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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.

Pilot, -at(e, n. Also: pill-, pyl(l)-; pell- and -ote, -ott, -att, -et(t. [e.m.E. pylotte (1530), -ate, pilot(t)e, pilot, OF. pilot (14th c. in Greimas), early mod. F. pillotte (1529 in Hatz.-Darm.), med. L. (Eng.) pilotus (1404 in Latham).] The steersman or helmsman (of a ship); one fitted by experience or training to act as helmsman. b. spec. A pilot.Also fig.(1) 1504–5 Treas. Acc. II. 478.
For ane marinaris hire to be thair pilat
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 224.
He … gaif ws … pylotis [Ruddim. pillotis] and lodismen
1533 Boece iv. xvi. 155 b.
Weill furnyst with … pylatis knawing quhat cours thai suld hald
1548 Treas. Acc. IX. 218. c 1550 Balcarres P. V. MS. 75 a.
To ane pilat that past with the schipe to Strahnavern
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvi. 3.
c1575 Balfour Pract. 617.
Quhair ane pylot is hyrit … to sail ane ship to ane port [etc.]
1589 Crim. Trials I. ii. 327.
As alswa lacke of pylottis experimented vpon the coastes of Scotland England and Ireland
1589–90 Reg. Privy C. IV. 469.
Thretty marineris quhairof thair salbe sax expert pilottis
1590 Welwod 41.
Of a pilote or steirseman
c1590 Fowler I. 169/1.
As the painfull pylot … Perplexedlye drawes narr and shunns the cost
1602 Colville Paraenese 7.
The church is to the scriptur as the pilot to the roder
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 145.
That na man … sall tak the chairge of ane schip as to gif furth for maister or pylott vnles he be first tryet be foure speciall maisters
1612 Ib. 362. 1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 23. c 1680 Morisone in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 213.
Ships might venture to Loch Rogue, but without a good pylate I would not desyre them
(b) 1610 Crim. Trials III. 110.
c 1614 Melrose P. 600.
The pillats wha wer sent … to wnderstand if thair was any saif ryding at the Iyll of Tixa [etc.]
1651 Misc. 3 Spald. C. II. 206.
With ane man out of Stonehyve to be thair pillatt to Pitterhead
(c) 1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 21.
For ane pellot frome the toun to the Sheilles
(2) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV. 483.
To Artheos, Franchman, pilot
1597–8 Misc. Spald. C. V. 69.
Robert Lindsaye pylot of the new schip
fig. a1550 Lang Rosair 238.
The quene of chaistite and to all creature art pilat and glory
1567 G. Ball. 15.
And gude intent, thair pylat plycht and leid
1615 Crim. Trials III. 356.
Of … Robert Grahame … thair pylet and leader in this thair vnconscionable tred of lyfe

c. attrib. with -fe ( ? only in sense b). 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 1 b.
For our part of pylo(t) fey
1590 Welwod 71.
Contributioun aucht to be common ouer schip and guds for pilotfie in ane unknawin port
1595 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 10 a.
For pylot feye ine
1602 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 412.

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"Pilot n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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