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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.

Sevin, num. and n. Also: sevine, sevyn(e, seven, sevein, sevne, sewin(e, sewyn(e, sewene, sewein, seweyne, sewn, seivine, seivn(e, seywn, seavin(e, seaven, seavne, seawin, siven(e, savin, sawin, sean, scevin. [ME and e.m.E. sefen (c1175), seuen (c1250), sewyn (1422), seuyn (c1450), sewne (1491), seauen (1561), OE seofon.]

A. adj. 1. The cardinal number seven in attrib. or ellipt. use. Also specif. in reference to the time with ellipsis of hours or o'clock.attrib. (1) ?1438 Alex. i 1234.
Seuyne knychtis he saw vpon him dyng
?1438 Alex. ii 10981.
I suld win mare in seuin ȝeir Than Pryam tynt
1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 72.
It sal be submittit to sevin personis of thair batheris counselis … ande tha sevin bodily the grete athe sworn apon the haly euangelis sall ordene reformatioun tharapon
c1420 Ratis R. (STS) 649.
The sevyne giftis of the haly gaist
1456 Hay I 11/26.
Of all the papis that was in the first tyme of the sevyn angelis
1490 Irland Mir. II 5/20.
This wgly best had sevin heidis
1529 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 395.
Ane substantious brig … contenand sax pillaris, twa land stalis and seven bollis
1570 Leslie 151.
The king send the dolphine to meitt him sevin liggis fra the toun
1589 Treas. Acc. MS 157b.
Sevne elnis of clinkand pasmentis
1613 Edinb. Test. XLVII 277.
About half hour to sevin houris at evin
1667 Corshill Baron Ct. 73.
1697 Dunferm. Ann. 362.
Six lippies of meal and seven pence weekly for his maintainence
(b) a1400 Leg. S. iii 234.
Sewine fendis fers and fell
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 546.
c1420 Wynt. ii 308.
1559 J. Campbell Ch. & Par. Kirkcaldy VI 59.
Sewn pundes and twelf shillinges
1616 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 7.
To the sandmen for sewin measures of sand at xxiii s. iii d. the measur
1675 Wemyss Corr. 121.
Sewein … sewene
(c) 1674 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 205.
Eight lib. seivn shilling Scotts
(d) 1585 James VI Ess. 76.
One of the seauin miracles which Artemise caused to be builded for her husband
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 23b.
Gif anie bond-man hes dwelt … vpon anie mans land … [for] seaven ȝeares … he sall be frie fra the ȝock of servitude
1611-57 Mure Dido & Æneas i 734.
Ȝour … prince, With whose renowne the earth's seaven climats rings
1664 Rothesay B. Rec. 93.
John McVrarthie Roy to pay to Patrik Ker seawin merks money
1670 Dumbarton B. Rec. 86.
Seavin pynt and muchkin, and quart muchkin sack
1674 Corshill Baron Ct. 116.
These seaven yeers bygaine
1698 Stirling B. Rec. II 343.
(e) c1560 Stirlings of Keir 415.
1578 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 75.
Euery wyndo sall contene savin fute of hycht
(f) 1603 Montgomery Mem. 245.
Sax yardis of lane at siuene schilings the yard
1662 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 230.
1706 Crail Squaremen 5.
John Doog is become prentes to his faither Hendry Doog and is to continou for siven yiers and on yeir for met and fie
(g) 1590 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 251.
[Building of the Mekle Yet] the said Harbert … sall cast doun the bigging ellis biggit and big the samin outward with seanbour hoillis
(2) a1400 Leg. S. vii 738.
Fullely nynety & sewyne thousand
?1438 Alex. i 90.
Emynedus … had … Seuin hundreth knichtis
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 483.
Seuyne score of scheildis thai schew at ane sicht
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 268.
This Corspatrik … slew sevin thowsand Scottismen within thay wawis
a1595 Descr. Isles 430.
The Ile of Wist is … reknit to be sevenscore merk land
1625 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 176.
Sevinscoir and tuelf laid of quarrell red
1650 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 587.
Seivine dusson egges [14 s.]
1650 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 587.
Seavine dossane of hadokis
1666 Glasgow Merchants House 125.
Seavine hunderethe eles of linyng cloath
(3) a1400 Leg. S. viii 81.
Thai dais sewyne Tachte he the folk to wyne hewyne
a1400 Leg. S. xxix 143.
I ame Crist … that mad al, bath hel & hewyn … in dais sewine
a1500 Henr. Fab. 120.
This iolie iasp hes properteis seuin
c1475 Wall. iv 342.
vi ȝeris and monethis sewyn [: ewyn]
a1508 Kynd Kittok 21.
Thar ȝeris sevin Scho lewit a gud life
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 131/5.
God, that … All thing wrocht in dayis seveyne [: heveyne]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 149/88.
Quod he, ‘I am possest in kirkis sevin’
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1927 (B).
For I haif moderles bairnis owthir sex or sevin [Ch. seavin]
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 377.
Nychtboris sex or sewin That we belevit had bene in heawin
ellipt. (1) a1400 Leg. S. iv 25.
He purchasit discipulis nyne … And sewine of tham he with hym tuk
1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 72 (see (1) above). a1500 Henr. Fab. 533 (Ch.).
He had … kittokis ma than seuin
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2326.
Ȝe sall haue sex or seuin Richt off the fattest hennis off all the floik
c1475 Wall. iv 349.
Sewyn of yow feris graith sone, and ga with me
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 120/47.
Sum men hes sevin [sc. benefices], and I nocht ane
1560 Rolland Seven S. 766.
All seuin … Past to espy the … firmament
a1568 Bann. MS 81a/43.
Als lang as my cop stud evin … I squyrit was with sex or seven
c1590 Fowler I 160/1.
Newe wondar of the world, one mo then seaven
1659 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 5.
Any sevine of the indwelling burgessis
(2) 1600 Haddington Corr. 205.
Raide furth … sone eftir foure hours, and came to Falkland efter seevin
1704 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 157.
The students are to meitt in ther classes before seivne in the morning

b. Coupled with a higher numeral, forming a compound (cardinal or ordinal) number. a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 358.
Thre hundre ȝeris ix & sewine
1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 34.
The ȝeir of ovre lorde a thovsand thre hvndyr nynty & sevyn
c1420 Wynt. viii 685.
The sevyn and twentyd chapytere
1437 Reg. Panmure II 231.
a1500 Henr. Age & Yowth 27.
I wes within thir sexty ȝeiris and sevin Ane freik on fold
1477 Stirlings of Keir 250.
The ȝer of God a thoussande four hundreth sewynty and sewyn ȝeris
c1475 Wall. vi 107.
Tuelff hundreth ȝer, tharto nynte and sewyn
1542 Treas. Acc. VIII 152.
Bocht in Denmark … fourtene greit berellis of coppir [etc.] … weyand … twenty sevin schip pound and aucht lesche pound
1587 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I 147.
The yeare of God jm vc fourscoir seavne yeares
1595 Melville Chart. 142.
Fraye Jwne fourschoir sax till the last of Jwne fourschoir sewyne
1611 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 329.
Three dossen and seaven knapbordes at six shillinges the pece
1675 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 3 Nov.
Twentie sivene peks

c. Forming a fractional numeral. 1656 Retours I Inq. Spec. Fife (860).
The sevin tuelfe part of the lands of Kilmaron

d. With ȝeir(is) in proverb. or quasi-proverb. use. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2064.
Sic ane selcouth sau I not this seuin ȝeir
a1500 Rauf C. 662.
Thocht he had socht sic ane sicht all this seuin ȝeir
a1500 Rauf C. 725. 1562 Knox VI 210.
He wald not gif me ane hair of his heid, gif I sould stand thir seven yeires
a1568 Bann. MS 134b/52.
Ȝe did nocht of fors this sevin ȝeir Nor ȝit nocht ane of ȝour breder
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 237/6.
For thocht sewin ȝeir I was avysit … Ane singulare thing to put in dyte
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii 147.
And sum the supper of the Lord This seuin ȝeir had not thame amang
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 368 (T).
First, sewin ȝeir, be thow dum and deif
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 31.
A year a nurish, seven years a da

2. = Sevint adj. a1400 Leg. S. vi 422.
As fore the sewine gre ve ma tell
a1500 Colk. Sow iii 113.
And Feklefaw … Was the sext … and Cok Rusty the sevin
1499 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 430.
The sevin day of September
1513 Doug. i xi 123 (Sm.).
For now the sevin symmir hiddir careis thé Wilsum, and errant, in euery land and see
1574 Reg. Privy S. VI 475/2.
[The] twa sevin pairtis [of the lands of Durrishaill]
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 44. 1588 King Cat. 39.
Quhat is taucht in the sawin commandiment?

3. In special collocations.Sevin-brethrenis-day, the festival of the seven sons of St. Felicitas. Sevin deidis of mercy, = Mercy n. 1 b. Sevin planetis, the planets of Ptolemaic astronomy. Sevin sacramentis, the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order and Matrimony. Sevin sagis, the ‘seven sages of Rome’ of mediaeval romance. Sevin science, the group of studies comprising Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, Astronomy. Seven sleparis, the seven youths of Ephesus said to have hidden in a cave during the Decian persecution and to have slept for several hundred years. Sevin dedly sinnis, see Ded(e)ly adj. 2 (2). Sevin starris, the Pleiades.(1) 1625 Reg. Great S. 332/1.
10 Jul. lie Sevin-brethrenis-day
(2) ?a1500 Obsecro 106.
Sevin deidis of marcy to do ilk deill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 16/26 (see Mercy n. 1 b).(3) c1400 Troy-bk. i 504.
Of a cercle that turnys in heven One some ane of the planetes seven
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1689.
Itt sall surmonte the planetis sewin
(4) 1490 Irland Mir. III 6/26.
Jhesus for our … saluacioun has … institut sevin sacramentis that ar bapteme confirmacioun the haly eucharist pennaunce the extreme vnccioun ordour and mariage
1551 Hamilton Cat. 122.
In the thrid part of this catechis, quhilk intraittis of the sevin sacramentis
c1600 Cath. Tr. 249/29.
We confes sewin sacramentes of the new law not as naiked and feckles singes but as instrumental causes of the … giftes of God
(5) a1500 Seven S. 19.
In Rome cite than was thar sevyne Sagis
(6) a1400 Leg. S. xxxi 51.
Scho had leyryte … Of the sewine sciens al the harte
1460 Hay Alex. 409.
Alexander haid lerit alhale The sevin science of clergie naturall
a1500 Seven S. 81.
On the wallis all within Thai pantit all the science sevyn
1560 Rolland Seven S. 286.
Cunning craft in all the seuin science
1560 Rolland Seven S. 431.
He is repleit of all the seuin science
(7) a1400 Leg. S. xxiii 19.
The sewine sleparis
a1538 Abell 41a.
The sewin sleparis at Ephis
(8) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 75/66.
We pray to all the sanctis of hevin That ar aboif the sterris sevin
1513 Doug. viii Prol. 151.
The son, the Sevyn Starnys, and the Charl Wayn
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 438 (T).
Be phlegitoun, the sevin starnis and the Chairlvane
1585 James VI Ess. 77.
Seamans starres, the seauen starres
1596 Dalr. II 90/4.
The Pleiades called the 7 starnis

B. noun. The abstract number seven. Also (in Dunbar) be sic sevin, seven times (more, better, etc.).(1) 1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 456.
Seven being composed of four and three
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 218.
Than think I on a semelyar … Na is our syre be sic sevin
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 165/27.
In haly legendis haif I hard allevin Ma sanctis of bischoppis nor freiris be sic sevin
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 6/50.
Haile, more decore than of before And swetar be sic sevyne

b. To set (something) upon (sex (also, sax) and) sevin: To act in an extreme way; to behave recklessly; to hazard; to wager. Cf. Set v. 10 d and 16 a. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 508.
Thair is segis in yone saill wil set vpone sevin
1535 Stewart 20184.
Bot settis all his thrift on sax and sevin
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2226.
Thow suld not … tak all thy plesour Set all on sex and seuin, and perchance cast eleuin
1567 G. Ball. 26.
To … tak my plesour … With singing, playing, and to dance, And set on sax and seuin the chance
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 43.
He sets all upon sex or seven

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"Sevin num., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Feb 2024 <>



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