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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.

Par-, Perchance, -chans(e, -chaunce, adv. (conj.). Also: -chauns, -chawns, -s(c)hance; purchans. [ME. and e.m.E. parchaunce (Rolle), per- and par-chance (Gower), OF. par chance.Sometimes written as two words.]

Perchance. (Cf. Paraventur(e and Parcas(e.)

1. In a contingent or hypothetical statement: Perhaps; maybe; it may be (that).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1586.
For sume perchaunce suld me mistrew
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1331 (C).
Perchaunce that they ameved wer Bycause [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. ix. 908.
Perchawns [C. purchans] he had noucht there bene dede And [etc.]
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 142/11.
Giff vald be als curyouse as perchaunce I mych be
a1585 Arbuthnot Maitl. Q. xxxvii. 21.
Perchaunce [F. perschance]
(b) c1420 Wynt. v. 3718.
Perchans it may be medycyne [etc.]
a1500 Henr. III. 143/39 (M).
c1475 Wall. v. 696.
Perchance ȝe think I war to law purchas [etc.]
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 9/22.
Him … that he may nocht perchans haue presens of efterwart
1513 Doug. iv. i. 39.
Perchans I mycht be venquist in this rage
1603 Philotus cvi.
And ȝit thay may Perchance till vs agrie
(c) 1549 Compl. 9/17.
Par chance
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1685.
And perchaunce he Sall neuir cum quhar he wold be
?1438 Alex. i. 2487.
Now … Thay sall perchance rus thame
c1420 Wynt. v. 4300.
Sum … Sall … argwe perchans hys cunnandnes
a1500 Seven S. 140.
Perchance ȝe will get nane [sc. sons] of me
1547 Cal. Sc. P. I. 5.
Yf Ingland mak not thair armis … in dew tyme thai shall never pershance hayf the castell of Edinburgh
1562-3 Winȝet II. 57/19.
a1585 Maitl. Q. viii. 16.
The borrowmuire Quhair sum perchance will hing
1596 Dalr. II. 475/12.(3) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 8/8.
Perchaunce lawde pepil comprehendis nocht the profound verite tharof
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 133. 1603 Philotus lii.(4) 1426 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 202.
Thai per chauns falleand to my twa ful brether
1439–40 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 240.
For the said annuale of x merkis nocht perchans payt
a1538 Abell 97 a.
And perchance in pane of his perditioun aganis the Scottis in Berwik … he wes wincust in tua batellis
Ib. 108 a.
& per chans ma till him at is wnlauchfull
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10064.
Gif I had ten barnis perchance and ma [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet II. 71/28.
Leste ony man perchance lychtlyand wtheris arrogantlie [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I. 2/27. Ib. 128/10.
Perchance mair curious than true

2. By chance; it so happens or happened. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 15 (B).
Bewty sayis ȝa ser perchance Ȝe be my ladeis presoneir
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 896.
In mappamond the maik is not perchance
1562-3 Winȝet II. 48/18.
Bot perchanse, be knottis onlie of argumentatioun he dressit his allegeance
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlviii. 66.
My fortun wes to be Ludgit perchance with this same companie

3. quasi-conj. Lest. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8878.
I durst not speik perchance ȝe had refusit

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"Perchance adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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