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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.

Terc(e, Ters, Teirce, n. Also: terse, terss(e, teirs, teyrce, tearc(e, tears(s)e, tierce, tiers, tyrc(e, tairs. Pl. also tereses. [ME and e.m.E. tierce (Wyclif), terce (Lydgate), tyerce (Caxton), teers (1531-2), tearce (1588, north.), terse (1624), OF terce, tierce, ters, tiers, L. tertium.]

1. The liferent of one third of the lands in which a widow's late husband was infeft, enjoyed by her as of right, providing no other provision has been accepted by her, and that the marriage has lasted for a year and a day or has produced a living child. b. The lands so enjoyed.Also const. ladiis tercis, cf. d (2) below.In quot. 1446 (in (b) below), no woman holder of the land concerned is mentioned. It seems likely, however that land held as a terce rather than simply one third of the land concerned is what is intended.See also c1575 Balfour Pract. 105-114, a1633 Hope Major Pract. Index, etc. 1425 Exch. R. IV 398.]
[Que debetur domine Marjorie Lyndesay racione tercie sue
(1) 1466 Acta Aud. 4/1.
In the actioune … betuix Margret Countas of Angus … and Isabell Countas of Angus … tuiching the terce of the landis … of Bonkle … that the saide Margret … sall … joyse the hale thrid of the saide landis … in sa fer as hir husband deit vest & sesit
1469 Argyle Charters in Orig. Par. II i 111.
The terces pertenyng to the ald lady of Lorn
1472 Bamff Chart. 30.
Al clamys … that the said Cristian had … be resone of terce … to the said annuale
1474 Milne-Home MSS 22.
Also the reasonable terce of these lands, to his wife Mariota
1480 Crawford Mun. Invent. II 18 (5 Oct.).
Schir David sall … mak fre to Katrin of Fothringam the landis of Fesky of the thrid and terce clamyt be Isabell of Levinton his moder
1483 Acta Conc. II cxxxiii.
The said Jonet aucht to have na terce of the said landis because scho had gevin our the samyn and tane contentatioun thairfor
1488 Acta Conc. I 94/2.
The thrid of the landis of Lang Forgund … to be broikit … be Elspeth Masoun … as hir terce
1491 Acts II 225/1.
Quhen ony laidy haffand terce … happinis to deces [etc.]
1492 Acta Conc. I 248/1.
That the thrid parte of the half of the landis of Medop ar better than the thrid parte of the half of the landis of Maneristoun … and becaus the modificatioun of the betternes of the said tercis suld [etc.]
1503 Acts II 243/2.
That the woman askand this terce beand repute … his lauchtfull wif in his lyvetyme sal be tercit & brouke hir terce without … impediment … quhill that it be clerly decernit … that scho was nocht his lauchtfull [wife] & that scho suld nocht have ane lauchtfull terce
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 26.
That Margrete Forrate … suld hafe ane terce & thridparte of the saidis landis
1552–3 Lochwinnoch Par. 44.
Gif it sall happin … the said lordis … to … truble the said Deme Marioun in the peceable bruking and josing of hir said terce and thrid
1560 Montgomery Mem. 157.
Prouidinge allwyis the saidis Robert Lord Boyde … sall haif her terce or coniunctfie of the landis of Gallowberrie
1581 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 269b.
Lyk also possest the said Robert in name of the said nobill lord and lade in hyr secund terce of Kyluerak
1587–8 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 7 Feb.
The thrid part of the said oxin gan of land, quhilk is the said Margaret terce
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 25b.
The reasonabill dowrie of ilk wife, is called the terce
1631 Black Bk. Taymouth 73.
The said Sir Coline … having aggriet with Dame Elizabeth Synclair his mother in law, gave hir in contentatioun of hir right of terce of hir umquhill husband his haill landis and of the thrid of his movables his band for ten thousand merkis
1673 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II 197.
Cum curijs, … esto that she were kenned to a terce that cannot give her a third of the jurisdiction which is jus indivisible
1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 128.
[The archbishops] directed brieves … for kenning to terces
1695 Fountainhall Decis. I 655.
That a relict kenned to a terce of lands could not claim a terce of pasturage in a muir which followed these lands
(b) 1446 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 405.
The said Alexander to gif the saide Malcolm Mekil Wardris … in fee and heritage … And the saide Malcolme sal halde the saide landes of the saide Alexander … Item the said Alexander sal mak the said Malcolm [fre] of the ters of the said Wardris
1507 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 140.
The said Lady … sal not mak na baily nor factour in name of her tersys of gryter degre … than an of hir houshold seruantis or mail tennentis
1507 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 140.
That he … sall caus the said lady to be redily ansuerit in the peicable bruikeing of all landis terssys and conjunct feftmentis perteinand to her
1516–17 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 39.
Cristiane Brand, his spous, [is] to brouk the ters of the said landis, as us is
1537 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XIX 95.
The said Mathow [is] to brouk the said lands and the said Margaret to have na ters thairof
1593 Prot. Bk. T. Auchinlek 27a.
This lyfrent sesing is giffin in full satisfactioun of all terse & coniunctfie quhilk the said Helein may ask or clame
(c) 1473 Laing Chart. 43.
Gilys lady off Forbes … permutit cost ande cambyt [her terce of the lands of Clune … ] in our pure wedohede wyth our derast schone Wilȝame … the quhilk our teirs extendis ȝerly till viij markis, for viij markis worthe of lande ȝerly of the landis of Forbes
1481–2 Acta Aud. 95/2.
To make the sade Jonete be content & payt of the ressonable teirce of the saide landis
1498 Acta Conc. II 225.
That the sade Ysabell was payit of the malis, gerssoumes, proffittis, and dewiteis of hir teyrce of the sadis landis
1501–2 Acta Conc. III (1993) 114.
[That he] has pleyit and troublit hir in hir teyrce, allegiand that scho was nocht spous til umquhile the sade Schir James
14.. Acts (1597) ii 93, 94.
Widowes, persewand … their benefices of teirce, or the profite of their teirce
(d) 1473 Laing Chart. 43.
(e) a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 46.
(f) c1575 Balfour Pract. 114.
Gif ony man, havand landis of ane superiour, deceissis … na tierce nor thrid thairof aucht to pertene to [his widow] … gif the samin landis be in non-entres throw his predecessouris deceis and non-entrie thairto
14.. Acts (1597) i 47.
That the thrid of the kingis rentes of assise, that is to say, of landes and customes, be assigned till her tierce and dowrie
(g) 1496 Acta Conc. II 15.
The tyrcis of the landis of the Newtone
(2) 1516 Reg. Privy S. I 428/2.
Quhilkis landis … is now worth be ȝere xx lib. … and thairof x merkis ȝerelie to be deducit to the ladeis terce
1537 Boyd Fam. P. No. 13 (28 March).
The saidis wardis … foirfaltoris ladiis tercis, coniunctfeis or ony othir casualiteis or accidentis that may fall thairvpon

b. Grete terce, see Hope Major Pract. quot. below. 1492 Acta Conc. I 239/1.
The grete terce of the landis & lordschip of Calderwod … decernit to pertene to the said Margrete
1496–7 Acta Conc. II 62.
The sade Elizabeth, Countas of Erole … sall broik … the proffittis of the grete teyrcis of the haile landis of the lordschip of Erole
1511 Reg. Privy S. I 349/2.
The grete terce and hale thrid part of all the said landis and barony
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. (Latin) i 41b marg.
Dos assignata vni mulieri, et ab ea possessa, non venit in divisionem dotis alteri mulieri assignande. The great tearce is nocht comptit within the small tearce
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 203.
If the father deceas in the fie his wyfe getts ane terce of the haill landis quhilk is called one great terce; therefter the sone dyeing, his wyfe falls a terce of the twa part dureing the great tercer's lyfetyme

c. Small tearce, a third of the lands left after another terce or terces have been assigned. Cf. b above.1609 Skene Reg. Maj. (Latin) i 41b marg. (see b above).

d. Ladies of terce, lady terce, a woman or women in possession of a terce or terces. Also attrib. with landis.(1) 1511 Reg. Privy S. I 356/2.
All proffitis of the sammyn quhen thai sall happin be deceis of the ladies of terce and conjunct fe
1511–2 Reg. Privy S. I 358/1.
The landis now brukit be the ladeis of terce or conjunct fe
1536 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 131.
Janot Inglis lade of terce of landis of Orrok
1542 Reg. Privy S. II 739/1.
The landis of Prentonane … of the quhilk thare is now twa ladiis of terce levand
1568 Reg. Privy C. I 619.
Thair subwassellis, ladiis of terce, conjunct fearis, and lyverentaris
attrib. 1517–18 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 111.
All ladyis of terce and conjunctfee landis to caus houshaldis to pas with the heretouris or thar tutouris to the said hoist and mak furnissing tharto extending to the availe … of thar terce … landis
(2) 1581 Lanark B. Rec. 81.
Jane Hammyltoun … lady terce and lyfrenter of the awcht merk land

e. Breve of terce, see Stair quot. below. 1479 Acta Conc.I 38/2.
The lordis ordanis hir to tak brevis of terce of our souuerain lordis chapell & persew hir thrid lauchfully befor the schiref
c1575 Balfour Pract. 649.
The form of the breve of tierce quhairof na retour is reportit to the chancellarie
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve.
Seven formes of brieues allanerlie, are nowe commonlie vsed … The brieue of mortancestrie … the brieue of tutorie … idiotry … terce
1675 T. Brown Diary 1.
The service of the breiff of terce to the Lady Sound
1681 Stair Inst. iv iii § 11.
The brieve of terce … is a warrant to the sheriff, steward or bailie where her husband's lands lie, to call an inquest, and therewith to cognosce what lands or annualrents the husband had the time of his death; and to assign her a reasonable terce thereof, which she may either crave to be kenned, that is, to be divided from the two thirds belonging to the heir [etc.]

f. attrib. With landis, leving, rent. 1489–90 Acta Aud. 136/1.
Joisit be the said Beatrice Skowgale as hir terce landis
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 257.
The schiref decernit ane precept wytht ane officiar to pas, entir & bekene the said lady to hir terce landis
1536 Reg. Privy S. II 275/1.
Hir terce and conjunct-fe landis
1581 Reg. Privy C. III 409.
Hir haill fermes of hir terce landis of Westraw
1589 Reg. Privy C. IV 392.
Seiking all meanis … to posses himself in certane hir terce and conjunct fee landis
1681 Decis. Lords F. 3.
Certain terce lands belonging to his mothers husband
1594 Crim. Trials I ii 308.
The quene now … requiring his hienes with the accomplisheing of his promise that his haill conjunct-fee and terce-leving pertening to her … sould be putt in her awin possessioun
1675 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 5.
[£54 4 s. as] terce [rent for the lands of Neithertoun]

2. The third hour of the canonical day, 9 a.m. a1400 Leg. S. xi 197.
To-morne, or it terse be … sal cum to thé Messyngeris
?1438 Alex. ii 8966.
Weill neir ters
c1420 Wynt. v 1406.
Syne the thryd Mes off that day Efftyre Ters he ordanyt ay To be sayd
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 628.
At terce, ‘Crucify him,’ the Jowis can cry
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1668.
Quhen terce wes cumin, quhilk ix is of the hour

3. A third part of anything. 1491 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 326.
Twa tercis beand defalkyt of the sade some
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 4.
For viij elnis ij terces of fresit gold, sett apoun silk incarnat
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 12.
For twa terces of reid crammesy welvot … price of the elne xvij frs. x s.
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 18.
Gevin to Thomas Arthuris servandis in drinksilver and for ane terce of welvot coft be thame, iij cronis
1604-31 Craig i 32.
The asse … thus triparts the pray, and sets his terce aside
c1700 Fugitive Poetry II xli 4/101.
She had not weel gone two ells terc, Till [etc.]

4. A measure of capacity, one third of a Pipe n.2; a cask of this size. Cf. Tersell n., Tertan(g n. and Tre n.1 8 (1) (b).(a) 1536 Treas. Acc. VIII 155.
Coft fra Wilȝem Pynch xvij tiers j ponchione, cost ilk tiers xij crounis
1581–2 Reg. Privy C. III 446.
Fourtie-nyne tunnis and terceis of wyne
1618 Dundee Shipping L. 293.
Tua teirce of ploomedamiss
1667 Edinb. Test. LXXIII 107b.
Four old herring barrellis four terces
1667–68 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 553.
For 3 peic and on tearc wyn
1673 Leith Customs 41a.
3 tearce of olives
1675 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 26.
Ane tearse of brandie
1680 Blackness Customs 6b.
Ane terss containing ane hundretht & fyftie pund of pepper
1681 Foulis Acc. Bk. 80.
I got 3 whyt wine terces from Hew Blair
1682 Brechin Test. VII 60.
A tearce full of aquavite estimat to xx lib.
a1689 Cleland 48.
There with stives hee empty tearses
1690 Newport Glasgow Customs 14b.
(b) c1595 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 72b.
v tereses ane quhit terey and vii dosone of potis

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"Terc n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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