letters from the King against others is now … used with the same measure as the Earle of Morton who brought home the heading Maiden to Scotland
Ib. 557. 1565–6 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 504.
For the bering of dailles and pouncheonis … with the gibbett and madin, to mak ane scaffald
To Androw Gottersoun, smyth, for grynding of the madin
1583 Soc. Ant. VII. 553. 1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 345.
To len the mayden to the Lord Borthuik … for executioun of ane man quha hes committet murthure within his lordshipis bounds
1594–5 Misc. Spald. C. V. 119. 1600-1610 Melvill 215.
Provyding they disput be scripture and guid reasone and nocht be … gibet and maden
1618 Shetl. Sheriff Ct. MS. 58.
The pannall to be tane … to the west end of the gairden and thair his head to be dung fra his shoulderis be the maiden
1619 Canongate Hammermen in Bk. Old Edinb. C. XX. 101.
[To be executed by] the instrument callit the maydin
c1650 Spalding II. 390.
Johne Gordon … with ane maiden … wes heidit. The six gentlemen keppit his heid
1647 Soc. Ant. VII. 554.

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"Maidin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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