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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Scorn, Skorn(e, n. Also: scorne, schorne, scourne. [ME and e.m.E. skarn (Orm), scorne (c1200), aphetic f. OF escarne, of Gmc. origin; cf. OHG skern, OS scern, early mod. Du. scherne mockery, sport.]

1. Derision; mockery; contempt. Also personified. 1474 Acts II 107/2.
Becaus … personis arrestit to the justice ayr walde cum in presens of the justice … & halde thame wtwithe the bar … quhilk is gret derisione ande skorn of justice and lychtlying
c1475 Wall. viii 1028.
Gud men mon thoill off harlottis scorn in wer
a1500 Sir Eger 1284.
But scorn and heeding goes together
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 46.
And lat him lay sax leichis on thy lendis Meikly in recompansing of thi scorne
1531 Bell. Boece I 166.
Thir ambassatouris gat nocht bot ane answer full of hie contemptioun and skorne
1535 Stewart 15917.
To heir sic blame, The mekill scorne, the heidding and the schame
Ib. 51240.
The Scottis men … Bot scorne and hething send to him agane
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5152.
Thir four men … Past furth that time in scorne and derisioun
a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS 260a/15, 16.
The skorne that I gatt micht bene maid ane fars Quhilk excedit the skorne of Absolone Quhen the hett culter wes schott in his hers
1595 Reg. Privy C. V 219.
[He] contemptuouslie be way of mockage and skorne delyverit agane to him ane commissioun quhilk [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Sonn. lxii 13.
I think it scorne, besyd the skaith and sklander, To euin an ape with aufull Alexander
1624 Crim. Trials III 571.
Ye, in plane mokage and skorne of the Almychtie, … maid ane prayer
personified a1500 Bernardus 218.
He sal hafe … a sone als callit scorne and schame
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 27/61.
Skorne cryis out, sayis ‘Wald ȝe ocht?’
Ib. (OUP) 28/81.
Thrucht Skornes nos thai put a prik

b. In certain adv. phr., introduced by a preposition.But schath and schorne, without suffering harm of any kind.With scorn, (1) scornfully, derisively, insultingly, contemptuously; (2) as the object of another's scorn or derision.In (into) scorn, = with scorn (1).For scorn, in mockery; as a mark of scorn or contempt.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 767.
[They] Of the caldrone son wes tane … but schath & schorne, As thai ware of thare modir borne
(2) c1450-2 Howlat 67 (A).
Sum skripe me with scorne sum skrym at myne
c1515 Asl. MS II 223/18.
[They] spak till him self richt dispituoslie with felloun wordis and scorne
1535 Stewart 13313.
Lichtlie he leuche with greit hething and scorne
a1568 Bann. MS 39a/61.
Thou [sc. Christ] was skurgit with skrech and scorne
1528 Lynd. Dreme 1132.
His hie grace Quhilk bled with effusioun, With scorne and derisioun
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6222.
Than all the hoist in haist thay maid them hame Frayit without caus, with mekill scorne & schame
(3) 1459 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 61.
The said smyth vas callit Ade of Caute and in skorne with the nychtbowris vas callit Lard of Caute in derisioune … and throw that skorne the land was callit Caulty
c1475 Wall. vi 131.
He salust thaim as it war bot in scorn
Ib. viii 17.
Lychtly he lowch in scorn as it had beyn And said [etc.]
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1003 (Harl.).
As kyng of Jowis thai salust hym in scorn
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 17.
They that tuke him [sc. King Robert Bruce] cryit in scorne and derisioun, ‘Quha will help the new maid king?’
a1568 Bann. MS 31b/43.
Vpoun thair kneis audornand me [sc. Christ] in scorn
c1600 Montg. Suppl. v 9.
I call thé [sc. Cupid] king bott in to s[c]ourne
(4) ?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 161.
The J[o]wis set in ȝour blist hand a reid for scorn for ane kingis ceptour
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 398.
I sall … Scaile thé for scorne and shere thé of the scule
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 8/26.
For scorne thai cled him in to quhyt
1567 G. Ball. 44.
Thay … for scorne Him crownit with ane crowne of thorne

c. In certain verb phrases.To lauch (a person, also a thing) to scorn, to deride. See Lauch v. 4 (2) for further instances.To drive (a person or thing) to scorn, to subject to scorn or contempt. See Drive v. 4 b for further examples.To mak (? a) scorn (at a person or thing), to deride, mock, scorn.Also, to turn (something) to scorn.(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2556.
For all ȝour mowis ȝe met anis with ȝour matche Suppois ȝe leuch me all this ȝeir to scorne
a1578 Pitsc. I 19/8.
And everie man will lauche him to scorne
1600-1610 Melvill 72.
The gentilmen … luche him to skorn
(2) 1535 Stewart 3066.
He flemit law, put justice to the horne, Religioun als he dalie draue to scorne
a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS 260a/9.
Betuix thame twa thay draif me to grit skorne
(3) a1500 Henr. Fab. 143.
Ane fule … Quhilk at science makis bot ane moik and scorne
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 328.
Bot Talbart maid at him bot scorne, Lychtlyand him with wordis of pryde
a1574 A. Cunningham in Knox I 75.
Lymmars made therat sic skorne
(4) 1533 Gau 13/14.
Thay that … twrnis the halie writ to lichtlines and scorne for thair plesur

d. Freq. coupled, alliteratively, with Scath(e n., see also Scath(e n. 1 g. e. proverb.d. a1568 Dunb. Bann. MS I p. 48/64.
Sic skaith and scorne, Within this realme was nevir hard nor sene
a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS 279a/96.
Thairfoir we sowld do thame na skaith nor skorne
a1578 Pitsc. I 103/13.
To his hie deriesioun, skorne skaith and schame to his freindis and kin
e. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 457.
Diverse times a man gets not onlie the skaith bot also the scorne

2. a. ? An outrage. Chiefly, b. Something said or done to communicate scorn; a derisive act or gesture; an insult; a taunt. Also, const. of the person scorned.a. a1400 Leg. S. xxxi 372.
Hyr menȝe … franyt [at] hyr quha durst do Sa outrageouse a scorn hir to
b. 1459 Antiq. Aberd. & B. iii 62 (see 1 b (3) above). a1500 Rauf C. 558.
‘Be Christ,’ said the coilȝear, ‘that war ane foull scorne’
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 144/107.
And lat no small beist suffir skaith na skornis Of greit beistis
1535 Stewart 9357.
This Catus leuche thairat and maid a scorne
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv 386.
Pointand thair hand with mony skorne & knak
a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS 260b/34.
Bot all thay skornis can nocht comparit be Till half the schame that my luve gart me dre
Ib. 260b/58 (see Mok n. 1). a1585 Arbuthnot Maitl. Q. 121/83.
Sumtyme als quhidder I nil or wald Ane scorne for scorne to gif I man tak tent
a1665 W. Guthrie in Sel. Biog. II 72.
It is but a scorn for them to speak of sympathie that is not ready to caith it in doing
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1751) 62.
Other some got mocks and scorns By giving to their land-lords horns

c. Applied to a person: A mocker. = Scornar n. a1585 Maitl. Q. 105/70.
O scorne of luifaris Cupid blind archeir

3. A matter for scorn; something worthy of contempt or derision. a1400 Leg. S. xl 97.
Fore scorne it ware gret to se the thechure suld vnkennand be
a1500 Henr. Fab. 211.
‘Think ȝe this meit nocht gude?’ ‘Wa, be my saull, I think it bot ane scorne’
1535 Stewart 1487.
I hald it but ane scorne To sueir to da the thing we brek the morne
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 24.
I think it is ane verray scorne That euery lady of the land Suld haue hir taill so syde trailland
c1550 Id. Test. Meldrum 127.
Duill weidis I think hypocrisie & scorne
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 194/9.
Gif ȝe so chapit it wer ane scorne
c1590 Fowler I 124/183.
And some … hold it for no scorne, To deme thame happie … that never hes bene borne

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"Scorn n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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