Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Spad(e, Spaid(e, n. Also: spayd, sped(e, speid, speyde, spead(e, spedd, spaud, spod. Pl. also spadd(i)s, speedis. [ME and e.m.E. spade (Ancr. R.), spad (Gower), OE spadu. Cf. MDu. spade.]

1. A spade, the implement. Also fig.For further information on spade types and usage see A. Fenton in Gailey and Fenton (eds.) The Spade in Northern and Atlantic Europe (1970) pp. 155-193.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xviii 1374.
Nothyre spad na schule I hafe
14.. Burgh Laws c. 109 (B).
Pertenys to the ayre … the spade and the bul ax [etc.]
1512–13 Treas. Acc. IV 466.
j dusan of spadis for the redding of the greit schippis dok
1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 112.
For tua spadis with thair irnis price ii s. viii d.
1537–8 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 216.
For … mending of spadis and schuillis with certane new irnis
1549–50 Treas. Acc. IX 386.
For … tymmar … to be spadis, schulis and schaftis to pikkis and mattokis
1579 Reg. Privy C. III 176.
Sayand, gif evir he fand thame thair [sc. at the peat moss] agane, he sould hoch thame … and swa … tuke fra thame thair spaidis and warklumes
1639 Johnston Diary Ia 50.
We have receaved no spades, nor howes … wherby we may intrinch ourselves
1649 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 50.
Stricking and dinging [Dorathia] with a spad
1678 Inverness Rec. II 279.
They ar … to bring with them showels, spads and barrows for the better carieing on of the work
a1689 Cleland 10.
Spads, and shovels, To cover the dead with turffes and muiles
1690 Foulis Acc. Bk. 130.
To James Orr to buy a spade for the yard, £3
(b) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 104 (A).
a1500 Seven S. 1744.
With spaide and gavillok & mattok wicht Thai delvit quhill [etc.]
c1500 Makc. MS xiii 52.
Hec wanga, a spaid
1513 Treas. Acc. IV 515.
Send with this canone xx werkmen with x schulis, v pikis and v spaidis
1513 Treas. Acc. IV 519. 1534 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 144.
Ane fork, ane rak, ane spaid graip and a schull
1535 Stewart 43818.
Ane ald man … Delfand full fast with ane spaid in his hand
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 417.
1571–2 Canongate Ct. Bk. 354.
Ane spaid ane schuill ane irne graip
1596 Glasgow B. Rec. I 179.
The provest, bailleis, and counsale … suld pas, accompaneit with sum spaidis, to pas to the mercheing of the loynes about the tovne
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 80.
All this tilth is delvit with spaidis, except sa mekle as ane hors pleuch will teill
1618 Inverurie 204.
Schoillis, spaids and uther materials needful to cast the thrott of the laid, and put the parts of the mill-water sufficient
1633 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 352.
Four heides to the spaides, xxxii s.
1647 Galloway P. 11 Aug.
The said William [is] to furnish yeirlie … 100 loads of peitts and ane spayd and barrow to the casting therof
1674 Inverness Rec. II 258.
To mack ciwil interuptioune to the said … incroachment … quhilk is to be made be putting of the deluer from the delueing, tacking the spaid out of his hand, and turneing of the faile alreaddie delued
(c) 1517 Treas. Acc. V 122.
The hail munitioun viz. … matokkis, spaddis, schwlis [etc.]
1548 Aberd. B. Rec. I 260.
ij spaddis vith heidis, iij but heidis
1603 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 44.
The said Johne hes … delyuerit … pleuche geir, … spadds [etc.]
(d) 1507 Prestwick B. Rec. 40.
The said Allane … allegyt … that it was his awin speid at he lent hym
1566 Inv. Wardrobe 170.
Item, certane auld speddis nocht schod
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 122.
All workmen with speade, schuile, and mattocke, that wold take wages
1575 Prot. Bk. J. Scott MS Loose leaf.
David Orme … fand Androw Moreis [etc.] … casting devattis and maid thame impediment and tuk away thair speidis
a1605 Montg. Sonn. lxvi 6.
If ȝe bot sau me, in this winter win, With old bogogers, hotching on a sped
1629 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 294.
Thrie spedis with thair headis xl s.
c1631 Paterson Ayr & Wigton I xii.
1646 Aberd. Council Lett. III 42.
Tua speads one school all schod
1657 Balfour Ann. IV 244.
A list of thesse thinges wich are to be prowydit by the Comissarey of the Artillirey … viz. mattockes, speds and shoffells, [etc]
1657 Rec. Old Aberd. I 94.
With spedes, barrous horss and creilles to goe to the sand wark of New Aberdein
1674 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 377.
Ane spead and ane borrow to the leards peats
1685 Wodrow MS 4to XXXVII No. 14.
He … tuke the speedis and shooles oute of thair handis
(e) 1698 Argyll Justic. Rec. 168.
[He] covered the grave with turffs which he cutted with a spedd
(f) 1656–7 Dumbarton Common Gd. Acc. 218.
For ane spod and shovill, shafts and head [£1 14 s.]
fig. 1562-3 Winȝet II 6/12.
I hef præparit … a litle, partie, handsum, instrument that may suffice ws … bayth for a waippin and a werklume, for a speir or a spade, a heumont or a hemmir … This noble instrument is this litle tractate of … Vincentius Lirinensis
a1568 Bann. MS 223b/41.
Wald ȝe send help sone with ane speid of hop And cast the dyk of dolour to the erd

b. attrib. and comb. 1640 Aberd. Council Lett. II 163.
Item to the smithes for making shool heades and spead heades
1680 Stirling Common Good 142.
For calling of 16 march stones to sett. Item to six spademen for to sett tham

c. To call a spade a spade, to call something by its real name without euphemism, to use plain language. 1570–1 Knox VI 590.
I have learned plainelie and bauldlie to call wickitnes be the awin termes—a feg, a feg, and a spead, a spead

2. With various qualifiers indicating a. Origin. See also Inglis adj. 1 (5) and Lawland n. and adj. 3 a (2). b. Use. See also Fute-spade n.; also, Dyke n. 3 b, Flauchter spade n. and Pete n.1 3 (4) for further examples of various specialised uses. c. See S(c)hod ppl. adj. 1 (2).a. 1629 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 303.
Tuo hieland spaidis
1691 Lett. (Annandale Papers, R. C. Reid transcript) 14 Jan.
Send me also ane English spead
b. (1) 1574–5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 15.
For tua fute spaddis with thair yringis
1609 Inverurie B. Ct. 14 April.
Na indualler within the bruche sall cast athir faill or dewattis with fut spaid or flauchter spaid … wpone the boundis of the bruche … without the liceans of the bailȝeis [etc.]
1664 Forbes Baron Ct. 246.
The … abowwrittin persons is fund gultie of casting with foot spades and flachter spades in meadow grownd, hyning, … ewry one of them … is … ordained to pey … for thair faltis the soume of ten poundes for ewry foott spad and fyw pundis for ewry flachter spad [etc.]
(2) 1546 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS XXI 84b.
Ane peit sped, … ane dik sped
1609 Inverurie B. Ct. 14 April (see (1) above). 1664 Forbes Baron Ct. 246 (see (1) above). 1492–3 Acta Conc. I 288/1.
1614 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 29a (13 Feb.).
Hir huisband … haid in his peit spaid ane mid irne tapein
1621 Black Bk. Taymouth 353.

3. transf. The name of a dance. 1549 Compl. 66/21.
Thai dancit … the speyde, the flail, the lammes vynde, soutra [etc.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Spad n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: