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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.

PRECEPT, n. Also †praecept (Sc. 1750 W. MacFarlane Geneal Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 116).

Sc. usages:

1. Sc. Law: a document instructing or conferring authority to take certain action, a warrant “granted by a judge or other person having power in the circumstances” (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 67) to give possession of something or confer a privilege (Sc. 1909 N.E.D.). For phrs. precept of clare constat, — of sasine, — of warning, see articles under second element.Sc. 1709 Compend of Securities 241:
The giving of Infeftment of Lands redeemable or irredeemable is by Delivery of Earth and Stone of the Ground of the said Lands by the Proprietor, or his Commissioner as Baillie in that Part, to the Acquirer, or his Acturney, having and holding in his Hands, the Writs or Precepts, before Two Witnesses at least.
ne.Sc. 1714 R. Smith Poems (1853) 105:
I had a precept from Pitmidden For rents to Bishops now forbidden.
Abd. 1752 Abd. Journal (10 Oct.):
Certifying that the Defender was lawfully summoned by virtue of a Libelled Precept.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute iii. vi. § 3:
The warrants which issue from inferior courts for arresting get the name of precepts; and they are commonly executed by the officers of the court from whence they issue.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 269:
By their title-deeds the magistrates are empowered to hold a Court of Record, and issue precepts both on their decrees and registrations.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 100:
A formal charter came to be granted, with a Letter or Precept in a separate writing authorising the bailie to give possession, which in turn came to be embodied in the [feu] charter itself.

2. A written authorisation issued by an individual or corporate body to make a payment of money from funds, such as a letter or bill of credit, freq. in reference to payments made by Kirk Sessions to the parochial poor.Ags. 1706 W. M. Inglis Ags. Parish (1904) 43:
His lordship had given him a precept on James Christie for the £16 Scots which was over.
Edb. 1709 Edb. Courant (25–27 May):
There was lost upon Thursday last an Precept or Inland Bill.
Bte. 1725 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 681:
Payed to two ship wraked saillers per precept 5th November 1725 . . . 8s.
Gall. 1738 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 618:
To William M' Kie . . . under his necessity by two precepts, the precepts falen by but consistent with memory . . . £4 10 0.
Ayr. 1749 Maybole T.C. Minutes MS. (7 Nov.):
To Mr Robt ffishar minister of Teind per precept dated 7th May 1748 . . . £9 6 8.
Ayr. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VII. 178:
Precepts are distributions made by the session, as occasion requires.

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"Precept n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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