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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Retour, v. Also: ra- and -toure, -towr(e; -tur. [Retour n. Cf. e.m.E. retour to return (a1533), thereafter appar. only Sc.]

I. intr. 1. Of possessions: To revert by due process of law (to a person). 1415 (1430) Reg. Great S. 39/2.
That al the forsayd landis … resort and retour agayne to me and to my ayris
1435 Cop. St. A. 130.
The said tendis sall retoure to the said priour
1456 Hay I 133/1.
Quhen the terme cummys, the landis retouris agayne to the lord
1457 Wemyss Chart. 81.
The said twa marcis … retourand to the said Robert fra the deces of the said Alexander
1466 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II 330.
The saide patronage to retour agayn to the gift of the alderman [etc.]
1535 Stewart 26989.
Efter his deid the croun suld than retour To schir Modred

2. To return; to go, or come, back again. a. Of a person. b. Of a thing.a. c1420 Wynt. ix 1289.
And swa he … Retowryd syne in his land hame
1460 Hay Alex. (S.T.S.) 930.
That battell was als stark as ony tour That for ane neid all suld to it retour He ordant [etc.]
a1500 Seven S. 1318.
Schir said he garris the child retoure
1513 Doug. xi i 101.
Onto thy faderis cite hame retour
(b) ?a1500 Steel Roy Robert 158.
Waltir Stewart … till his ost returit eft
b. 1687 Cromartie Corr. I 51.
If purging medicines … cause any aiguishe paroxismes retoure

3. a. To go or pass (to a place). b. To change (to another condition).a. 1461 Liber Plusc. 383.
Flouris … Of quhilk the fleuvir to the hevyn retouris
b. a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 464.
Ȝour roising reid to rotting sall retour

4. To make a return; to send in a retour to the Chancellory. 1474 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 442.
That the persone that passit uppone the seruing of the said brefe has nocht errit nor wrangwisly retourit

II. tr. 5. To submit (an issue) to a judge for adjudication or decision; to refer. c1420 Wynt. viii 1592.
Nevyre the lyk case Till hym [sc. King Edward] before retowryd wase

6. To send in (a brieve or retour) (to the Chancellory); to remit, forward. 1454 Southesk MSS 720/2.
In this manner … thirz presentis lettrez ar seruit and retovrit
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve de morte antecessoris.
This their answere …, and the brieue inclosed therein … is sent back & retoured to the Chancellarie
1630 Acts Sederunt ii 43.
Summonds of reduction of retours that has bene retourit to the Chancellary
c1630 Hope Minor Pract. (1726) § 213.
After the signatures are past the Register the same are retoured by the party to a writer to the signet who wrote the same

7. To send back to the Chancellory the findings of an assise in sense 2 of Retour n. 1464 Swintons App. xlvii.
Ande quhat ȝe fynd be the said inquisicioun ȝe retour againe to ws close vnder ȝoure sele and the selis of thaime passing apoun the said inquisicioun
1471 Acta Aud. 16/2.
The schiref of Edinburgh … to tak ane inquisition [etc.] … and that he retoure again as salbe fundin be the samyn … clos vnder his seele
1476–7 Swintons App. lxi.
The defalt of the nonentrese of the said Lorans as air … of the said landis becaus the said Lorans persewit nocht his rycht, as was ratowrit till us the said Alexanderis chapel be ane inbriefe of inquest purchest be the said Lorans
1496 Acta Conc. II 27.
Quhat beis found be thame that the said schiref retowr it and send it … with a part of the selis of the persons that passis on the sade inquisicione
Ib. 7. 1497 Ib. 92.
Because thai deliverit and retourit that … Wilyeam Ferny … was of lauchfull age he being … viij yere
1522 Ib. MS XXXIII 76.
Thay retourit & deliuerit that the said vmquhile Thomas Wardlaw … deit last vestit & saisit as of fee of … ane tenement of land
1563 Cal. Sc. P. I 694.
[He has been ever reputed lawful … by] enquest retourit to the chancellary [lawful heir]
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 306.
For nothing can make ane air active bot a retour; bot a seruice (albeit not retoured) … will make him air passive

b. With the members of the inquest (collectively) as object: To report (the finding of). 1482–3 Acta Aud. in Acta Conc. II cxi.
That thai var utherwais retourit be the clerk na thai determyt, and selit be the lest part of thame

c. In more general use: To deliver as an answer; to report (information required by someone in authority); to make a return. 1473 Treas. Acc. I 47.
To retour the names of the personis that brek the first recognicione
1482–3 Acta Aud. in Acta Conc. II civ.
The ordiner … to retour thair depositions close under his sele to the said day
1516 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 72.
[The tenants … should] retour and gif up quhat stedis of the said forest war plenist and quhat war waist
1524 Treas. Acc. V 236.
Lettres … to all the shereffis … for men of were … that every scheref have his ansuer and noumer retowrit agane to the thesaurar
1534–5 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 130.
Ye sall … receyve thair compt of the said werk … and retour the samyn undre your subscriptionis to us … James R.

8. With a person as object: To confirm as possessor by sending in a valid retour to the Chancellory to be recorded. a. Const. to, in (into) or of (a heritage). b. Without const. c. To retour ((as) air) to someone. d. In p.p., as quasi-adj.a. 1488 Prot. Bk. J. Young I 27.
That her are … aucht nocht to haf gevin na precept of sessing … because he is not full retowrit of the sammyn
1515 Sutherland Bk. III 59.
Elizabeth Sutherland … quhilk is full and haill retouryt of the said … landis
1551 Reg. Privy S. IV 172/1.
The retour of serving retowrand that umquhile Andro Kynnard … of … the superiorite [etc.]
1558 Inverness Sheriff Ct. fol. 39a.
Oure will is … that … ye … ratour the said Alexander Ros … in his landis forsaidis
1566 Misc. Maitl. C. I 45.
Alexander sall … get him self retourit … in the haill landis
c1575 Balfour Pract. 106.
Albeit scho be servit and retourit to ane tierce thairof
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve de morte antecessoris.
His aire being serued and retoured to the superioritie of the samin lands
c1627 Bk. Carlaverock II 11.
He could not obteine himselffe serveit, retourit and seisit in his haill landis
c1641 Soc. Ant. XXV 57.
The said Androw nather being infeft seissed nor retoured into thes landis
b. 1490 Douglas Corr. 234.
Gif … Jhone be ordorly serwyt be his breff and retowryt, we dischargis hym of [etc.]
1518–19 Acta Conc. in Fife Sheriff Ct. 297.
Conform to his clame he was seruit & retourit
1548 Montgomery Mem. 145.
The said … Hew … wes seruit be breves and retowrit as said is, … be ressoun of waird or nonentres, throw reductioun of the saidis retouris
1573 Inverness Rec. I 231.
And that I … desyris to be ratowrit and selit vnder your maisterschipis selis, and sasing to pas thairvpon
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II 140.
Desyring heirfor to be … retourit vnder your seillis … conforme to the vse
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve de morte antecessoris.
The directour of the Chancellarie directis ane precept chargeing the superiour to giue saising to the person retoured
c. (1) 1529 Red Bk. Grandtully I 69.
Alexander wes serrowit and retowrit as ayr to Thomas Stuart
1577 Stewart Mem. 100. 1629 Monteith Stewartrie Ct. 20 Nov.
To quhoum he is serrvit retourit and saisit as narrest and lauchfull air male
1632 Cullen B. Rec. 6 June.
Quhilkis haill persones of inquest … serwis and retouris the said Margrat and Elspet … as narest and lauchtfull aris portioners to him in and to the croftis of land [etc.]
1665 Irvine Deeds Aug.–Nov.
To be servit retourt enterit and infeft as … air
(2) 1542 Strathendrick 292.
Janet … was retoured heir portioner of her father
1554 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 320b (9 July).
& desyrit to be seruit & retourit narrest & lauchfull aire to … his father
c1575 Balfour Pract. 233.
The ȝounger brother-german … sould be servit and retourit air general or universal to him
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve de morte antecessoris.
That hee may be served and retoured generallie, nearest and lauchfull aire to his predecessour
1661 Acts VII 63/2.
The appearand air when he is served & retoured air
1681 Stair Inst. iii v § 42.
In the case of a woman retoured sole heir
1662 Decis. Lords G. 13.
This earl … was appearand heir, and within few days thereafter, retoured
(3) 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 65.
This lord was served and retoured to his father
d. 1616 Crim. Trials III 404.
Johnne Frenche … being servet and retouret air to the said vmquhile James
1645 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 41.
Sisteres and coaires laufullie servit and retourit to … Sir Thomas
1665 Decis. Lords G. 97.
As heir served and retoured to Sir William
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i xix 12 (1678) 202.
Some think an heir served and retoured doth fall within this signification
1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 196.
For the lifetime of three airs dewly servit and retourit to him

9. ? To find (by investigation of evidence), to judge, to give as a verdict (that a heritage, right, etc. belongs to a particular person). Variously const. 1497 Acta Conc. II 92.
Because thai … retourit in fraud … of the kingis hienes the landis of Ferny to be haldin of him [etc.]
1518–19 Acta Conc. in Fife Sheriff Ct. 297.
Gif … the … inqueist retourit the saidis landis being in our souerane lordis handis be resone of nonentres [etc.] …, that the said schireff caus the sammyn to be retourit sa & mend the retour past ofbefor
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Breve de morte antecessoris.
To take securitie of the mailles and dewties of the landes, sa lang as they ar retoured to haue bene in the handes of the king
1681 Stair Inst. iii v § 40.
For ordinarily the fee is retoured to be in the hands of the superior by reason of non-entry

10. To make a return to the Chancellory, stating the value of a piece of land; to state the value of, in a retour; to fix at (to) a particular value.(1) 1492 Charter (Suppl.) (Reg. H.) 24 Oct.
The landis of Barhybyen extendand ȝerly to v penis and ratourit to our chapell
1549 Coll. Aberd. & B. 114.
That … ȝe … convein ane condigne assys … and retour be thame all maner of landis … als weill kirk landis as temporall landis [etc.]
Ib. 119.
Few landis efter followowing [sic in pr.] could nocht be retowrit in valour becaus the lordis … fewaris of the samen comperit nocht nor yit their … officearis
Ib. 115. 1552 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. in Fife Sheriff Ct. 395 n.
The inqueist … protestit that thai incurrit na errour for the retouring of the quenis propirtie becaus thai war neuir retourit of befor
1552 Treas. Acc. X 146.
To the shereffis of Innernes … witht letteris chargeing thame retoure all the landis withtin the boundis of thair offices
1596–7 Retours II Inq. Val. Dominii de Balmerinoch (3).
Full power … to retoure the haill temporall landis of the said abbacie … to pund landis and merk landis, conforme to the custume and practique of this realme
1614 Denmylne MSS in Highland P. III 159.
It hathe bein … muche mervelled how the landis in the west … suld haif bein so high retoured andthe landis … in the choicest pairtes of our countrey, as Fyife and Lothiane to be so far vndervallowit
The most part of all registeris … wer all conswimed, so that sensyne every man preswimeing that nothing wes extant to controll them they retoured their landis at pleasour and so vndervalewed them as skairse they keiped the sixt part of the proportioun of there former retoures
1643 Baillie II 79.
Their lands [sc. of the western shires] are so high retoured that a forty merk land with us [sic] will not oft pay so much rent as a two merk land elsewhere
1678 Lauder's Observes 276.
They could not carry along with them all the retours of the shire, … without proportioning and retouring each part this was impossible
(2) 1529 Red Bk. Grandtully I 70.
The said landis of Garntulie with the pertinence ar retowrit to fourty lib.
c1575 Balfour Pract. 430.
[A sasine] is of nane avail … gif the persounis that past upon the inquest for serving of the breve has not retourit the landis contenit in the breve to the just … avail
1584 Acts (1597) ii 68.
The deutie to the quhilkis the saidis landes ar retoured, or may be justly retoured, for the new extent
1594 Ib. (1816) IV 75/2.
That all few landis … be retourit and avalit to mark or pund landis

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"Retour v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2023 <>



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