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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PROBATIONER, n. Also probashoner (Rnf. 1738 W. Grossart Shotts (1880) 175), probawtioner, probaationer. Sc. forms and usages:

1. In the Sc. Presbyterian Churches: the name applied to a student minister during the period that elapses between his licensing and his ordination (Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 176). Gen.Sc.Peb. 1700 C. B. Gunn Stobo Church (1907) 76:
The remainder [declared] for Mr John Murray, probationer, who had lately preached there.
Sc. 1709 W. Steuart Collections i. i. § 13:
If the call be to a probationer within the Presbytery's bounds, then the presbytery is to put him upon trials, in order to ordination.
Wgt. 1745 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (17 June):
Mr Hathorn of Over Airis craved that the Session might petition the Presbytry for the hearing of more probationers before a call should moderate.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxiii.:
If no kirk casts up . . . what can a young probationer turn his hand to?
Ayr. 1832 Galt Stanley Buxton I. i.:
The school was indebted for this distinguished rank chiefly to the enterprise of the Dominie himself, a probationer of the Kirk.
Sc. 1876 Bk. of Sc. Story 110:
In the metropolis of Scotland, I received licence as a probationer.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 66:
He has been a long time as a probationer . . . but . . . he is to be ordained to the pastoral charge of Dowiedens a fortnight come Friday.
Sc. 1925 Cadger's Creel (Douglas) 24:
Am I to sit at my ain board-heid as mim as a May puddock, and wale my words like a probaationer?
Sc. 1945 J. T. Cox Practice Ch. Scot. 537:
We are met here as a Presbytery to license M. (and N.) as preachers of the Gospel, and probationers for the Holy Ministry.

Hence probationary, adj., relating to a probationer of the Scottish Church. Comb. probationary trials, the series of tests and examinations leading to the licensing of a divinity student and his period as a probationer. See also Trial, n.Sc. 1709 W. Steuart Collections i. iv. § 6:
They, the said presbytery, had admitted the said Mr. A. B. upon probationary trials, who having . . . acquitted himself to their satisfaction and approbation; therefore they did and hereby do License the said Mr. A. B. to preach the gospel of Christ as a probationer for the ministry within their bounds.
Sc. 1886 Blackwood's Mag. (April) 417:
He entered the probationary order of the Scottish ministry.
Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 7:
Benjie had been destined for the Secession ministry, but had fallen some twenty years previously out of the ranks of the probationary licentiates.

2. Sc. legal usage: a newly-appointed judge of the Court of Session between the time of his presenting his letter of appointment and his taking the oath. Also Lord Probationer, id., see Lord, n., 2. (31). This practice of putting a junior judge on trial was abolished in 1933 (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 68).Sc. 1751 Acts of Sederunt (22 Feb.):
Recommend to Lord Woodhall, Probationer, to sit with the said Ordinary.
Sc. 1799 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (22 May):
William Macleod Bannatyne, Esq. having gone through his trials as Lord Probationer, took the oaths, and his seat on the Bench, by the title of Lord Bannatyne.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 176:
The form of trial [for new judges] is laid down by an act of Sederunt, July 31. 1674. It consists in the presentee, or Lord Probationer as he is called, hearing, and reporting, and delivering an opinion on certain of the causes depending in court. And although this injunction to make trial of his qualifications seems to imply a power of rejecting him, yet the court are deprived of the power of rejecting the presentee, by the act 10 Geo. I. c. 19.

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"Probationer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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