Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MOTE, n.1, v.2 Also mot(t)(e). A variant of Eng. moat, obs. exc. hist. Sc. usages:

I. n. A mound of earth (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1963), esp. an artificial mound forming the site of an early Norman fort or castle, though the word has been partly confused with moot, the Anglo-Saxon assembly, and applied sometimes to pre-Norman fortifications (see P.S.A.S. XXV. 208 sqq. and XXXIV. 2 sqq.). Comb. motehill, id., freq. in place-names, esp. in sm.Sc. Sc. 1724 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 8, II. 25:
Hard by this Church . . . stands a remarkable artificial Mote or little hill rising up like a Piramide. . . . At litle distance is ane other litle mott where the Queens logings were.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 129:
Wi' daring meen, frae aff a rising mot, He cry'd to stop.
Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 341:
There is a mount, commonly called a Moat . . . very steep and of a considerable height, occupying about an acre of ground and evidently a work of art.
Sc. 1805 Scott Last Minstrel i. xxv.:
Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound, Where Druid shades still flitted round.
Dmf. 1831 R. Shennon Tales 29:
Behold the moat on Sillerhill, And the deep ditch around it still.
Kcb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 128:
An ancient moat-hill which appears to have been used as a place of justice.
Sc. 1934 P.S.A.S. LXVIII. 66:
In the excellent description of the “mottes” which Mrs E. S. Armitage gave to the Society more than thirty years ago, it is pointed out that they were the work of the Norman invaders.

II. v. Sc. Mining; to reinforce the stonework of a mining shaft with a mixture of tempered clay and water, rendering it watertight, to puddle (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 45); to seal the mouth of a pit or shaft to exclude air in fighting an underground fire (Ib.). Vbl.n. moating, the puddling used for waterproofing. Sc. 1830 Brewster's Edb. Encycl. XIV. 338:
The ashler and moating are progressively carried up . . . The water . . . is kept back by the clay moating.

[O.Sc. mot(e), an eminence, mound, 1457, a barrow, 1513, Mid.Eng. mote, O.Fr. mote, motte, a mound, hillock, castle, hill.]

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"Mote n.1, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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