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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ostage, n.1 Also: oist-, oustage. [ME. (c 1290), e.m.E. and OF. ostage. Cf. Hostage n.1]

1. Security given to another, esp. an enemy, that a certain course of action will be carried out, by handing over one or more persons into his power; the persons so handed over, collectively; hostages collectively. c1420 Wynt. v. 439.
Quhen in tyll Rome ostagis sere Of all landis duelland were, And thai off Brettane ostage [E.2 oistage] had He gret repayre amang thaim mad
Ib. vii. 125.
Thaire eldast barnys, and thare ayris … For ostage gret he tuk
Ib. 134.
And mony a lord, that had nane Ostage, bot hym-selff allane, Deyd
Ib. viii. 7137. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1847.
The ostage all war chosin furth and send
Ib. 1977.
The douzepeiris com and brocht in his ostage
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1430 (H).
This carnall liff he held bot as ostage

b. In ostage, in the state or condition of a hostage, as a hostage or hostages. ?1438 Alex. i. 552.
I am reddy in all ostage That thow sall thank haif of the King
Ib. ii. 6866.
All that I haue vtarly … Body and hart … To leif in ostage [F. en ostage] with ȝow
1405 Cal. Doc. IV. 403.
Sauve condyts was made til tha personis … til hafe commyn in ostage for the Erle of Douglas
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 247/21. 1533 Boece iv. i. 124 b.
The elder broder … in oistage at Rome deceissit
1535 Stewart 8229.

2. A person handed over as a pledge or hostage. c1420 Wynt. vii. 1183.
And gert delyveryd … be Off the lordis of that cuntré The grettast ostagys [W. ostage] in warand
Ib. 2506.
And ostagys off thame gret tuk he
Ib. 1709, 2043. 1571 Bann. Memor. 155.
I sall enter such ostages for the suirtie of thé, … as thow will enter for the securitie of me
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 112.
To remane with him as ostages
a1651 Calderwood V. 297.
Oustages sent to Flanders for suretie to the Spaniards

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"Ostage n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2022 <>



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