Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

HEBDOMADAR, -ER, n. A name formerly applied in Scottish Universities and Grammar Schools to the member of the staff whose weekly turn it was to supervise the behaviour of the students or pupils. Hist. [hɛb′dɔmədər] Abd. 1700  Burgh Rec. Abd. (B.R.S.) 330:
Fifthly, that upon every play day the hebdomader for that week shall goe along with the scholars to the hill when they get the play, and that ther be no disorders nor abuse amongst them, and bring them back to the schooll at ringing of the bell.
Edb. 1704  A. Dalzel Hist. Univ. Edb. (1862) 289:
The duty and office of Hebdomadar is much neglected; which is the cause of many disorders.
Fif. 1768  in Fergusson Poems (Grosart 1879) lviii.:
I deprived John Adamson of his Server's place for . . . imposing on the Hebdomader by a false pretext to get to the dancing school another night.
Sc. 1807  J. Hall Trav. Scotl. I. 114:
The masters, in their turns, exercised the office of what was called Hebdomader. His business was to preside and say grace at the college table, and to go round and call at every . . . chamber at six o'clock in the morning, to see if the students had got up.
Abd. 1897  Sc. N. and Q. XI. 95:
The disappearance of the office is of recent date. When I was a student at King's College [c.1870] the Hebdomader occupied a special seat in the Chapel during the Sunday services, and one of his duties was to warn the Censor (always a tertian bursar) when to begin to call the roll.
Gsw. 1909  J. Coutts Hist. Univ. 177:
It was proposed [in 1695] that the regents, each in turn, should act as “hebdomaders” in supervising the students who had chambers within the College.
Fif. 1946  R. G. Cant Univ. St Andrews 96:
Long before 1747, the masters of St Salvator's and St Leonard's had generally ceased to live in college, but they continued to take their turn of duty as Hebdomadar. . . . The room assigned to this use at the United College is still known as “The Hebdomadar's Room.”

[Ad. eccles. Lat. hebdomadarius, a member of a college or chapter taking a weekly turn in performing church services, from Gk. βδομς, a period of seven days. Found in O.Sc. ebdomadare in eccles. sense, 1491–c.1547 and hebdomader, etc., in secular sense, from c.1628.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Hebdomadar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jun 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: