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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ut(t)er, adj. Also: -ir, -yr, utar, -re, uther, -ir, wt(t)er, -yr, wt(t)ir, wtare, outter, otter. [ME and e.m.E. uttere adv. (c1200), uttre adj. (Ancr. R.), vter, vtter (both Cursor M.), vttyr (1357), vttir (c1400), OE úter(r)a, út(t)era, uttra. Cf. Outer adj.]

A. adj. 1. a. Of one of a pair of things, etc., of the same sort: Farther out, more outlying of two (or more) in contradistinction to another inner example (stated or implied) of the same sort. b. specif. Of machinery. c. specif. Of watchmen or guards.a. a1500 Henr. Orph. 386.
On thai went … Quhill thay almaist come to the vtter port
1503 Reg. Soltre 158.
For lokkis to the reuestry inner and uter durris
1513 Doug. vi iv 95.
And in the myddis of the vtyr ward [sc. of Hell] … A rank elm tre stude
1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 7.
The greit wter chalmer of the tour
1529–30 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 27.
1530 Writers Signet xix.
That the massers keips the counsale hous dure in this manner … that the dur stand oppin and twa of thame ane on ilk syde at the uter dur uther twa ilk ane of thaim at the inmest dur
1570 Leslie 125 (see Barmkin n.). 1610 Aberd. B. Rec. II 299.
The vtter course of hewin wark, outlairis [etc.]
a1651 Calderwood VII 494.
Manie people being conveened in the utter court of the Palace of Halyrudhouse
(b) 1663 Melville Corr. 94.
b. 1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I 289.
To Johnne Duncane … for his … rasing of the quhelis and wter gair of the Litell Myll
1644 Tulliallan Coal Wks. 3.
For ane wtter wheill and an inner wheill with airmes thairto
c. 1535 Stewart 7541.
The vtter watche, quhair thai woik all alane, Or euir tha wist war all in handis tane
1648 Comm. Gen. Assembly II 58.
The brethren … were not admitted to goe within the towne, but were keeped vp at the vtter guards
16… R. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 399.
They wer receaved first be guard appoynted be the Constable of the kingdome, whose office wes to command that utter gard

2. Of one of the parts of a thing viewed as divided in two: Outer, farther from the centre, in contradistinction to inner (stated or implied). Also in Orkney and Shetland, in collocation with toun (cf. quot. 1503 Orkney Rentals in (1)), passing into a place-name. Freq. with partitive terms, half, part and side. Also compar.(1) 1503 Orkney Rentals i 37.
Heir next begynnis upoun Utter Stromnes ut sequitur Uttirstromnes ij uris terre
1506 Treas. Acc. III 280.
The kingis offerand in Quhithirn at the rude altair … in the utir kyrk
1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS 648/2.
In the vtter house of the samyn, ane carvit cheir of aik
1580 Treas. Acc. MS 51.
To be ane vtter sadill four elnis … of purpour veluott
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 69.
In name and behalff of the tennentis and occupearis of the toun of Clibbersweik, innertoun and utertoun
(2) 1565 Rec. Earld. Orkney 280.
[The aforesaid principal messuage … lying in the] wttirtoun [of Stromness]
1567 Peterkin Orkney & Zetl. App. 7.
In externa villa de Stromnes, vulgo nuncupat. the Utter Town
1584–5 Rec. Earld. Orkney 166.
The officer … passed to the ground of a half penny land in the town of Stoif within the Uttertown of Stromnes
(3) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 12 (B).
[The widow] sal hafe the ennyr part of the hous that is to say the flet and his ayre the vttyr part of the hede hows
1499 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 91.
The wrangvs withthaldin of vterhalf of ane par of hoys
1505 Treas. Acc. III 166.
The utir half of ane mail of clath for the kingis clok
1538 Aberd. B. Rec. MS XVI (Jam.).
To pay him x sh. & the wtter part of a pair of hoys
1573–4 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 11.
That euery mesour haue the townys merk vpoun the lyp, at the vter syde
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Femur, the vtter part of the thigh
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 87/201.
The other on the vtter side [sc. of the tablet] The sunne hath shining bright
1611-57 Mure True Crucifixe 485.
Like painted tombs who clense the vtter side, Where nought within but rotten bon's abide
compar. 1494 Loutfut MS 130a.
At the trenchis be braid & deip and at the enerer sid be evin schorn and at the wterar side be schorn walanter outwart

3. Of an edge, periphery or limit: Outermost, outside, external. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1482.
All the bordour [sc. of a mirror] … Was plait of gold, cais, stok and vtter [L. vthir] hem
1550 Edinb. Guild Ct. 17 Sept.
To remoif the samin & lay thaim of new sua that thai cum na ferrar west nor the vtre day lycht of the ovir buith dur
1623 Aberd. B. Rec. II 388.
For ryiding of the tounes wtter marches
1662 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 203.
Perambulatione of the utter land merches

4. Of appearance: Outer, visible. 1567 Cal. Sc. P. II 395.
She is … the utter apparance to us, als merylie disposed, as at any tyme

5. Of degree or extent. a. Of an answer, decision or opinion: Final, complete, definitive; total; unreserved, without holding back. b. Of harm, destruction, something bad or unpleasant: Total, complete, absolute. c. Of a limit, esp. of a value, power, effort, etc.: Utmost, uttermost. d. Of a payment, command, etc.: Final, last; ultimate; full, total.a. 1456 Hay I 173/30.
Bot, as for utter ansuere to this questioun, treuly [etc.]
1492 Reg. Episc. Morav. 244.
The vod … to be evinly kepit be ane fostar … quhil ony knaulag may be gottin bettir of the werite … gif ony of the saidis parteis apples to labour tharin to the wttir knawleg of the werite
1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 84.
Be the seicht, understanding, and uter determination of the said persons abouinwritting
1515 Q. Margaret in Ellis Orig. Lett. 1 Ser. I 127.
Send me ȝour uter mynd and ansuer in all thyng
1525 Douglas Corr. 99.
My Lord of Anguis thinkis gret mervell that he gettis nocht the kyngis gracis uter mynd
1542–3 Treas. Acc. VIII 166.
To James Lindsay, masar … remanand in Glasqu viij dayis upoune uter answer
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 72.
I have … send Wille Inglis to yow with my mynd now … to have uter anser of all my desyris
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1062.
The emprice … Sayand this is my vtter minde and will, That ȝe prepair my chalmer and my bed [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxxii 86.
Ȝour vter ansueir courteously I crave
b. 1490 Irland Mir. II 5/15.
All this the auld innemy … did agane our natur and linage for our vtir distruccioun
1521 Fife Sheriff Ct. 280.
Na justice done on thaim, in the wtir hereschip of the said wyff, barnis [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 114.
Quhilkis … hes brocht ȝoure commoun wele neir to vtter exterminioun
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7417.
I … [am] schamit for ay with lak and derisioun; Quhilk will me bring to vtter confusioun
1560 Calderwood II 22.
Filthie persons, idolaters, and all suche sorts of unfaithfull, sall be cast in the dungeon of utter darknesse
1562-3 Winȝet I 7/11.
Ane manifest confusion and vter exterminion of this realme
1565 Inverness Rec. I 129.
For it is my vtter schame to haif sustenit sic dispytis and wickit wourdis
1567 G. Ball. 96.
Thow sall behald him, [the wicked man] and his mantioun Be brocht to nocht and vtter confusioun
a1578 Pitsc. II 285/18.
So thair vas no thing bot vtter defyance … on baith the sydes
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 313.
Thair is ane new layet cvngyie in devysing … that will be to the vtter hurt of the realme
(b) 1672 Edinb. B. Rec. X 114.
It wald tend to the uther rowine [pr. rownie] of the trad of tobaco
(c) 1671 Conv. Burghs III 626.
That some fitt remedie be fund out for preventing the outter rowin of that ancient burgh
c. 1508 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 113.
Nocht to be gottin nor obtenit agane be that persoun trespassand without he by the saymn agane at the vttir poynt
1513 Doug. ix ix 16.
Quham to assailȝe … With hail pyssance all the Italianys At vtir [Ruddim. vter] power ombeset atanys
1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 52.
Anent the setting of thair commone myll … to be seit to the uter awaill and mast profet … to burges and induollaris
1520 Edinb. B. Rec. I 200.
Thai sall do thar vtyr power … till inbring all the laif of thar craft … for to fulfill … the premissis
1525 Douglas Corr. 100.
I have done my utir diligence
1531 Bell. Boece II 27.
His freindis thocht unworthy that he suld … be ane mirrour of derision to his ennimes. Best was … to assailye the uter fine of his materis
1531 Bell. Boece II 156.
I wer richt unmercifull gif I wald nocht gif peace to Pichtis … bot now the mater is at ane uter point; for the Pichtis ar sworn … nevir to gif peace to us
1532 Liber Melros 641.
That ȝe keip and defend him therintill as ȝe will ansuer to ws … at ȝour vter charge
1533 Bell. Livy II 190/22.
Bot the mone was sa gleg, schynand all nycht, that the batall was fochtin to the vtir end, als wele as it hade bene day licht
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 79.
Advertise ws at sum haste that we may provide our powaris and tak our utter part therof
1550 Breadalbane Doc. No. 74.
[They] sall stop the sammyn at thair uther power
1550 Breadalbane Doc. No. 74.
1551 Prot. Bk. M. Carruthers 53.
1564 Glasgow Prot. III 55.
That the saidis Robert Cors haif the ane half of the saidis sex s. viij d. land or ellis the utir availe thairof in money
1624 Melrose P. 553.
We think that rent the vtter availl whiche may be had for these lands, without highting of the tennents
d. 1469 Perth Guildry 453 (10 Nov.).
And this said somme til be pait be Candilmes and Fastranewin the vterpenny
1542 Misc. Spald. C. II 196.
His tresonable byding … fra our oist and army … incontrar the command of our vttir letteris proclamationis and chargeis
1561 Inverness Rec. I 54.
Be resson of the sade Mald legasse left to the sade James at hyr wttyr wyll

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"Uter adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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