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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Port, n.1 Also: porte, portt, porth; poirt(t. [ME and e.m.E. port(e (c 1330), por (1297), poort (c 1430), ME plur. also pors, ports (1297), OE port, F. port, OF plur. porz, pors, L. portus haven, harbour.] A (sea-)port.Also Se-port n., stapill port, s.v. Stapil(l n.2 3 c.

1. A part of the sea so protected by a shore or by a man-made bulwark that ships may seek shelter there; a harbour, a haven.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xvi 564.
& sowne thai arywinge mad In the porte
1491 Acta Conc. I 203/1.
In the inhavin of hir in the port and havin of the Elye at the Erlis fery
1513 Doug. i vi 160.
Thy schippys and falloschip … Owdir ar herbryit in the havyn, I wys, Or with bent saill entris in the port be this
Ib. iii viii 54.
A port thar is, quham the est fludis hes, In maner of a bow, maid bowle or bay
Ib. 125. Ib. v i 44. 1531 Bell. Boece II 131.
Our marchandis … sall have na ressait nor port, quhen dangeir or stormis invadis thame
1555 Misc. Bann. C. I 9.
Euery port, ryver, loigh, creke and haven
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxx 4.
The beatin bark … Into the port hir self sho castis Thair lyfe or death to find
1587 Irvine Mun. I 74.
To visie … the watter mouth heavin port and herborie … quhair the schippis … wont to repair lose and ladin
1596 Dalr. I 55/24.
A porte, or surer schiping place lychtlie sal ȝe nocht find, thay cal it Lamelas: it is a bosum of the sey [etc.]
(2) 1513 Doug. iii x 101.
The port of Drepianon and the rayd
c 1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 582.
The port of Trouternesse is five myle broad
(3) 1574–5 Reg. Privy S. VII 5/2.
The bulwark, port and havin of Carraill be lang proces of tyme remaning unbet … is be stormes of wodder … now becum in dekay
1600 Acts IV 250/1.
With power … to erect big and edifie als mony poirttis heavineis and harboreis … as they sall think expedientt in ony pairtt quhaireuir the sey ebbis and flowis
1601 Frasers of Philorth II 267.
And in respect of the greit expenssis sustenit … vpone the bulding of the port and heavin [etc.]
1636 Glasgow Chart. II 598.

2. Passing into: A town or place containing a harbour for the use of ships; a sea-port.Also port of the se and port marine.Also, the part of such a town containing the harbour; and the port for which a ship is making.(1) 1389 Liber Melros 449.
That the forsaid wollys at your portis … yhe suffre to be shippit & frely to pas withoutyn ony askyng or takyng of custume
c1420 Wynt. ii 1671.
And a port off the mekyll se Quhare that pylgrymys mais entre
1436 Acts II 23/2.
The custumaris of the portis
1503–4 Ib. 243/2.
All tovnis and portis standand on the sey sid sik as Leth Inuerkethin [etc.]
1513 Doug. iii vi 48.
At thou … May … at a port of Itale arryve at end
Ib. ii 109. Ib. v 34. 1527 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I 238.
To … distroy ther housis … and bring thame to portis of the see & send thame away in schippis
1538 Treas. Acc. VI 392.
To Carrik pursevant, for his expens passing to all portis on the sey coist [etc.] … and … to Innernes and all portis of the northland
1555 Acts II 498/1 (see Dry burrow n.). 1555–6 Edinb. B. Rec. II 231.
The act … salbe proclamit … at all the portis and se tounys quhair [fisch] vsis commonly to be takin and sauld
1579 Conv. Burghs I 100.
At ony vther port, vther nor at hir [the ship's] ladinning port
1586 Ib. 227.
1596 Dalr. I 61/26.
Leith, the porte of maist renoune in the hail realme
1601 Frasers of Philorth II 267.
Custumes, anchorages and hevin silver of the said port and heavin
1616 Aberd. Council Lett. I 136.
In actiouns … within the port and harberie of this towne
1631–49 Conv. Burghs IV 546.
How loading and louseing may be restricted to ports belonging to free burrows
1661 Aberd. Council Lett. IV 159.(b) 1574 Conv. Burghs I 27.
The coquet of the burgh or poirt quhairfra thay pas
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 133.
Quhatsumeuer gudes salhappin to arryve at thair poirt [of Leith] … frome vtheris cuntries
1582 Conv. Burghs I 141.
1594 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 300.
Ane quart of vyne of ilk schip that cummis within this poirt with vyne
(2) 1474 Prestwick B. Rec. 25.
That … na nychtburis … resav tham na thar gudis, nowdir in cove na in port
(3) 1439 Edinb. Chart. 64.
And the vatir off the porte of Leicht on the northt part
1482 Ib. 168. 1497 Acta Conc. II 88.
Quhilk was frauchtit furth of the porth of Abirdene to Flandris
1502–3 Reg. Privy S. I 135/2. 1506 Edinb. Chart. 189.
Bringand merchandice … within our realme to our port of Leyth
1513 Doug. iii v 19.
And vp we pyke the cost of Epyrus And landyt thar at port Chaonyus
1515 Treas. Acc. V 30.
With … generall lettrez to the portis of nethir Kirkcudbricht, Wigtoun [etc.]
1533 Boece 86.
Sa mony galions … war brocht to the porte of Berigone
1543 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 114.
That nane of the nychtboures … send ower ony of thair guids to the port of Brynt Iland to be laidin thair
c1575 Balfour Pract. 51. a1578 Pitsc. I 192/5.
That Harie … was … landin at the port of Millburne
1582 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 235.
At thair port and heavin of Leyth
1603 Reg. Great S. 515/1.
All and haill the previlegeis … of the said poirt and hevin of Leyth, raid thairof, and town of Leyth and of the Newhevin
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 57.
At the poirtis of Crisbusternes or Brabusternes in Deirnes
(4) 1506–7 Reg. Privy S. I 200/1.
[We] ordanis … for gude reule to be had … within our port of grace … Thomas Hoppringill bailȝe of our sade port of grace
1552 Reg. Dunferm. 399.
Reservato portu de Newhavin alias port of grace vocat
1633 Acts V 93/2.
The port and harberie of the said burgh of Bruntiland callit the port of grace
(5) 1567 Acts III 42/1.
It salbe lesum to na strangear … to lois or laid bot at fre portis alanerly vnder the pane of confiscatioun
1601 Frasers of Philorth II 266.
Erectit … in ane fre port and heavyn and in ane fre burgh of barrony … with all prevelegis … to be callit the burgh port heavyn and regalitie of Fraserburgh
1641 Acts V 492/1.
The free portes and sea places of Bellheaven, Lamerheaven and Lamercraige
1664 Conv. Burghs III 572.(6) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2481.
Pirrus … Walked on fut wp frome the port
15.. Clar. v 2672.
Thay … raid to the port marine
(7) 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 42 a.
Awne ine to Adem Reye … to paye God wolyne at our port
1602 Dundee Shipping P. 74.
We sayllit to Galleiseia and cam to owr port in fowr dayis and ther he resawit that frawcht

3. Attrib. and comb. 1509 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 112.
Cum … le Brewhouse croft et le Porthavin de Rossawarty
1663 Acts VII 514/1.
[To] receave the customes anchorages port dewes havensilver and others dueties of all ships

4. a. fig. or in fig. context. b. transf. A place of resort.a. c1500-c1512 Dunb. ix 165.
Thow mak my schip in blissit port to arryif That sailis heir in stormis violent
Ib. xi 42.
Thocht thow be taklit nevir so sure Thow sall in deathis port arryve Quhair nocht for tempest may indure
Ib. lxxiii 13.
Pilgrame … Bend vp thy saill, and win thy port of grace
1531 Bell. Boece I vi.
That sad avising … Couth find na port to ankir hir firmance
Arundel MS. 281/87. c1590 Fowler I 59/24.
Whose poems lay within the port of lowe
b. 1590 Burel Pilgr. i 210.
Sick beists … That hantit and plantit That place to be thair port [: sort]

5. In some instances, appar. erron. for Part n. 4. 1515 Treas. Acc. V 36.
For … furnessing of men of were in all the portis of the realme
1583 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 314.
In … caring off all the foirsaidis materiallis to … Falkland fra all portis

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"Port n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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