Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLACK STONE, n. Also -stane. (See quots.)Sc. 1902 A. Lang Hist. of Scot. II. xxi.:
At that time [1597] as in Glasgow [University] still, there were examinations upon the “black stone.” A seat with a stone in it still exists at Glasgow, a black capping stone at St Andrews [University].
Sc. 1927 Paraphrased from D. Murray Old College of Glasgow 81–92:
Used up to 1858 in Glasgow University in the expression “sit the Blackstone.” The black stone was a slab of black marble forming part of a wooden chair (still preserved in Glasgow University) on which a student sat for examination into his fitness for promotion into another class. The Black Stones of Aberdeen and Edinburgh have disappeared.
Fif. 1713 Two Students (Dickinson 1952) 35:
Yesterday my Pupils when on the blackstane pleased the Examinators.

Hence blackstone chair, — examination (Gsw. 1909 J. Coutts Hist. Univ. Gsw. 343 and 344).

[O.Sc. blak-stane, a dark-coloured stone used by students at their public examinations in some of the Scottish Universities. First quot. in D.O.S.T. 1581 and last 1659.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Black Stone n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: