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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.

Not, adv. and n. Also: nott. [ME. (14th c.) and e.m.E., reduced f. noght, noȝt (see Nocht n. and adv.). Cf. also Nat adv.Less common before c 1560 when, appar. by influence from English, it becomes more common, though in most texts much less so than Nocht. Some of the earlier instances may possibly be due to editorial misreading of not, the abbreviated form of nocht, and others perh. to scribal miswriting of the same abbreviation; but it also seems possible that some of these early instances may correspond to a genuine spoken variant without the spirant consonant.]

1. adv. Not, in uses of Nocht adv.(1) 1431 Reg. Great S. 45/1.
That thai distroble not the sayd Patrik in [etc.]
1456 Hay I. 172/6.
And ȝit thai wate not forquhy
Ib. 295/2.
For he did not Goddis bidding
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1088.
I dreid not the pereill [etc.]
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 475.
In cace I faill, haue me not at disdenȝe … my leill hart can nocht fenȝe
1558-66 Knox II. 319. Ib. I. 147.
We call hir nott a hoore
a1568 Bann. MS. 258 a/2; etc. 1567 G. Ball. 38.
Gaif thow not … Sa mekle as [etc.]
1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi Sig. B i b.
Thay had it be kynd and coft it not
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxv. 22; etc. 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 153.
Glore not of that quhilk is to cum
1584 Coll. Aberd. & B. 629.
Gif he comme not haym againne
1580-92 James VI Lusus Reg. 25. 1587 Acts III. 439/1. 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 150 b. 1613 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 16 June.
Compeiris not
1615 Ib. 4 Apr.; etc. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 787.
He kenns not a B be a bullfoote
1651 Dickson Matthew 136.
He stood not to abase himself
1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 23.
Whilk keep't not 's pow fra wind and weather
(2) 1386 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 9.
Thai sal not be at tha rydinges
1408 Ib. No. 70.
That he na his ayris salnot mak reuocacioun [etc.]
1456 Hay I. 273/17.
And may not preve it
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 317. Ib. 433. 1531 Bell. Boece xiv. iii (D).
That it micht not be slokin
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3251; etc. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 33/16. 1558-66 Knox II. 295.
And wold nott convene
1567 G. Ball. 111. 1567 Sat. P. V. 41.
Gif sho had not cum in the feild For to defend the tratoure kene
1573 Davidson Ib. xlii. 276. 1575–6 Reg. Privy C. II. 495.
Nochtwithstanding he can not get his assignatioun formit
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxii. 145; etc. c1590 Fowler I. 121/107. 1614 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 2 Oct.
That he hes not fund Techmurie
1634 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 139.
1651 Dickson Matthew 24.
John doth not stand to call [etc.]
Ib. 128.
That men did not stand upon the bar … of ceremonies
1662 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 237.(3) 1456 Hay I. 131/33.
That it aw not tobe, na may nocht be law, be done
1513 Doug. i. viii. 96.
We neid not dreid, sall nocht mak ws efferd
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8926.
Seir diuers thochts that neids not to be schawin
1558-66 Knox II. 383.
(4) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2028.
Bot nocht cummyne of duke nor kynge Ne was not of so hie ofsprynge
1513 Doug. xi. iv. 41.
To thame bene not acquent
1562-3 Winȝet I. 40/19. Ib. 37/11.
That we and ȝe … be not [v.r. nott] repellit fra [etc.]
a1568 Knox II. 419. Bann. MS. p. 25/41. 1570 Sat. P. xviii. 13. 1571 Sempill Ib. xxviii. 32.
I am not sure
a1585 Maitl. Q. xliv. 91. c1590 Fowler II. 27/16.
It is not vnknawin [etc.]
1591 Aberd. B. Rec. I. ix.
Quhilk is not now vsit
1612 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 204.
And … he is nott a fitt man … to menage your rent
1627 Rep. Parishes 6. 1650 Maxwell Mem. I. 356.
They were not the better of ill neighbouris
1669 Cullen Kirk S. 5 Dec.
Becaus his sonne is not right in his wits
(5) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 896.
In mappamond the maik is not perchance
(6) 1589 Cal. Sc. P. X. 174.
Uarr not the inconsiderat importunitie of this Maister of Glammes
1614 Crim. Trials III. 289.
War not I
(7) a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 493.
Not clene na curius
1513 Doug. ix. vii. 160. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 11/5.
Quhilk thing not cumande to passe
1587 Carmichael Etym. 37.
Nihili, not worth [etc.]
1598 Paisley B. Rec. 88.
All passengeris … nott fremen
1624 Linlithgow B. Rec. 7 May.
He came to the said baillies hous not send for
1634 Sharpe Witchcraft 109.
She is called not luckie
1649 Sc. N. & Q. i Ser. III. 122.
That she was not cannie
1685 Meikle Old Session Bk. 223.
[He was] not ueill
a1686 Turner Mem. 150.
That not any thing … sould be imbecelled
1695 Burnett Fam. P.
Renunceing the exceptione of not numerat money, oath of pairtie and all other objectiones
(8) 1571 Cal. Sc. P. III. 578.
Notsomikle as til be obeyit of his awin living
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xii.
To the not so bad
(9) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 316/1.
Chargin him to curs Balaac and not the Jowis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1339. 1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 4 July.
Callit … & not compeirand
(10) 1558-66 Knox I. 223.
Nott two payre of boot lenthis
1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 78.
Nott ane halff myll
(11) 1570 Sat. P. x. 349.
Not only lufit he vprychteousnes
1575–6 Reg. Privy C. II. 496. 1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix. 1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 312.
(12) 1513 Doug. iv. iii. 39.
Les the fatis … Nor Jupiter consent not ne aggre That [etc.]

2. Placed before nouns, freq. comb.Cf. Nocht B 11 and Non-.a. With verbal nouns and nouns of action or state.(1) 1571 Bann. Memor. 158.
Thy not acceptioun of my offeris
c1590 Fowler II. 122/19.
To contenew the not observing off the same [promises]
1603 Moysie xviii.
Our dalie travelling hes bene the caus of the not returne of ansuer
1603 Southesk MSS. 13.
In respect of the schortnes of tyme and ȝour not preparatioun
1613 Edinb. Test. XLVII. 244 b.
I leiue him ane quoy becaus of his not provisioune
1638 Elgin Rec. II. 233.
For not keiping the kirk
1650 Moray Synod 109.
And not allowance for quarters
1661 Beale Fife Schools 227.
Ane ground of the said children their not proficiencie in learning
1682 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 29 March.
For ther not ryding to the Ladie Ruscois buriall
1697 Burnett Fam. P.
I declaire the not delyverie hereof shall be no cause of nullity
(2) 1582 Reg. Privy C. III. 531.
His dissobedience in not comperance befoir the Kingis majestie
1587 Ib. IV. 188. 1657 Balfour Ann. IV. 247.
Quho had excussed ther not compirance the day befor
1637 Gillespie Eng. Pop. Ceremonies iii. 178.
To justify Ambrose his not compearing
(3) 1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 521.
For not-payment of ministeris stipendis
1634 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 421.
And failȝeing of not peyment
1664 Rothesay B. Rec. 90.
Dureing the not payment therof
1666 Corshill Baron Ct. 70.
If not payment made within the said tyme ordaines [etc.]
1694 Irvine Mun. II. 110.
Dureing the not payment
1684 Rec. of Old Tolbooth in Bk. Old Edinb. C. IX. 166.
Werdit … for not payement maikeing
(4) 1644 Burnett Fam. P.
Dureing thair not redemptione
c1650 Spalding II. 91.
And [they] had no rentis thair dureing the not redemptioun
1693 Irvine Deeds.(5) 1585 Reg. Privy C. IV. 15.
All proceding aganis the said Mr. Johnne for his not residence at his awne kirk
1627 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 255.
Depryved for not residence

b. With agent nouns. 1592 Hibbert P. No. 5.
Depryvit … as not residentis
1631 Justiciary Cases I. 193.
The persone conceillar and not teliar sall incurre the lyke pwneishment
1638 Baillie I. 105.
A number of notcovenanters

3. noun. Nothing. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 508.
Thou art ordanyt to not ellis
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 149.
Not throw the soyl bot muskane treis sproutit
Ib. 162 (L).
The soil was not [E. nocht] bot marres, slyik and sand
Ib. 710.
Not of a clerk we se thé represent Saif onlie [etc.]
Id. Æn. i. Prol. 190 (Ruddim.).
As not war fabil bot the passage to hell
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1172. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 975. 1585 James VI Ess. 45. 1603 Philotus xxii.
All for ȝour weiring and not ellis
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 702.
He luves me for little that haits me for right not
Ib. No. 792.

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"Not adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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