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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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Officiar, -ear, n. Also: -iar(r)e, offyciar, -yar, -ear, offeiciar, oficear, offiecear, officier, (officirar). [Med. L. officiarius; Sc. form corresp. to Officer(e n., and cf. also Officiarie n.1 and Of(f)icher.]

1. a. One who serves a king or magnate in a particular function, a functionary; also, a servant or agent.? Esp., a domestic functionary or household officer. 1494 Loutfut MS. fol. 10 a.
The gret ceruer the gret butellier the gret panneter and al vtheris officiaris callit gret suld be salust eftir the estait at the personnys ar
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxiii. 2.
Schir, ȝe haue mony servitouris, And officiaris of dyuers curis, Kirkmen, courtmen, and craftismen
1525 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 227.
The making off officiaris sic as baxtar, browstar, fleschar, lardnarman, cattour
1538 Treas. Acc. VII. 14, 15.
Gevin to the officiaris of the King of Frauncis hous als weill to thame that dependit on the Kingis service as otheris officiaris of the King of Frauncis to thair newar gift
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 351.
Quhen ȝe, prencis, doith laik ane officiar, Ane baxster, browster or ane maister cuke
1549 Compl. 81/9.
Bot ane of his [Xerxes'] officiaris contentit hym vitht ane dagar throucht the hart
1597 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 31 Jan.
Outliuerayis. Item allowit to the ordinar officiaris that hes siluer allowit to thame [etc.]
1619 J. Sempill Sacrilege Handled (1619) 28 (OED.).
So long as God hath officiars of His worship on earth so long must tithes be their inheritance

b. A member of the staff of the royal mint. 1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 159.
That na officiar of his hienes cunyehouse … melt … ony of the saidis pecis

2. One who occupies one or other of a considerable variety of official positions (Office n. 2).a. One who holds one of certain public offices of administration or law, as a minister of the crown, a sheriff or a magistrate of a burgh.In some instances passing into other senses. 1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 389.
That nane … herbry ony outduelland men … or ellis warn the officiaris als fast of thair cummyn
c1420 Wynt. viii. 2466 [see Bailȝe n.1 1 (b)].
Offycyaris, officiaris
1449 Acts II. 36/1.
Justicez, chaumerlanis, crownaris & vthir officiaris that makis cours throu the lande
1454–5 Edinb. Chart. 81.
And manetene the officiaris and the counsale of the toune in the execusion of justice
1456 Hay I. 26/31.
Commaris of cardinalis na othir officiaris of the court [sc. of Rome]
Ib. 45/25.
The Romaynes … said thai wald have na mare consules, and ordanyt ane othir maner of officiaris, the quhilkis thai callit trybunys
Ib. II. 155/13. 1498 Acta Conc. II. 287.
The pepill, liegis and officiaris to mak provisioun in every schyre quhare the airis are to be haldin
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 255.
Thow [the King] bene bot officiare And wassall to that kyng incomparabyll
1533 Boece v. i. 163 a.
Lugthak … made rutouris, piparis, menstralis, ruffeanis … officiaris andreularis
1545–6 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 543.
[The provost of Perth] nochtusand him as a newtrale and commoun officiare betuix the said lord and his party
1558 Perth Convener Ct. Bk. 21.
Anentis the electing … of officearis within our said burgh
1575 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 43.
1578 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) 291.
And according to this division arises a sort of threefold officiars in the church; to wit, ministers or preachers, elders or governors and deacons or distributers
a1578 Pitsc. I. 305/28.
The lordis … chaingit all his auld offiecearis and pat new in thair steid, that is to say, thesaurar, comptrollar, secretar, mr messer, mr houshald, copper, carver [etc.]
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 157.
Judges and officiars

b. Applied to certain petty executive officers, esp. those whose functions were partly disciplinary, of various authorities, as a royal messenger, a sheriff's or a baron's sergeant or officer, the sergeant of a court or of a burgh, the officer of a craft, a church officer, etc.See, for some additional examples, Coket n. 2, Cun v. 3, Currour n, Deforce v. 3, Deforcing vbl. n.2, etc., Gevillour n., Mair n. 1 (1) (a) and Serjand n.(a) 1424 Acts II. 5/1.
Alsua the prelatis [etc.] … sall … ordane the costs of all officiaris that sall laubour about this ȝeilde raysing
14.. Quon. Attach. c. 51.
Na seriande na other officiar aw to mak ouder somoundis atachmentis or arest
1456 Montrose Baillie Ct. 6 a.
That the balȝeis punys all lawar officiaris als offt as tha trespas
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 197. 1482 Chart. (Reg. H.) No. 501.
My courtis … to hald, … officiaris to mak and deputis
1483 Ib. 236.
And he sal obey the officiare rysande in the defence of the cuntre [etc.]
c 1489 Liber Aberbr. II. 264. 1491 Treas. Acc. I. 180.
1498 Acta Conc. II. 240.
At his awne hand without officiare or ordoure of law
1498–9 Ib. 311. 1503 Sc. Hist. Rev. XL. 97.
Apoun the comptis of chaumerlanis, … stewartis, malaris, fermoraris and all utheris officiaris that aw compt to our chekker
1511 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 81. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 399.
Gevin to ane officiar to pas in Fiffe to distrenȝe [etc.]
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 17. 1533 Bell. Livy I. 103/13. 1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 344. 1562 Reg. Cupar A. I. 355. 1558-66 Knox II. 156. 1574 Hist. Kinloss A. 94.
To the baillie of Straithylay for his fie x lib.; Item, to the officiar of Straythylay for his fie, xl s.
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 34, 1604 Ib. 111, etc. 1634 Argyll Reg. Acc.
Factor and officiare of Skeirchanȝie
1634 St. A. Baxter Bks. 97. c1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 529.
Befoir the Lord therof [the Isles] have his dutyes paid to him … and he hath an officiar resident ther for that use
1653 Inverness Rec. 207.comb. 1598 Glasgow Weavers 14.
And ilk ane of thame to pay for thair fredome of the officiar servitor
(b) c1520-c1535 Nisbet I. 12.
a1578 Pitsc. II. 80/19.
Then the trumpatis blew and the offiecears and tormentaris brocht fourtht this poore innocent man to the fyre
1692 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt Dec. 17.
To the oficear for bringing hame the servants
(c) 1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 205 (19 Jan.).
Becaus he tuk the scheip in his hous vith violens without officier
1620 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 181. 1670 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 19 Nov.
To goe sicht the entries for the yeards with the officiers with them
(d) 1550 Reg. Privy C. I. iii.
To the said maister Johne Forsythe officirar executour of the saidis lettres

c. Const. for (a certain function): cf. sense 1. 1496 Acta Conc. II. 26.
To the sade Wilȝeam, lord of Sanct Jhone, as schiref and officiar for the owtreding of the justyce, the thesaurare and clerkis for thair expenses made the tyme of the justice are of Drumfreis
1498 Ib. 218.
Bringand with him serjand, dempster, clerc and al uther nedefull officiar for the serving of the sade breif

d. Const. possess. or attrib. of, or of or to, the authority under whom the office is held.In (1) sense a above, (2) sense b, and (3) transf.For some further examples see Bedel n.1 2 and 3 (officiar of the sessioun, of the kirk), Burrow attrib. n. (burrow officiar), Dempstar(e n. (a) and (b) (officiar of court(is), King n. B 5 c (kingis officiar), and Kirk-officiar n.(1) 1489 Acts II. 220/1.
That compt and reknyng be takin of all the Kingis officiaris his thesauraris & comptrolloris
1511 Treas. Acc. IV. 312.
With lettrez to the officiaris of Peblis
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 275 (see Minister n. 2 d). Ib. 436. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 15.
The common magistratis and officiaris of the vniuersite
1575 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 42.
In the electioun of the publict officiarris thairof
(2) 1424 Acts II. 8/1.
The officiaris of the tovn
1434 Ib. 22/1.
That ilk officiar of the Kingis as mare or Kingis seriande or baron seriande sal nocht pas … but a horne & his wande
1471 Edinb. Chart. 134.
To the saidis provest balyeis and communite … and to thare officiaris
1491 Acta Conc. I. 215/2.
Alexander Graham officiare to the schirref
1493 Ib. 319/2.
The lard of Amisfelde sall caus his officiare witht twa witnesmen & na ma to pynd [etc.]
1497 Ib. II. 89. 1531 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 55. 1533 Wigtown B. Ct. 280 a.
And Mechell Fressell dein officiare for a ȝere
a1538 Abell 44 b.
Pure laboros men durst nocht schaw to the Kingis officiaris the namis of the gentill men at oppressit thame
1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 163.
Ve ordand Volle to arrest officiaris to the covrt for ony vrang don
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II. 83.
As thai be chargit be our celleraris, officiaris or factouris thairto
1557 Admir. Ct. Bk. 17. 1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 121.
To the wrichtis officiar that cersit the towne … quhen the tymmer was stowne
1566 Canongate Kirk S. (ed.) 42.
As thay salbe warnit be the officier of the kirk
1582 St. A. Kirk S. II. 492.
Being oftimes chargit be the assemble officiar
1594 Misc. Spald. C. I. 9. 1595 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 71. 1615 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Acts in Ib. II. 175.
With the baillie or officiar of the parochin
1665 Beale Fife Schools 161.
Thomas Lies, ane of the ordinar officiars of the burght of Culross
(3) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 121/7.
Thare fell on kne the nobile and worthi officiaris of this realme celestiall and hevinly court, the archangellis and thrid jerochie

e. With various defining terms.Officiar of armes: a herald or pursuivant; one of the officers (herald, pursuivant, macer, messenger) who came under the authority of Lyon King of Arms. Cf. also office of armes, Office n. 2 g, Macer n. and Mes(s)inger(e n. 1 b. Officiar of were: see quot.Officiar of (the Kingis, the) estait, also, of the (Kingis) croun, an officer of state, a minister of the crown. Officiar of fee: cf. mair of fee, Mair n. 1. Officiar in that part, one appointed for a particular purpose (see Part n.).Officiar of the law, of our lawis, a judge: see Minister n. 2 c (1) for examples.(1) 1494 Loutfut MS. 110 a.
He … puttis thair appellationis … in to writ … and deliueris it syn to ane officiar of armes
Ib. 6 b, 42 b. 1512 Treas. Acc. 1 Jan (see Her(r)ald n. (d)). 1538 Treas. Acc. VII. 97.
For deforsing of ane officiare of armes
1539–40 Ib. 282.
To twa officiaris of armes that passit in Angus … to warne the dammes to cum to the coronatioun
1546 Reg. Privy C. I. 26.
Heraldis, pursevantis, masseris and utheris officiaris of armes
1547 Treas. Acc. IX. 94.
The expensis debursit upoun officiarres of armes and otherres traveland in my lord governourris effares
1571 Reg. Privy C. II. 99. 1592 Acts III. 586/2.(2) 14.. Maner of Battale 232.
The Kyng … havand autorite to be juge of swyk batell, his officiaris of were, that is to say constable or marshall, sall minister within lystes
(3) 1584 Reg. Privy C. III. 687.
Preissing his hienes to subscrive signatouris [etc.] … unsichtit first and fund ressounable be the officiaris of his estait
1592 Acts III. 562/1.
And of the officiaris of estait Johnne Lord of Thirlestane chancellair, [etc.]
Quha being ordinar officiaris of the estait as alsua senatouris of the college of iustice
1630 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 662.
Your majesteis officiar of estait, the Lord Privie Seill, is prejudgit
1631 Ib. IV. 275.(4) 1587 Acts III. 440/1.
Except the fies and pensionis disponit to the officiaris of our croun, thair deputtis and clerkis
(5) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 201 (Arund.).
Nobill princis and officiaris of justry
(6) 1532–3 Bk. Dunvegan I. 70.
Fray Andrew Pipe ane of the Kings officiaris of fee of the said shireffdome of Invernes
(7) 1491 Acta Conc. I. 215/2.
Officiare in that parte
transf. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 36.
The puyr … God committis to ȝour handis as to his lieutenentis and speciall officiaris in that part

f. Attrib. (in sense b above) with corne, fe. (Cf. Officer(e n. 5.) 1551 Prot. Bk. Sir J. Cristisone 107.
The pvnding of hir be Andro Reche officiar to the lard of Vardaris for officiar fe
1606 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 89.
Ane half of ane seasing ox and thrie firlottis officiar corne
1630 Monteith Stewartry Ct. 28 Oct.
To pay … ane furlott of blak and gray eittis … as for his officiar corne the said crope

3. A military officer.Applied to any person having authority in an army or body of soldiers, from senior officers down to under-officers. Also officiar of band (Band n.2).The Alex. (Taym.) examples may merely represent occasional contextual uses of previous senses. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 898.
Quhan Alexander haid ordand his battell attyre … Than sett he for to mak his ordinance Off officieris to keip his obseruance And in the first twelf duzeperis he made
Ib. 908.
The leftennend … with the counsall of the duzepeiris Suld set all offeiciaris as to thame affeiris
1533 Boece v. v. 173 b.
Officiaris, capitanis and soldeouris quhilkis war distribute in garnisoun [etc.]
1544 Treas. Acc. VIII. 293.
To thair capitane his ansenye lieutennant and officiaris of band for thair wage
1561 Rentale Dunkeld. 342.
Sindrie bollmen, pikmen, officiaris
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 226.
Quhairof the officiares must hawe a duble and thair double most be subscrywit by the officiares
1644 Ib. IV. 28.
Ilk ane of the saids capitanes to chuise thair awne lievetentis, ancientis and wther inferiour officiaris
1646 Ib. 64. 1649 Blairs P. 17.
Montros is said to haue sent to Orknay 150 officiares in a fregat from Holand
c1650 Spalding I. 134. Ib. 213.
Vther officiares for dreilling of thair men in the lynkis and lerning thame to handle thair armes

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"Officiar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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