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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Sail(l)ar, Salar, n. Also: sail(l)er, -air, -eor, sayler, -ar, sallar, seller. [Late north. and north midl. ME and e.m.E. sailer (a1400), saler (16th c.), e.m.E. also sayler (1582), sailor (a1642); Sail(l v.]

1. One who travels by sea for the purposes of trade, a person who undertakes maritime trading expeditions, a voyaging merchant. Cf. Sail(l v. 1 d.Also b. const. furth of (a place), in (= to) (a destination).(a) 1457 Acts II 49/1.
Anent the estat of merchandice and restriccione of the multitude of sailaris … that thar saill na personis bot hable and of gud fame and at he haif at the lest thre serplaris of his awne gudis … and at the saylaris in merchandice be fre men of burowis and induellaris within the burghe
1570 Conv. Burghs I 19.
Be the multitude of vnfremen saillaris [marg. vnfrie sailleris]
1595–6 Reg. Privy C. V 255.
The diminisheing of his majesteis custumes nochtwithstanding the incres of shippis and saillaris
1600 Conv. Burghs II 74.
Ilk brugh … to schaw … thair exact delegence in restraining … thair outlandis burgessis sailleris without tikettis and skipperis ressauearis of thame
1610 Ib. 288.
1622-6 Bisset II 206/22.
Anent Scottis merchandis, saillaris and skipperis, furaris and transporteris of merchand wairis
1658 Glasgow Trades House 352.
The same day it is aggried wpon that the saillers be takine in with the rest of the members of the hous
Ib. marg.
(b) 1489 Acts II 221/1.
That the … bailȝeis of burrowis mak deligent serching and seikyng on the salaris in winter [etc.]
1503 Ib. 242/2.
Certane cersouris [pr. cesouris] in euerilk toun quhilk is ane port quhilk sal haue power to cers the salaris & passaris furth of the rome
1575 Reg. Privy C. II 474.
Throw the multitude of salaris travelling furth of this realme to the partis beyond sey … tolerand unfremennis gudis … and sailing with unsufficient stuff
(c) 1498 Perth Guildry p. 146 (Aug.).
That na merchand nor sallar freman of this burcht … tak on hand to hald na buthis thairin
b. 1487 Acts II 178/2.
The grete multitude of simple vnhonest persons salaris furth of all burowis … in the partis of Flanderis [etc.]

c. One who travels by sea in brigancy (= piracy). 1561 Aberd. B. Rec. I 338.
Peter Howatt, quha wes found be the … consell as a saillar in brigacie [sic]

2. In Douglas, rendering L. nans, nantis: A swimmer. 1513 Doug. i iii 43.
On the huge deip quhoyn salaris [L. rari nantes] dyd appeir

3. A seaman, mariner; an ordinary member of a ship's crew.The earlier terms for this were Marinal(l, Marinar, Mariner. 1590 Burntisland B. Ct. 13 Nov.
The said boitt … and hir saillaris haweand the rowme at the ferrie and beand reddie lows to serwe passingeris owr the watter
1624 Crim. Trials III 570.
The sailleris of this kingdome, being, for thair skill and fidelitie in that tred, nathing inferiour to ony vther cuntrie [etc.]
1627 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II 149.
The captans, who had last charge of the said shippes and to the sojours, saylers, and others under thair command
1632 Justiciary Cases I 199.
Thay being servandis and saileris within the said schip
1638 Dumbarton B. Rec. 56.
In respect Johne Pitallo and William Renesvaill, saylers, quha war at Newark yisterday, declairs thair is [etc.]
1652–3 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 360.
To 4 sellers to caire them [sc. timbers] from the water sayd op to the ferrie howch
1655 Lamont Diary 84.
The vessell being old did brake and splite; all the saylers were safe
1665 Irvine Mun. II 170.
James Weir, sailler
1665 S. Ronaldshay 51.
Ane levy of sailers and sogars, quhilk wer sent forth of the isle in the king's service to Zetland
1701 Brand Orkney & Shetl. 145.
The House of Mey … is a myth … much observed by saillers in their passing through this firth

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



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