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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.

Man, n. Also: man(n)e. Plur. men(e, menn(e, mean. [ME. and OE. man(n, plur. men(n.]

1. An adult male human being.a. With special reference to sex. Also used generically. b.With special reference to adult age. c.Without express contrast (and passing into sense 8).a. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 530.
Wemene and mene
Ib. x. 347.
To cople man & vemene
c1420 Wynt. v. 1657.
In mannys wede
Ib. vi. 480.
[She] kythyd hyr as man
c1475 Wall. v. 693.
I wyll no lemman be To no man born
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 301.
Quhen He iunyt the woman with the man
1492 Myll Spect. 274/23. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 42.
Sen ȝe war menis wyffis
Ib. 421. 1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 102.
The man of the hous and wyf, servand or barnes or tenendis
a1568 Scott xxix. 2. 1570 Peebles B. Rec. I. 325.
Quhatsumeuery personis, wemen, mennis wiffis or vtheris
1603 Philotus lxxxi.b. 1509 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 8.
The wachis to be kepit be menne and na laddis
c. (1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 1155.
For thi the man was graithand ay the girne
1387 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. ii.
Betwene worthy men & nobyl
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1523.
This man
Ib. viii. 2974.
Swa lele a mane
1465 Peebles B. Rec. I. 154.
A mannys dawerk
c1475 Wall v. 539.
He was the man … That fyrst compild … the Latyne buk Off Wallace lyff
a1500 Henr. Orph. 385.
The centauris, Half man, half horse
1490 Irland Mir. I. 68/2.
The first man
1490 Treas. Acc. I. 131.
The escheyt gudis of the mennis that sclew Edȝear
1523–4 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 71.
The man that come with James Broun
a1568 Scott ii. 66.
Quhair is my speir? … Sum man go bring it hidder
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 239.
The Dewill in mannis liknes
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 446.
Be the hand of the man Christ
(2) 1494 Loutfut MS. 109 a.
As to thair batellis in special quhilk is within listis man for man
1560 Rolland Seven S. 370.
Thay thankit him … Man eftir man, all seuin

d. In phrases with of, descriptive of a man's qualities, possessions, profession, etc.As man of age, fame, gude, honesté, iniquité, micht, substance, wit, etc., man of armis, craft, kirk, labour, law, office, religioun, were, etc.: see these words. c1420 Wynt. iv. 129.
He was a man off gret felny
1456 Hay I. 281/12.
Approvit men of honour
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2524.
Men of eild in battell fewest slayis
a1568 Henr. Bann. MS. 317 a/302.
This mere is men of contemplatioun
a1500 Bk. Chess 62.
A man of deid
1499–1500 Acta Conc. II. 360.
Robert of Dalȝell, man of househald to the sade Robert

e. With qualifying words in many more or less special combs.As ald, ȝong man, lipperman, haly, cristin, hethin man, kirkman, lawit man, landit man, privat man, grete, small man, bondman, freman, gudeman, odman, ovirman, Francheman, Inglisman, Scottisman, heland-, lawlandman, cottis-, court-, gras-, herring-, houshald-, knok-, schipman, etc., for which see the various first elements.

f. In phrases descriptive of a man's nationality, race, provenance, etc. a1400 Leg. S. x. 127.
Sene thu a manne is of Hebrew
c 1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
Agaynys our will and the mennys of the land
1405 Ib. No. 59.
Yhour men of Inglande … has heryde Lawadyrdalle
1473–4 Treas. Acc. I. 66.
Gevin to the men of North Bervic that fand the Kingis ankeris
a1500 Bk. Chess 1467.
Baltesar was a man of Arabye
1502 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 190.
Ane part of Liddalisdale men

g. In the phrases man and page (boy, knaf, lad), man and syre, man and mother-son, = every man, all of them. 1375 Barb. iii. 755.
Bath man & page Knelyt and maid the King homage
Ib. viii. 508.
The constabill and all the lafe That war thair-in, bath man and knaf, He tuk
c1420 Wynt. viii. 1834 (W).
Baith auld and ȝoung, man and page
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xix. 14.
Thus will thay say, baith man and lad
1513 Doug. viii. iii. 50.
Pepill of Troy To Latyn folkis ennemys, man and boy
Ib. ix. iv. 58.
Sowpyt in wyne and sleip baith man and syre
Ib. xi. vii. 28. Ib. xiii. x. 26.
The Troian pepill … page, man or syre
1683-4 Dick Testim. ii.
It were our duty, man and mother-son, from the highest to the lowest

h. In the vocative or parenthetically, usually implying familiarity, condescension, contempt or impatience. c1420 Wynt. viii. 5275.
And he, as burdand, sayd smethely, ‘Man, will thow have off me justyng?’
a1500 Bernardus 125.
Ber thé, man, ewynli To thi nychbowr
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxv. 62.
‘Wo is me,’ quod scho, ‘quhair will ȝe, man?’
a1538 Abell 124 b.
Fy apone ȝow man ȝe ar na worth
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1546 (Bann.).
‘This may suffyice for our rewardis.’ ‘Ȝe that it may man’
Ib. 3375. a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 538 (L).
Allace, man, thy cais, man, In langerring I lament
1600 Acts IV. 206/1.
[K. James to Alex. Ruthven:] As tuicheing ȝour fatheris deid man I wes bot ane minor
1600 in Calderwood VI. 156.
‘I had nather God nor the devill, man, before my eyes,’ said the King [James VI], ‘but my owne defence’

2. A woman's husband.Also John Thomson's man, q.v. a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 450.
Quhare is my dere lord & my mane?
Ib. xxx. 637, xxxviii. 498. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1070.
All wemen … Suld to thair men subjectit be
1567 G. Ball. 188.
God send euerie preist ane wyfe And euerie nunne ane man
1569-73 Bann. Mem. 216.
The wyfe beand … als bussie as the man

3. A lord's liege man or vassal; also, in wider sense, a protégé or dependant.Also Lege man n.Also plur., a lord's dependants, his vassals and tenants. 1375 Barb. x. 766.
Then he become the Kingis man
Ib. i. 417, etc. a1400 Leg. S. xii. 127.
Judas thane be-come his mane & mad his dwelling vith hym thane
1389 Reg. Cambuskenneth 260.
The forsaid Robert nyit that he was man to the said abbot, na till him na feance maid
c1420 Wynt. v. 4705.
For to becum the Devillis man
1420 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 181. 14.. Acts I. 69/2.
That na bischop … borow ony man as his awin man … bot gif [etc.]
1446 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 405. c1450-2 Howlat 609. 1456 Hay I. 103/31, etc. 1456–70 Liber Aberbr. 106. 1468 Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 4 (4 Jan.).
That he was na man to Wat Lindesay
a1500 Henr. Fab. 574 (B).
I but mete or fee Salbe ȝour man and servand for ane ȝeir
c1475 Wall. iii. 31. c 1466–80 Letter from Lord Hamilton MS.
Plesit ȝou to wyt that a speciall man of myn callit Jhon Atkynson … disponys to vesye the sege of Rome
1492 Fam. Rose 157. 1580 Douglas Chart. 279. 1594 Acts IV. 72/2. 1597 R. Bruce in Wodrow's Life 186.
He hounded out his man, the parson of Crawford John, to seek my living
1600 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxxvi.
[He] vas ald Manderstonis man for deid and lyf
plur. 1388 Slater Early Sc. Texts. No. 12. 1397 Ib. No. 34.
We sal manteyn hir hir men hir landys and al hir possessons
1471 Maxwell Mem. I. 184.
His barnis, his kyn, his men, and his anerdance
1497–8 Acta Conc. II. 129.
[Gif] thar men servandis or ony utheris … brekis ony punct
1506 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 693.
The said lord and his successouris men seruandis tennandis kyne frendis
1512 Rep. Elphinstone Mun. 9/2.

4. Chiefly plur. A chieftain's or leader's troops, followers or retainers; fighting men.Also sing. A member of a party of troops, a fighting man.plur. 1375 Barb. ii. 55.
Quhen … his men eftir him askit thai
Ib. v. 110. Ib. 365. Ib. vi. 404.
Thrill-wall … Gert arme his men
Ib. ix. 201.
A ful gret cumpany Of men arayit iolely
Ib. x. 61. xiv. 302, 320, xv. 479, xix. 245. 1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
Lange befor the bryning of Berwike yhour men com within [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. v. 707.
All his men he luwyd for-thi In all tyme till oys rybaldry
c1475 Wall. ix. 219. 1513 Doug. ix. xii. 118.
Hys maner … Was forto syng … Men and stedis, knychted, wer and stryve
sing. a1500 Rauf C. 12.
Mony stout man steiris Of town with the king
c1475 Wall. ix. 1201.
Send furth a man, thair horsis put to kep

5. a. A manservant. b. An assistant workman employed by a ‘master’ tradesman. 1488 Treas. Acc. I. cclxxxviii.
To a man of lady Margaretis
1498 Acta Conc. II. 291.
Crukit Adam Scot Jhone Atkin his man
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 19.
To serve and leif in beggartie To man and maistir is baith schame
1505 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 103.
Euery seruand that is feitt man to the maisteris of the said craft
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 349.
[Wages:] Johne Newman masoun, William Brison man
1535 Stewart 9.
Sic maister ay sic man
c 1608 Elphinstone Chart. 181.
Nather I nor my man can speall weill
1621 Fraserburgh Kirk S. I. 124 (11 July).
John Stewin … confessit that his man John Wat ȝid to the sand … to gather bait
1631 Ib. II. 15 June.
The minister reportit that he sould caus Patrik Nobill satisfie for he is now his man

6. fig. Applied to a lady's lover. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxiv. 6.
Ȝour man am I
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 956.
Madame … Help me, ȝour man that is forlorne

7. A male child, a boy. a1578 Pitsc. I. 407/10.
The king inquyrit ‘wither it [the baby] was man or woman’
1651 Burnett Fam. P.
Education … to be given them gratis … unpaying any thing therfor to the masteris of the man's school or to the mistresses of the woman's school

8. A human being, perh. apprehended as primarily denoting the adult male human but appar. applicable to any age or sex; a person, an individual. a. sing. b. Indefinite sing., without the article.Also all, ilk, mony, na, ony man, etc.: see these adjs. Mannis mete, see Horsmete n.a. c1420 Ratis R. 1660.
Quhar-euir a manis tresoure ware
1456 Hay I. 86/21. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2480.
Am I nothing bot a man as ȝe
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2839.
Thow suld not juge ane man efter his face
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4558.
I am expart … Of euerie vaine within a mannis bodie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 25/1.
He haid beine ane man of singular guid wit and manheid bot he hantit proud and vngodiie menis counsallis
b. 1375 Barb. i. 226.
Fredome mays man to haiff liking, Fredome all solace to man giffis
Ib. 251.
Gyff man bad his thryll owcht do
Ib. vi. 761. Ib. xiii. 27.
Thar mycht man her [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 662.
Sa wes the stynke of dede man than, That It confwndyt mony mane
Ib. xvi. 8.
Hale mane has of leche na ned
Ib. xxiv. 261.
He of mane lowe wald nane [L. humanam gloriam fugiens]
Ib. xxix. 149.
To succoure hyme I be-com man
c 1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 247.
A lech laid on ilke syde with mannys handis
1456 Hay I. 38/27.
And thare was the first quhete that ever was sawin with man
Ib. II. 156/9.
Dispris never man for his law estate
a1568 Gyre-carling 4.
Ane grit gyre carling … That levit vpoun Christiane manis flesche
1596 Dalr. I. 41/1. 1618 Sc. Brigade in Holland (S.H.S. i. 32) I. 290.
Never man died of one les strok

c. plur. Persons, people. d. Passing into use as an indefinite pron.: = One.c. 1375 Barb. i. 583.
And wys mennys etling Cummys nocht ay to that ending That [etc.]
Ib. v. 316.
For that men suld nocht him ken
Ib. xi. 126.
Men mycht se than that had beyn by [etc.]
Ib. i. 17, iv. 735, 748, viii. 168. a1400 Leg. S. x. 133.
The haly spyrit … gerte vs con al menys lede
Ib. xxix. iii. Ib. i. 218.
Sum men sais it is to lak That [etc.]
1380 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 3.
Wit al men ws Robert Erle of Fyf … til have heicht [etc.]
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 1073.
Euil won gude to gar men giue agane
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvi. 49.
Flattereris in to menis facis
1570 Sat. P. xxiv. 64.
Thocht men throw murther mene to mount on hicht
a1578 Pitsc. I. 143/30.
By all meanis expectatiounis
1598 Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 210 (12 May).
Ve ar in al menis mouthe for the same
d. 1375 Barb. x. 85.
That men in na place mycht it [water] pas
Ib. xvii. 387.
Quhar men pressit mast he maid Succoure till his that myster had
Ib. xix. 215 (E).
Than men mycht her men gret
Ib. i. 466, ii. 506, iv. 729, xi. 20, etc. a1400 Leg. S. xxxviii. 464.
He bad men suld … strik fra thame lym eftir lyme
1456 Hay II. 124/26.
Sleping before thy mete with a voyde stomak makis men lene and dry
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3282.
Mony in the sey men mycht se droun
a1500 Rauf C. 46.
Men callis me Rauf Coilȝear
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) No. 625.
Men goes over the dyke at the laichest

9. Man, or, men, generically or collectively, as opposed to other orders of being, esp. the divine order; mankind, humanity. a. sing. b. plur. c. vocative sing.Chiefly without article, but Irland also has the man, men.a. a1400 Leg. S. iii. 347.
Crucifite for heile of man
Ib. 877.
To God and mane
Ib. ix. 68.
He cane … vndirstand al leyd of mane
c1420 Wynt. i. Prol. 99. 1456 Hay I. 67/30.
The first juge that ever was ordanyt amang mannis sonis
Ib. 188/11.
Redemptour of Cristin man
Ib. 298/31.
Quhen God him self has … tane mannis flesch
Ib. II. 157/9. c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 180. c1475 Wall. iii. 10.
Fyscheis … Till mannys fude
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1637. Ib. 2209.
Man and beist, and fische in to the see
1490 Irland Mir. I. 59/3.
The saule of mane
Ib. 93/34.
The iniure … that the man committit agane the diete
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 483.
The Sone of Man … Cum … to jugement agane
1559–60 St. A. Kirk S. 19. 1560 Bk. Disc. 248.b. c1450-2 Howlat 29.
Mendis and medicyne for mennis all neidis
1490 Irland Mir. I. 5/12.
To gouerne the waurld, the hevin, the erd, the angellis, the men [etc.]
Ib. 99/30.
The hevin for the angellis, the erd for mene
1549 Compl. 1/11.
The … affligit pepil, quhilkis ar al mast disparit of mennis supple
1551 Hamilton Cat. 56.
Be mennis afflictionis and contradictionis thai leir wisdome, be mennis hattred and malice thai grow in lufe
a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. lxix. 103.
Throw quhois blude … for men ran reid
c. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 984.
Now man behald thi maker immortale
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xi. 2.
Think man thow art bot erde and as
1567 G. Ball. 134.

10. a. In pregnant sense: A person fully endowed with manly or human qualities. 1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 25/117, 8, 9.
For euen as humane fury maks the man Les then the man; so heauenly fury can Make man pas man
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 303.
Thou art termit be thy saull, and the saull properlie makis ane man to be ane man; it is the cheif part of man and the bodie [etc.]
Ib. 307.
He is not estemit ane man in thir dayis that will not hazard … his life for ane evil cause

b. Our auld, new man, the unregenerate and regenerate parts of one's nature. 1567 G. Ball. 146.
The haly spreit, … Quhilk may our auld man mortifie, That our new man may leue

c. To be that man, appar. = to be insane. 1642 Thanes of Cawdor 290.
We heir the laird is noe that man and yet his owine brother will euer haue him to be that man

11. transf. a. With a qualifying word: A ship.Also French(e)man n. 3. 1548–51 Misc. Spald. C. V. 52.
To the boitt of Villeam Dauidsone … , that past on a fremen man, 2 s. Item, to Johne Baxter, that past on ane Hamburght man, 2 s., … to pas on ane Norroway man

b. A chessman. 1585 Perth B. Ct. 10 Sept.
Ane chaker with tabill men

c. The man in the moon. a1603 Anc. Prophecies 6.
When the man in the moone is most in his might, Then [etc.]

12. Attrib. and comb., in both sing. and plur. form. a. In sense 8: = For persons, passenger-. b. In sense 9: = Human. c. In sense 1: = (1) For adult males, men's (shoes); (2) of the male sex, male.Also Man-barne, -bute, -child, -etar, -miln, etc.a. 1552 Perth Guildry 286 (15 July).
That he … suld nocht pay na maner of mane frauch nor boit frauch of the saidis gudis ay and quhill [etc.]
1631 Stirling's Royal Lett. II. 527.
To trade and traffique … with ther schips, menboatts and merchandice … about these parts of America
b. 1597 James VI Dæmonol. 61.
Which signifieth men-woolfes
1632 Lithgow Trav. 463.
O strange inhumanity of men-monster manglers
c1650 Spalding II. 125.
Thair cam to Abirdene ane Italian man monster
c. (1) 1618 Inverness Rec. II. 153.
That the cordenars sell the luggit men schoin for 10 s.
(2) 1640 Cuningham Journal 24.
[Charles I] is even the hundreth and eight man-king of Scots
1657 Cramond Cullen Ann. 47.
The best man huick sall have onlie in tyme of harvest £5 … , the best woman huick £3

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"Man n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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