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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PARLIAMENT, n., v. Also paurliament (Sc. 1823 J. G. Lockhart R. Dalton III. 100), paurleement (Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 333), paurliement; parlament; perliment (ne.Sc. 1895 A. Gordon Carglen 118). Sc. forms and usages:

I. n. 1. Applied to the Scottish Parliament or Estates before the Union of 1707 and thereafter to the Parliament of Great Britain. From 1999 also the new devolved Scottish Parliament. Also in colloq. reduced form Parly.

Sc. forms:Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 20:
A hae hardtell anaw that at
the tyme thai open Paurliement,
thai hae ane unco chiel, Blek Rod,
that thryce maun chap the chaumer dure ...
Sc. 2004 Scotsman 1 Oct 22:
As consolation, The Diary submits this Ode to the Parly at Holyrood, as Buckfast Palais has already rejected its inclusion in the Queen's speech: ...

Combs. and phrs.: (1) Parliament Hall, see (2); also applied to apartments in Edinburgh and Stirling Castles where the medieval Scottish Parliament met; (2) Parliament House, the building in the High Street of Edinburgh the hall of which was, from 1639 to 1707, the meeting-place of the Scottish Parliament, and which thereafter became the ante-room to the Inner and Outer Houses of the Court of Session, the supreme court of Scotland; hence the Court of Session itself, the judges, clerks, advocates, etc.; (3) parliament man, a member of Parliament. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.; (4) the riding of (the) Parliament, the ceremonial procession of members of the Scottish Parliament through the streets of Edinburgh at the opening and closing of each session of the Estates.(1) Sc. 1947 H. W. Meikle Scotland 45:
It [the Union of 1707] was the subject of long and fierce debates in the Parliament Hall in Edinburgh, now the peaceful salle des pas perdus of the Scottish law courts.
Sc. 1961 Scotsman (14 Oct.):
“Been up at Parliament Hall all day,” he said. We assumed that he had been on jury service.
Sc. 1962 Edb. Ev. News (10 Sept.):
A fanfare of trumpets rang through the ornate rafters of Parliament Hall, Edinburgh, today to mark the opening of the Sixth International Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry.
(2) Sc. 1707 Acts Parl. Scot. XI. App. 141:
The Arras-hangings and Carpets for the use of the Parliament-house.
Sc. 1714 W. Forbes Journal Pref. ii.:
The Place where our Session is held, thence called the Sessions-House, and commonly the Parliament-House, because the Parliament of Scotland did sit there.
Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 185:
The Western End of St. Giles's Churchyard, where the said Parliament-house at present stands.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary ii.:
I thought ye had some law affair of your ain to look after. — I have ane mysel — . . . ye'll maybe hae heard of it in the Parliament-house . . . it's a weel-kenn'd plea.
Sc. 1834 Hogg Domestic Manners Scott (1909) 113:
Sir Walter [Scott] in his study, and in his seat in the Parliament-house, had rather a dull, heavy appearance, but in company his countenance was always lighted up.
Edb. 1839 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxiv.:
James was seated in his snug old easy-chair by the fireside, as if he had been an Edinburgh Parliament House lawyer.
Sc. 1901 G. Balfour Life R. L. Stevenson vi.:
He frequented the great hall of the Parliament House, which, like Westminster in old days, is the centre of the courts, and the haunt of advocates waiting for business.
Sc. 1929 Edinburgh 1329–1929 6:
The Parliament House is a municipal building in the sense that it belongs to the town. . . . Until the early years of last century it was regarded as the Town Hall of the city, where the citizens were convened on important occasions.
(3) Inv. 1721 Steuart Letter-Bk. (S.H.S.) 148:
If any of our parliament men have mony to send down.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
When we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi'stanes when they werena gude bairns.
(4) Sc. 1711 J. Chamberlayne Present State Scot. 144:
When the Day came, on which the first Session of each Parliament was to be held, the Members went to the House in great State and Solemnity. This Cavalcade was called The Riding of the Parliament.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
At the last riding of the Scots Parliament, and that was in the gracious year seven.
Sc. 1872 C. Innes Legal Antiquities 151:
The foot-mantle and horse trappings for “riding the Parliament” — that is, for the display from Holyrood to the Tolbooth — were as gorgeous as a love of personal finery and a noble emulation could suggest.
Sc. 1905 C. S. Terry Sc. Parliament 94, 101:
The opening and closing days of the session were distinguished by the pomp of public procession from and to Holyrood, the “riding” of Parliament, so called, when the Members of Parliament accompanied the King, or his Commissioner, to and from the Parliament House. . . . The “riding” of Parliament traversed but a short route from Holyrood, where the procession started, to the corner of St. Giles', whence Members proceeded on foot through Parliament Close to the Parliament House.

Adj. parliamentary, created or provided for by an Act of (the British) Parliament, in special hist. combs.: (1) parliamentary church, one of a number of quoad sacra churches and their parishes esp. in the Highlands and Islands, created by Acts of Parliament in 1810 and 1824 by the breaking up of larger parishes and endowed with public funds (Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 1063). See also under (3); (2) parliamentary minister, the minister of such a church; (3) parliamentary parish, see (1) and quot.; (4) parliamentary road, a road built and maintained by a State subsidy to local landowners under the Highland Roads and Bridges Act of 1803; (5) parliamentary school, the school in one of the parliamentary parishes in the Highlands supported by State aid. See (1) and (3).(1) Sc. 1888 J. Rankin Handbook Ch. Scot. 277:
Parliamentary Churches, 42 in number, with stipends of £120 each, were erected in 1826 to supply destitute districts in the Highlands and Islands.
Sc. 1914 J. Mackay Church in Highlands 248:
Two parliamentary churches were added to the equipment of the Presbytery [in Lewis], one at Knock and the other at Cross in 1829, and were declared in 1833 to be parishes quoad sacra.
Sc. 1964 J. T. Cox Practice Ch. Scot. 322:
In addition to parishes quoad omnia and quoad sacra there were in the Highlands and Islands a certain number of parliamentary churches and manses whose ministers, were endowed with the income of funds voted by Parliament under Statutes (4 Geo. IV. cap. 79 and 5 Geo. IV. cap. 90).
(2) Sc. 1854 H. Miller Schools xxii.:
The General Assembly admitted what were known as the Parliamentary ministers, and the ministers of chapels of ease, to a seat in the church courts.
(4) Sc. 1863 H. Barclay Law Highways 5:
The Parliamentary Roads were constructed under the Act 43 Geo. III. cap. 80, one-half the cost being provided by Parliament.
Sc. 1918 J. P. Day Public Admin. Highl. 318, 322:
By 1814 the roads first finished were evidently falling into decay, and the whole subject of the upkeep of roads, both military and those called parliamentary under the 1803 Act, was again under review. . . . The statute labour roads had been constructed chiefly for local and subsidiary traffic; the through traffic went by the turnpike — or, in the Highlands, the parliamentary and military roads.
(5) Sc. 1918 J. P. Day Public Admin. Highl. 147, 155:
[By the Act of 1838] the Commissioners of the Treasury were authorised to invest in Government Stock certain sums voted by Parliament, and, when the heritors should have provided school-houses and schoolmasters' houses in the divided portions of the parish, to pay out of the income from the stock the salary of the schoolmaster. Such schools became known as “Parliamentary” schools. . . . In 1873 was passed the Highland Schools (Scotland) Act dealing with the position of the Parliaamentary Schools established by the Act of 1838 . . . Thus the thirty parliamentary schools mentioned in the schedule to the Act became permanently endowed by the State.
Sc. 1921 J. Mackinnon Social and Indust. Hist. 172:
In 1836 it [General Assembly] appealed to the Government to provide schools in connection with the 42 Government churches in the Highlands (quoad sacra parishes) and two years later an Act was passed to carry the proposal into effect (“Parliamentary Schools”).

2. As in Eng., now obs., speech, talk. Now only in phr. to gie ane a free parliament, to give one a hearing, let one speak (Sc. 1911 S.D.D., Add.).

II. v. 1. To attend Parliament, carry out the duties of a member of Parliament. Hence parl(i)(a)menter, -or, -ar, parlymentar (Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling III. v.), a member of Parliament (Sh. 1965). Also fig.Sc. 1706 Smoaking Flax Unquenchable 9:
In a few years, the Nobility and Parliamenters, will spend alse much Money at Court, as all the above mentioned benefit.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 157–8:
Wha aiblins thrang a parliamentin, For Britain's guid his saul indentin.
Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 9:
Some Parli'mentars may tak bribes.
Ags. 1819 A. Balfour Campbell I. iii.:
Our laird's no a parliamenter, and has very little connexion with the gryte gentry.
Sc. 1834 Hogg Domest. Manners Scott (1909) 79:
Their whole conversation was about noblemen, parliamenters, and literary men of all grades.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxii.:
Luik at oor parliamenters, the heid deesters amo' them ken so little about richt prenciples in kirk matters.
Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 47:
Enrichin' twa wadbe Parliamentors.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (15 Aapril):
Mak yer parlamenters gie you less jaa an mair justice; or shift dem.

2. To talk together, converse, confer. Obs. in Eng. Vbl.n. parliamentin, discussion, conversation, talk.Ayr. 1830 Galt Lawrie Todd iv.:
There was a pleasure in . . . our sederunts which I doubt if wiser parliamenting often furnishes.

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"Parliament n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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