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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.

Perfurnis, -fornis, v. Also: -ys, -yce; -eis(e, -es. P.t. and p.p. perfurnist, -yst, -est, -eist; perfornyst. [North. ME. and e.m.E. perfurnysche (1393), -fournys (c 1450), parfornysshe, -fournyshe (Caxton), F. parfourniss, extended stem of parfournir, in OF. to achieve, complete, accomplish, furnish completely, furnish with what is wanting to completeness (OED.). Cf. Perfurmis and Perform.]

1. tr. a. To bring to completion, carry through, complete, finish. b. To carry into effect, carry out, accomplish, execute (a task begun, an undertaking, intention, request, obligation, etc.).Also perfurnis furth, id.(1) 1375 Barb. xii. 61 (C).
This wes the first strak of the ficht That wes perfornyst douchtely
1442 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. V. ii. 655.
That thai [sc. masons] sall fulfill and perfornyce his said werk efter the tenour of the endentouris made tharapon
1494 Loutfut MS. 4 b.
The quhilk thing pertenis to the marschall … til oursee & perfornyce & til put to execucion … and convoy him quhil al be done
1513 Doug. vii. ix. 13.
Lo! now discord perfornyst as thou wald, With schrewit batale [etc.]
(b), (a) ?1438 Alex. ii. 5918.
The avowes … war … outrageous And to perfurnys perellous
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 184/16 (Asl.).
Bot quha that with richt ordanis … his doyngis and to a perfyte end in treuth & lawte perfurnisis thaim
1522–3 Dundee B. Ct. I. fol. 130 (2 Mar.).
Offerit hym till ressaue Georde Kynmouth his prentis to perfurnes his seruice to the baxter craft to the ische of his ȝeris of vj ȝeris
1528 Douglas Corr. 127.
Quhen evir I am requirit I caus my lieuteinentis … meit and mak gude redres and perfurnis [ed. perfurms] thir materis in deid
1533 Boece iii. ii. 93. Ib. v. iii. 168 b, etc. 1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 132.
We have … for laik of money to perfurnis the commoun affaires of this realme disponit the said ward
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4151.
Quhen thay had done perfurneis [1592 -furmeis] His ententis In dantyng wrangus peple
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 154/4.
Ȝe haif tane mair on hand nor all ȝour sect may iustlie perfurnys
1558-66 Knox I. 445.
To perfurneise hir wicked interprises
1568 Reg. Privy S. VI. 56/2. 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 57.
That I was not able to perfurneis my intent
(b), (c) ?1438 Alex. ii. 5556.
That sall perfurnist be full raith
Ib. 8902.
That the Bauderane had vnder-tane Perfurnist hes he vounder weill
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5443 (C).
The se than passit he prewaly Til Galiarde to the Kynge Dawy And perfurnyst [R. perfornyst] his nedis thar
14.. Reg. Maj. c. i 16.
Than it is perfurnest the bying & the selling with vertu & effet
1513 Doug. iii. viii. 82.
Fra that perfurnyst [1553 perfurmis, Ruddim. perfurmist] was our offerand day
Ib. vi. x. 23.
This beand done at last and euery deil Perfurnyst langyng the goddes gyft gay [L. perfecto munere divæ]
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 84 (M).
Ane galland … to perfurneis furth the werk quhen failȝeit the tother

b. To complete (a payment), to make up (a required total). c1420 Bute MS. 172 b.
Gyf he yhede away the maystyr had nocht to perfornys of his wage [Harl. the maistir aw nocht to perfurnis his waige]
1533 Bell. Livy I. 247/3.
To perfurnis [L. explendum] this batall baith the Latynis [etc.] … war commandit to gif thare maist reddy support
1552 Dundee B. Ct. II. fol. 152 (8 May).
James Scrymgeour [etc.] … grantit ilk ane of thame to len the sovme of ten liis to perfurneis the taxt of the xij d.

2. With non-personal subject. a. To bring to completion, to complete or finish. 1456 Hay II. 121/13.
That thou wesch oft tymes in somer … for it … perfornisis the remaynand of thy degestioun [etc.]
1513 Doug. xii. xiv. 50.
Ne went it [the stone] all the space as he dyd mynt Nor as he etlyt perfornyst not the dynt
1533 Boece i. v. 42.
To perfurnis thir weris supple of Britouns suld nocht faleȝe

b. To make up (a required total); to supply the funds needed for (some purpose); to bring up to the required strength or number.Also const. furth.(1) 1539 Glasgow Prot. IV. 120.
Geif … the saidis tenement … and profettis thairof dow nocht perfurneis and susteyne thir foirsaidis suffragis
1550 Cupar B. Rec. 3 Dec.
Gif the saidis sowmis perfurnesis nocht the said busynes
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 37.
That the lieutennent mycht haue xxvjm pundis to perfurneis ane thowsand horsmen forthrie monethis
1588 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 121.
To gett samekle siluer as may perfurneis the samyn [required sum]
(2) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 469.
Ane of thir clannis wantit ane man to perfurnis furth the … nowmer

3. a. To provide or supply; also, to obtain or procure. With direct obj. of what is supplied or procured, or in passive.Also const. to the recipient and indirect obj.Chiefly with material, but also rarely with non-material, object.(1) 1507 Reg. Privy S. I. 223/2.
Walter Chepman and Andro Millar … to furnis and bring hame ane prent … and expert men [etc.] … And becaus we understand that this can nocht be perfurnist without rycht greit cost [etc.]
1512 Prot. Bk. J. Foular I. 160 (see 4 below). 1516–17 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 166. 1520 Ib. 199.
And quhen it sall happin the chaplane … till cum for his mete amangis the saidis bonetmakaris ilkane of thame to perfurnis the said chaplane his met sicklyk as [etc.]
1523 Ib. 216.
The … communitie … are content to perfurnis … hors of cariage to our souerane lordis army
1535 Treas. Acc. VI. 263.
To perfurnes the haill fynance quhilk the toune … suld have furnest
1535 Acts II. 346/1.
And conclude quhat artalȝerie … ilk burcht may perfurnes
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 91.
To perfurneis to xvj persouns till be seriands … ane lufray
1552 Soc. Ant. II. 414.
I … sall rasaue thankfull payment … in greit & small sowmez lykas as thai pleis offer and perfurnis … and gif I perfurnis ony mony [etc.] … or deliueris to the said abbat without the said conventis consent [etc.]
(2) a1578 Pitsc. I. 288/14.
This Duike passit to the sie witht men and artaillȝe sic as he could provyde … together witht monitioun [etc.] … sic as he might perfurneis at that tyme
15.. Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 58.
The money that I mycht perfurneise … to haif bocht me sum claise with all is lost in your lordships besynes
(3) 1513 Doug. vii. ix. 32.
Weill ar perfurnyst causys of this weir perfay

b. With direct object of the person(s) supplied: To provide for, to provision.Also const. with the thing supplied.(1) 1520 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 199.
And gif … ane of thame may nocht gudlie perfurnis the said chaplane … it salbe lefull [etc.]
1536 Linlithgow B. Ct. 6 Oct.
That na huxstar … by na stuf … quhill xj houris that the nychtboris be perfurnist
1542–3 Douglas Corr. 148.
The multitude is alsmoche as this toune and Leith may perfurnis and luge
1558 Inverness Rec. I. 21.
Quhilkis men of Clanrynnald ar our souerane ladis rebellis and mantinet and supleyt be the sayd Johne Nilson and perfurnest
(2) 1558 Inverness Rec. I. 27.
Quha becom souerte … to perfurnis this bruch and the Quenis legis sufficient with schone
1573 Treas. Acc. XII. 359.
To perfurneis and follow the army … with viveris

c. In the following instances there is ambiguity between a and b above. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 37.
[£26,000] to perfurneis ane thowsand horsmen for thrie monethis
1559 Crail B. Ct. 12 Dec.
Ane taxt … to perfurnes xvj men

4. a. ? To provide as the maker or builder of (an artefact or building or part of one). b. ? To complete the construction of, to construct.The quotations leave it uncertain which sense is intended. Perhaps two separate but converging lines of semantic development are involved. 1508 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 117.
That the said Patrik sall mak and perfurnis to thair hospitall … ane compleit ruf
1512 Prot. Bk. J. Foular I. 160.
To perfurnis and mak to the toune … ane condigne and famous eucarist of silver … and he to gilt the samin the toune findand and perfurnesand the gold tharto
1528 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 277.
Gif the samin [sc. a fortalice] suld be perfurnist
1540 Edinb. Guild Ct. 14 May.
Til perfurneis & mak the thak of hir esindrop with sklate

5. To complete (an artefact) by an addition, or supply with necessary additions or accessories. 1537 Treas. Acc. VI. 338.
To perfurnis the said lettacamp … blak dammas
1539 Ib. VII. 58.
For four elnis of bukesse to perfurnes the saidis claithis
1553 Ib. X. 178.
xiiij elnis taffateis … to be twa gounis [etc.] … and to perfurnis ane goun and ane cote of growgrane gottin furthe of his graces gairdrop
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8716.
Quhair that he suld haue his bed Weill perfurneist into all necessaris

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"Perfurnis v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <>



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