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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.

Marchand, Merchand(e, n. and a. Also: marchande, -schand, -cheand, -chiand, -chyand, -chant, -chaunt; merschand, mertchand, mercheand, -chaund, -chant(t, -cheant, -chiant, -chaunt, merichantt, merschent; marchawn, merchan; mairchand, -chantt, -cheant, mairtchand, -tchant, mayrchand; mearchand. [ME. and e.m.E. marchaunt (c 1290), -a(u)nd, -ant, merchant(14–15th c.), marchan (Caxton), OF. marchëant, marchand.]As the first syllable is freq. written with the scribal abbreviation and editorial practice in expanding this varies, the dating and distribution of the forms in mar- and mer- is somewhat uncertain (as is the case with other words in mar- and/or mer-).

A. n. 1. A merchant; a trader or dealer. Also fig.Appar. applied to anyone whose occupation was buying and selling for profit goods not manufactured or produced by himself, whether or not he was actively engaged in trading abroad or at a distance or simply as a local dealer or shop-keeper (and see b below).Occas. also = a member of the merchant guild of a burgh, including those of other occupations than merchant (see espec. d below).To play the merchant, to engage (improperly or presumptuously) in the business of a merchant: see Play v.Also merchant (= dealer, trader) of (= in) (a certain commodity). Also fig.See also hors-merchant, Hors n. 3 b.(1) 1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 389.
Lankyn Wist, marchand of Brugis
c1420 Wynt. ii. 382. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 34 (B).
That na strange marchand sal by wol or hyde … bot fra a burges
1456 Hay I. 78/26.
The tane lufis the marchandis and labouraris, and the tothir rybauldis and hasardouris
Ib. 239/3.
And the mychtyest marchand in London passit in pilgrymage to Rome [etc.]
a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. xxxii. 6.
The marchand sweiris mony aithe That newer man saw better clayth Na fynnar silk cum our the se
Id. Tua Mar. W. 296. 1515 Treas. Acc. V. 53.
That nether marchand nor marinar suld saill without licence
1525 Wigtown B. Ct. II. 184 b.
The marchyand to cum of bourd
1543–4 Corr. M. Lorraine 68.
Large report cumin in this partis be dyvers marchandis that [etc.]
1544 Perth Guildry 219.
That merschandis be chosin auditouris to the gild comptis and na vtheris except craftis men that ar gild brethir And pais thairfor thair dewiteis to the haly bluid altar as marschandis dois
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 199.
Had we with Ingland kepit our contrackis … Our marchandis had nocht lost so mony packis
1557 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 27/1. a1568 Bann. MS. 80 a/17.
Marchandis of louker takis bot littill hede
a1578 Pitsc. I. 226/10. c1650 Spalding I. 347. 1677 Aberd. Council Lett. VI. 106.
One John Gordone youngar merchand in Aberdeen … one John Gordon older marchand likewyse in your toun
(b) 1363 Rot. Sc. 876/2.
Gregorius Marchaunt burg. de Dunbretayn
1521 Douglas Corr. 77.
A bark and v marchantis shippes … lay within the kee at Leith
1564 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 499/1. 1596 Dalr. II. 252/20. 1606 Glasgow Merchants House 86.
Amongest the equallitie of marchaunts and crafts in the government of the town
1638 Blairs P. 120.
To send this … be some of our Aberdeen marchants that comes ouer with thair salmon to Diep
1661 Conv. Burghs III. 544.(c) 1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 58.
A barge of werre garnyst with Inglischmen … [has] … tha merchandis spoleit of that schip & al thaire gudis
1424 Acts II. 8/1.
1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 397. 1450 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 12.
That all merchands fra hyne furth sell irne [etc.] … be wecht
1456 Hay II. 95/7. Ib. I. 262/19.
Throu the quhilk repair of merchaundis, realmis ar … richit
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1253 (Bann.). 1482 Edinb. Chart. 146.
We Walter prouest, burgesses, merchandis and commouns of … Edinburgh
a1500 Bk. Chess 53. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxii. 38. 1518 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 183.
Reulis and statutis … for the commone weill of the haill merchandis of this realme alsweill beyond the sey as on this syde
1523 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 445.
For the mispersoning of … the merchandis … in calling of thame coffeis
1535 Stewart 59989.
Riche merschandis als and mony husband man
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 177.
Ilk maner of persone merchandis craftismen and all vtheris occupyaris of buith or chalmeris in the he-gait
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxxi. 22.
Till haue bene merchand bigane mony ȝeir In Handwarp, Burges and the toun of Berrie
1574 Conv. Burghs I. 33.
That nane be ressauit in gyld brothir bot sic as hes beine … prenteissis … to ane fre merchand, trafiquar of merchandice
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 507.
If a man knew what wald be dear he wald be but merchant for a year
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 16.
Orne Mair, Duche merschand … exponit that he had remanit a lang space merschand at the said port
1615 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 164.
Dauid Murray and John Kellie merchandis to the Ile of Man
1617 Conv. Burghs III. 47. 1619 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 172, 3. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 38.
1643 Elgin Rec. I. 280. 1673 Lauder Notices Affairs I. 66. 1674 Cunningham Diary 48.
My compts with merchands, tailors, shoomakers and apothrs, 195.5.10
(d) 1482 (1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 41. 1518 Ib. 181.
That na merchant … sell ony floure in small bot in greit
? 15.. Dunb. To London 45.
Riche be thy merchauntis in substaunce that excellis
1564 Warrender P. I. 37.
The … mercheantis trafficqueing in the eist seis
1565–6 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 216.
Alexander Uddart merichantt
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 7.
A toome purse makes a bleat merchant
1619 Elgin Rec. II. 161.
Fyve merkis … to furneis licht to the mercheantis hers
1631 Linlithgow B. Rec. 30 Sept.
Ane guid pairt of the counsellouris ar merchantis and some of thame ar oft absent at the seale
1670 Wodrow Hist. (1721) I. 132.
Liable to the … penalties following … every considerable merchant, in twelve pounds Scots; every inferior merchant, and considerable tradesman in six pounds Scots
1701 Acts X. 235/2.
The merchants and trades halls
(e) c1420 Wynt. viii. 5663.
Thai feyhnyd that thai war marchawns, That come thare off thaire awyne chawns Owte of Ingland wyth qwhete and wyne
1468 Smit Bronnen I. ii. 1019.
That na Scotis merchans sall labor with na guddis na saill with na schepis [etc.]
1576 Orkney Oppress. 64.
At the cowp settein of everie schip and merchannis wairis thairoff
(f) 1565–6 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 216.
James Nisbett, mairchantt … wes maid burges and gyld brother
1596 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 14.
Ye know what it is for ane yung mairtchand to tyn his credit at fourst
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI. 7.
Having given oute himself for ane honnest maircheant in the cuntrey of France
c1615 Chron. Kings 80.
Tane ane schip … and also had slayne sum of the mairtchandis and the marinell
1616 Melrose P. 263.
Thair wes a nomber of rid hering maid at Dunbar be certane maircheantis of this burgh
1622 Misc. Bann. C. II. 245.
John McNacht, mairchand
(g) a1578 Pitsc. I. 267/22.
I compair ȝour lordschips to ane honest mearchand quho wald … go to the dyce
(2) 1615 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 184.
Idle persones quha leaveing service gives themselffis to traffik and play the merchand and attends the repairing of shipps
(3) 1456 Hay I. 135/29.
A marchand of hors and harnes
1502 Treas. Acc. II. 153.
To the merchand of wynnes
1533 Bell. Livy II. 74/27.
He was ane riche merchand of victalis
fig. c1460 Regim. Princ. 108 (Fairf.).
Gret cuvatys is merchande [Marchmont MS. has marchand] of justys & euer is redy law to sell & by
1562-3 Winȝet I. 7/21.
The inventaris, nurissaris and simoniacall merchandis of the samyn mischeif

b. spec. A (more or less petty) itinerant salesman; a travelling packman. 1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 57.
We merchandis all, that with our merchand pakkis Did trauell ay fra towne to towne to fairis
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 61.
The haill inhabitantis … to buy catecheis as lang as the merchantis ar in the toun
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Pedepulverosus.
Ane pedder is called an marchand or creamer quha bearis ane pack or creame vpon his back
1665 Cullen Kirk S. 6 Aug.
Given to a poor merchant whose pack was robed from him … 30s.
(1682) Wodrow Hist. III. 402.
Thomas Greg, merchant in Carrick, … was upon the high road with his pack, following his calling

c. Attrib. Of, belonging or pertaining to a merchant or merchants.Also Marchand-buthe n.(1) 1454–5 Edinb. Chart. 81.
[He] sal nouthyr lat pakkyn na pelyn be vsit in Leth na nane vthir merchand craft
1492 Acta Conc. I. 221/1.
Aucht to the said vmquhile Sir Patrik as is contenit in his merchand buk
1536 Kirkwall Chart. 14.
Hereȝeldis bluidwitis mercatori exitus lie merchand unlawes
1559 Inverness Rec. I. 29.
The ressett of vij dakyr benokis conforme to hys merchand byll
c1578 Reid Swire 115.
After they had turned backs [etc.] … And had not been the merchant packs There had been mae of Scotland slain
1588 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 126.
Whatsomever action of merchandize … alswell for debt and wtherwys tending to ane merchand steik ony manner of way
1621 Conv. Burghs III. 113.
Ane constant custome … of the saids mercattis, viz., … for euerie fute of length of ane merchand stand, tua pennyes
1653 Edinb. Test. LXVII. 96 b.
The said boy to be keipit at scools or put to the merchand trad
1658 Rothesay B. Rec. 25.
To pay James Rasyde merchant for merchant coumptis [£7. 17s.]
1678 Douglas Bequest II. 15 Mar.
That litle merchand schop … upon the west syd of the gait
(2) 1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 186.
Jhone Peblis, merchant, to cary … to … Peblis his merchant kist with the guidis … thairin
1593 Brechin Test. I. 113 b. 1613 Conv. Burghs II. 395.
For caryeing of ilk merchand kist frome the ship to any factour hous or consergerie gritt or small, v gritt

d. Appositive. That is a merchant or a member of the merchant guild; that consists of merchants.Also Marchand-gyld, -man.(1) 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 559.
By one Thomas Nycolson marchant tailleour [of London]
1676 Misc. Bann. C. II. 282.
Christopher Pitts marchand taillȝer
1598 Misc. 3 Spald. C. II. 5.
His ȝoungest sone callit Beroald Cuming merchand traveler in Pruse
1692 Edinb. Test. Index II. 10.
James Alison, merchant-traveller betwixt Scotland and England
1618 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 162.
The merchand tredderis in these partis
c1650 Spalding II. 122.
Chargeing all burgessis merchand tredderis to … obey Schir Williame Dik
1653 Edinb. Test. Index II. 156.
Robert Gilchryst, merchant-trafficker in Barbados
1613 Dundee B. Laws 409.
Jhonn Dunkin … , merschent burges of Dundie
1625 Justiciary Cases. I. 29.
Wm. M'Gowne, burges of Dumfries and Jon M'Kie mercheand burges
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 43. 1665 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 6 Sept.
John Martaine merchand burgess of Drumfries
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 273.
The merchant prenteis … to pay at his entrie … thretty shillings
1595 St. A. Kirk S. 808.
That na mercheand dreipar [etc.] … sell ony mercheandeis … on the sabboth day
1599 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 261.
Gif the vesetouris … vesetis nocht the saidis skynnis before the said hour, it salbe lesum to the merchand byar to tak thame away
1605 Glasgow Chart. I. i. dcviii.
The deane of gild sall be alwayis ane mercheand, and that ane mercheand sailer or mercheand venturer, and of the rank of mercheand
1656 Douglas Bequest IV. 16 Feb.
Johne Grasfurd mairtchant bailȝie and burges of the burgh of Cupar
1666-74 Fraser Polichron 52.
William was a marchant venterer
1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 233.
Merchant councellers Lowrence Adingstoune baxter … and Alexander Bullerwall cordiner … treds councellers William Hamiltoun tailyior … and Patrick Graham skinner
1677 Ib. 302.
The companies of merchant and treds youths
1680 Edinb. Marriages 324.
1681 Edinb. Surgeons II. 238.
The Companie of Merchand Retailers of the cittie of Edinburgh
1684 Proclamation Anent Persons Denunced Fugitives for Rebellion 1679.
James Tod merchant chapman, now in Lanerk
plur. 1592 Conv. Burghs I. 386.
For the leittis of the bailleis, the four present bailleis, and … sax of the saidis mercheandis traffectaris
1622 Ib. III. 129.
The agent to tak tryell of Jhonne Gib, [etc.] … wha war thair marchands frauchters
(2) 1596 Conv. Burghs I. 482.
The ancient liberteis of the merchand estait
1605 Glasgow Chart. I. i. dcix.
The deane of gild his counsall of the mercheand rank
1693 Glasgow Bakers 38.
The … dean of gild and his bretherine for themselves and in name of the haill merchant rank
1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 107.
Ane difference amongis the stentaris of this brughe … anent the … proportion betwixt heretage and merchand traid
1658 Conv. Burghs III. 460.
Abussis comittit be the present magistratis, consisting for the most pairt all of treadsmen, against the merchand tread

2. a. With the possess. my or our: The merchant whom one has appointed as one's agent to make purchases on one's behalf.In the proverbial phrase one's eye being one's merchant, = making a purchase on one's own appraisal and responsibility (cf. L. caveat emptor).(1) 1450 Smit Bronnen I. 880.
We exhort yhou effecteusli, that yhe will serch … quhare the said gudis ar, and mak thaime be deliverit to oure marchande, … in oure naime
1551 Hamilton Cat. 99.
Quha … begylis him [his neighbour] at his marchandis hand
(2) 1673 Fountainhall in M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. III. 34.
Esto the horse had been insufficient, sibi imputet, his eye being his merchant

b. ? A trader or shop-keeper whose customer one is. 1618 Haddington Corr. 137.
Seing my marchandis duangis me so … with the comprysingis … and arrestments vpone my holle landis

c. A merchant who has chartered one's ship; the supercargo of a ship. 1589-1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 73 a.
Reseuet for my ly dayes of my marchant ine the Rochell xii crounis
1600 Dundee Shipping P. 67.
The mayrchand
1682 Smout Sc. Trade 294.
Roger Lawrie … is to goe merchand in the said ship to Dansick

B. adj. (chiefly in attrib. use).

1. Having relation to the business of a merchant or of merchants; relating to, or engaged in, trade or commerce; trading, mercantile, commercial.(1) 1375 Barb. xix. 193.
Marchand schippis that saland war Fra Scotland to Flandris
c1650 Spalding I. 269.
The English schippis beginis to tak our merchand schippis and haue thame to Bervick
Ib. 332.
Oure marchand Scottis schippis
(2) 1596 Dalr. I. 45/23.
A famous merchand toun quhais name is Elgin
1684 Symson Descr. Galloway 112.
Kirkcudbright, being a good merchant toune
(3) 1608 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 135.
The post maisters betuix Londoun and Edinburght, to tak the merchant pakkat, to be saiflie delyuerit
1638 Rothes Affairs Kirk 102.
These articles being drawne, it was not thoght fitt to committ them to ordinarie cariers or the merchant packet
(4) a 1568 Sat. P. xlvi. 60.
Now is my pretty pynnege reddy Abydand on sum merchand blok
1600 Conv. Burghs II. 81.
[No one] to be thair deyne of gild without he be ane merchand traffickquand, and habill to discus vpoun merchand billis and merchand caussis
1614 Melrose P. I. 129.
Thair outred for the Northe fisheing wes of the nature of ane maircheant voyage, subiect to the lyke hasaerd … as ony foreyne outred
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 335.
To the hinderance of the sext pairt of the merchant tred in that kynd
1647 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 131.
I haveing … examined the saids merchand weight with the trew weights of the mint

2. Of commodities: That are bought and sold, or, that are for selling; marketable.Also Marchand-gere, -gude, -ware. 1514 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 153.
To warn … all men … that … sellis wyne or vther merchand stuf within the said toun of Leyth … to compeir [etc.]
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II. 26.
For ic and a half of merchand dailles at 1 lib. ilk hundereth
1644 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII. 50.
Certane merchand commodities consisting of linoun and wollen cloath
1633 (1711) Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 41.
Because the Dutch and Hamburgh merchants were used to lye there and make merchant fishes

b. That is fit for selling, saleable, merchantable. = Marchandabill a.Also in predic. use.(1) 1527 Wigtown B. Ct. 250 b.
Coft ane schip of Gascone vyne gud and marchiand fra ane marchyand of Sant Maloys
(2) 1643 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. ii.
Ellewin scoir bolls ferme meill [etc.] … guid and sufficient merchand stuff weill dichtit [etc.]
1647 Burnett Fam. P.
Tuo bolles of malt guid & sufficient merchiant stuffe

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"Marchand n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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