Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STOUTHREIF, n. Also -reiff, -reef, -rief(f), -rife. Robbery with violence, forcible theft. Now obs. or arch. Deriv. stouthriever, a masterful robber, a thief by violence (cf. Reive). [′stuθrif] Sc. 1720  E. D. Dunbar Social Life (1866) 139:
He did by plain southreiff and robery, bereave him of all his writes and papers about him.
Sc. 1736  Crim. Trials Illustrative of “H. Midlothian” 1:
Indicted and Accused, at the instance of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, Esq., His Majesty's Advocate, for his Highness' interest, for the crimes of Stouthrieff, Housebreaking and Robbery.
Sc. 1797  D. Hume Punishment of Crimes I. 139:
The other prime instance of forcible theft, is that which is committed by invasion of the person, and is now termed robbery, and formerly passed under the more general name of stouthrief; which was applicable, generally, to every sort of masterful theft or depredation.
Sc. 1817  Scots Mag. (Nov.) 384:
On the 10th, Bernard and Hugh Macilvogue, and Patrick Macristal, were executed at Greenock for the crimes of stouthrief, rape, and robbery.
Sc. 1828  Scott F. M. Perth ii.:
To defend the property of the weak against the stouthrief and oppression of the strong.
Sc. 1838  Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 331:
There's no a stouthriever in a' Liddesdale.
Sc. 1844  Justiciary Reports (1846) 146:
Doubts as to whether the charge of Stouthrief was relevantly laid, . . . inasmuch as the property in question was not said to have been taken ‘masterfully,' but only ‘wickedly, feloniously, and theftuously.'
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 204:
Frae stouthrife an' murder.
Ayr. 1913  J. Service Memorables 199:
Some ane guilty of hamesucken or stouthrief.
m.Sc. 1934  J. Buchan Free Fishers xiii.:
How was it gotten? — by violence or stoutrief [sic].

[A reduced form of the phr. stouth and reif common in O.Sc. See Stouth, n.1, and Reif. O.Sc. has stouthereff, 1490.]

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"Stouthreif n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



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