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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Pot(t, n.1 Also: pote, poit(t, poite, poyt; poote; poute; Pat(t. [ME and e.m.E. pott (c 1200), pot (a 1300), poot (Wyclif), potte (c 1450), late OE pott: cf. OFris. pot, MDu. pot(t, MLG pot, put, also F. pot (12th c. in Littré).] A pot.

1. A vessel, of earthenware or of metal, for use as a container or as a cooking-pot; a pot, jar.Freq. with a defining adj. specifying the material of which the pot is made, as Brasin adj. , Irne adj., and Lame n.1 b, etc., qq.v. for further examples.To the (also, thair) pot, to be cooked, for cooking.Also allusively and proverbially. To preach over the pot, ? to pontificate while in one's cups.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxii 747.
A gret pot with erys twa Of massy gold
Ib. x1viii 179.
A mykil pot a-pone the fyre
c1420 Bute MS. fol. 170.
A byrthyng of pottys on a mannys bak
14.. Acts I 333/2.
Broustaris … al thocht thai haf all the forsaid mesuris … thai refuis to sell be thaim bot be pottis [L. olle] al hail as thai stand
1457 Peebles B. Rec. I 119. c1475 Wall vi 473. 1483 Acta Aud. *119/2.
A pot price x s., a panne price v s.
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 194.
This chepman … bocht ane cart to cary pot & pan
1494 Loutfut MS. 41 b.
He that drinkis of a boutaill or of a pot without pece or cop
c1500 Rowll Cursing 124 (B).
And thow art scho that stall the hen And put hir in the pot thair ben
1499 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 26.
Twa pottis and a pane
1507 Treas. Acc. IV 90.
To Pieris, the payntour, for … verneis … gum, and pottis of sindry pricis
1513 Ib. 496.
For ane irne pott to the rosset
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 177.
The kiching & hellip; witht ij ald brokin and cassin by pottis
1541 Elgin Rec. I 60. 1549 Compl. 19/19 (see Pottar n.). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 326/32.
Or scour pottis to sum creishie cuik
1566 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun (S.R.S.) 148.
The caile and met quhilk was sethand in the said pott
1571 Hawick Arch. Soc. (Sept. 1878).
Tuelf pottis les and mair price of the pece xl s.
1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 236.
And hir toung schot out of hir heid, and swallit lyke ane pott
1596 Dalr. I 94/35.
Thay hing it in the cruik or a sting, eftir the maner of a pott
1607 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 33.
And breaking her pot on her awin hairth-stane
16.. Alchem. MSS. V.
Then first lute your litle adapted cover to the pott and … sett your pott in a fyre of coles and mak it red hote
1658 Boyd Fam. P. No. 236 (27 Feb.).
Three panis tua pottis an fleshhook
1685 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 137.(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxv 512.
Scho Thre gret poyttis brocht hyme to, Fillyt of gold to the hals
1582 Grant Chart. 156. 1596 Brechin Test. I 147 b.
Ane poit & ane pan pryce xl s.
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II 137.
Ane poite ane cruik
1617 M. Works Acc. II 78.
(c) 1558-66 Knox I 459.
One brought a kirtill, one uther ane pettycote, the thrid a pote or pane
1595 Misc. Spald. C. II 130.
Sethand in ane pote
1596 Dalr. I 94/29.
In tyme of weir quhen to the feildes to karie pottis [etc.] … thay thocht hauie … in place of potis and sik seithing vesselis the painches of ane ox … thay vset chieflie
15.. Ortus Sanitatis (Inc. 20) 127 b.
Madir the herbe … put in potis and sald
1671 Wodrow MSS. 4to. XXXVII No. 7.
The[y] left nether pat nor can, cruke nor tongs, … nor clips for the pote
(d) 1671 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 280.
For briking of ane poote
(e) 1658 Edinb. Test. LXIX 179.
Tua dussane of broad lipped pouts
(2) 1489 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 9.
Anence a pot of v pund and ½
1495 Halyb. 88.
Bocht in Bery … 10 pottis weand 343 li.
1504 Ib. 273.
iii pottis cost vi gis. the li.
1507 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 163.
A pot of iij quartis
1515–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 36.
A mekle pot of tua gallonis
c1575 Balfour Pract. 88.
The haill custumis … Four dossone of the greatest sort of irne pottis, the least thairof contenand vi pyntis, is ane tun
(3) 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 468.
For kaill … Herbis to the pot, and all sic geir He never payis ane penny he takkis
1696 Cramond Kirk S. IV 9 Nov.
He saw Wm. Baleny's wife … winnowing beir to the pott
1697 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXIII 101.
[Janet H. had cut] 4 or 5 stocks of kaill … to thar pott
(4) proverb. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 4461.
He war far meitar in the ketching Amang the pottis
1562-3 Winȝet I 12/32.
Thay … only luckis bakwart with the Israelitis to the potis of flesche in Egypt
c1590 Fowler II 47/13.
& it is a grit pitie Hammiltoun thou want a pulpet, hauing sa weil preachit ouer the pot
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 211.
Better have a mouse in the pot as no flesh
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 160 (see Pot(t)-brod n.). Ib. No. 734.
He that hes manie grotes, may put the mae in his pot
Ib. No. 1246.
Pot freindschip
Ib. No. 1406.
Oft the ladle in the pot maks thin kaile
Ib. No. 132, No. 964. 1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 8.
A little pott is soone hett
a1598 Ferg. Prov., 1639, 1692 Presb. Eloq. (see Play v.1 2 b).

b. A representation of a pot.Also, a water-mark representing a pot: cf. Pot(t)-paper n. 1549 Compl. 151/27.
The Kyng of Cecile … gart gold smythis graue ane pot in his armys on euerye pece of his siluyr veschel
1586 Edinb. Test. XVII 28 (see Paper n. 1 (3)). 1591 Ib. XXIII 267.
Four ryme of paper of the pott price of the ryme xxxviij s.

c. Applied to the vessels used in certain manufacturing processes. Also attrib.Also aquavite pot, in d below. 1503 Treas. Acc. II 393.
For pottis of lame … for the furnesses in Strivelin
1542 Ib. VIII 131.
Ane pott to seithe the tar in
1636 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 106.
[The bringing of bullion to the correct fineness] is done be melting of it in a grit pott
1682 Ib. 183.attrib. 1682 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 183.
The pott assey is to bee taken by … them after the pott is casten out

d. As the head of an attributive compound, the attributive element specifying the function, contents, type or size of pot.For further examples, see Aquavite n. b (2), Beif-pot n., Kale n., Lillie-pot n., Lime-pot n.1, Posset(t n. and water-pot.Hot-hous pot, see Hot-hous n.(1) 1567 Inverness Rec. I 155.
Gif ony of thame be … fundin len thair aquawytie pottis to ony vnfre men … thair pottis to be escheittit
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. (M.C.) 26. 1622 Paterson Ayr & Wigton II 579 n.
He levis the aquavite pott [etc.] … to his wyf
1670 Edinb. B. Rec. X 86.
She hes [lost] … fyftein peice of wyne, which she wes necessitat to sell to the aquavity pott for litle or nothing
(2) 1599 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 317.
For ane glew pott iii s. iiii d.
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 4.
For a pick pot 3 g.
1646 Edinb. Test. LXII 282 b.
Ane salt pott
1678 Cunningham Diary 108.
A new caddell pot of 12 ounces and 5 drop [of silver]
1683 Inv. (Donibristle) (9–10 May) 5.
Eight whyt jelly potts
Ib. 18.
Eleiven flour potts of lead
(3) 1571 Misc. Bann. C. III 139.
Ane drinking pott
(4) 1531 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 115.
Thir ar the names notht finely pait out the burges silver meatyne pot
1637 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 107, 108.
Quhen the siluer is put in the melting pott … efter the melt pott is thus newly essayit [etc.]
(5) 1612 Edinb. Test. XLVII 86.
Ane dosone of pot foirtie, ane dosone of pot bastard, ane dosone … of littill potis, price of the dosone of pot bastard xxxvj li., pryce of the dosone of pot fortie xxiiij li., and price of the dosone of littill potis xviij li.
1622 Brechin Test. IV 63.
Fyue litill pottis pryce vij lib. x s. xxxv pottforteis pryce lc v lib.

e. A chamber pot. a1568 Bann. MS. 158 b/66.
He will nocht rys to the pott bot pischis amang the strais
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 187.
The inhabiteris of the foirlandis … tomes thair closettis and pottis on the hie gaitt

f. Attrib.: As material for making pots; for a pot; resembling a pot; for the pot, boiling- or stewing-(meat).Also Pot(t)-aill, pott-boul(l, etc.Pot-hat, ? a hat resembling a pot in shape. Cf. mod. Eng. pot hat (1798).(1) 1584 Acts III 369/2.
To transport leid vre and sell it for pott leid
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII 47.
Of pott bras thrie stane … price of the pund wecht v s.
1607 Ib. XLII 249.
Sex quarteris of pot bras price thairof iiij li. xv s.
1621 Ib. LI 35.
Pot and pan bras at vj s. viij d. the pund wecht
1628 Brechin Test. IV 309 b.
Of pot brais pewtar & copper
(2) 1660 Wedderburn Bk. II 44.
Ane purring iron, ane pot iron and ane iron bak
(3) 1580 Edinb. Test. IX 53.
Sevin pot hattis at x s. the pece
1581 Ib. X 76. 1582 Ib. XI 159.
Fyve pan hattis price of the peice xx s … .Tua pot hattis price of the peice xvj s.
(4) 1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 171 b.
Ane stane wecht of pott beif estimat to iij li. iiij s.
1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 25 Sept.
Fresche buif to be pot meit to rost and to boyll

g. Pottis bouillis = pott-boullis, Pot(t)-boul(l n. 1622 Breadalbane Doc. No. 428.
Kiching graith … of pottis bouillis ane pair

h. comb. in potmaker (e.m.E. 1535–). 1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I 190 b.
To the potemaker for clipping of the irne plate that standis befoir the stamparis in the stampmylne, x s.

2. transf. a. Appar., the contents of a pot.In to stere (= stir) a or the pot, here appar. with allusion to, or confusion with, Pot(t n.2 4. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 543.
Thir fendis ar the flour of thy four branchis Sterand the potis [M. pottis] of hell

b. Appar., the female pudendum.In to have one's part in the pott, see Part n. 2 b.

3. Allusively, in place-names: cf. Pot(tn.2  1452 Liber Scon 181.
Lamepottis [Perthshire]
1585–6 Ib. 224.
Of the lands of Leimpottis [etc.]
1604 Retours I Inq. Spec. Elgin et Forres (19).
Crofta de Grene vocata ad ollam ordinis vulgo The Ordour Pot

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"Pot n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2022 <>



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