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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MULTURE, n., v. Also multur (Abd. 1699 A. Watt Hist. Kintore (1865) 42), multer, -ar; moulter, -or, -re; mutur(e), mut(t)er, mutre; mouter, -ar, mooter, -re (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.); mowter, myoutir (Bch. 1919 T.S.D.C.); muther, moot(t)her (Uls.2 1929). [′mutər]

I. n. 1. The duty, consisting of a proportion of the grain, exacted by the proprietor or tenant of a mill on all corn ground there. The proportion exacted was higher for those farmers within the Sucken of the mill, than for those who came voluntarily from without its jurisdiction. Also attrib. See insucken-, outsucken-, intoun-, out-town multure s.v. Insucken, Outsucken, Intoun, adj. (1), Out-Toun, and Sucken. For dry-multure, see Dry, adj., 21.Sc. 1703 Caldwell Papers (M.C.) 302:
The samen milne and milne land and others forsaids, with the astricted multers sequells and bannick, and uther dues.
Rnf. 1720 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1878) 264:
Casualties — 5 bolls meal, 3 pecks multar bere, 12 hens, 12 criells of peats.
Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 202:
As fow as it gade I brang hame the sack, For the miller has taken nae mowter frae me.
Ags. 1730 Arbroath T.C. Rec. MS. (6 April):
The Multure malt to give eight pound the boll, the multure shiling to give twelve pound, the multure wheat to give nine pound the boll.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) H. 127:
Hain'd multer hads the mill at ease, And finds the miller.
Ayr. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 83:
The high multures formerly paid at these corn-mills, are now, in a great measure , bought up and abolished.
Kcb. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 67:
An hae ye been licking the mouter, lass, Or kissing the dusty miller?
Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother 61:
Naebody need come here to crave blackmail; it would be seekin' mouter when the dam's dry.
Dmf. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 467:
The laird of Glen Lacht paid no multure. because the water came from his property.
Uls. 1898 W. Wright Brontés in Ireland 116:
The miller, too, was paid in kind; but his muther was taken by measure after the shellings or seeds had been ground off grain.
Ork. 1911 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 23:
The mooter or miller's pay was every twelfth cog or measure of the shilled oats.
Abd. 1949 Huntly Express (7 Oct.):
My father, as ye ken, wis a mullert and in a coorse year fin th' oats wirna gweed, his kids hid tae ate the moultre that widna sell.
ne.Sc. 1992 Sheila Douglas ed. The Sang's the Thing: Voices from Lowland Scotland 242:
The fairmer put in the grain tae the mill, but he paid no money. Ye kept oot enough grain or oatmeal tae pey for the work done. That wis a 'mouter'.

2. Combs.: (1) mutre cap, the wooden measure used by the miller for taking his multure. See Cap, n.; (2) multure court, a court held to settle disputes arising from the payment of the miller's dues. Hist.; (3) mouter-free, without exacting dues or payment; (4) multure-loom, = (1). See Lume, n., 2.; (5) multure meal, meal taken as a miller's due for grinding; (6) muterpock, the sack into which the miller empties his multure. In quot. used derisorily as a nick-name for a miller; (7) multure-rent, the total amount of multure paid to the estate mill; (8) multure shilling, the proportion of the oat husks or sheeling appropriated by the miller as his due. See Sheel, and 1730 quot. above.(1) Rxb. 1815 J. Ruickbie Poems 125:
A cannie miller in a rap Came, an his head did thrust in, An' in his hand, the mut're cap He swore it was a just ane.
(2) Dmf. 1794 B. Johnston Agric. Dmf. 91:
When those who occupy thirled land sell any of their corns unground, . . . the baron-baillie, at the petition of the multurer, holds a multure court.
Sc. 1872 Trans. Highl. Soc. 296:
What were called Multure Courts were frequently held by the different baron-bailies.
(3) Abd. 1714 Powis Papers (S.C.) 207:
He is bound to grind Baillie Fraser's malt multure free.
n.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 126:
When ye come to my father's mill, Ye shall grind muture free.
Sc. 1861 J. Brown Horae Subsecivae 235–6:
His favourite feat was repeating “Says I to my Lord, quo' I — what for will ye no grund ma barleymeal mouter-free, says I to my lord, quo' I.”
(4) Lnl. 1755 Session Papers, Bell v. Clark, Depositions 2:
He had too thick a Gird upon the Mouth of his Multure-loom which made it carry a much more Heap than it ought to have done.
(5) Kcd. 1758 Session Papers, King's Coll., Abd. v. Falconer (4 July) 2:
They had Multure Meal offered them, in Payment of their Teind; and they seem to be apprehensive, that they may be put off with a coarse Kind of Meal, called Farm-meal, instead of white Meal.
(6) Dmb. 1719 G. E. Todd Byeways (1893) 167:
The daughter of the last-named, and one William M'Goun, were dubbed respectively Shapuck and Muterpock.
(7) Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 473:
The whole multure-rent of the parish, multiplied by the average rate of multure, forms the ground-work of this calculation.
(8) Dmf. 1716 D. Murray York Buildings Co. (1883) 122:
Multure Shill[ing] — 13 pecks, Nithisdale measure, which is near 2 bolls, 1 furlet, 2 pecks of ordinary measure at 1s. 10d. per boll . . . £2, 10s. 9d.

3. Transf. Used as a nickname for a miller. Also used attrib.Rnf. 1842 R. Clark Random Rhymes 4:
The lang mouter, mysel' an' the souter, Hae aften forgather'd.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 56:
The miller's taen anither wife. O mouter Tam, . . .

4. A percentage of profit, a “cut”.Dmf.2 1917:
Hei's tane guid mouter out o that.

5. A kiss claimed as the partner's due at the end of a dance (see quot.) (Ork. 1963).Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 64:
The fiddler marked the conclusion of the reel by a prolonged screetching. . . . This was the signal for each gallant to seize his partner in his arms and give her a resounding smack. This he called his mooter or payment for the pleasure of the dance.

II. v. 1. Of a miller or his servant: to take multure; fig. to make a profit out of, get perquisites from. Vbl.n. mootering.Ags. 1718 R. Finlayson Arbroath Documents (1923) 26:
Deliver to John Petry half a boll of multured shiling, or ane boll of meal, for keeping the Bishop Loch to Whitsunday next.
w.Lth. 1718 News from Bathgate 24:
It's best be sure, when any Danger lyes, As said the Miller when he moulter'd twice.
Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 112:
Here lie the banes o' Johny Stock, . . . Wha mouter'd ilka execution.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 284:
The miller mouters best wi' his ain hand.
Dmf. c.1905:
It was the custom at many small mills for the miller to take so much flour or meal from each sack he ground as payment for his services. This was known as “mootering”. As a boy in the Gretna area (1905–10) I heard the word used fairly frequently.
Rxb. 1907 Rymour Club Misc. I. 35:
There said a miller to his man, Wha' mouter'd a the corn, Gae tak a scuipfu' frae ilk sack, And do the same the morn.

2. In ppl.adj. moutart, of a mill: having the right to exact milling dues or multure.Kcb. 1897 66th Report Brit. Ass. 464–5:
“He did nae guid aifter”, i.e., he fell into weak health. Nae boddie widd doe ony guid that knockit doon a moutart mill.

3. Comb. and deriv.: (1) multurer, moulterer, (i) one to whom the multures exacted at a mill are payable, i.e. the proprietor or his agent, or one holding the mill on lease; †in Lnk. usage: a miller's servant; (ii) one liable to pay multure for having his corn ground at a mill; ¶(2) mooter-the-melder, a jocular nickname for a miller.(1) (i) m.Lth. 1702 J. Paterson Musselburgh (1857) 39:
That . . . the multerer shall draw the multures at the milnes in maner underwritten.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles II. ix. § 12:
Multure is the quantity of grain or meal payable to the proprietor of the mill, or to the multurer his tacksman.
Lnk. 1793 D. Ure Rutherglen 117:
The miller is entitled to half a peck, for bannock-meal, out of every 6 firlots, grinded at the mill; and the multurer, or miller's servant, has additional, what is equal to the half of the bannock-meal, for his fee.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 117:
The multurer is allowed to mend them [measures] or make them anew. or alter them as he pleases.
Kcd. c.1800 Fraser Papers (S.H.S.) 58:
Lady Mary was a great meal dealer. Her daughter Elizabeth Keith, after mentioned was her multurer.
Per. 1896 D. Kippen Crieff 76:
The moulterer of Dornoch was a canny, shrewd chield.
(ii) Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 665:
The amount of [outsucken multure] always depends on the situation of the mill, and the competition there may be with other mills to which the outsucken multurers have access.
(2) s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 322:
Into the house I went, however. . . . meeting auld mooter-the-melder, in the entry.

[O.Sc. multer, = 1., 1480, multarar, the one to whom multure is paid; Mid.Eng. multir; O.Fr. molture, Fr. mouture, med. Lat. molitura, Lat. molere, to grind. For vocalisation of l see P.L.D. § 78.3.]

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"Multure n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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