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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Occasio(u)n, n.1 Also: occasio(u)ne, -iounn, -oun, occassion, occaisioun, occasyowne, ocasyne, ocawsyone, occatio(u)n(e, occattyone, ocation(e, occacio(u)n, occaacioun. [ME. (Wyclif, Chaucer) and e.m.E. occasioun, -ion, -yon, F. occasion (12–13th c., replacing OF. encheison, -cheson, Enchesone n.), L. occāsio.] Occasion.

1. A conjunction of circumstances affording an opportunity to do something; an opportunity, opening, chance.With (1) cf. Occasio: so also in e.m.E. (c 1592–).Evil or schrewit occasion, opportunity of, or inducement to, sin or wickedness.(1) 1558-66 Knox II. 382.
That the poetts and paynteris erred nott altogether that fayned and paynted Occasioun with a bald hynd-head
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i. 315.
Thar-for the prefet in gret ire … Socht ithandly occasione To bryng hym to confusione
1456 Hay II. 107/2.
And ay that sall geve otheris occasioun to prouffit mare and mare
1533 Bell. Livy I. 298/18.
Knawing weill … the pepill mycht tak occasioun … to depone thame of thare auctorite … les than [etc.]
Ib. 38/29. 1533 Boece vi. xiii. 211.
Maximus … excogitate ane policye to fynd sum occasioun to distroy first Scottis and thareeftir Pichtis
a1538 Abell 45 b.
Schirefis … socht occasioun aganis innocentis to spulȝe thaim of thare gudis
1567 Acts III. 33/2. 1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 832. 1586 Douglas Corr. 238.
1590 Reg. Morton I. 170.
Finding my selff this far agaitwart I haif occasioune to ryd north
1592 Acts III. 579/1.
The exerceis of craftismen in the subvrbis of the frie burrowis is … greit occasioun to prenteisis … vndewtifullie to leive thair maisteris
1596 Dalr. I. 152/9. Ib. II. 356/11.
He sett out sum leicherous lawis that his flagitious gaird … mycht haue occasione frilie to louse a brydle to al thair appetites
1658 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 173.
The miluarts at the touns milns haue … takine occasioun to brew and sell aill [etc.]
1702 Rothesay Par. Rec. 155.
Young Innens took occasion to inveigh against the said Christian Stewart
(3) c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 12/31.
That the person ces fra syn and abstract him the occasioun of syn
1551 Hamilton Cat. 10.
To forbeir all kindis of lechorie and also all occasiouns of the same
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 211.
And sua our merchantis sall lose thair voyage and consequentlie the occasioun of a guid mercat
1644 Cuningham Journal 89.
I gott a convenient occasion of passage in one of the … ships
1650 Laing MSS. I. 251.
Quicklye to act somthing as God shal offer occation for the reliefe of these places
(4) 1562-3 Winȝet II. 8/25.
Gif euery persoun in ilk state sal leue worthelie as occasioun seruise
1572 Inverness Rec. I. 217. 1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi Sig. C. ii.
Vther Christianes that now and then, as occasiounis seruit, repairit to thair housis
1615 Conv. Burghs III. 8.
They … promits to remember his travaills thankfullie whan occatione sall offer
1638 Dumbarton B. Rec. 56.
To advyse them to tak speidie cours quhat sall be done as occasioun offirs
1676 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXVIII. 161.
To buy mee hereafter, or when occasion of auctions falls out, any book or books of medicin he hears newly commended
(5) a1578 Pitsc. I. 27/25.
He oppressit the anger of his hairt quhill he saw better occatione and opportunitie of tyme
1588 Conv. Burghs I. 285.
Thatt he [the ambassador] suld return hamewartt quhill better occasioun be offeritt
a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 404.
And sa taking the occasion, he fallis out in ane verie heich description of his apostleship
1604 Elgin Rec. II. 124.
Untill … the sessione thocht expedient to returne to the landimairis as they se occasioun
1610 Burnett of Leys 209.
Althoe I langed grytlye to writt yet I could neuer find the occasione
1629 Fam. Innes 217.
From henche forthe I will omitt no occasione
1648 Aberd. Council Lett. III. 107.
Who … take occasion of Borrows-tounnesse ships … and goe for Rotterdam
(6) 1610 Breadalbane Lett. 10 Feb.
So schir to new occatioune I rest committing ȝour maister to God
1618 Crim. Trials III. 586.
At ane vther occasioun
1628 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 290.
Ye sall caus rais letters upon his decreit … and send thame heir with the first occasioun
1640 Fam. Innes 233.
At the nixt occattyone you sall heir from me
1672 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 210. 1675 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 291.
And at all other convenient tymes and occasiones
1695 S. Ronaldshay 65.
And it shall [be] returned with the first ocatione
(7) 1490 Irland Mir. II. 51/3.
To confound euill and wykkyt herretikis that condampnis thar self and gevis euill occasioun to vthir
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 68.
And to give nouchtie men schrewit occasionis

b. spec. Applied to the occasions or opportunities of attendance at church service or of partaking of the sacrament. 1642 S. Leith Rec. 39.
Thomas Wryght … to be more carefull heirefter to use the meines be ordainer attendance upon the occationes of the word and sacraments
1653 Dumfries Kirk S. 18 Apr.
Debarred from the benefite of the sacrament quhen the Lord puttis occasione

2. A circumstance or consideration affording grounds for an action or feeling; a ground or reason; also, a pretext or excuse.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 72.
Leamedone … That but occasioun settis hys cure To exile ws out of hys land
Ib. ii. 535 (C). 1456 Hay I. 286/21.
The caus and occasiouns that the appellour allegis in his appellacioun
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rom. xiv. marg.
The occasiounn quhy it is ewil spokin of is becaus [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece II. 124. Id. Livy I. 117/3.
Mony vtheris war slane opinlie be vane occasioun
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 168.
That … the auld ordinar wagis of the portaris be gevin to thame as efter followis alanerlie without vther occasioun nor is now occurrit
1555 Montgomery Mem. II. 154.
Be occatioun or falt quhairthrou the said matrimoney may nocht lauchfullie stand
1572 Bann. Memor. 341. a1578 Pitsc. I. 93/24.
To remove all sic occatiounis as may cause the subiectis of this realme to tak suspitioun of ȝour evill mynd towart me
1679 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 282.
The said Jeane Gilespie without any fault or occatione did … rune away from hir service
(2) 1456 Hay II. 149/35.
For than sall thai fynd occasioun of malice and of fedis
1559 Misc. Wodrow Soc. 271.
Ane worde quhilk may give occasioun of cavillatioun … stryfe and contentioun
1574 Edinb. Kirk S. 3 May.
That he hes gevin just occasion of sclander being ane eldar [of] the Kirk of God
1585 Acts III. 385/2.
Be removing of all occasionis of further ielosie and diffidence betuix his hienes his nobilitie and people
1596 Dalr. I. 177/1, 312/28. 1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 87. 1627 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II. 126.
The pairtie making the occasoun of the said miskalling
1688 Tryal Philip Standsfield 18.
The pannal did ordinarly shift occasions of being in his fathers company
(3) 1456 Hay II. 99/26.
Kepe thé wele that thou mak na cause that suld geve thame … occasioun to speke aganis thé ony thing
1543 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 527.
And gevis occasioun ilk ane to leichlie and contem utheris
1549 Compl. 16/1. 1551 Corr. M. Lorraine 350.
I have occatioun to say I have servit ane trew and constant lady
1562-3 Winȝet I. 37/7.
Quhilkis we iugeit sufficient occasion to ony man … to examinat him self
1561 Knox II. 163.
That we haif nott occasioun to tak agane the swerd … into oure handis
1558-66 Knox I. 392.
Swa that sche mycht have had ony cullorat occatioun to have brokin the liegue with thame
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 57. 1570 Leslie 83.
Utherwayis it mycht be ane occasioun to break the leage and peace contractit betuix thame
a1578 Pitsc. I. 33/11.
Quhairbe his onfreindis had gret occatioun to haue him in dirissioun
1622-6 Bisset I. 164/29.
All procuratouris that thinkis thai have occasion to complane anent any decisioun

b. A ground, or alleged ground, of complaint. 1578 Conv. Burghs I. 64.
And for the occasioun of the saltpannis, thay sall nocht [etc.]

3. A consideration inducing to some action; a motive, inducement, reason. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 281.
The quhilk gaue hym occasioune That tyme to soiourne in-to that toune
1456 Hay I. 207/21.
And for quhat occasioun he sperit the resouns first
1549 Compl. 90/6.
This veil considrit suld be occasione to gar ȝou expel hatrent
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3195.
And all throw the occasioun And the prydefull perswasioun Of this ambitious wyckit quene
Ib. 1631. 1556 Wemyss Chart. 186.
In cais scho happinnis to renunce the said landis throw occatioun foir[said]
1565 Reg. Privy C. I. 343.
Thairby to ministrat sufficient occasioun of jelosy and mislyking
1568 Q. Mary Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxviii.
The principal occasioun that thai seik appoyntment
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 62.
It will giue occasione to vtheris proude persones … to brek gude ordor
a1578 Pitsc. I. 15/17. Ib. 26 h. of ch.
It is wncertaine quha was the mowar or quhat occasioun the chancellar exerssit his office forthar nor become him
1590 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 388.
Thre pair off breikis to thre paynteris to work with and to geff thame occasioun to be diligent on thair wark
1610 Highland P. III. 118.
As for my going to Scotland, your majestie knaws the cheif occatione of my stay

4. a. A conjunction of circumstances or an event leading to some result; a cause; a means. c1420 Wynt. v. 4194.
He feld off that temptatyowne Hys hand was the occasyowne
1456 Hay I. 187/19.
The quhilk war aganis … gude conscience and mycht be caus and occasioun to mak thame irregularis
Ib. II. 136/24.
He fell nocht in maladye for that occasioun
1490 Irland Mir. I. 125/30.
This had bene occasioune of erroure
1533 Boece iii. xvii. 115.
Without all occasioun that mycht mak thare myndis effemynate or dolf
Ib. ix. xvi. 330.
Gif it was be bit of the wolf or be ony vthir occasioun, the King incurrit ane maladie
1549 Compl. 108/31.
[He] hed tynt diuerse battellis … quhilk vas occasione that he hed almaist lossit his cuntre
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 641.
He did inquyre the occasioun
c1552 Id. Mon. 974. Ib. 1269. 1561 Knox II. 303.
The wechtie … caussis … of this realme quhilk micht gif occasioun of … inquieting of the hale estait
1562 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI. 59.
Ane gret part of the ocawsyone of the dartht of the saming
1565 Cal. Sc. P. II. 183.
Lakyng wharwith to … pay … the gret dett that I am in by many ocasynes thys yere past
1558-66 Knox I. 422.
Dyverse of the said congregatioun had … maid sundrie occatiouns of new cummer
a1578 Pitsc. I. 26/5. Ib. 44/8. c1590 Fowler II. 85/4.
For the euiting the occasioun of a weir
1596 Dalr. I. 199/20.
That the hard seruitude of the Pechtes was occasione to restore the Scottis
1600-1610 Melvill 79.
I haid … sum of this gentilman's sonnes my schollars, and be that occasion was hamlie in his hous
1614 Crim. Trials III. 292.
Quhilk was the occasioune that your lo. was so long of getting word

b. A person or persons who cause or bring about, or who are the cause of, something. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 365 (H).
Than followis the commonis to fuliche confusioun, Off quhilk the hedis ar gret occasioun
1513 Doug. ix. iv. 122.
Ne wald I not alsso that I suld be Caus or occasioun of sic duyll
1533 Bell. Livy II. 250.
I heire say that Civilius … was ane grete occasioun of battall betuix thir tway peple
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 8.
The said Richart Woddrop and Andro Woddrop his brother ar fund in the wrang for occasione and bludvyte thairof
a1578 Pitsc. II. 208/35.
We war not the occasioun of hir depairture out of Scotland

5. a. Throw, for, be (the) occasioun (of someone or something, or const. possess., or with demonstr. or relative pron.).By the (this, her, etc.) agency, operation or means, by means, in consequence, as a result, because, of.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1429 (D).
Throw quhilk occasioun slane was The worthy mekile Achelles
Ib. 3091.
Nocht … As throw the horsis occasioun
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 141.
Throu occasioune of a pollucioune
14.. Acts I. 74/2. 1499 Liber Melros II. 622. 1562 Peebles B. Rec. I. 280.
Throw the occatioune of the variance foirsaid committit be ws
1596 Dalr. II. 118/26.
Throuch occasione of this coniunctioun a … perpetual cnott betuen thame mycht be knutt
1609 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 72.
The said Patrik being then litting Frenshe cullouris quhilkis throw her occasioun wald not tak with the litt
1609 Black Bk. Taymouth 36. c 1625 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 381.
Thay haueing tint sight of thir horsemen, throw occasioun of a little howe in the way
c1650 Spalding I. 156.
Ane suddant fray … throw occasioun of ane schot rakleslie lettin go
1665 Rothesay B. Rec. I. 100.(2) 1456 Hay I. 236/16.
As gif, for occasioun of this weris, a bischop … mycht be enprisounyt
(3) 1570 Conv. Burghs I. 17.
Be the occasioun of weris … ane greitt pairt of the burrowis … are now becumin … pure
1572–3 Crail B. Ct. MS. 24 Feb.
That he sall nocht truble … the towne be his occasioun nor na persoun thairinto
a1578 Pitsc. II. 276 n. 2 (D).
[The Regent] be occassion of sicknes [passit ovir the watter]
1581 Hector Renfrewshire Rec. II. 41.
Be occaisioun of the trublis intervenit
1588 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 516.
Be occasioun of thame that settis thair howssis … to all sort of persouns
1607 Lett. Eccl. Affairs I. 114.
Antichristianisme is michtilie encouragit … be occasioun of the blanking of diuerse no small congregationis
1641 Acts V. (1817) 593/1.
Be the occatioun of laik of guid governement

b. Be occasioun (that), by reason that, because. 1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 218.
Deduceand the ferd penny of the said annuell … be occasioun that … the haill tenement libellit wes brint be the auld inemeis of Ingland
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 336.
For the quhilk caussis the burgessis stayit and wald not persew nane heirefter, be occasioun thaj wer nocht the better

c. Upoun his awyn occacioun, by his own doing, through his own fault. — 1552 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. App. xciii.
Georde the Grahame quha upovn his awyn occacioun was slane

6. A conjunction of circumstances requiring or calling for some action; a need to do something.(1) 1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 137.
I schew the Kyng … syndry tyms the grit occatione your grace hes had and dayly hes till mak grit expensis
1552 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. App. xciii.
We … sall … be reddye … to resist the invasioun of thame … as occasioun may serve
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i. 672.
Scho will be busseitit this occasion [L. opportunitate] quherin the matter standis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 160/23.
Thair was nane sa abill as hie to gif them ansueris conforme to thair petitioun … or ony wther occatiouns or trubillis that appeirit in the realme
c1590 Fowler II. 73/5.
For a natiue prence hes not offere[d] to him sa mony occasions … as the new and stranger
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 138.
Or than for vther notable occasioun or mistuke he is forced to turne backe
1644 Douglas Corr. 252.
Ther ar certaine occations occured wherin I am to express my self to some of my particulare frinds
1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. 21.
When occasione of carieing of baggadge or for postes shall offer
(2) 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 162.
The justitiar generall … in his particular justice courts, quhilk he may hald as occasion requyres any lawfull day
c1650-1700 Descr. Zetland 10.
Yearly the steward or his deput keep two head-courts … besides circuits [etc.] … as necessary occasions require
1663 Dunkeld Presb. II. 31.
Being without the bounds of the presbetrie for the tyme upon necessarie occasione
1668 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 21 Jan.
[She] ordaines … hir husband to heave the owersight … of the said Heilein Bell … and to ad to it … quhen ocation shall reqwyre
(3) 1548 Misc. Bann. C. III. 410.
Thus untrubellit you with langer letter till I have other occatioun
a1686 Turner Mem. 61.
The poore gentlewoman told me … she had hid that gold … to make use of it as she had occasion
1597 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 337.
It salbe lesum to the toun … to … gang thairintill as they haif occasioun

b. plur. Necessary affairs, business. 1587 Maxwell Mem. II. 161.
I haud sicc occatiounes at that tyme as I mycht nocht be laysertt
1637 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 126.
As the occasioun fell out, he sett up his armes in all places quhair his occasions invited him

7. The falling out or happening of anything, a case of something occurring; an eventuality, a juncture; an instance or case of anything.(1) 1513 Doug. xiii. v. 93.
Quharby thou has sa gret dolour astart And fled sa huge occasions of myschief
1549 Compl. 20/14.
Prosperus men prouidis nocht to resist the occasions of the mutabiliteis, quhilk occasions ar ay vigilant to suppedit & to spulȝe al them that are ingrate of the beneficis of Gode
1562-3 Winȝet I. 113/18. Ib. /21.
Gif ȝe allege ony occasioun of idolatrie at the saidis sepulturis
Ib. II. 48/25.
To quhome, that na thing suld inlake to the occasioun of science, the fowthe of age aboundit also
1607 Urie Baron Ct. 12.
The pennalteis that ar desernit thairvpone to be taikkyne wp preseislie as the occaacioun of the falt beis trayit
1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 31 Jan.
Demit with admonitioune but new occasioune
1657 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 366.
The ingyne laitlie made … for the occatioune of suddent fyre, in spouting out of water thairof
(2) 1554 Montgomery Mem. 150.
Gif … the saidis Erle and Ladie be ony occasion to be diuorcit
1592 Orkney Oppress. 103.
Quherby it is fallen out that many of the vdach [sic. for: vdall] landis hes fallen in his majesteis handis upon this occation
1665 Lauder Jrnl. 53.
Yeel do weill in all occassion to make your address to the Virgin, to invock her
(3) 1638 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 127.
For … loadning of shippis … quhilk at all occasiounes cannot convenientlie floitt with thair gudes
1640 Montgomery Mem. I. 294.
[To] have two keills … to wait vpon his regiment at all occasiones
1682 Glasgow Merchants House 37.
To have them [fire-buckets] in reddines at all occasiounes

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"Occasion n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Dec 2022 <>



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