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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.

Puns(c)hio(u)n(e, Punch-, Punc-, Puntio(u)n(e, -eoun(e, n.2 Also: pwns(c)h-, pwnch-, (punth-,) puinch-; ponch(h)-; poun(s)ch-, pownsch-; puns(c)-, pwns(c)-, pun(c)t-; ponc-, pons-, pont-; pounc-, pouns-, pount- and -eown, -eon(e, -eoin, -ean(e, -eaun, -youn; -oun, -on(e, -own(e, -un, -ane, -een, -in(e; punissione, punitioun, -ione; punȝeon; ponichon, ponison. [e.m.E. poncheon (1536), -ion, punshion (1571), OF ponçon (13th c.), poinchon (13–14th c.), ponchon, poinçon (13–16th c.), also ponson (14th c.), poinson (14–16th c.) in Godef.Of identical formal history with prec., but connection of sense is not apparent.]

A puncheon.A large cask for liquids (chiefly, wine), dry goods, fish, meat, etc. b. Also, one of a definite capacity; hence also occas. as a measure of capacity.Also put to various other uses, esp. in scaffolds (? serving as the base of each of the main uprights), and (? when broken up into staves) as a source of wooden pins and nails.Also, rarely, pl. without inflection.Also attrib. with -gir(d (= gird, hoop), -heid, also with -creishe (= grease, ? as packed in puncheons).For further examples, see the index to Treas. Acc., IV-X.(1) 1512–13 Treas. Acc. IV 470.
To hir [the ship] viij teirsanis of aill, ilk teirsan contenand xxiiij gallownis, … ; vij puncions of aill, ilk puncion contenand xviij gallonis of the said price
1597–8 Household Bks. Jas. VI 31 Jan.
Comptand for ilk puncheon xvi gallonis and for ilk tun four puncheons
16.. Admir. Ct. Form 63.
Ilk last of herring is twelve barrells. Two half [read haill] barrells and four half barrells in ilk punshion. So sex punshions make ane last of herring and right so of salmond and four punshions makes a tun
1624 Huntar Weights & Measures 4.
2 barrells or 17 gallons is the full of a Burdeaux puncheon … 4 puncheons makes a tunne
1685 Paterson Sc. Arithm. 7.
Half a puncheon of the said Burdeaux measures being 8½ gallons is the barrel for herring, whereof 12 make a last
1686 Mackenzie Observ. (1687) 120.
The puncheons of high-countrey wines, are of thirteen or fourteen gallons. Three Paris puncheons makes a tunn, or four hogs-heads makes a tunn
(2) 1503 Halyb. 270.
Packit in a punschun … xv Flemys ellis of grayn claitht wiolet
1503 Treas. Acc. II 384.
For the fraucht … of ane pipe and ane punschioun brocht hame with stuf for the king
1542 Ib. VIII 77.
1547 Ib. IX 119.
For xxviij tume punscheounes send to the castell
1547 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) Walbane v Douglas.
Sex punscheownis for mele flesche and grotis price of thame xx s.
1551 Acts II 483/2.
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II 164.
For lossing and sellaring of ane twn wyne in punscheounis xij d., and of ilk twn pype wyne xvj d.
1558 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 353.
To ane couper of Perth for makin xxviij punschuns in xxxvj berrellis and mending of the brewing lummis
1562–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I 70.
1580 Dundee Shipping L. 196.
1581 Edinb. Test. X 112.
Ane pece of clarat wyne in ane punscheoun of small bind price thairof x li.
1601–2 Montrose Treas. Acc. 4.
For ane punscheone to haulde vater at the poynting of the kirk xiij s.
1613 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 344.
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I 229.
To sell his commodities … in great … ather in haill or in punscheoun or barrell and so furth
1626 Edinb. Test. LIII 317.
In his wyne taverne … in ane punscheoune certane dreg estimat to vj li.
1645 S. Leith Rec. 58.
Thair be watter standing besyd them in punsheens for fear of fyr
1653 Soc. Ant. XXIII 302.
1666 Glasgow Chart. II 115.
1685 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 30 May.
For two punshinis to the gine for drawing water
1694 Ib. 10 March.
uninfl. pl. 1506 Treas. Acc. III 199.
For [93] pipes and [51] punschioun quhilk wer hed to the schip to caus hir to fleit
1583 Dundee Shipping L. 213.
Thrie punscheoun, twa barrelkins
(b) 1510 Exch. R. XIII 292.
Pro quindecim le punchionis viginti barilibus
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 40.
1558 Ib. X 426.
For xj chalder [etc.] … of flour packit in [116] barrellis and ij puncheonis
1558–9 Ib. 442.
For tume puncheonis, tume barrellis, to put clay and keip watter in
1566 Ib. XI 515.
Twa tun of wine quhairof inlaikit … ane puncheoun and ane half
1583 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 78.
Ane puncheoun, fast at bayth handis
1597–8 Household Bks. Jas. VI 31 Jan.
Allowit to Thomas Burnet for puncheonis to salt beaf, and for graithyng of the said puncheons and for tubbis to carie walter
1598 Ib. 31 Oct.
For punchounes to salt the kayne beiff
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 5.
Aucht hunder skowis for puncheonis, pypis and barrellis drevin in about the yle
(c) 1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 1b.
Peyet for 9 puinchines at 3 s. the pice
(d) 1531 Bell. Boece II 436.
This Touris come, afore the licht, with the twa punsionis
1540 Maxwell Mem. 408.
1546 Reg. Privy C. I 53.
And ane pairt of the punsionis of the saidis wynis ar full of salt watter
1553 (c1650) Dundee B. Laws 16.
In caise ony man whose punscon is drawn can prove if the marineris … drank the semen
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5070.
Pakkit richt weill four punsiounis to the heid Ȝe mon furneis of cuinȝeit gold sa reid
1566 Exch. R. XIX 335.
Per emptionem [114] doleorum lie tunnis trium vasculorum lie punsionis
1622 Elgin Rec. II 173.
For ane hogheid to be ane tub and punsion to the wark 3 lib., … for cutting the hogheid 2 s.
1633 Maxwell Mem. II 231.
A meikle blak fellow rydeing vpone a meikle punseon presenting Bacchus
(e) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 488.
Rauchteris to be heidis to the pypis and puncionis that the meile was put in
Ib. 491.
Birsket … in xiiij drywair pypis and ij puncionis … estimet be mett of barrell to vm birskett
1545 Ib. VIII 387.
For … grathing certane of the puncionis, and dressing of thame
1545 Aberd. B. Rec. I 213.(f) 1540 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 222.
That thai hard sumthing joumyll and blasse in the pountioun
1549 Treas. Acc. IX 300.
For vescheing of the puntiounes and fysche and heding of the puntiounes
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6184.
One galloun pitschair, one puntioun, & one twn
1581 Acts III 226/2.
Vnder the pane of escheting of the puntioun that sic wyne or watter salbe put into
1602 Conv. Burghs II 140.(g) 1560 Treas. Acc. XI 29.
(h) 1496 Halyb. 8.
A poncion, in it a stek wellus
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6190.
In to the twn or in the pontioun So all those vesschellis … May hald no more, without thay be ouir rwn
1560 Treas. Acc. XI 29.
For xxxij pontionis to pak the foirsaid vij chalder five bollis meill … , Item, for xlij pontionis, xviij pypis and xlij barrellis to pak and contene the foirsaid twentie chalder, ane boll, ij firlottis flour … , Item, for thre pypis, xlvj pontionis and twa barrellis to … contene the said [1525] gallonis ale; [etc.]
For foure pontionis and ane pipe to mak steping fattis
1565–6 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 150.
Ane ponchhoun and spouit
c1595 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 73a.
Reseuet for xliii tons ane ponchone at xxiii frankis the tone is iiic honderis xxix crouns and xl s.
uninfl. pl. c1599 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 37a.
Roger Mellyne v ponchone one laid ine
(i) c1475 Wall. ix 1140.
Mynouris sone thai gert pers throw the wall, Syn pounciouns fyryt and to the ground kest all
1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I 218.
For ane pountioun
1565–6 Ib. II 222.
For ane pounchoun and wyne
(j) c1595 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 72b.
iiii ponichons
1624–5 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 136.
For carying down some emptie ponisons [ed. pomsons] fra the chappel
(k) 1595–6 Sc. Hist. Rev. X (1912–13) 303.
In the litle sellar under the kitchin … thre punȝeons, ane barrell
(3) 1503 Treas. Acc. II 273.
For vij punschionis of plaistir to the turatis of the forȝet in Halyrudhous
1546 Reg. Great S. 766/1 n.
37 punscheanis of beith, price of ilk punscheane £5; 14 barrellis of beif, price of ilk barrell 55 s.
1568 Edinb. Test. I 119b.
Ane puncheoun of alome bark
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 108.
[In Dumbarton Castle:] Off bisquite breid, xj hole hogheidis. Item, of balcone, iiij whole puncheounes
1582 Edinb. Test. XII 7.
Sex punscheounes & ane barrekin of acre wyne
1583 Perth B. Ct. 16 July.
Four twne and ane punscheoun of wyne
1592 St. A. B. Ct. 8 Sept.
Anent ane puncheon of furing allegit be the said James promittit to him frauch free be the said Dauid
1596 Edinb. Test. XXIX 316b.
Ane pwnschoun of boyane wyne in ane Burdeaux trie
1602 Edinb. B. Rec. V 307.
1615 Chron. Perth 17.
1626 Black Bk. Taymouth 318.
Off clairat wyne, ii punschones; … of accavytie, iiii gollones
1634 Craven Ch. in Orkney II 242.
1 punthion clarit wyn at … 43 lib. 15 s.
1637 Stirling Merch. Guild 54.
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 3.
For 4 punchines of sidder
1648 Elgin Rec. I 285.
On tua pypes of seck, thrie punschiones and ane terce of Frensch wyne
1650 Edinb. Test. LXV 73.
Ane punshowne of oyll
1653 Ib. LXVIa 58.
Ane punchin of ullie fourtie pound
1667 Edinb. B. Rec. X 27.
For carting of ane punshon of wyne viniger prunes … or uthers tuo shilling sex pennies
(b) 1533 Treas. Acc. VI 164.
1545–6 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS XX 102.
Ane punsioun of clerett wyne
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II 167.
Ane punsioun of gudis acclamit to pertene to William Birny
1556 Aberd. B. Rec. I 300.
To the compositouris ane twne of wyne; to the justice clerk ane punsione of wyne
1558 Ib. 311.
The said Androw hes … resauit bot ane punseoune of the said alme and tenne pound weicht of the wther punseoun
1572–3 Reg. Privy C. II 190.
Ane punsoun of talloun
1614 Dundee Shipping L. 244.
(c) 1507–8 Rentale Dunkeld. MS fol. 56.
Quatuor puncions vini clareti & vnius lie gascon
1508 Aberd. B. Rec. I xxi.
1521 Dundee B. Ct. I fol. 33b (11 June).
iij puntiounis of the said wyne
Ib. fol. 40b (26 July).
For a puntane of claret
1532 Treas. Acc. VI 156.
1545 Ib. VIII 381.
For caring of xlvj berrellis pulder, iiijc and thre culveringis, iiij berrellis and ane puntioun of hornis and nutis
1545 Aberd. B. Rec. I 213.
The said puncioun of dry gudis cum … dry vpoun land
(d) 1496 Halyb. 15.
4 poncionis of vyn off Orlyans
1498 Exch. R. XI 121.
1510 Rentale Dunkeld. MS 92b.
j piyp i pontione claretj
1538 Treas. Acc. VIII 159.
Twa ponchionis of wyn to the captane of the Marevilbe … ane ponchion wyn to the lard Largo
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 102.
Twa ponsonis of wyne
15.. Aberd. B. Rec. (see Jam. (1880) s.v. Pontioune).
Ane pontioune of wyne
1556 Dundee B. Ct. III fol. 49b (5 June).
Ane pyp & twa poncionis of wyn
1590 Black Bk. Taymouth 309.
(e) 1525 Household Bks. Jas. V 67.
1546 St. P. Henry VIII V 581.
1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I 298.
viij pounschonis of walter, xxxij d.
1590 Thanes of Cawdor 198.
1639 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 401.
A pounschoun and a halff of oister schellis, xviii s.
1649 Ruthven Corr. 115.
Ane pounseon of meale
(f) 1660 Nicoll Diary 293.
Bachus … being set upone ane punȝeon of wyne
(4) a1561 Norvell Meroure 55a.
Thre punsions full of gay gold ringes fyne
1596 Dalr. II 122/21.
Andro Bartayne … slew sa mony piratis that mony puncheounis full of thair powis he sent … to the king
1615 Denmylne MSS in Highland P. III 236.
The rebels had greit punschouns full of powder and greit store of wittels
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5078.
Four full punsiounis of gold … To Romes toun thay brocht
(5) 1506 Treas. Acc. III 342.
iiij punschions birscat bred to the kingis schip
1557 Inverness Rec. I 6.
For thre towne thre puntionis wyne
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III 111.
Payit of euerye puntioun wyne ane choppoun to Sanct Anthonis alter
1580 Crail B. Ct. MS 25 Aug.
Tua pownschones guid and sufficient burdeous clairit wyne sufficientlie fillit
1596 Conv. Burghs I 496.
Ane last Inglis beir and twa pvncheouns wyne excyse frie
1613 Dundee Shipping L. 240.
1614 Ib. 245.
Foure pwnscones drywaris
1629–30 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 164.
For sex punissione wyne
1667–8 Ib. 550.
For 22 punitiones French wyn being 3 last and 8 barrell
(6) 1516 Edinb. Hammermen 91b.
For nalis to mak the skaffeltin with … Item to pynouris for bering of the punciouns & rauchteris for makin of it
1529–30 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 20.
1535–6 Ib. 153.
For vi dosone puntionis coft at syndry tymes for schalfatting and morter tubbis … ilk dosone xxiiii s.
1539–41 Ib. 276.
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II 276.
For making of ane skaffalt on the hill to the clerk play, the bering of daylis and punschonis thairto
1554–5 Ib. 295.
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I 148.
To tannars for the lennyng of xvj punsionis to the skaffald, ilk punsioun iiij d.
1565–6 Ib. 504.
For the bering of dailles and pouncheonis … with the gibbett and madin, to mak ane scaffald
1571–2 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII 62.
For berin of four punchiounis and for burdis and ane ledder to be scaffetin
1591 Treas. Acc. in Edinb. B. Rec. V 52.
1595–6 Mill Mediæv. Plays 175.
For carying of dealis and puncheonis with wther furnichment to the said play
1638 Rothes Affairs Kirk 148.
Three or four puncheons in readines with sum few dealls theron to be a scaffold
(7) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 523.
For vj puncionis to be pinnis to the said sclatter for the chapell, xij s.
1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 106.
1558 Ib. 296.
1565–6 Edinb. Old Acc. II 226.
For iij pounschonis to be pynnis to the said werk viz. ilk rude ane pounschoun
1581 Acc. Repair Doune in Moray Mun. Box 1, No. 300.
For iiij pwnsiounes to be trie naillis
1611–12 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 329.
For ane punschone and ane bear barrell to be penis
(b) 1564–5 Edinb. Old Acc. II 205.
Four punitioun [ed. -ionn] to be sklaitt pinnis
(8) attrib. 1517 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 172.
Vnder the payne of dinging furth of the punscheoun heid
1520 (c1580) Ib. 197.
Puntioun heid
1543–4 (c1580) Ib. II 115.
That all taverneris … sett the said stowppis of mesour to the pvnscheoun heid and fill the same thairat
1551 Ib. 161. 1560 Treas. Acc. XI 28.
For ijc puncioun and barrell girdis
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 68 (see Gir(r n.). 1647 Edinb. Test. LXIII 142b.
Ane punscheone and ane barrell of punscheone creishe

b. Preceded by a defining term specifying the nature of the intended or actual contents. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 459.
ij watter puncions
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I 165.
For ane watter punschion iij s.
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I 249.
Coft twa wyne puntionis to be skeffetting to the biging of the butt
1560 Ib. II 94.
Fowre wyne punscheonis
1566 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 102.
Five wyne punsionis
1588 Crim. Trials I ii 163.
Wyne punchounis with tassis with thame
1598 Black Bk. Taymouth 333. 1653 Ellon Par. 142.
Ane old wine puncheon to be sklait nailes 20 s.
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 369b.
Thrie meill punscheonis
1653 Ib. LXVII 146.
Ane meill pyp worth twelfe s. Item tua meill puncheones estimat both to thrie pund
1648 Edinb. Test. LXIV 27 (see Dry ware n. 1 b).c1650 Spalding II 208 (see Pouder n. 3 b (1)).

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"Punshion n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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