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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Port-, Porcio(u)n(e, n. Also: pors(s)- and -iown, -yown, eoun, -yon; -an; poorttion; porchon; porcoun. [ME and e.m.E. porcion (Cursor M.), -ciun, -cioun, portion(e, a share (a 1300), an allowance of food (1484), a share of estate (a 1340), a dowry (1511), (one's) destiny (a 1325), a part (1340), act of dividing (c 1450), OF porcion, -tion (12th c. in Hatz.-Darm.), L. portiōn-, share, part, proportion.] A portion, in various senses.

I. A part of anything allotted or belonging to one person; a share.

1. a. A regular allowance to a person for his maintenance, esp. a regular subsistence allowance consisting of, or intended to supply, food, drink, heating, etc.; also, latterly, an allowance or stipend more generally.Also monkis portioun, Monk n. b (2), and letter of portioun, quot. 1561–2.(1) 1457 Ayr B. Ct. 9 May.
And gif ony of the chapellanis pas of the town with out lefe [he] … sal tyne his haile fe of that ȝer; … & sal get na payment of his porssanis for that ȝer
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 94.
Pray Luffra, [etc.] … Of me, Bagsche, to haue pitie, And prouide me ane portioun In Dunfermeling
1544 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 26.
Prouentus [sc. to the monastery of Deer] parochie de Fouerne … Ilk portion off aill hes xviii bollis of malt and sewyne bollis off meill, and fowrty kakis mair
1561–2 Reg. Privy S. V i 261/1.
Of all and haill and conventuall portioun within the samin abbay with breid, drink, fische, flesche, fyre, candle and all utheris thingis pertening to ane conventuall portioun and siclike as ony monk of the said abbay hade within the samin
Ib. 261/2.
Like as at mair lenth is contenit in the said lettir of portioun of the dait … (1555) yeiris
1565 Ib. 651/1.
To the said Jane ane nunnis portioun within the abbacie of Northberuik with habeit silver and all commoditeis … pertening thairto
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 12.
The principalis portion and salair as in the College of Humanite
1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi Sig. B iii b.
And the Leuites for laik of thair portiounis left thair offices
1571 Reg. Privy S. VI 267/2. 1572 Acts III 74/2.
Aganis the possessouris of benefices pensionis portionis or vther sic eccliasticall rentes
(2) 1628 Pastor and Prelate 57.
He [the prelate] raketh up all, and stinteth the minister to a poor stipendearie portion of five hundreth merks

b. Food and drink as provided for the subsistence of one or more persons; provision of food and drink. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 13.
To the banquettis of actis of bachelar and licence the riche sal nocht pay abuve xl s. the puir ten s. to augment the common portion of the college
c 1610 Lanark B. Rec. 121.
Coming hambe to get at evin sick portion as God sendit

2. a. A share of anything; also, an allowance or allocation of anything. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1273 (C).
Ane fals crownar Quhilk hes ane portioun of the inditement
1522 Cart. S. Giles 214–5.
With ane daill to be maid of thre scoir and xvi portionis ilk portioun to be ane quheit laif worth iiii d. and vi d. in money apoun the heid of ilk laif quhilk sal be delt … xxxvi portionis to the Gray Freris foure to the Sisteris of Sanct Mary Wynd [etc.]
1533 Boece 311 b.
[To] the persouns … he [Convall] assignit ane porcioun of land beside the kirk, quhare … he mycht duell [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I 226/7. 1596 Monimail Reg. Ct. 21 Oct.
Sua that euerie ane of thame micht haif thair awin portionis thairof liand togidder and out of rinrig
1608 Edinb. Test. XLIV 41 b.
[500 marks] by and attour hir equal portioun of partage with my ȝoungest brother and broder sonnes
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 21/20.
The uynde [etc.] … Shall be the portion of the cupp for thame

b. spec. A share of an inheritance. Also portioun natural, Natural(l adj. 11. a1500 Bernardus 395.
Gef thar faderys … tile ilk barne dewydis his ryches rycht, … ilkane a porcione [etc.]
1562 Inverness Rec. I 82.
To pertene to the said Alexander as ane partenar haueand ane bernis portioner [sic in pr.] thairoff wyth the laif of the said James bernis
1581 Bk. Carlaverock II 491.
The said Lord Maxwell … acceptis the vtheris landis … for his portioun and pairtaige thairof
1584 Edinb. Test. XIV 176 b.
I leue my said smyddie graith to … my sone, he … gevand doun ten merkis of his portioun thairfore
1590 Ib. XXI 358.
In full contentacioun of hir barnis part portioun of guidis & geir
1613 Ib. XLVII 300.
Ane sufficient portion of geir that thai maij honestlie leiue
1625 Ib. LIII 93.
I ordane the portioune of the deceissand to accres
1622-6 Bisset II 85/24.
Because the barnis beand forisfamiliat suld haif na pairt nor portioun thairof [sc. the legitim]
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 303.
Albeit it be laufull to any man to give a portion of his heritadge to whom he pleases indureing his lyfetyme … yet upon his dead-bed [etc.]
1645 Misc. Hist. Soc. I 126.
The portiouns of the femel failȝing of airs maill to be referrit to my lord himself
1674 Soc. Ant. XXX 19.
The saides pairties ar to imploy thair awin portiones of the foirsaid mackhelve goodes

c. A contribution to a shared expense or burden. 1600 Aberd. Council Lett. I 91.
[Levied] of ilk chyld … bapteissit … ane resonabill portioun
c1650 Spalding I 347.
The cordineris of both Abirdeins wes commandit … to mak wp … thair portioun of 20,000 pair of schois
1694 Newton Community Bk. 18 b.
About the tyme when ther portion of seamen in the burgh wes sent out

II. 3. a. A part or division (of a larger whole). Also fig. Also b. A piece, section or division of any thing or things, c. An amount or quantity of anything.= Part n. 1 and 2.Part and portion, see Part n. 1 c.a. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 929.
Gere thaim with thame ta Of my relykis a porcione
? 1423 Edinb. Chart. 213.
A portion of our gudis … to be lent to the refressyng of yhur hey estate
? 1459 Reg. Paisley vi n.
He … biggit ane gret porcioun of the steple
1535 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 151.
For Voll of Wod hes tane in ane portioun of our common
a1578 Pitsc. II 78/18. 1578 Misc. Spald. C. II xxiv.
The reider reid ane portioun of the catechisme
1591 Monimail Reg. Ct. 10 April.
And … euery portioun of the toun to be extentit efferand to the rait and quantite of the portionis thairof
1596 Bamff Chart. 149.
The first yeir that I … hapnit to plenische ane part and portioun of the landis of Ardblair
1601 Trial of David Roy 2.
First, he dubbit ane abill, and infusit in it ane portioun of his awin natour [etc.]
1636 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 106.
Cutting off a litil portioun of aither of the lignets
(2) 1524 Prot. Bk. J. Foular II 167.
Annuell rent yeirlie to be uptakin … be the porciones forsaid of bath the saidis tenementis
1524 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 73. 1562-3 Winȝet II 19/29.
Quhat gif sum cankir makis to defyle nocht onlie a portioun, bot the haill kirk at anis
1600 Paisley B. Rec. 234.
Hirds … to be peyit be four severall portiouns viz., Beltane [etc.]
1602 Haigh Mining P. 12 Oct.
To cutt the saidis tries … be sik haggis or portiones … as thay sall think expedient
(3) 1392 Lennox Mun. 48.
Na maner of composycioune … for na mede, … in porcioune na in pert of the landes of … quhylome Macolme Murthowson
(4) fig. c1590 Fowler I 321/7.
Melvin, len me some portion of thy muse
b., c. c1420 Wynt. viii 613.
For off gold a gret portyown He gave wp all hys actyown
a1500 Seven S. 2119. 1533 Boece 63 b.
In this age the offerandis … was ane porcioun of corne or vthir store
a1538 Abell 54 a.
Paip Sarge … fand a gret portioun of the halie crus
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 75.
To be examinated … upon … ane porcion of text assignet to the minister
1573–4 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 90.
Delyuerit to the pure … in small porseounis … xlv [s.]
1596 Dalr. I 91/27.
Thair sustentatione … thay vset sa moderatlie … that thay walde leid a lang lyfe frie frome al seiknes with a verie small portione of kitschine meit buttir milke or cheis mixed with meil
Ib. 19/12. 1627 Rep. Parishes 83.
The parochoun is divydit in merklandis so callit becaus every sic portioun off land off old payit a merk of maill
1628 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 110.
Or some uther portione of minores poete
1669 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 263.
[Not to remove someone from] ane chamber cailyaird part and portion of land with the pertinents

III. 4. Be (thro, once, ? erron., the) evin (evinlik(e, evinly) or equale (mid, half) portiouns, also (early) portioun in senses 1 and 2 above.Repr. med. L. par equales porciones, common in early Latin deeds.(1) 1392 Lennox Mun. 46.
To be payit … at Saynt Martyneis day in wynter, at … Wytsonday, be ewynly porciounes
1402 Reg. Panmure II 184.
And wyth five marc … for to be … ressaffit of my landis of Panmore at twa termys … thro evinlyk porchonys
1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 61.
To be paijd as male … be evynly porciounis
1423 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 259.
Payand … at the festis of the purificacion of Oure Lady … and Sanct Petris day … be twa evin porcions
1434–5 Reg. St. A. 424. 1461 Peebles B. Rec. I 139.
1465 Wemyss Chart. 87 (see Mid adj. 7 a). 1474–5 Ayr B. Ct. 131 b (16 Jan.).
Fyfe nobyll ȝerely be ewynly porciownys
1496 Acta Conc. II 10.
And ilkane of thame decernyt to … pay thare part thareof be evin porcions to the … releving of the saide Robert
1497 Reg. Cupar A. I 309.
The said Thomas for hys hail ȝeirlye fe sal haf … in monetee be twa ewynly portionys in the ȝeir … sax markis
1501–2 Acta Conc. III 141. 1503 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 5.
1505 Chart. Coupar A. II 116.
Be equale half portionys
1515–16 Reg. Privy S. I 412/1.
To be payt … be evenlie portiouns of the kingis landis … of Fyffe
1556 Breadalbane Doc. No. 100.
[Maill payable] … be equale portionis
1590 Edinb. Test. XXI 365 b.
To … part the samyn iustlie be equall portiouns amang my sex men children
1695 Galloway P. 10 March.
Extending in haill to £562 at Whitsonday & Mertinmes the [? for be] equall poorttiones
(2) 1381 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 4.
Twa hundreth marces … to be paiet … at twa termes of the yhere … be evyn porcoun
1388 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 294.
Of that sall be half to the forsaid Alexander, and the tothir half to the forsaid John, in evyn porcioun

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"Porcion n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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