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

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

Spech(e, Spek(e, n. Also: spechte, (spechthe), spetch(e, speich(e, spei(t)ch(e, speice, speihthe, spea(t)ch(e, spee(t)ch(e, speeich(e, spi(t)ch(e, spaiche, speik(e. [ME and e.m.E. spece (a1175), speche (c1200), spech (c1305), speech (1469), speach (1533), north. ME also spek(e (Cursor M.), OE spǽc, spéc (earlier sprǽc, spréc). The -k- forms may also be influenced by Spek(e v.] Speech, freq. as recorded in writing but thought of as spoken or intended to be spoken.

I. 1. The act of speaking; the utterance of language; the oral expression (of a feeling, etc.). Also, be spek of mouth, be speitche, = by word of mouth, orally.Also with a reduced sense of the oral aspect: The act of expressing oneself in language.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 3003.
With brokin speche [L. fractis eloquijs] and with waik feris Him prayit to ceis of his gret teris
c1460 Consail Vys Man 376.
Be of few wordis in cumpany; Gret spech is takin of foly
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 261.
Than Schir Spynagrose with speche spak to the king
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 358.
It hynderis neuer for to be heyndly of speche
a1500 Colk. Sow ii 148.
For thair be mony wyffis Throw haboundance of spech that nevir tryffis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 207/28 (M).
Now speche [B. Nocht sped] but diligence we see For na thing it alane will cum
1513 Doug. iii v 54.
Scho … lay a lang tyme in a dedly swown Or ony speche or word scho mycht furth bring
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 162/18.
Thay will na man of jugement … mak difference betuix thir wordis ‘gevin for ȝou' and ‘offerit for ȝou' as towart the effect, albeit the phrase and maneir of speche differis
a1568 Bann. MS 217a/12.
Without speche hir luf I can nocht haif Bot gif I speik quhat can I of hir craif
1614 Chron. Perth 15.
[He] in ane apoplexy fal doun … [and] depairtit this lyff but ony spetch
(b) 1375 Barb. i 393.
In spek wlispyt he sumdeill
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1164.
With this of spek he mad ending
?1438 Alex. ii 2255.
I haue na will … To becum lemman allanerly With speke
(c) c1475 Wall. (1570) viii 1411.
In speiche of lufe subtill the Sutheroun ar
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xx 4.
Lat thy tung tak rest, In mekle speic[h]e [B. speice] is part of vanitie
1560 Rolland Seven S. 852.
Giue I … as dum man moste me haue Seuin dayis but speiche
a1568 Scott xiii 13.
Sum luffaris wantis … For falt of speich, the lufe of his maistres
a1568 Scott xiii 16.
My lusty lady schene, Throw laik of speich I thoill rycht grit distres
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 160/30.
Ane man of meikle speiche may sum tyme lie
1571 Bann. Trans. 185.
By wryting, speich, or vtherwayis
1579 Acts III 176/1.
Nor sall sic vntrew reportaris haue sic libertie of speitche to the hurt of … honorable personis
1579 Laing MSS 30.
Neyther sall any unnecessair delay be used … as be speitche we have moir fully declared unto youre … servaunt
1581 Reg. Privy C. III 380.
The complaint of … Robert Ellott … maid be speitche
1591-2 Rob Stene 10.
I heir ȝow fleiche, For ȝow pretendis grit luve by speiche
1618 Orkney Rentals App. 51.
That all … persons offensive to their neighbours be speiche, pay 40 s. and sit in the cockstuillis the space of four houris
(d) 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 164.
The Erle Morton said, that wher heretofore he had declarid by speache, the manner how he cam to the lyttle guilt coffer [etc.]
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Avunculus.
Avunculus properly is the mother-brother, bot sumtime conform to the French maner of speach, it is taken for the father-brother
1606 Rollock's Thess. 144.
Peter … sayes, They [sc. wives] lucrifie soules vnto Christ by their lyues without any speach
1629 Boyd Last B. 368.
Hee who … stammereth in his speach while hee is young, will … speake so vntill his dying day
1637 Johnston Diary I 249.
1640 Fugitive Poetry II xix 4/81.
He who late no freedome had of speach
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 249.
John … schewyng hyme be spek of mouth

2. The act of conversing, conversation, discussion, talk, verbal communication. Chiefly const. betuix, with (a person), also of (a topic).(1) 1384 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 5.
Than it fell in spech be twix the forsayd lordes that [etc.]
1549 Compl. 108/20.
Familiarite and speche betuix enemeis generis trason
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest To the Reader.
Mouit in that part, seand the pure of Christ inlaik [etc.] … al men detestand … speche, or communication with thame
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 114.
Efter lang speitche passand betuix thame, the lordis condiscendit [etc.]
1631 Justiciary Cases I 178.
The Loird Reay … putting this examinat in mynd of the former speache betweene thame
(b) 1375 Barb. xx 96 (C).
Inglis men and Scottis war To-gidder in joy … Na felloune spek betuix thaim was
c1420 Wynt. viii 3298.
The spek sa fere betwyx thame yhede
(2) ?1438 Alex. i 3032.
Of sic speche [sc. talk of revenge] micht thow weill be still
(b) a1400 Leg. S. ii 304.
His chawmer maste prewe, Wele closit quhare sic spek suld be
?1438 Alex. ii 3890.
Dame Fesonas, the fare and meik, Countred him into speik
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 142.
The Troyiens euerychone, For spek [L. colloquio] to-gyddre junct in one
(3) c1590 Fowler I 233/15.
Thair spechthe [MS speihthe] must be of sights, thair talk of fearfull ghosts
(b) ?1438 Alex. ii 7673.
Thare was na speke of velany, Bot of armes [etc.]

b. To have spek(is, speich(is (with, of); to hald, etc. (one's) spech(is (of); also, specif., to cum to (one's) speche, to attend a parley; to hald this, etc. spek in preuate or prewe and still, to keep a discussion secret.(1) 1610 Crim. Trials III 111.
[They] comes aboorde of the pryise … and haveing some conference and speatch with thame … they commanded Wilman to rander
1629 Justiciary Cases I 99.
It is nocht lybellit that evir the pannell had ony speich or conference uith the hieland man
1632 Fam. Innes 220.
I did … meit Bursyards in my awin huis and eftir sum speiches had of our cautionarie for umquhill Laithes and his ladey quha hes subscrivit the band
(b) a1400 Leg. S. ii 301.
With wismen thare-of [sc. Nero] had spek
1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 294.
Ye sall cume nar … and ye sall haff spekis
(2) 1456 Hay I 164/14.
Gif I send for myn inymy to desire speche of him
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 574.
It may happen thame … to report untreuthis of me, and namelie towardis sum spechis haldin in my hearing at Craigmillar
(b) ?1438 Alex. ii 1940.
[I] hard … how that Clarus And ȝe held speke of Ydeus
?1438 Alex. ii 2504.
Thir lele lufaris thare held thare speik
(3) 1456 Hay I 176/34.
Gif … the frendis on bathe the partis … tretis the baroun to send his assuraunce … to the knycht to saufly and surely cum till his speche
1456 Hay I 177/2.
The knycht … hafand his fyaunce in the barounis sauf condyt, cummys to his speche. And quhen thai have spokyn togedder [etc.]
1456 Hay I 178/21.
As it is understand to seurly cum to speche, sa is understandin to seurly byde, and seurly retourne
(4) 1375 Barb. v 333.
Ilkane … hame is gane And held this spek [C. the spek] in preuete Till the day off thar assemble
1375 Barb. xvii 71.
The marchell … Tuk leve, … And held his spek [C. the spek] preue and still, Quhill the day that wes set him till

c. To tak (the, etc.) speche ((up)on (in) hand or on oneself), to undertake to speak, take the opportunity to speak. Cf. F. prendre la parole. a1400 Leg. S. xxi 538.
Fore-thi to Faustyniane Petyre one hand syk spech has tane [L. Dixit ergo Petrus Faustiniano]
1562-3 Winȝet I 103/4.
Quhilk pouer he apperis … to hef exerceit … takand the speche on him specialie in all conuentionis
c1566 Fife Sheriff Ct. 406.
That na man trubill this court nor tak speiche upon hand to speik ane for ane uther without leif askit and gewin
1568–9 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 192.
Then Lethingtoun taking the speache said
c1575 Balfour Pract. 273.
The affirmatioun and sence of the court, that na man tak speach upon hand without leave … except the persewar and defendar
Urquhart Rabelais III xxiv.
Epistemon, thereupon taking the speech in hand [F. print le propous]

II. 3. The faculty of speech, the ability to speak. b. Spaiche of wisdome, etc., the ability to speak wisely, knowledgeably, etc.(1) a1500 Seven S. 215.
He is exild Fra speche that na word speke may he
a1500 Seven S. 1563.
Scho falȝeit speche
a1500 Seven S. 1580.
Neire speche and sicht ar fra me reft
1533 Boece 372b.
Ane man slaare private of speche, dvm, or vnthankfull to the parentis, sall brouk na heretage
1533 Bell. Livy I 132/19.
[He] was sa astonist that the admiracioun thareof inclusit his voce but ony speich
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 120.
Efter that boith strenth and speche wes lesit
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3042.
I delyuerit my sone speikand to ȝow Quite dum but speiche ȝe seuin hes maid him now
1612 Reg. Privy C. IX 375.
He wes verie evill hurte and so astonisched with the fall … that he wes a long tyme without breath or speitche
(b) a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 122.
To deff men gyfand herynge, … And spek till other at war dum
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1591.
Dume men … thar [sc. at the tomb of St. Martin] gettis speke
(2) a1500 Seven S. 200. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7238.
He fand the quene sitting intill hir bowre … as he hir left, Quhairthrow he was in his speiche half bereft
1570 Sat. P. x 10.
Tak from him his speiche and wittis fiue
c1590 J. Stewart 241 § 166.
Scho lost hir speitche and mycht no moir bot mant
1622-6 Bisset II 180/11.
His maiestie grew dalie vaikare … till … his speche left him
1649 Sc. N. & Q. III 122.
She losed her spetch and lay senseless
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 658.
The tynsale of his fadir speke
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xl 793.
Dume [men] … gettis the speke, That mekily vil Niniane seke
b. 1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 68.
To sum … is geuin spaiche of wisdome; to vthers the spaiche of science; to ane other faith; to vthers the grace of healing [etc.]

4. Manner or way of speaking, style of speech, quality or tone of voice, freq. with reference to a person's habitual way of speaking. Also transf. b. Applied to the cry of a bird.(a) ?1438 Alex. ii 104.
For him thocht weill, be his carping And by his speche, that he was king
c1460 Consail Vys Man 53.
That thow be … suet of spech til al mankynd
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 212/31.
Be I ornat in my speiche Than [etc.]
1513 Doug. i Prol. 21.
Quhy suld I … With bad harsk spech and lewit barbour tong Presume to write quhar thy [sc. Virgil's] sweit bell is rung
1513 Doug. xiii ii 66.
He … from the boddum of hys breist … With soft spech furth gan thir wordis draw
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7244.
Sa like to ȝow … Be speiche and voice … That I not wist gif it was ȝe or nocht
1562-3 Winȝet I 60/3.
As to the phrase and dictioun heirof … the plane and sempill trewth of all thingis requiris only … plane, familiar, and na curius nor affectat speche as the defence of fraud … requeris a cloke of finȝeit eloquence
1562-3 Winȝet II 48/12.
Quhairto sal I tel of his eloquence? quhais speche wes sa plesand, sa iocund, sa sueit, that [etc.]
a1568 Scott iii 47.
Be soft of speiche, bot spair nocht till asselȝie
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xix 469.
[Tha] wemane speryt has With stut vysage & auchtful spek ‘Quhat mak ȝe heyre, [etc.]'
a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 16.
Voice als callit he wes, Of his spek for gret meknes
a1400 Leg. S. xli 117, 121.
The prefet newuit his spek & gluthryt hir with wordis mek … Bot scho plat nay … & quhen faire spek cuth nocht awalȝe With harsknes he can hir assalȝe
transf. 1549 Compl. 182/17.
The corbe … quhilk gef hym louyng in hyr artificial speche
b. 1494 Loutfut MS 21b.
The corbell … wes crauite in voce & speich

5. The form of utterance characteristic of a people, nation or group; a language, or dialect.(a) 1456 Hay I 38/30.
Next … ane othir king, his sone, callit Latyn, the quhilk was rycht subtile in spech of Latyn … and he maid grete payne to ger that langage of Latyne sprede
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 267.
Your angel mouthis … Oure rude langage has clere illumynate And fair ourgilt oure spech
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 325.
Aidane preichit in his awin speiche, and King Oswald, that knew baith the speiches, was the interpretour to the pepill
1551 Hamilton Cat. 139.
In the Latin toung … salvator, and in our Scottis speche, ane salviour
1551 Hamilton Cat. 157.
Latin infernus, is … in Scottis speiche … laych or underneth
a1578 Pitsc. (1814) xxix.
It is ane thing verie rare … that in on ille thair sould be such warietie of speaches [sc. Welsh, Cornish, English, Scots]
c1590 Fowler I 36/12.
Thair vncouth habit … And speache vnknowen to me
c1590 Fowler II 76/1.
Countryes … of ane province and speache
1596 Dalr. I 86/7.
In the tyme of Beda, the speiche of the Peychtes was … in the Ile, bot quhen the natione was put out, lykwyse dekayed the language
1596 Dalr. I 97/5.
In speiche thay [sc. the Lowland Scots] differ nocht far frome thair nychtbouris the Inglise men
1618 Aberd. Council Lett. I 157.
David Chamberlaine that once lived in ȝour towne and was brought up in ȝour speche … is now with God
(b) c1420 Wynt. i 1465.
Thare speke chawngyd sudanly, And ilkane spak swa syndyrly That nane cowth othyr wndyrstande

b. An allegorik speche, a figurative way of expressing something. 1562-3 Winȝet II 32 marg.
An allegorik speche is, quhen an wthir thing is meanit than the wordis planelie signifiis
1562-3 Winȝet II 32/12.
Prophetis ar permittit sumtyme to setfurth new doctrine quhilk the auld testament be an allegorik speche vseis to cal strange godis

III. 6. Words, discourse, what is spoken or uttered in general terms rather than in a particular instance or on any particular occasion; also, speech as recorded in print, specif. the scriptures seen as the utterance of God.In (2) and (3) there is some ambiguity with sense 4 above.(1) 1456 Hay II 92/23.
It efferis till a king tobe of gude eloquence and of faire langage … And that his speche be ay foundit in resoun and in gude faith
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1257 (Harl.).
Trow we the prophetis spendit thare spechte in sport?
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lix 10.
That fulle dismemberit hes my meter, And poysound it … With rycht defamows speiche off lordis
1513 Doug. vii i 150.
[The priest] gan the goddis carping bruke and ioys, With speche [L. conloquio] of thai spretis that beyn yclos In Achyron
15.. Dum Wyf 77.
Hir speitche but sessoun, Butt ryme or ressoun, Now deiffis vp all the hous
1562-3 Winȝet II 29/5.
Wanetalkand men and dissauearis … the speche of thame creipis as a cankir
1562-3 Winȝet II 68/11.
Gif the deuil … sa vseis the speche, the sentenceis and promisis of God … Be quhat maneir sal thai [sc. men of the church] discerne in the haly Scriptuiris the veritie fra falset?
a1568 Bann. Bann. MS 234b/51.
Wald God my tong wald to my will respond And eik my speich wer so facundious That I wer full of rethore termys
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 1.
To se our Quene, thus in speiche of all men to be dishonorabillie reportit
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 86/4.
Thinking in youre hairte, terming in youre speiche, & using by youre punishementis all sicc … as brigandis
1629 Justiciary Cases I 133.
Becaus Hammiltoun … is knawin for ane notorious liear … his speiche … can nocht be respectit
(2) 1456 Hay II 41/32.
He suld nouthir here na speke vicious spech … for that is lak to the ordre [sc. of knighthood]
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 86.
His lyppis honorys sciens … With mychtty spech
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 274.
A! lord, sparis of sic speche, quhill ye speir more
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1158 (Asl.).
Hell … Quhais perrellus panis na speche can expreme
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 119/10.
The sugurit mouthis with myndis thairfra, The figurit speiche with faceis tua
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii 112.
Throw filthy speiche and counsell, … scho did heir [etc.] … Fra scho gaif eir to sic vyle bawderie [etc.]
1582 Reg. Privy C. III 493.
In all thair seditious bruites … thay speke … of his hienes as of ane being … ignorant [etc.] … the forme of speitche and wordis usit … to induce and provoke gude subjectis to … rebellion
1584 Melvill 184 (see 7 (4) below).
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 184/1.
Uritting quhilke is nathing ellis bot a forme of enregistrate speache
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 3.
Jhone Strang is accuseit upoun sclander and evill speitch
1660 Wodrow Hist. I (1828) 77.
Any such leasing, calumny or slanderous speech
(b) ?1438 Alex. ii 2639.
Great ill fallis of villanes speik, And gude of courtes and of meik
c1450-2 Howlat 242 (A).
[They] Salust his sanctitud with spirituale speike
(3) 1587 Carmichael Etym. 8.
Lepos, pleasantnes of speach
1587-99 Hume 77/316.
As for offence of speach I nathing feare it For vpright men thereby are nathing deirit
1622-6 Bisset I 77/16.
I have nocht bene copious in langaige … be paraphraces and circumloquition of speich, silogismes [etc.]

b. Of a person: To lay one's spek on (a person or group), to speak to (a group of people). c. Of a group of people: To lay thar speche apon (a person), to make (someone) a spokesman (for the group).(1) c1420 Wynt. viii 1617.
Kyng Edward … Bade hym [sc. John Balliol] ga to the bar and stand, And his spek thare on thame lay
(2) 1436 Coll. Aberd. & B. 394.
The quhilk … assise … laide thar speche apon Wilyam Rede the quhilk … out geff and saide that the processe was … lauchfully done
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 354 (Asl.).
Thai … Had laid thar speche apon ane cunnand clerk The quhilk … The questioun began for to declaire

7. An instance of sense 6 above, a certain number of words uttered at one time; also, in pl., remarks, comments, statements, freq. of a derogatory, etc. nature.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii 1944.
The Bauderane kest doun his face And of his speche aschamit was
c1475 Wall. ix 1019.
For all his spech, to pas he wald nocht spar
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 505.
Quhen endit had hir ornat speche this eloquent wedow
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 239. 1513 Doug. iii vii 21.
Pas on ȝour way! Quhat nedis with my speche ȝou tary mor
1596 Dalr. II 327/21.
The presence of the quene, quha with countenance, her gesture, her speiche, steirit vp thair hartes
(b) 1375 Barb. i 72.
Thai all condcordyt, That all thar spek suld be recordyt Till Schyr Eduuard
1375 Barb. v 61.
The king wes of his [sc. Cuthberts] spek angry
1375 Barb. vii 157.
The kyng … Assentit to thair speke in hy
1375 Barb. x 396.
The Douglas rycht gud tent has tane Till thar spek
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1272 (C).
Eftre Thelamonyus Of hys spek [D. speche] had maid endyng … Vlixes … Answered
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i 278.
All sic spech he mad of nocht, And all his sorcery vndide
?1438 Alex. ii 3751.
The Bauderane hard the speche all, And luked to Ideas
?a1450 Florimond 53.
1535 Stewart 11603.
So hamelie hailsing and so ornat speich, Thair laureat langage neidit nocht ane leich; Thair goldin toungis in rethorik did fleit
1581 Cal. Sc. P. VI 7.
[That John Setone … ] hes sum surmisit speache untreulye contryvit (as God knowethe) to wtter aganis me
1586 Rait & Cameron King James's Secret 77.
Everie one of these foirsaidis personis in long speache, that can hardlye be set doun in wryte, wald haif persuadit ws that [etc.]
c1614 Melvill lvii.
[He] oft tymes rejoyced himselff with that speich of [Paul in ii] Timothie … ‘For I am now readie [etc.]’
(b) 1375 Barb. iv 272.
He callyt hyr der hyr till dissaiff That scho the tyttar suld consaiff off his spek the wndyrstanding That mast plesyt till hyr liking. This dowbill spek sua hyr dissawyt That [etc.]
1375 Barb. iv 564.
‘I will send a man in Carrik [etc] … ' To this spek all assentyt ar
1375 Barb. iv 637.
Quhen that scho him halyst had A prewe spek till him scho made, And said, [etc]
1375 Barb. ix 33. 1375 Barb. x 4.
Thomas Randol … Wes … send to duell in gud keping, For the speke he spak to the king
?1438 Alex. ii 5586.
Floridas … into thank tuke na thing Of the speke na of the auowing … the soudain … maid
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1529 (C).
Throw the spek [L. verba] of Eneas The sere counsale ordanyt was
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 642.
Thocht he was fule in habite, in al feiris, Ane wyser speik thay hard neuer with thair eiris
(3) a1400 Leg. S. ii 620.
All that harde, wondir hade, And sik spech of hym thai mad: ‘Is nocht this he [etc.]?’
14.. Burgh Laws c. 94 (B).
Gyf ony man mak speche thar of [Adv. gif any other man cumis to spek mar of that thing] eftyrwart
1456 Hay I 36/11.
The doctouris, cronykis, and stories makis mekle grete langage, and spech, and grete festis abune all the lordschippis of the warld, and apon all the realmes
1456 Hay I 142/19.
Quhethir gif clerkis may pas in … bataillis lefully, off the quhilkis the maisteris and doctouris makis grete spech
(b) 1375 Barb. iv 252.
This wes the spek he maid, perfay. And is in Inglis toung to say [etc]
1375 Barb. xviii 523.
Quhen that the king this spek had maid
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 506.
Qvhene scho was coniuryt sa, Sik spek furth cane scho ma
?1438 Alex. ii 10120.
Dam Fesonas Sic speke of douchty Porrus mais
(4) 1585 Acts III 375/1.
Ane act aganis the authouris of slaunderous spechis or writtis
1600 Crim. Trials II 199.
He … hard Violet Ruthuene cry wp to the place, ‘Bludie boitscheouris! Tratouris! Theiwis!’ and siclyke evill speches
1608 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 152.
Ane father … quha lykes better of the blobering speches of his awine cheldrene proceding frome love, then of all the painted eloquence of his haitfull enemeis
(b) 1584 Melvill 184.
Giff … a gentilman sall … pronunce an athe, filthe talk or anie evill-favoured spetche [etc.] … and giff a fallow or lad be fund with sic speiches … or anie wayes making noyse or molestation [etc.]
1586 Maxwell Mem. 25.
Mr. Artchbald Douglas … had offerit him greit gaine to affirme sik speitchis as vas gevin furth in his name
1601 Elgin Rec. II 95.
For the quhilkis misnortouritt speiches aganis the magistratis scho is appointit to pay xl s.
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 15.
Marioun inquyrit gif Kaithrein Makteir wes with hir on Fryday last and quhat wes hir erand with hir and hir speichis to hir
1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. i 41.
His speiches beutifully sainted And for the present purpose painted
1621 Inverness Rec. II 156.
Efter you being drinking … boistit, and gaue iwil speichis to the said … Murdo
1626 Glasgow Trades House 115.
Gif … the said Robert in ony time heireftir use the lyk speitchis to ony of the brethrein he sall pay xx li. to the puir
1622-6 Bisset I 77/22.
Nor have I used … vane saterik or lowse wowsting and wantting speiches
1631 Justiciary Cases I 167.
James Scott … first enterit in outragious speiches with the said Jon Craufurd abuseing him thairby in maist disgracefull maner
1631 Justiciary Cases I 176.
Delaitit of the making of leasingis, calumneis and sclanderous speiches againes James Marques of Hammiltone
1649 Misc. Spald. C. V 230.
Robert Burnet … and Alexr Gray … efter certan ewill speichis past betuixt tham enterit in handiegrippis
(c) 1586 Warrender Illustr. Sc. Hist. 27.
Marie! toutching yourself he utterit sindry good speatches
c1590 Fowler I 28/55.
Whair at I merveld verye muche, and said in speaches plane, ‘How kenst thow me, when swirlye I do know thé not agane'
c1590 Fowler I 29/63.
His speaches … and freindlie words and reason which of ould he wonnt to vse
1650 Alyth Par. Ch. 83.
Ordaines John Wighton to be charged … for his evill speatches saying [etc.]
1670 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 17 Dec.
Fynes Thomas Corbie and Issobell Adamsone spouses in ten merks for batterrie … and other gros speaches
(d) 1596 Black in Calderwood V 457.
I am charged … to … answere for certan unreverent … and undecent speeches, alledged uttered by me in some of my sermons
1624 St. A. Baxter Bks. 86. 1651 Dunferm. Ann. 323.
Found guiltie by the probation of witnessis of cursed and slanderous speetches
(e) c1600 MacGeorge Old College (1888) 197.
For … spewand out … filthie speeiches agains him
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 46.
The Earl of Argyle … by occasione of speeiches wich fell from the moderator, spoke to the assembley of [etc.]
(f) 1583 Reg. Privy C. III 585.
Wicked spitches and travellis

b. A discussion, a talk. Also const. with or betuix. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 12.
I hard under ane holyn … Ane hie speiche at my hand with hautand wourdis
pl. 1595 Highland P. I 161.
Ardkinglass enterit in thir speitches with hir and said [etc.]
1609 Hume xli.
[The poet made provision for the transference of his daughter to the care of an aunt] in case she cannot be better with her awin mother, as the speiches war betuix me and hir

c. fig. The significance or import of (something). a1599 Rollock Wks. I 365.
The speich of the Croce … to them that ar saved it is the wisdome and power of God

8. A formal (prepared) speech, an oration, a speech delivered as part of a formal occasion, as in a play, a sermon, etc. Also to mak a speche, to deliver such a speech. b. The statement or declaration of a person's case made in a court of law. c. A form of words used as part of a ceremony or ritual, an invocation, incantation and the like.There may be some overlap with sense 7 above.(1) a1568 Bann. MS 196b/125 heading.
I tak heir bot certane schort pairtis owt of the speichis becaus of lang proces of the play
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 68.
Efter the said barne [sc. acting a pageant before Mary Queen of Scots] had spoken some small speitches, he deliuerit … to hir hienes thre writtingis
1583–4 Reg. Privy C. III 631.
Maister Andro Melvile … inquirit upoun certane thingis laid to his charge spokin be him in his sermon … answerit that, althocht the speitche were alledgit to be treasoun, yit the tryell … aucht … to be … befoir the kirk
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 211.
Sathan stwid, as in a pulpet, makand ane sermond of dowtsum speiches, saying [etc.]
1601 Misc. Maitl. C. I 96.
George McGleis minister at Rosneth … is ordenit to teiche againe wpone the 13 chap. of Luik … and … to frame his speiche as to his congregatioun
1600-1610 Melvill 632.
Commanding all shereffis [etc.] … to interrupt thais spiches [sc. concerning the king and his council] [Adv. MSS preachers], tak thame doune from pulpit, and put tham in sure firmance
1622-6 Bisset I 86/7.
All judges aucht … to moderate and restrane langsum repititionis and impertinent speiches … multiplicatioun of wordis, be tedyous harrangis, protract of procese, be advocattis [etc.]
1633 Mill Mediæv. Plays 270.
Nominatis Andro Wilsone … for frameing of the staig for ane speache to his maiesteis heircumyng
c1650 Spalding II 27.
He had also ane vther speiche … to the lordis befoir he went to executioun
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 33.
The principal ceremony was that they cast of their cloathes … and receaves the Capuchines broun weid … A great number of speaches being used in the intervalls containing as is probable their dueties
1686 Meikle Old Session Bk. 16.
[Mr. George Hay … preached, and thereafter] had a speache directed to [Mr. John Lousone] [sc. at his induction ceremony] concerning his ministeriall function
1689 Acts XII 65/1.
For the redress of all grivances … parliaments ought to be frequently called & allowed to sitt & the freedom of speeches & debate secured to the members
(2) 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 68.
The bairneis … maid some speitche concernyng the putting away of the mes
1617 Mill Mediæv. Plays 268.
That ane speche sall be maid … in name of the haill toun congratulating his maiesteis comming to that toun
1628 Mill Mediæv. Plays 207.
[Mr. John Hay] to mak the speich or harrand to his maiestie at his entrie at the West Port
c1650 Spalding II 26.
He being resolued and prepairit, took his sentence patientlie and maid the speiche following to the primat of Ireland
c1650 Spalding II 199.
And immediatlie befoir he joynit battell he maid ane thrid speiche
c1650 Spalding II 371.
The prouest Patrik Leslie in all thair presenssis maid ane speiche … This speiche endit [etc.]
b. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 94 (B).
And the chalangear sal folow his speche [L. loquelam suam prosequatur; Acts I 38/2, sal folow his querell]
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 48.
The mut & the spek the quhilk the compte can nocht declar na deme
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 125.
To haf record of ony spech befor the king or his iustice
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 125.
And that o law aw the king to the baronnys quhene forsuth a pone thar doutis in the kingis court thai be certifyt, thai may cum again with that speche & determyne & deduce it in thar awne court
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 125.
Gif in ony lawer court batal be wagit & efterwart the spech be translat in the kingis court of the clame of the party askand & of the deffens … & of the wordis be the quhilkis that batal was wagit
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 25.
Quhille … in dout quhidder it wer better for thame to tell or hald thair peace thocht thay danetily temperit thair speich, ȝit quhen thay had blabbit out … mair then the judges lukit for, thay wer dismissit agane as fuillis
c. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 54.
We man understand … the sacramental speaches that are used in the sacrament; for … we use to say that the saull eats the body of Christ [etc.] … Thir speaches are sacramentall [etc.]
1622 Crim. Trials III 514.
Witchcraft can nocht be accomplischet as witchcraft bot be characteris, signes [etc.], … woirdis, speiches, by incalling and invocatioun of the name of Sathan

IV. 9. In senses 1 and 7 above in reference to written material. Cf. also specif. usage at sense 6.The 1583 quot. in (2) may properly belong in 7.(1) 1456 Hay I 292/8.
Tharof is mekle speche in the lawis
(2) 1572–3 Cal. Sc. P. IV 454.
1583 Reg. Privy C. III 583.
To speik, write, declame, and sett out, in buikis, ballettis [etc.] … in write or prent, … ony sclanderous speitchis, reproche or calumpny

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"Spech n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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