Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THING, n.2 Also Sh. and Ork. form ting (See T, letter, 9.). A public assembly with legislative and judicial powers, convened in districts of Scotland at one time under Scandinavian rule, esp. Sh. and Ork. There were local and subordinate things, as the herads-thing a district or parish meeting, hirdmans thing, a council of warriors, vard-thing, a ward or district assembly, and a general provincial thing, the Althing or later the Law-ting (see G. Goudie Antiquities (1904) 95–6). Hist., these courts ceasing to function in the 17th c. The word survives in place-names as Delting, Aithsting, Sandsting (Sh.), Tingwall (Sh., Ork.), Dingishowe (Ork.), Dingwall (Rs.), Tinwald (Dmf.). Comb. ting-man, a holder of udal-land and so a member of the ting. I.Sc. 1750 J. Mackenzie Grievances (1836) 3:
This Lawting, or head-court, was not abolished under the Scots, but on the contrary, recognized and kept up.
Sh. 1774 G. Low Tour (1879) 77:
The loch in which was the Ting or ancient Court of Justice, in a small Holm.
Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Sh. 114:
“Skollas” or booths, occupied by the ting-men.
Ork. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. & Sh. 20:
Three Thing meetings are recorded as having been held at Kirkwall, two by Jarl Rögnvald, and one by Jarl Erlend, Harald's son.
Sh. 1904 G. Goudie Antiquities 96:
The last shadow of a local Thing was held in 1691.
Sh. 1932 T. Manson Guide 13:
Democratic government by local Things and the representative Althing.
Sh. 1954 Court Bk. Sh. (S.R.S.) iii.:
In earlier times the thing or assembly for the whole of Shetland had met at Tingwall, but the Lawthing now met at Scalloway.

[Norw. ting, O.N. þing, an assembly, parliament, as in mod. Norw. Storting, Icel. Alþingi. Ultim. of the same orig. as Thing, n.1]

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"Thing n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2020 <>



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