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

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

Tavern, Tabern, n. Also: taverne, -irn, tawern(e, -arne, -orn, taveren, -ine, -on(e, -oun, (taverome), taweroun, -en, taberne, taberon. [ME and e.m.E. tauerne (1297), tawern (Cath. Angl.), tabyrn (15th c.), taverin (1583), tabern (Marlowe), tavern (1638), OF taverne, L. taberna.]

1. A tavern, inn or hostelry. Also to hald, kep, vs tavern, to keep or open an inn for the sale of wine, etc.(1) c1420 Wynt. v 34.
Owte off the erd thare sprang a well … Quhare quhylum a famous tawerne [W. taverne] stude
1436 Acts II 24/1.
That na man in burghe be fundyn in tauernys at wyne, aile or beir efter the straik of ix houris and the bell that salbe rongyn in the said burghe
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 160.
Fra drunkyne folk and tawarne [Gud Wyf & D. taverne] flee
1518 Mill Mediæv. Plays 232.
In the mornyng in the taveroun [for] ane pynt of wyne & ane mayne laif
1526 Treas. Acc. V 312.
To Isobell Harp keeper of Walter Chepmannis taveroun for hir leveray claithis
1541 Edinb. Hammermen 159.
1549 Compl. 14/26.
Ther is diuerse men that can blason the veyris in the tauerne or at the fyir syde
1551–2 Acts II 483/2.
That thay put the samin [sc. wine] in thair commoun tauernis and woltis … to be sauld indifferentlie to our souerane ladyis liegis
15.. Clar. iii 443.
He … said that in ane taverne quhair he lay Ane messinger thair ludgit in the way
1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III 86.
That [on Sundays] fra the last jow of the bell to the saidis sermonis to the finall end thairfoir thair be nather meit nor drynk sauld in oppin tavernes or hostillareis
1560 Treas. Acc. XI 30.
For careing of tume pypis, pontionis and tume barrellis fra the taveronis to the packing hous of flour … for carting of the samyn … and sellering of thame in the munitioun hous withtin the castell … for wescheing of ane part of the saidis pypis [etc.]
1587 Dundee B. Laws 480.
The … intrant … to pas to the taweroun and pay the bancat and vther casualitiis
1590 Elgin Rec. II 14.
14.. Acts (1597) i 136.
Sik wines as ar sald in commoun tavernes [etc.]
1600-1610 Melvill 30.
I haid my necessars honestlie aneuche of my father, bot nocht els; for archerie and goff, I haid bow, arrose, glub and bals; but nocht a purs for catchpull and tavern
1625 Aberd. B. Rec. III 1.
Some of thame passes to tawernes and ailhousses
1643 Dundee B. Laws 350.
In beakinge of bunnes … kaikis and bappes to the tawernis
1650 St. A. Baxter Bks. 120.
That nane … sall baik ony kynd of wastellis or caikis … nather to taveren [marg. tawerenes], brouster, nor na wthar persone … to sell againe
c1680 W. Row Blair 547.
An act discharging ministers to go to taverns … their drunkenness … being so notour
(b) 1529 Mill Mediæv. Plays 233.
For our part of the menstrelis lavingis in the taberon
1540 Linlithgow B. Ct. 5 Nov.
James Nasmyth for the taberne wndir the tolboicht male of Mertymes and Vitsonday forsaid xxiiij s.
(2) a1538 Abell 38b.
He ordanit at kirk men suld hald na taworn na sell na wyn
1548 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 142.
That na maner of persoun hald oppin tavern bot thai that ar burgessis and gild brether and payis thair dewty to St. Anthones altare and for observing heirof … the baillies … to … dischairge vtheris to vent wyne and to steik vp thair durris
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II 259.
That … na … personis … vs tavern or went ony wynis in greit or small … except thai be fre burgessis
1576–7 St. A. Kirk S. 421.
Margaret Mar … to desist fra keping of taverine upon the Sabbat day

b. attrib. and comb. 14.. Burgh Laws Index c. 51 (A).
Of the maner to mak tawarne aile & mede
14.. Burgh Laws c. 49 (A).
Tauerne ail
a1500 Peblis to Play 91.
Than thai to the taverne hous With meikle oly-prance
1565 Prot. Bk. Gilbert Grote 68.
Twa taverone burdis that standis in his kychein
1608 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 38.
Thai sall haif na libertie to tak in ane taverne woman fra thynce furth
1613 Reg. Privy C. IX 552.
The artisane proponeing the price of his wairis not according to the worth thairof … bot answerable to his waistfull expensis in his taverne-drinking
a1648 Hist. King's Aff. Scotl. under Marques of Montrose (1648) 39.
The rest of the multitude … were newly raised out of husbandmen, cow-herds, pedees, tavern-boyes and kitchin-boyes

2. A shop.Only in Bell. Livy. translating L. tabernas. 1533 Bell. Livy II 321 (BM).
He tuke hir … asid to the tabernes [Adv. MS. buthis] besid the templis of the goddes Cloacyne & thar he pullit ane swerd fra ane buchour [etc.]

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



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