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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Scarmis(c)hing, Skarmus(c)hing, Skirmissing, vbl. n. Also: scarmising, -mus(c)hing, -mousching, -meshing, skarmisching, -missing; -mus(s)ing, -musyng, -musheing(e; skyrmissing, -mishing, scirmiscing; scrimmiging. [ME and e.m.E. skarmysshynge (v.r. scarmuchyng; Chaucer), skirmishing (1592); Scarmische v. See also Carmus(c)hing vbl. n.] a. The action of skirmishing, in sense 1 of Scarmische v.; an instance of skirmishing, a skirmish in sense 1 of Scarmis(c)h(e n.(1) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 105.
The nixt summyr wes frequent and continewall skarmusching
Ib. 126.
To stop the Romanis fra invasioun … be frequent skarmusyng [1821 incursionis] erar than playn batell
Ib. (1821) II 55.
Followit frequent preiking, skarmussing and singular battallis on athir side
Id. Livy I 78/7.
Skarmussing [v.r. scarmusching]
1558-66 Knox I 86.
Thei maid hott skarmisching
Ib. II 7.
At the sea-coast began the skarmissing
1570 Leslie 181.
And sua held thame that day occupeit skarmusheinge
Ib. 184.
The parteis … suddantlie entered in skarmushing, first with bowis and arrous
Ib. 201.
Dyvers companeis … assailyeit be scarmushing so neir the Inglis campt, that [etc.]
Ib. 282.
Thair was … hat scarmishing … with harcabushers, culveringis and pistolettis
Ib. 197.
a1578 Pitsc. I 127/32.
Sum captiues quhilk war taine in the skarmising befoir the chok of the battell
Ib. 157/11.
Edwart … fell in skarmisching with the Scoittis
(b) c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 253.
Thair wes daylie skirmishing Quhair men of armis brak monie sting
1558-66 Knox II 10.
He wald not gett him in the skirmissing becauis he knew he was bot a cowart
Ib. 69.
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 234.
Whair was thicke skyrmishing and grit shutting fourth of the castle
a1578 Pitsc. II 162/3.
Thair was heat skirmishing betuix the congregatioun of Edinburgh and the Frenchemen of Leytht
(c) 1650 Milne-Home MSS 101.
The ennymie now lays in Heddingtone … yeisterd ther was soum los bott nott many presed be God this scrimmiging sowm … thinks he is retyring bot otheris thinkis … he will nott retir till he feaghtt
(2) sing. a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 128.
He fell in the hands of the said capten efter a light scarmeshing
pl. 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 109.
The Romanis … wer be ythand skarmussingis sa invadit … that [etc.]
Ib. 158.
Than followit continewall skarmusingis with lycht hors
Id. Livy I 116/2.
The fulich Gabynis … straik sindri small skarmischingis and batallis aganis the Romanis

b. ? Mock battle, military exercises or simulated battle. 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 91 (see Scarmische v. 2).
Scirmiscing [v.r. scarmusching]
1601 Glasgow B. Rec. I 218.
The four quarter maisteris to be delt in tua quarteris at scarmousching or wapinschawing with anseinyeis

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"Scarmishing vbl. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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