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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.

Missive, a. Also: misive, missiwe, -yve, -eive, myssive; mes(s)ive, -eiv(e; also Messay bill. [e.m.E. myssyve (1466), -ywe, myssif, missive, only with letter: cf. F. lettre missive (1521 in Hatz.-Darm.), med. L. litteræ missivæ, f. L. miss- p.p. stem of mittere to send.]

a. Missive letter, letter missive, b. missive writing, c. missive bill, = Missive n.a. (1) 1570 Southesk MSS. 12.
Becaus thes causes are of grit wecht … and cannot be weill treatit be missyve lettres
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 49.
The said erle … hes at last, by diverse his missive lettres, … manifested [etc.]
1590 Dundee B. Laws 512.
The acceptatioun of this our present missive letteir wnto ȝour wisdomis is beweling … this opressit … present estait of craift
1597 Logie Par. Hist. 50.
Ane misseive letter direct … to this presbyterie
1606 Reg. Privy C. VII. 194. c1650 Spalding II. 20.
Generall Leslie had writtin … to the … estaites of parliament … ane missive letter … ordanit to be send to all the burrowis and parochins of Scotland
(b) 1580–1 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 197.
Ane lettre mesive to be derect to the prouest, baillies and counsall of Linlithgow
(2) 1574 Reg. Privy C. II. 419.
Quhairupoun the said complenar menit him to my Lord Regentis grace and obtenit his missive letter requiring the saidis provest and baillies to suffer him peciablie remane within the said burgh
1578 Conv. Burghs I. 53.
That myssiue letteris sall be direct be Edinburch, Dunde and Aberdene to the conseruatour commanding him [etc.]
1603 Moysie 58. 1615 Highland P. III. 245.
The chancellar produced two missiue letters wrotten from his maiestie
a1650 Row (Bann. C.) 63. 1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 30.
The clerk … presented a draught of ane act appointed to be drawne in obedience to his majesties missive letter
plur. 1614 Bk. Islay 185.
Upon aucht dayis warneing, or be his missive letteris to be direct and sent to thame
(3) 1676 Irvine Mun. II. 276.
Conform to the messeive letter now sent to Irwin thair is debursed since Julye 1676 … 4760 lib. Irwins proportioun thairof is [£33/13/4d.]
(4) 1568 Reg. Privy C. I. 641.
Ane silver box … with all missive lettres, contractis or obligationis for mariage, sonets or luif ballettis … send … betuix the Quene … and … Erll Boithuile
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 89.
A promisse or offer be a missive letter susteined, notwithstanding the promise wes never accepted bot refuised
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 271.
I know that missive letters go between the devil and young blood
1678 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 277 (21 Sept.).
The said Bailly Livingstoune finding himselfe layable in payment of the said soume … did reqweist me to send to him the said David Goldie his said misive letter and obligatorie letter grantid be himself
1681 Decis. Lords F. 4.
In Aldies charter chest there was a missive letter importing a discharge which was lost
1681 Stair Inst. i. x. § 9. 97.
Though the buyer by a missive letter wrote that he thought he would not be able to furnish the money
Ib. iv. xlii. § 15. 712.
Missive letters are probative except where they relate to more solemn writs such as bonds, bills or accounts
1686 Lauder Notices Affairs II. 757.
The lords fand them liable to pay a bill of 154 lb. sterling on a missive letter writ by them
b. 1518 Acta Conc. MS. XXXI. 126.
Ane missive wryting send fra [etc.]
1564 Reg. Privy C. I. 283.
As thai sal be warnit and adverteist … be his lettres of missyve writtingis
Heirupoun wer lettres direct and als missyve writtingis to this same effect send to [etc.]
1577 Ib. II. 649.
Coline Erll of Ergyle directit his missive writting, desyring the said Johnne to repair unto him
c. (1) a1578 Pitsc. II. 112/10.
He was heidit [etc.] … and this was done all for sending of ane nissiwe bill in Ingland
1609 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 108/11/1.
For cognosching of the lard of Restelrigis hand wryit and subscriptioun of the fyue missiue billis producit
(2) 1522 Acta Conc. MS. XXXIII. 28 b.
The missiue bill producit be Maister Robert Talbroucht in the Quenis name
1562 Treas. Acc. XI. 208.
To ane boy passand of Abirdene witht … certane missive billis direct to the comptar clerkis to caus be execute
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. ci. 46.
Quha wald haue for ane missiue bill Obeyit the authorite And cwmit at my lord regentis will
1615 Highland P. III. 228.
Ansueris gevin in be the burrowis … to the missiue bill send to theme from his maiesties counsall
(3) 1561 Reg. Privy C. I. 181.
The charter party and the missive billis and cocquet of the said schip
1579–80 Ib. III. 256.
Missive bill of Houstoun and New Work
(b) 1574 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 257.
Togidder with ane messiue bill writin and subscriuit with the hand of the said George Gordoune
1611 Scrymgeour Invent. 25.
Copie of the courtis of the landis of Gleistrie, with certane messive billis

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"Missive adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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