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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
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Sikernes, Sekernes, n. Also: sykernes, sikkernes(s, -nesse, sikirnes(s, -nesse, sik(k)yrnes, sykkernes, sikir-, syk(k)irnas(e, sikkyrnace, sickernas, sicernes, sickernes(s, -nesse, sickerines, sickarnes, sickernis, sickirnes, sickyrnes, sykarness, sekernesse, sek(k)irnes, sekyrnes(s, sekyernesse, secarnes, sekyrtnese, sekyrnas. [ME sikernesse (Ancr. R.), sykirnes (Rolle), late ME sekernes (c1425), syckernesse (c1450), sekyrnes (c1460), e.m.E. sickernesse (1587), OE sicornysse.] = Securit(i)e n. in various senses.

1. The condition of being safe; freedom from danger or harm; safety.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1705.
Thinkand thaim in full sikernes [L. securitate]
1523 St. P. Henry VIII IV 57.
For the weile of this realme and sickyrnes of our soverane lordis maist noble personne
1531 Bell. Boece I 157.
The Romanis … seing na sickirnes to abide in Angus
1540 Lynd. Sat. 91.
Nor ȝit conserue my lyfe in sickernes
1567 Sat. P. iv 171.
(b) 1375 Barb. iii 665.
Angus … for mar sekyrnes, gaiff him syne Hys castell
1456 Hay I 115/21.
To mak castell, or fortress for sekernes, or seurtee of men or contree
c1475 Wall. v 347.
To weit Quhar he suld sleipe in sekyrnes to be

b. concr. Means of assuring safety or deflecting possible harm; ? defensive armour. ?1438 Alex. ii 346.
Methink it tyme to tak our harnes, Speiris, swordis and all the sikkernes

c. Sense of security; feeling of safety. a1400 Leg. S. ii 870.
Habundance of pece but strif, Sikirnes but dut or dred
a1500 Henr. Fab. 380 (Bann.).
The suetest lyfe thairfoir in this cuntre Is of sickernes with small possessioun

2. The condition of being stable and more or less permanent.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1282 (D).
Ȝit in micht Remanand [sic] had the towne of Troy In sikkernes [L. firmitate] and in gret joye
1507–8 Acta Conc. MS XIX 120.
This warldis brukilnes That changis ay and hes no sikkernes
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 387.
Tiddious restles besynes Bot ony maner of sickarnes
a1568 Bann. MS 69b/8. 1573 Davidson Sat. P. xl 46.
Sen that the case is sa, That warldly strenth can haue na sickernes
a1585 Maitl. Q. 225/50.
This plesant plant … Stuid on ane ruit of semelie sickernes
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 159.
[The Conclusion] importeth its sickernesse: it is hid, it cannot but be sure to the overcomer
(b) 15.. Dunb. App. vii 17.
Sen in this warld thare is no sekernes

b. Certain prospect, assurance, certainty of or to do something. a1400 Leg. S. vi 165.
Virginite ve ma call … sikirnes of the joy that ay Lestis
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 151.
He durst nocht assailȝe the thing with manhede and curage … howbeit sindry vtheris offeris thame to maist terribill ieopardeis, knawing na sikkirnes to succede thereftir

c. Assurance as to one's accuracy or the quality of one's literary performance. 1533 Bell. Livy I 7/6.
To write the said history with mare faith and sikkirnes [L. certius adlaturos se] or ellis [etc.]

3. Assurance or confirmation that the terms of a contract, treaty or the like will be honoured; also, assurance of property to a recipient.(1) 1400 Maxwell Mem. I 142.
To the mare sykernes of thir thyngis, … aither of the parteis, the haly wangel twechit, bodyly has gyffyn ath
1405 Lennox Mun. 58.
The forsaidis … sal ger thair wyffis be oblist and sworn to the fulfilling and sikirnase of al thir forsaid conandis
1409 Exch. R. IV ccxii.
For the mare sikkirnes and traistful keping of … the forsaide thingis
c1420 Wynt. vii 121.
And to the mare sykkyrnes … Thaire eldast barnys, and thare ayris … For ostage gret he tuk
1425 Montgomery Mem. II 9.
1432 Glassarie Writs in Highland P. II 167.
14.. Quon. Attach. c. 38.
He salbe condampnit in the harmes a pon him taxt be his perseuar vnder sikernes of borowys to pay at lauchfull tym
1452 Ayr B. Ct. 10 April.
& for the mar sikernes the said Samuel resignit in the handis of the said bailȝe that day the tenement of qwhilum Dowgal Adoynule
1463–4 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V i p. 483 (20 March).
For the mar sickernes of the keping & fulfilling of the forsaide appoyntment
1465–6 Misc. Spald. C. II 251.
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I 172.
1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 331.
1514 Facs. Nat. MSS III xi.
And for the mair verificatioun and sikernes we the fornemmit domismen has procurit … the selis of venerabill and discreit men
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 115.
My lord Borthuik wilbe no ways content without sickirnes be your grace hand writ and seill
1548 Boyd Fam. P. No. 26 (6 Aug.).
Ane sufficient rycht and titill … for sikirnes of the heretage of the nyne merkis land of Schellachwrek
1551 Boyd Fam. P. No. 36 (29 July).
And to mak sickernis of the heretage thairof to the sad Adam
1551 Boyd Fam. P. No. 36 (29 July).
For sickerines of the heretage
1554 Misc. Bann. C. III 84.
And that this oure epistill … ma mak the mair faytht and sikkernes of strenth
(b) 1375 Barb. iv 178.
Quhen this cunnand thus tretit wes, And affermit with sekirnes
1375 Barb. xx 150. 1386 Rot. Sc. II 85/2.
To the mare sekernesse of thir trewes the lord Nevill has granted his protection to the enhabitants [of] al Tevydale
1398 Liber Melros 490.
And to the mare euidentez and sekirnes I hafe purchacide … the seales of the … Dryburgh abbotis to be set to with myne
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 317.
In to thar assignacioune Of sekyrnes [L. firmitate] thane of the pees
1412 Buccleuch Mun. II 22.
That for the mare sekernes this oure confirmacioune be … selit with oure grete sele
1443 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 269.
1454 Glasgow Chart. I ii 44.
And for the mar sekyrnes at all thir thyngis befor wretyn sall be completyt fulfyllyt and done
1457 Peebles B. Rec. I 124.
1469 Oliphants 15.
1476 Oliphants 20.
And for the mair sekyrtnese I haff subscriwit this writ with my hawn hande
1534–5 Rec. Earld. Orkney 219.(2) 1438–9 Rec. Earld. Orkney 72.
And to the mare sikkirnesse off the saide lande to the saide Thomas, the saide Johne hanselde the saide Thomas, off the fornemmit land for the forsaide golde

b. Security for the payment of a debt or fulfilling of a contract; an instance of this, a bond, pledge, guarantee.(a) 14.. Reg. Maj.c. 28.
Quhil that he fynde gude sikernes that ilk concorde to kep & obserwe hal & vel & fra thin furth vnvemmyt
1498 Acta Conc. II 170.
Gif the sikkyrnes that the said James has of the landis of Wester Balleuny be nocht sufficient
1498 Acta Conc. II 283. 1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 389. c1500 Barounis Lawis 7
The borrowis of him that is condempnit aw to be sickirnes to the party of his recouer and to the court
1585 Misc. Spald. C. II 345.
Sufficient cawtioun or wther sikkerness as … can be dewysit
(b) 1456 Hay I 245/27.
That for the seurtee of a manis persone thare can na man devis sufficiand plegis na sekirnes
1498 Acta Conc. II 189.
For the sekkirnes of the sade annuale
1551 Corr. M. Lorraine 350.
He schew me ye had providit me sekirnes of viijc frankis mair

c. In sickirnes of, as a means of assuring or guaranteeing (one's continuing enjoyment of) a right or privilege. 1485 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 32.
In warandeis and sickirnes of the landis of [etc.]
a1538 Abell 44a.
Theodorik marit the King of Francis dochtir in sickirnes of his ring

4. Secure keeping or custody. a1400 Leg. S. xxxv 58.
A chawmir … Quare-in al hyre tresoure wes For priuete & sekyrnes
1418–19 Liber Melros II 502.
The qwhilkes indentours the forsaid Nychole has delyverit till the sayd abbot and convent in speciele sykkernes and possessioun
c1420 Wynt. v 2713.
The sarjandys … tuk wp barnys here and thare … and put thame in gret sykyrnes
c1420 Wynt. ix 2568.
Tyl hald thaim in mare sikkyrnace Than nerehand a se beside
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i ix § 10 (1678) 77.
He shall abide in sickerness (id est, in prison) at the king's will

5. Unswerving firmness of purpose; steadfastness, constancy.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 704.
George … in quham of Godis grace Of treutht sik sikirnes in was That [etc.]
1456 Hay II 48/12.
The sadill that he [sc. a knight] rydis in betakenis sekernes, that he be nocht lychtly put by his purpose
a1500 Henr. III 103/33.
Hir schone suld be of sickernes, In syne that scho nocht slyd
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 307.
For to hold sekyrnes [L. pro pace firmata tenenda]
c1420 Wynt. viii 1907.
All thir in gret sykkyrnes Till Robert the Brows bwndyn wes

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



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