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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.

Police, Pollice, n. Also: polyce, pol(l)ece, polese; and Porice. [e.m.E. polyce (Palsgrave, glossing F. police) pollice (1536), OF pollice (c 1250 in Wartburg), MF police, regulation of trades in a town, public order, government.]It is possible that some examples are intended for the trisyllabic form policé etc., var. of Policie n., q.v. The disyllabic form is, however, established by the rhyme in the Alex. (Taym.) quote, c below.= Policie n.a. Government, esp. good government; civil administration. = Policie n. 1 and 2. b. A plan. = Policie n. 4 b. c. Improvement, development, embellishment, provision of amenity; also, cultivation. = Policie n. 5. d. The buildings, plantations etc. by which an estate etc. is improved. = Policie n. 6. e. ? Polishing or refining of manners, civilising; or ? c above.a. 1490 Irland Mir. MS 293.
And gif this had cours it wauld trouble all realmes and police
1490 Ib. in Sc. Ant. XV 7.
The original fundament of all law, police, jurisdictioun and dominatioun usit amang men
1490 Ib. in Innes Rev. VI 92. 1529 Lynd. Complaynt 403.
Polyce and Peace begynnis to plant
1606 Lett. Eccl. Affairs I 46.
Bothe in the kirk and police
b. 1614 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III 162.
The way how this mycht be done is athir be a lytill police of the wiche I hawe gewin information to … thesurer deput
c. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 14661.
That … he sulde mak sacrefice And for that offerand ordant grete police The grete ymage war crovyn of gold fyne
1500 Edinb. B. Rec. I 80.
For the lovage of God, worship and polece of this burgh [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I xxxviii.
Bot Edinburgh passis thaim all, baith in polese, reparation, wisdome and riches
1538–9 Edinb. Guild Ct. 27 Jan.
For the police of our said burght
1549 Compl. 128/5.
The pollice that vas inuentit be me … eftir the creatione of the varld hes procreat the stait of my brethir
Ib. 145/18.
Than ane lang tyme there eftir nature prouokit them to begyn sum litil police for sum of them began to plant treis [etc.]
1552 Reg. Cupar A. II 107.
Thai sall put our landis effoir nemmit to all possibill pollice thai may
d. 1610 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 162.
On nowayis to waist cast doun cutt or distroye the planting or pollece [of the lands]
c1650 Spalding I 297.
Hewing doun the plesant planting … to the distroying of goodlie countrie pollice
e. a1538 Abell 66 b.
Constantin thrid … wes mair gewin to police and deuotioun na to batell

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"Police n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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