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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.

Male, Mail(l, n.2 Also: maile, meal(l. [North. e.m.E. maile (1511), otherwise appar. only Sc., ON. mál time, meal-time: corresp. to ME. mele, meel, e.m.E. meal(e, OE. mǽl id.]

1. A time or occasion for taking food, a meal-time; food taken on such an occasion, a meal or repast. = Melteth n. 1.Meall of meat and drink, id. Also fig. At (the) maill, at a repast, at food taken at a meal-time.(1) c1460 Dietary (S.T.S.) 67.
Betuix malys drink nocht for na plesand delit
c1500 Makc. MS. xiv. 67. 1600-1610 Melvill 147.
Ordinarlie thar, meall about, the students opened upe a chapter
Ib. 699.
To refresche our selffis … with cairdis and uthir games after mailis
1613 Conv. Burghs II. 430.
Euerie maile, noone, and evin, the trynsheour salbe laid doun
1622-6 Bisset II. 256/9.
The marineris of Brytan aucht to have bot ane maill on ane day, … and they of Normandie aucht to have twa maillis of the kitching in the day
1650 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII. 232.
1685 Marchmont P. III. 58.
So as all had a sufficient maile
(2) 1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. 13.
viij s. and ane meall of meat
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 132.
Twelve s. scots for 3 meall of meat and drink to ane [shoe] maker
1679 Ib. No. 286.fig. ?1661-5 M. Bruce Soul-Confirmation 20.
And I tak down the knapsack and I take a 20 years old experience … and I will sit down and take a meal of meat of it
(3) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 215.
The meriest war menskit on mete, at the maill [: saill, vaill, taill]
1637 Wariston Diary I. 274.
Eyther apairt, or at mail in my familie

2. An occasion of milking of a cow or cows, a milking. = Melteth n. 2.e.m.E. meal in the same or a similar sense (1613–). 1697 Donaldson Husbandry Anatomized 86.
Take what milk you have of your kine at one mail

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"Male n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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