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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.

Parcel(l, Parsel(l, n. Also: per- and -c(i)al(l, -cial(e, -cill, -sall, -sill; -caill; partial(l. [ME. and e.m.E. parcelle (Manning), -cel(l (14–15th c.), AF. parcele (1321), F. parcelle.] A part or portion, in various specific applications.

1. a. A distinct part or section of an account. b. A part or instalment of a complete payment.a. 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 74.
Sum totale of all the parcialis of thir expensis befor wirtin [etc.]
1498 Halyb. 187.
1680 Cunningham Diary 120.
Effeiring to this parcel … The total value of this third parcel
(b) 1493 Halyb. 39.
Som in all of this percial
1498 Ib. 172.
b. 1624 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 495.
Ane hundreth merkis, parsell of the said fvve hundreth merkis

2. An excerpt or (more or less short) passage of a text. 1558 Knox IV. 452.
In writing of this parcell [of a letter]
1609 Crim. Trials II. 592.
The parcell he read was [etc.]
1666-7 Blakhall Narr. 201.
I … tould the ladye … the answer of her Majesty, wherein I willingly concealed a parcel, to wit [etc.]
1671 Alford Rec. 177.
Any parcell of the Old Testament
1684 Symson Descr. Galloway (1823) 179. 1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 240.

3. a. A division or constituent part of an estate or the like. b. A parcel or small portion of land.a. 1565 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 627/1.
That na takkis have langar place of the said abbay or ony pairt or perciall thairof
1632 Red Bk. Menteith II. 46.b. 1642 Orkney Rentals iii. 22.
There lands … They hald of the bischoprie, bot littill partiallis of land
1650 Strathbogie Presb. 137.
[They] past to ane plot of ground called Nicolsons Croft … mett and designed a parcell therof having on the east the Kirkyeard dyk [etc.] … ; and therafter passed to ane parcell of ground called Dubiscroft [etc.]
1633 (1711) Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 68.
By a small parcell of ground
1682 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 248.
1684 Ib. 381.

4. A constituent, detail or particular (of something). 1678 Lauder Notices A ffairs I. 207.
Complemented with badges of royaltie and parcells of the soverainety, as scarlet robes [etc.]

5. A batch or lot (of any substance or commodity).Also, once, a parcel of words.(1) 1552 Dundee B. Ct. ii. fol. 197 (9 Nov.).
Thir partialles of geir vnder vrytine
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX. 159 b.
Sex parciallis extending to four scoir nyne elnis siluer & gold
1602 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 433.
The parsill of xlaithe bocht in Vigtoun
a1670 Scot Staggering State (1754) 35.
Sir James Bailie … having eaten a small parcel of them [poisoned tablets] [etc.]
1661 Nicolson Diurnals 16 July.
For ane parcell of alders in the bak bank 33 li. 6 s. 8 d.
1662 Ib. 26 Feb.
Ane parcell of rye wes castin into the barne
1667 Edinb. Test. LXXIII. 60.
Ane parsell of goat skines … ane parsell of hatts
1669 Ib. 356 b.
Ane certaine parsall of tobacco
1673 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. IV. 89.
That parcell of herrings was shipped … by some of his freinds
1684 Glamis Bk. Record 68.
A parsell of [1260] dales
1691 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 234.
A parcell of money now lying … newly coyned in the minthouse
(b) 1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI. 165.
Summa of the particullar wecht of the persellis of the siluir wark quhilk I have
1622 Ib. LI. 250 b.
Ane persell of perle pryce xxxiij s.
1677 Aberd. Council Lett. VI. 78.
Severall percells of staple goods that were shipt for Ratterdam
1698 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXIX. 125.
I could purchase percell new flax in 8th month
(2) 1678 Brown Hist. Indulgence.
Do not say, I would bogle you … with a parcel of words

b. A group or body (of troops); a flock of sheep. 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 113.
Convocats a parcell of pretty men
1693 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 654.
A persell of shep

6. In parcel or parcels, by parcels, in parts, part by part, piecemeal, by instalments. 1521 Grant Chart. 66.
And lattand to the said Alexander in parciale parthe [sic] of the said landis
c1590 Fowler II. 81/24.
And lat vs considder by parcells iff shee [France] falloued any of thir forspokken purposes
1653 Binning Wks. 364.
We look on his work by parcels and take it not whole & entire
1658 Elgin Rec. I. 305.
To be sold in wholl but not in parcills
1668 Cullen Kirk S. 13 Dec.
The poors money … distributed in parcels at severall tymes

7. ? An arrangement or division by parts or portions. 1583 Bk. Univ. Kirk II. 621.
The sex presbyteries … the whole Assemblie approved the constitutione hereof, while hereafter that better resolutione be taken, in case a better partial may be considered

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



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