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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Overhand, n. Also: ovir-, ovyr-, owyr- and -hande. [ME. oferrhannd (Orm), ouere hond, ME. and e.m.E. overhand(e; Over a., Hand n.: cf. MHG. über, oberhant, Germ. ober-, überhand. Cf. Ourhand and Uverhand. Appar. chiefly written as one word.]

The ‘upper hand’; mastery, victory.Chiefly to get, have, gif etc. (the) overhand (of someone). Also (to be) with the overhand, victorious.(1) 1375 Barb. x. 452.
And thai but pite can thame sla, Till thai had gottyn the ovir hand [E. ouirhand]
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 928 (C).
They the ouirhand Had of the burghe and of it wer lordes
c1420 Wynt. ix. 912.
For throwch his corage … The ovyrhand [C. ouir hande] his folk had thare
1513 Doug. xii. iv. 68.
Bot gif so beys, Mars … The victory and ouyrhand [1553, in our hand] grantis ws
Ib. v. 38.
We, … onto prowd tyrrantis, hes the ovirhand, Salbe compellit as lordis till obey
Ib. xiii. . 38.
[The bull] has the ovirhand wonnyn and mastry
1570 Sat. P. xxiii. 90.
The word of God for euer sall preuaill, And als his Kirk sall haue the ouer hand
1571 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 64.
If thai gat at ony scarmouche the overhand of us
(2) c1490 Porteous Noblenes 98 (Ch. & M.).
Thou gettis the crowne quhen all vertuis gyffis to thé ouirhand
c1475 Wall. (1570) x. 500.
Aganis ȝone king, ouirhand thow may not get
(3) c1420 Wynt. viii. 5417.
He wyth the owyrhand come syne Away, but ony mare hurtyne
1513 Doug. xii. vii. 2.
Turnus … With the ovirhand [L. victor] sa feil corpsis laid ded

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"Overhand n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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