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.
Petty, -i(e, a. Also: pet-; pitt- and -é, -ey, -ae. [ME. and e.m.E. pety (Piers Plowman), petie (1532), pettie (1582), also pittie (Waterford Municipal Archive), phonetic spelling after French pronunciation of Petit a.] Petty, in the usual senses.
1. Only when prefixed to a proper name, as part of a nickname: Small in size or stature. 1494 Treas. Acc. I. 233.
Pette Johnne 1497 Ib. 326.
Pete Johne 1513 Ib. IV. 531. 1633 Edinb. Sasines XX. 343 b.
Johne Hope alias pittae Johne
2. Of persons or, chiefly, things: Of less size or importance (than another person or thing specified or, usu., implied); minor, lesser; smaller; inferior.Freq. comb. with a following noun, as e.g. (the) petty commoun (of Dunfermline and Culross), cf. Commoun n. 4.; petty lairdner; pety quarter, ‘appar. a measure introduced from France, perhaps referring to 25 instead of 28, which is the fourth of ‘the lang hunder wecht’ ’ (Jam.); petty schole, a school for young boys [cf. e.m.E. petie scole id. (1555–6)]; Petty-custom(e n.; etc.(1) 1444 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. IV. 350.
Ilke pety quarter of salt that thai had in the samyn schip 1466–7 Ib. V. i. 592 (12 Jan.).
Twa pety quarteris of quheit 1498 Halyb. 178.
ij pety quartris of salt(2) 1457 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 16.
Lie pittie heavin syluer de Leyth 1658 Lanark B. Rec. 167.
In the caice of pittie debt 1666 Glasgow Chart. II. 63.
Ane impost and exactione of certane pittie dewties upon the river of Clyde 1680 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 394.
The pittie impost of wynes [is] exacted by … taxmen 1681 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 12 Jan.
Anent his pittey impost 1696 Sc. Hist. Rev. XVIII. 254.
[The skipper was to receive £18 Scots] together also with towadge and rowadge and pittie pillitage and other dewties(b) 1660 Old Ross-shire I. 186.
Pettipilotage 1679 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. MS. 27 Nov.
Uthyre pettie compts(3) 1531–2 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 105.
Tua grete kystis ane … to the petty lairdner ? 1605 Reg. Privy C. VII. 744.
That in every parish there may be some lurgg dogges kept … for following of pettie stouthes 1612 Dundee Shipping L. 230 (see Card n.2 (b)). 1641 Spalding II. 50.
Chantoris or petty chantoris 16.. Gordon Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 312.
Ther be other pettie countreys south … from Ros, as Knoydert [etc.](b) 1622 Mar & Kellie MSS. Suppl. 134.
Hurt in the pittie ventre with a pyke 1648 S. Leith Rec. 84.
Pittie brewings 1661 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 159.
The doctrine and disclipline of our church as it now stands from the pittie sessione to the generall assemblie 1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 70.
Pitty roobery or theifte(4) 1534 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 118.
Myllar to the myllof Bawmyll … perteynyng to the petycommon of Dunfermlyn 1560 (1565) Reg. Great S. 387.
Ad lie petticommone … inter lie pittecommone hortos ville de Culros communes latrinas vulgo lie nestreis et semitam ab illis ad [etc.] 1598 Retours Inq. Val. Dominii de Culross (4).
Twa aikeris of land … and his pairt of the petticomoun — 1545 Reg. Privy S. III. 204/2.
Super vicaria lie petty vicarage de Strathmeglo(5) a1578 Pitsc. I. 241/10.
That he was callit … the pittie roy [v.r. petteroy] of Napillis 1657 Balfour Ann. I. 20.
One of the pittey kinges of that iyland [sc. Ireland](6) 1660 Dumfries Council Min. 12 Mar.
Detaining of thair children from the grammar schoole of this brugh & be puttin thair children to wther pettie schooles within this brughe Ib. 10 Dec.
To petty schooles ather in brughe or landward
3. Of small importance; insignificant, trifling. 1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xiii.
And if I were posed of my pettie opinion heerein [etc.] 1661 Red Bk. Grandtully 161.
Pittie 1665 Lauder Jrnl. 27.
Of this chamber goes a pitty but pretty litle cabinet for devotion 1669 Peebles B. Rec. II. 79.
Everie traidsman … to pay each mercate … ane pettie sowme to the box-maister of the burgh wher they sell waire
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"Petty adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/petty>