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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.

Overman, n. Also: ovir-, ower-, owir- and -manne. [ME. (c 1250) and e.m.E. overman. Also in the mod. north. Eng. dial. Cf. Ourman n. and Over(i)sman n.]

1. One having authority over others, a superior, head. Also fig. 1490 Irland Mir. 269 b.
A preist, that the Paip ore the ouirman has gevin autorite to
Ib. 310 b. 1528 Lynd. Dreme 228.
Religious men … , Nocht haiffand thare ouermen in reuerence
fig. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 10524.
Wit and wisdome was went, will was ouir man

b. A craftsman appointed to supervise the work of, and to bear rule over, his fellows. 1475 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 32.
[If] ony of them plenyeis apoun them [thay] sall be brocht befor the dekynnis and ouermen of the craftis
1530 Ib. II. 22.
That we micht haue yeirlie ane honest man of the said craft chosin till ws quhilk salbe callit ouerman and ouersear of all the laif that thar werk be gude and sufficient stuf
1531 Ib. 49.
That the saidis dekin and brethir of the wobstar craft sall … suffir the saidis dekin, ouerman [supra hedisman] and brethir of the saidis walkaris, scheraris and bonetmakaris to … pas with thame … on Corpus Christi day

c. One of the elected officers of a burgh, a magistrate. 1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 7.
Euery merchand and craftisman … to cum incontinent to the provest or ballies reddy to fortefy and manteine thar ouer men and justice; and quha that … is nocht reddy to cum to thair ouer men incontinent [etc.]

2. A chief arbiter, appointed to have the final decision in the event of deadlock. 1490 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 25.
The actione debatable betwix Wilyam … one the ta part and James … on the tothir part ar summittit to abid to at thir personis … [six names] and Johne Wallod owirman
1499 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 429.
We … [two persons] ovirmen ewynlie chosin and sworn betwix the abbot … and Johne of Turing
1500 Acta Conc. MS. X. 88 b.
It salbe leffull to the saidis jugis … to cheis ane owerman
1507–8 Rec. Earld. Orkney 79.
[Decree of arbitration according] till ane nobil … man, Schir Wilȝame Sinclare … , a worthi and discret man Jhone Cragy, lawman of Orknay, as owirmen, and till [12 others]
1520 Selkirk B. Ct. 56.
To be overman quhar thir iiii men can nocht aggre the parteis
1530–1 Ib. 110.
The saidis Gib takis [two men] … to his arbitouris and Volle Loure takis [two men] … for his and the lard of Riddaill overman and maister Michaell
c 1532–50 Breadalbane P. (Reg. H.).
Odman and ouerman … langand all and sindry the actiones
1567 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I. 162.
Henrie Halcro overman in caice of wareance
1616 Crim. Trials III. 393.
The saidis pairteis sal cheis foure frendis, with ane ouermanne as thai can aggre one for … deciding of the said contraverse

3. A chief and arbitrating executor. (Cf. Ourman n. 3.) 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1082.
The Pyote said: quhat sall myne office bee? Ouirman, said scho, vnto the tother two
1557 Rep. Southesk MSS. 17.
In case of discord betuix my barnis or executoris … I leve my Lordis of Sanctandrois and Orknay ouermen and jugis amangys thame
1564-75 Hamilton & Campsie Test. I. 49 (see Overséar n. 2 a, b). 1577 Dickson & Edmond Ann. Sc. Printing 305.
Thomas Bassinden, prentar, makis Hew Tod and Katharane Norwell his executours, and Henry Charteris overman

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"Overman n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/overman>

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