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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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Outgate, -gait, -get, n. Also: owt- and -gat, -gaite, -gayt(t, -geat, -geit. [ME. (a 1300) and e.m.E. out-, oute-, owte-gate; Gate n.1 After the early 17th c. chiefly, and in some senses only, Sc. and north. Eng.]Uncommon before the late 16th c. Very common thereafter, esp. in sense 2.

1. a. A way of going or getting out; a way out, exit; a physical opening or outlet. 1513 Doug. ix. vii. 28.
Sone ombeset haue thai The owtgatis all, thai suld nocht wyn away
Ib. xii. vii. 53.
Oft with hys rycht hand sersis he invane To rype the owtgait [Sm. owtgayt] of the wond
c1590 Fowler I. 65/194.
But narowlie with straitnes thane our owtgait did assay
1668 Holmains Baron Ct. 14 Dec.
Lying within the Knowland and next to the outgait under the Know

b. The fact of getting out, escape, release. 1661 A. Jaffray Diary 154.
Not only for the bodily out-get from my bodily restraint but for [etc.]
1663 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 384.
Assuring them that God will give them ane outgate
1685-8 Renwick Serm. 88.
A man bound up in prison, all hope of outgate being cut off

c. ? An expulsion or discharge from the body. a1680 D. Blair in Blair Autob. 593.
Exercised with … gravel and had many singular outgates and delivery in great pain, especially of the gravel, one wherof by the bigness of a stone

2. In non-material sense: A way out of a difficulty or quandary; a means of escape from a situation of difficulty; a solution to a problem.(a) 1456 Hay I. 179/4.
Than suld never promes na obligacioun bynd a fals man na he wald get ane outgate
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 108.
A fear without an outgate … a fear to devour them halelie at the last
1596 Highland P. I. 187.
Utherways he sould have nae outgate by us
c 1600 M. Napier Mem. J. Napier 296.
The outgate of this leberinth wharin I am so obscurely involved
1635 Dickson Wr. 52. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 173. 1639 Baillie II. 439.
Be confident God will send an outgate to all these difficulties
1643 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 358.
A fit preparation for a comfortable outgate from all your troubles
a1652 Dickson Psalms I. 187. a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 328. Ib. 379. 1655 Brodie Diary 155.
1672 Wemyss Corr. 117. 1684 Erskine Diary 85.
With an outgate and solution of some things relative to my own presently designed practice
1685 Hay Fleming Six Saints I. iii.
I counsel you to lay your count with suffering, for an outgate coming out of any other airth will be prejudicial to your soul's interest
(b) 1562-3 Winȝet I. 138/16.
Sen I se that ȝe can find na outgait in the materis ellis to ȝou proponit
1567 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 97. 1567 Cal. Sc. P. II. 395.
[The Hamiltons [etc.] … convened at Glasgow on the 3rd instant, and finding no] outgaytt [scattered]
1567–8 Crim. Trials I. i. 512.
I have ane out-gait fra it
c 1570 Warrender P. (ed.) I. 79.
And latting thaym se a sure outgait I think bayth will yealde to her advis
1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 331. 1584 Waus Corr. 286.
To get me knowledge quhat is determinat towardis me and quhat is my nerrest outgait
1590 Burel Pilgr. ii. xxxii. c1590 Fowler II. 89/16.
Geving new hope … off the outgait of there euills and releif of there perplexiteis
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 190.
They would not fail to put violent hands on themselfis thinking … to get ane outgait to their soul
1592 Reg. Privy C. IV. 834. 1607 Melvill 734.
For by that mein all outgait is stoppit to us for evir, howbeit we be innocent
c1610 Melville Mem. 141, 179. Ib. 199.
1633 Johnston Diary I. 26.
That he wald give the outgait with the tentation
1638 Henderson Serm. 115.
A deliverance and outgait for the righteous in their distresses
1650 Laing MSS. I. 251.(c) 1585 Cal. Sc. P. VIII. 53.
[Sees no] outget [or any appearance of hope in him]
1612 Jurid. Rev. X. 468.
And he, seing na uther outget to schift that bairne
1635 Dickson Wr. 46.
My wits are all through other, I cannot find an out-get
1661 A. Jaffray Diary 70.
To remember … these straits and difficulties with the out-gets we then had
Ib. 154.
Warning me not to be so earnest … about the means of my out-get from my present trouble, but to wait on God
1673 Brodie Diary 337.(d) 1602 Elphinstone Chart. 167.
I sall schaw yow ane vther outgeit na thing inferiour to this
b. Also in sing. without article or indefinite adjective: Means of escape, outlet.Also way, door, of outgate.(1) 1635 Dickson Wr. 56.
Ye shall find ease and out-gate or, at least, ye shall go away better from prayer than ye came
c1650 Spalding II. 352.
If he could sie the lest spark of liklihood or outget, he sould byd it
1656 Brodie Diary 187.
And he could not find outgate
c1705 Nimmo Narr. 87.
& I made to wade in a labrinth of difficulties … without sight of outgate
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 2. a 1681 Hay Fleming Six Saints II. 81.
In looking to the Lord only for relief and outgate
1685-8 Renwick Serm. 53.(2) 1638 Henderson Serm. 231.
Let us find a way of outgait
1669 Jus Populi 4.
That he would … open some door of outgate that they might be delivered

c. With complements: A solution (how to do something, etc.); passing into: A means or method, or an opportunity (to do it). 1582 Cal. Sc. P. VI. 255.
[Namely when they should see an apparent] outgait [and occasion offered to annoy such as (etc.)]
1612 Jurid. Rev. X. 468.
c1610 Melville Mem. 305.
I can se na outgait how to get it done against sa gret a nomber
a1634 Read Buch. 667.
They allowed his advys bot saw no sufficient outgait how it might be done
1640 Maister George Blacke His Masterlesse Men 6.
Besought me to advise her, anent an out-gate for his liberation

d. ? A means (of achieving or obtaining something). 1693 Arbuthnott Kirk S. 18 Jan.
And capacitating him for entrance to the college … if the Lord should provide an outgate for him

e. ? An outlet for sale. (But perh. merely a contextual use of 2 above.) 1640 Hibbert P. No. 9.
I behooued to agrie with them for ȝe knaw I had no other outgait for the fishe

3. Passing into: An issue or outcome of a situation or of events. 1568 Q. Mary in Cal. Sc. P. II. 574.
To the effect the same [conspiracy] sould be endit with sum happye outgait to my honour and contentment
a1652 Dickson Psalms (1653) I. 29.
And seek for a joyfull out-gate each to other in their own time
Ib. 126.
After the conflict, the victory and outgate by way of thanksgiving is set down
c1705 Nimmo Narr. 58.
Looking to the Lord, albeit in much darknes as to the outgate
Ib. 86.
The Lord may be … carieng on ane outgate of marcie
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 362.
They would comfort themselves in the happy outgate of their sufferings
Ib. 393.
Gods proposing this outgate beforehand for their comfort sheweth that there is no solide way to bear a triall well without the faith of the outgate, and that the eying of the outgate of a storme while folks are under it [etc.]
1659-60 A. Hay Diary 35.
Two things in the text, Davids bitter exercise and his sweet outgate
Ib. 171. 1662 J. Livingstone in Sel. Biog. I. 209.
What glorious outgates and what a lasting work of glory for us and our posteritie would come out of it
a 1666 Blair Autob. 32.
Thus was I again put to a stand … wondering what would be the outgate
1684 Cloud of Witnesses 232.

b. The outcome or upshot of something spoken. 1600-1610 Melvill 463.
As I have sein the outgeat of his conversatioun (as the apostle sayes, Heb. xiii. 7), sa I may follow the sam in fathe

4. The duty on goods going out of a town or port, export dues. = Outgang n. a. 1573 Reg. Privy S. VI. 368/2.
Quhatsumevir personis that transportis ony wyne furth of … Irwing … sua that thay have nocht payit the outgait, the sellar thairof sall pay [etc.]
1600–1 Ayr B. Acc. 204.
[Received from the impost of] the outgait of coles, £19

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



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