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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Person(e, -oun(e, -own(e, n. Also: -un, -oin, -onne; peirson, -oune. [ME. and e.m.E. persone (Ancr. R.), -un (Cursor M.), -oone (Wyclif), -on, OF. and AF. persone (mod. F. personne), L. persōna. Cf. Parson(e n.]Freq., perh. in earlier instances chiefly or only, resulting from editorial expansion of the (ambiguous) abbreviation for peror par-.

I. (A) person, in the usual senses and applications (cf. Personag(e n. 1).

1. An individual being, human or supernatural; a male or female human being.Spec., applied by theologians to the ‘persons’ of the Trinity, also with ref. to the union of human and divine natures in Christ.In persone, concerning a person as opposed to a thing [= L. in personam].Also, plur. without inflection.(1) 1375 Barb. iv. 23.
For to betreys sic a persoune, So nobill
?1438 Alex. ii. 3455.
I am nocht bot ane persoun heir Lytill and euill made
1472 Lennox Mun. 90.
Thair may na superior … seys … na persoune of the landys cummyn in thair handys
c1475 Wall. v. 363. 1487 Acts II. 182/2. c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 61/17.
Ane persone suld nocht be lathand to torne to God his creatur
Id. Mir. in Innes Rev. VI. 92.
A persoune may cum to a realme be … successioune … [or] be … eleccioune … The thrid way is mydel betuix thir twa
1498 Acta Conc. II. 292.
To be marit with ane competent persone and parti
1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 44.
That na maner of persone man nor woman tak in wed or by ony clais [etc.]
1533 Gau 3/16. 1553 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 182.
Gif it salhappin ony persone to [etc.]
1584 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. 198.
Quhatsumeuir persoun of landuart bringis geir to the said burgh
1605 Edinb. Test. XL. 305 b.
That thai get na wrang of na persone
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 136/4. a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 66.(2) c1420 Wynt. vi. 2375 (W).
The x persone Be evin lyniall discencioun Wes Robert the secund
a1500 Henr. III. 99/82.
Quhen that scho lukit to the serk Scho thocht on the persoun And prayit for him
1490 Irland Mir. I. 125/20.
The persoune that wrocht our saluacioune was send fra the hie diuinite
Ib. MS. fol. 286.
Quhen this sacrament is gevin to the persone he has a maist na powere of him self
1528 Lynd. Dreme 654.
Suppone … that the persoun wer rycht deligent
1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 207.
The … apprehendaris of the persoun that brekkis this statut
1564 Stirling B. Rec. I. 83.
It sall nocht be levesum to that persone to be servit as na air
(3) 1398 Acts I. 211/2.
The schirefys … sal do thair besines til arreste the personis sua gifyn vp
c1420 Wynt. vi. 121, viii. 869. 1437 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 5.
Quhat persouns frauchtis ane schip hamewart [etc.]
c1420 Bute MS. 162.
Of chesing of xij personys
1465 Bk. Carlaverock I. 145.
Aganis al numer of persones that leiff or dee may
1476 Acta Aud. 44/1.
And the laif of the persons of the inquest
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 15/19.
Thocht the personnis beand in hell may haue detestacioun of thar synnis [etc.]
1494 Loutfut MS. 10 a.
The gret ceruer … and al vtheris officiaris callit gret suld be salust eftir the estait at the personnys ar
1499 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 76.
That thai latt in na persouns thairin [etc.]
1501–2 Treas. Acc. II. 132.
Passand … on the personis within … Air and Drumfreis that wer awand monee
1508–9 Reg. Privy S. I. 275/1 (see Committar(e n.). 1519 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 190.
At na persouns be fund on the hie gaitt [etc.]
1526–7 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 256. 1530–1 Ib. 349.
The lordis spirituale and temporale and uthir persouns of cuning
a1538 Abell 75.
3 personis in womennis liknis
1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 205. 1569 Sc. Hist. Rev. I. 40.
I never thought … that the persowns nominat by the persown off Kinnoyr wald jnterprysyt sik a vyle … mourther
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 70. 1635 Irving Dumbartonsh. II. (Append.) 315.
And … hes electit the persovnis following to be constabills [viz., etc.]
1670 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 2 Apr.
(b) 1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 82.
Be me the said lawman and peirsonys forsaid
(4) 1477 Stirlings of Keir 251.
Be ony vther persone or personys lewande nor ded
1567 Acts III. 23/1.
That na maner of person or personis … heir messe
Ib. 26/1.
Quhatsumeuer person or personis thay be that abusis thair body with sic personis in degre as [etc.]
1578 Glenartney Doc.
That na persone or personis tak vpoun hand to … vse ony commowne gaittes
(5) c 1450 Charm in Harl. MS. 6670.
Suthtfast Lord in personis thre
1490 Irland Mir. I. 14/32.
On the faithe of the thre persounis in diuinite in a substaunce
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 458. a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 119/13.
Bayth God and man, twa natures in a persone
1562-3 Winȝet II. 39/10.
It beleuis suythlie to be in him ane persoun bot twa substances
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lvi. 90.(6) 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 32.
Of cunnandis … Sum ar in thing & sum ar in persone [= L. in personam]
(7) c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 9/18.
That all person havand wit [etc.]
Id. Mir. I. 105/13.
All persoune lyfff and in this waurld
1510 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 10.
Of tua persone chossyne be the parteis
1597–8 Elgin Rec. II. 62.
Quhatsumeuir persoun … giffis thame selues [etc.]

b. With various qualifying expressions.For further examples see courtly, grave, grete, honorabill, michty; brokin, criminal(e, dampnit, evil-avisit, excommunicat, factioned, incestu(o)us, loose; infirme, lamit, miserabill; conjunct, junct, mediat; dede-like, ecclesiastic, fensabill, lineal(l; etc. Also Odpersoun, thrid persoun.(1) c1420 Wynt. ix. 2228.
A seymly persone in stature
1428 Liber Melros II. 520.
Worthy and notable persons
1456 Hay I. 109/34.
Gif he [the Emperor] be ane unworthy persone and unhable tharto
1533 Gau 16/6.
With hwris or ony licht persons
1567 G. Ball. 1.
And that speciallie amang ȝoung personis
1572 Edinb. Test. XXIV. 213.
To the pure that ar … waik and infirme persounis vnabill to wirk
c1575 Balfour Pract. 501.
Ane qualifyit and habil persoun of sufficient literature [etc.]
1593 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) II. 211.
Of certane speciall persones of our counsell
1596 Dalr. II. 399/23.
Sum religious persounis … defected til hæresie
1606 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 53.
At the lykis of defunct persones within this burt
1622-6 Bisset I. 85/24 (see Judicatorie a.). a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 10 b.
Of weillie persons
(2) 1516 Reg. Great S. 23/1.
The secund persoun of this realme and anelie air to his said umquhile fader
1558-66 Knox II. 45.
Lord Hamyltoun, second persone of the realme of Scotland
1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 205.
Comptrollar and secund persoun of the artailyeirie
(3) 1496–7 Acta Conc. II. 48.
The saidis persons witnes being … summond [etc.]
1500 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 85.
In favouris of the persouns absent
c 1525 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 388.
The personis tenentis
1543 Reg. Morton II. 283.
That he mycht haif place to say aganis personis lordis of the sete tuiching [etc.]
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II. lxi (see Maskar n.). 1627 Justiciary Cases I. 72.
Betuix the persones adulteraris

c. In (one's) (proper) persone, in person, personally. 1385 Rot. Sc. II. 73/1.
That day of redres sal be halden betwix tham in propre persons
c 1442 Coldingham Priory 141.
Qwill he and I comperit before yhou in propir personis
1447 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 244.
Tha ilke chapellanis passand befor in propir person
1456 Hay I. 265/7.
Ane erle, and he be appelit of bataill … , aw nocht till ansuere in persone
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 90 (see Proper a. 1 (7)). 1522 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 103.
Inhable in his persoun to bruik … rovme within the said fredome
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 101/1.
Be in youre awin person ualkeryfe

d. (One's, or someone else's) (awin) persone, in reflexive or emphatic use. 1375 Barb. xx. 276.
And that wes all for his persoune
?1438 Alex. ii. 6720.
For his persoun haldis he na thing
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2143.
All Scotland Owre lytill is to my persowne
Ib. vii. 29.
A lele man That tald the kyngys awyne persowne that [etc.]
1424 Acts II. 3/2.
Til infors the King aganis notour rebellouris aganis his persone
1452 Ib. 41/2.
Forther than is neidfull for thair awin persounis and … thair houshaldis
1456 Hay I. 124/35.
The baroun … makis nane homage for his men to the king, bot for his awin persone
a1500 Henr. III. 98/51.
That prince … fawcht with him his awin persoun
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2427.
Had I ten thousand pound … I wald leif all vnto ȝour awin persoun

e. In the persone of (someone), in (someone's) persone, as vested in him or her. 1582–3 Reg. Privy C. III. 541.
A power strange and unsufferabill to be in the persoun of ony inferior subject
1668 Rothesay B. Rec. 147.
Ther is no richt or tytle in hir persoune to the guids craved

f. But (without) exceptioun or respect, na acceptione, of (to) personis, (with) no exception of persons, (showing) favour to none. 1549 Compl. 127/8.
Thou makis na acceptione of personis
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxx. 69.
To thi lieges do iustice equalie Without respect to persoun or pairtie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 313/6.
For thai wald haue had iustice equallie wssit to all men bot perticallietie or exceptioun of persouns
1584 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 98.
To stand xxiiii houris in the joggis but respect of persounis

2. A character, real or (as in a play, etc.) assumed; a role; (one's) nature or personality.In persone of, in the character of, representing.(1) 1442 Mill Mediæv. Plays 116.
Thire craftez vnderwrittin sal fynd ȝerely in the offerand of Oure Lady at candilmes thire persones vnderwrittin
c1460 Consail Vys Man 405.
Gar thi gud deid lof thi persone
a1500 Bk. Chess 2159.
The knychtis persone representis he
1535 Stewart 36546.
All vertew into his persone rang
1555 Acts II. 500/1.
And gif ony sic persounis sic as Robert Hude [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet II. 43/20.
That [Christ] … mot be the body self, the man self, and the self persoun of the man, nocht a fenȝeit bot a trew persoun
1596 Dalr. I. 116/26.
Thay quha studie to merchandise … susteine the persone of honest sitizenis
1632 Chron. Perth 34.
Ane boy, representing the persone of the riwer of Tay
(2) 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 327.
This ornate poet … discryvis in person of Eneas
1596 Dalr. II. 29/35.
In persoune of a pure beger

b. Right or entitlement by virtue of one's legal persona or status. — 1498 Acta Conc. II. 191.
And tharefore the sade Malcum has na persone til pley in the accione abonewrittin

3. Physical being or appearance; one's body or physique; one's physical self.Common in the phr. of, also in, persone, in or of body, physical(ly.(1) c 1400 Edinb. Univ. MS. 27 fol. 288.
Owthir sal he his gudis tyne … Or of persone the payne sal he Thole
c1420 Ratis R. 937.
Tak lyklynes atour the laif Of contynans and of persone
c1475 Wall. vii. 375.
Ye ar … als likly off persoun As euir was I
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 299 (Ch. & M.).
We na fallowis wer … In … fairnes of persoune
15.. Dunb. App. x. 21. 1533 Boece iv. xi. 142 b.
The king … febill in persoun
Ib. ix. i. 286.
Consumyt in person goustie and lene
1545–6 Reg. Privy S. III. 242/2.
Thomas Gardin … is corpolent and growin of persoun
1557 Crim. Trials I. i. 397.
Ane abill man of peirsoune
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8131.
Thair braue hauingis and thair paintit persoun
1567 Cal. Sc. P. II. 395.
She is in als guid health of persoune … as at any tym
1580 Edinb. Test. VIII. 367 b.
Albeit seik in persoun neuirtheles haill in spreit
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xii. 12.
Ȝe haif na maik Nor ȝit in persoun hes na peir
(2) 1456 Hay I. 122/18.
Quhare scathe is done to his lordis persone
Ib. 257/24.
That ony man suld be witnes in his awin cause, the quhilk he ingeris him to be that wagis bataill, sen his awin persone is a pruf
Ib. 280/22.
And that I sall preve with my persone
1467 Acta Aud. 8/2.
That his persoun be enterit in ward in the castel of the Blaknes
1483 Acta Conc. II. cxxxii.
For anourment of hir persoun
1494 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 68.
Vnder the payne of his persoun
1496–7 Acta Conc. II. 47.
He … violently handillit his persone
a1500 Bk. Chess 583.
Thocht hir persone was nocht innocent, Baith clene and hale … was hir entent
1533 Boece xi. iv. 409 b.
His persoun dwynyt and wanyt
1538 Crim. Trials I. i. 207.
I ame … lamit in my persoune be tormenting
1540 Lynd. Sat. 502. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7808.
That I micht be ȝour persoun fallowis to
1567 Acts III. 29/1. 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 65. 1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 286.
His persoun salbe baneist the said toun of Leith
c1590 J. Stewart 135/2.
Thy proper persone dois approwe thy mycht
16.. Herries Mem. 75.
It was nothing licklie she wold fancie his persone that was neither handsome nor well faced
1670 Rothesay B. Rec. 190.
He the said John Ker sall present the persoune of the said Gilmorie in the tolbuithe of the said brughe

4. Grammatical person. c1505-8 Donatus 1 a.
Fra the first persone singuler … imperfectyme of the indicatiue mode
1531 Vaus (1531) Bb ij.
Infinitiuo modo, on endyt or determyt mode to nowmyr or persone
Id. in Grant Burgh Schools 56.
Quhy is ane pronowne first persone? For it signifyis the thing that spekis of itself

II. 5. A parson: ‘a holder of a parochial benefice, in full possession of its rights and dues’ (OED.).Also comb. in the place-name Persounlande.(1) ? 1073 Liber Melros II. 409.
[Aldredo persona de Lauwedre
a 1203 Reg. Episc. Morav. 12.
Post decessum Bricii persone
1290 Reg. St. A. 378.]
Filia persone de Lasmanen Johanna nomine
1393–4 Slater Early Sc. Texts 29.
Sir Fynlawis persoun of Lochaw
1431 Buccleuch Mun. II. 28.
Maystar William Turnbulle, persone off Hawyc
1434 Liber Coll. Glasg. 249. 1454 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 261. 1457 Reg. Dunferm. 344. 1478 Lennox Mun. 116.
Befor me notar persoune of Torboltoun
1482 Edinb. Chart. 155. 1482–3 Acta Aud. in Acta Conc. II. ciii.
And Maister David Le [vingstoun?], persoun of Are, his curait
1504–5 Liber Melros II. 601. 1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 84. 1564–5 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. 3 Feb.
Maister Johnne Spottiswod persone of Caldour, Patrik Kenloquhy minster of Linlythgow, maister Johnne Moubray persone of Eglismichane
1567 Coll. Aberd. & B. 226.
Banchquery-Divinick, Neig: David Menȝes minister jc merkis. Mr Robert Merser, persone and exhorter, and to minister the sacramentis, the thrid of the personage fre, extending to [£33. 13. 4d.]
1569 Sc. Hist. Rev. I. 40 (see 1 (3) above). 1580 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 115. a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 34.
Maister Androw Cullen … prowest of Aberden, persone of Fetterneir and wikar of Aberden
1636 Black Bk. Taymouth 79.
Mr Williame Menȝeis then persone and vicar of Inchaddin
c1650 Spalding I. 217.
Mr Dauid Lyndsay, persone of Balhevie
(2) c1420 Wynt. vii. 2220.
Maystyr Stewyn off Langtowne A famows and [a] gret persown
c1420 Wynt. v. 2516 (W).
That nane suld draw Befor iugis seculare Persone of kirk or regulare
c1450-2 Howlat 219.
Bot in wplandis townis At vicaris and persounis For the procuraciounis Cryand full crows
Ib. 230. 1456 Hay I. 151/16.
He makis sum curatis and vicaris of a kirk, sum persounis etc.]
c1475 Wall. i. 300. c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 19/15.
The persoun that suld heir confessioun suld be a prest hafand iurisdictoun of the synnare [etc.]
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 411.
To mak … Ane woman persone of ane parisoun
c1552 Id. Mon. 4688. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 289.
We exhort yow all that ar personis of kirkis [etc.]
1558–9 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. lxii.
That thair be send letteris monitoris upon the haill personis, abbotis and prioris, to cause preching to be maid within thair kirkis
1558–9 Statut. Sc. Ch. 159.
The persons and uplifters of the uther deutys perteining to the Kirk
c 1560 Liber Dryburgh 325.
The minister persoun
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 15.
The principal and lectour in Hebrew may be ane persone
1587 Acts III. 435/1.
The said ecclesiasticall persone salhaif actioun and richt to the tent penny of liquidat mailles
1610 Crim. Trials III. 109.
This company of pirottis did interteyne one whome they did call thair persoune, for saying of prayeris to thame twyse a day
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1443.
The tak may staik the person, the vicar wil not have it
1627 Rep. Parishes 45.
The abbotis of Newbottle were persones and drew the great teind
(3) attrib. 1409–10 Liber Melros II. 534.
Le Persounlande

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"Person n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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