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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.

Spice, Spyce, n. Also: spis(e, spys(e, spyice, spiys, speice, speieiss, (spes). [ME and e.m.E. spice (Ancr. R.), spis (a1272), spyce (Manning), spise (Wyclif), spyse (1564), OF espice (12th c. in Larousse), L. speciēs. Cf. Species n.]

1. Chiefly pl. or coll. (A) spice, also a sort of spice. Also fig. b. Spice and wyne, wyne and spice, chiefly or only wine flavoured with spice, also with reference to wine and spice as a token payment made by a person on becoming a burgess. Cf. also the Liber Calchou quot. in Spicery n.1 1. c. The blak spyce, pepper. Cf. later dial. where spice is used to refer to pepper.a. pl. c1420 Wynt. iii 830.
He his sone Had slayne and … gert hym … be set Before his fadyre … In quartarys … Wytht precyous spycys [C. spisis, W. spicis] farsyd welle
1456 Hay II 131/13.
And than is spedefull till have … ȝong mutonis and caponis, [etc.] … and sik gude kyndis of metis with gude hate spicis
1456 Hay II 137/16.
Tharfor suld mutoun ay be etyn hate and with gude spicis
1456 Hay II 144/8.
He suld efter all his … wesching … occupy him in syk delicious esementis and culand spicis quhill he war culit at all ese
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 248.
Boxis he bair with … sugerit syropis for digestioun, Spycis belangand to the pothecairis With mony hailsum sweit confectioun
1500–1 Acta Conc. II 491.
Walx, spicis and saiffrone
1511 Rentale Dunkeld. MS 97.
1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV 354.
To William Fowlar … pottingar in compleit payment of all powderis ypothecary materialis diverse kind of spicis and confectionis
1549 Compl. 145/24.
In the gude anciant dais … straynge cuntreis var nocht socht to get spicis, eirbis, drogis, gummis, & succur for to mak exquisit electuars to prouoke the pepil til ane disordinat appetit
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 180.
My bodie … into my sepulture … may not corrupt … Be vertew of the precious oyntment Of balme, and vther spyces redolent
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv 646.
The strang meittis mixt with the spices hait
1562 Treas. Acc. XI 226.
To Robert Hendersone chirurgen for expensis maid be him upoun spicis vinagre aquavitie [etc.] … and for his laubouris in the handeling of the … Erle of Huntleis bodie that it suld nocht putrefie
1562–3 Treas. Acc. XI 253.
Lettres … chargeing all … merchandis … that nane of thame tak upoune hand to carie be sey or land ony oxin or ky, hydis, succouris, or uthiris spices
1567 Edinb. B. Rec. III 240.
The prouest [etc.] … vnderstanding the hale ipoticaris … to be the principale … sellaris of spices … ordane maister Jhonn Prestoun dene of gild to caus all the ipoticaris … to desist and ceis fra venting of spices in commoun vtherwise than in thair medicinis
1596 Dalr. I 17/7.
Drink … maid of ale, of honie, anat seide, and sum vthires spices (this drink the commone peple … callis brogat)
1598 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 25 May.
Item in zuccour and spyceis
coll. a1500 Henr. Fab. 206.
The ȝoungest sister into hir butterie hyid, And brocht furth nuttis and peis, in steid off spyce [Bann. spys]
1489 Treas. Acc. I 110.
For spyce he boycht to the king, iij s.
a1500 Seven S. 750.
He had seiknes … That he couth stanche apon na mak For spys or herbe that he couth tak
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1302.
Off precius spice to mak a confectioun Flesche of ded men to keip fra corruptioun
1521 Dundee B. Ct. I fol. 161b (28 July).
vjc spis … price of the gretast spis iiij cronis and the smallast iij cronis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2991.
The Ynde orientell Preceld in gret commoditeis As … Al kynde of spyce delicious, Golde, syluer, stonis precious
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. 299/62.
Sum will spend mair … In spyce [Maitl. Q. spyice] and droigis on ane day Nor wald thair moderis in a ȝeir
1597 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 31 March.
Ane pund half pepper ane pund half genger thre vnce saiffroun This day the spyce enteritt for the haill monethe
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1667.
Smug the smith for ale & spyce Sold al his toolis & yit he keipt his vice
a1606 Dioscoridis Annot. 6.
Cardamomum, ane kynd of spyce of Indie, in staid quhairof nov ve vse graines
1638 Baillie I 31.
It is now perceaved, by the leaves and sheets of that booke [sc. the Scots Common-Prayer Book] which was given out athort the shoppes of Edinburgh, to cover spyce and tobacco, one edition at least was destroyed
1691 Hawick Arch. Soc. (1905) 13.
Mor osters and spis and brid to et them … 3 s. 10 d.
(b) 1729 Red Bk. Grandtully II 324.
Many thangks for 2 botels of fine speieiss. Never was beater tiped, and the fatest gows I euer in my lif tes[t]ed
sing. 1456 Hay II 142/12.
Venym is comperit properly to a spice callit reu barbaris, the quhilk is the propre hele of the liver quhen it is brynt with blak coleris
fig. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 9.
Haill, Riall King, … Haill, spice of taist, to heir sueit sympheony
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxv 71.
Aue Maria gratia plena! Haile sterne meridiane! Spyce, flour-de-lice of paradyse
b. (1) 1460 Hay Alex. 14388.
In [that] cuntre is the Well of Helle Quhilk of all maladyis the folk will hele … all the spyce and the nobill wyne Redoundis and flowis in that freche fontane
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxix 19.
Vennesoun, wyld fowill, wyne and spyce
1528 Lynd. Dreme 829.
We want the spyces and the wynis, Or vther strange fructis delycious
1535 Stewart 37628.
Scho causit him to dyne With coistlie spycis and mony mychtie wyne
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 386.
For wyne spyce manebreid and other necessaris … xxxvj s.
a1578 Pitsc. I 381/17.
And syne went to Edinburgh quhair … the king … was … propynit witht the provost and communitie of the toun baitht witht spyce and wyne gold and silluer
1596 Dalr. I 6/4.
The ground … furnisses abundantlie all things quhilkes ar necessar or proffitable to the commone vse of the peple, excepte spice and vine, and sum fructes
(2) 1449 Ayr B. Ct. 14 Nov.
Thai … sal in & enter & mak the acht the burges to pay iiii d. to the clerk and the gild the spice & the wyne
1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 16.
The balȝeis … to be chargit … of sa mekle siluir for ilke persoun that is maid fre, out takande a burges air, quhilk sall gef to the balȝeis and the communite the spyse and the wyne alanerly
1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 165. 1556 Inverness Rec. I 3.
Patre Skynner is mad fre burges and gilbroder of this bruch … and hes payit thairfor … twenty merkis … and hes fundin James Skynner souerte … for the spice and the wine and his gyld hoys
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 125b.
Herbert Thomson cordinar is maid fre & suorne thairto payand fyiwe marks at termes foirsaid v ss dewteis spice & vyne
1573 Inverness Rec. I 231. 1606 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 17 June.
[They] creat & maid him burges of the samen burgh, for the spice & the wine
(b) 1459 Perth Guildry p. 39.
That thare be na gild brether made for fyve ȝeiris tocum … within the … [space] … of sex merkis and the spes and the wyne
c. a1500 Henr. Practysis 68.
Recipe, thre sponfull of the blak spyce, [etc.]

d. attrib. and comb. With buist, kist, lardner; man. See also Spice-box n., Spice-hous(e n. and Spice-plate n.attrib. 1489–90 Acta Conc. I 131/2.
The dosane of siluer spvnis siluer saltfat & spice bust wer … laid in wed
1606 Edinb. Test. XLI 317b.
Ane spyce buist, price v s.
1621 Edinb. Test. LI 63.
Thrie spyce buistis at x s. the pece
1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 25 Sept.
For cabbadge & neips for 10 flucks a spyce buist a sket
1635 Edinb. Test. LVII 140b.
Tuelff spyce buitts [sic; ? erron. for buists] estimat all to thrie pundis xij s.
1537–8 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 217.
For … ii lokis with bandis to the kingis spice kist
1588 Exch. R. XXI 369.
Andro Durrham, maister in the spyce hous, David Manteithe, maister in the spyce lardner
comb. 1599 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 31 May.
To the spyceman for his cairyage of spyce

e. transf. A fragrance resembling or reminiscent of that of spice, having curative properties. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 572.
He restit in ane meid Quhair odour was aboundant precious: And was ourgrowin with all kin kind of flour Richt michtie spice it was of greit valour

2. As (part of) a growing plant. a1500 Henr. Fab. 870.
The ground wes grene and as the gold it glemis With gresis growand … The spyce thay spred to spring on euerilk spray
1549 Compl. 44/2.
To gar the eird becum fertil to bayr al sortis of corne, eirbis, gyrse & spice

3. A sort or variety of (something). c1515 Asl. MS I 329/20.
To eschew the vij dedly synnis with braunchis and spycis of thaim

4. A touch or trace of (something). c1515 Asl. MS II 245/7.
Virgin inviolat … And with no spyce of cryme coinquynate
a1540 Freiris Berw. 40 (B).
He wes awld … And als he had ane littill spyce of gravell
1635 Dickson Wr. 156.
They have some faults: either they must leave to be drunken whiles … or have a little spice of pride or love to the world

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



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