A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Pruf(e, Prof(e, Prove, n. Also: prwf, pruff(e, prwff(e; pruif(e, pruiff(e, pruyf, prwif(e; preuffe; proffe, proif(fe; proof(e, prooff(e; prouf(e, prouff(e, prowfe; prowe, proove. [ME and e.m.E. prove (Cursor M.), prof(e (Manning), proff(e (Wyclif), proof (Prompt. Parv.), prouffe (c1430), late ME also prouve (1425), e.m.E. also prooff(e, late OF prouve, prove (14th c. in Littré), var. of Prefe n. with vowel of Prove v. and OF prover, prouver v.] Proof.
I. 1. Submission of something to trial or test, or the condition of being tried and tested; trial, test.
Also to put (the thing) to (the) prufe.
Oure haly fader … forbidis that maneris of provis, of bataillis in liss or justis of were; Hay I 257/36.
Sa in afflixioun as ane furneis fyire We ar prepared be prove to the impyire; Maitl. Q. xlvi 37.
Blist ar thay … That … patientlie in pruif dois perseueir; Ib. 47.
And finding likleheid to gett thame fylit, put it to prufe; 1586 Douglas Chart. 287.
This [method] sindrie tymes being put to profe and experience; Dalr. I 219/4.
That he be not admittit without ane sufficient essay and pruife of memorie; 1598–9 Montgomery Mem. 243.
If his maiestie … put not the authors to the pruif of thair misinformations he will bring vpon himself great vexation; ?1615 Melrose P. I 193.
b. To put (something) in profe, = to the test, ? passing into: at risk, in hazard.
Monsieur de Desse … determinat incontinentlie to putt his hoill force in profe to recover that ile; Leslie 227.
2. The condition of having been tried and tested or the capability of passing a test; tried or tested quality; proven worth or ability.
James Stewarte … is a yonge man … of a very tall stature, but lyttle proofe; A. Hay Nobility 31.
To have tryit horsses of pruif bot sa disgysit be cutting of thair talis, [etc.] … that nane suld suspect; 1585 Laing MSS I 39.
b. Proof-sermon, a trial sermon of a candidate for a ministerial charge.
Mr. William Arthure … to compeir before the Hie Commission, becaus he refused to give some proofe sermons in Edinburgh, seing he was putt on the leits; Calderwood VII 507.
3. Chiefly of a piece of armour: Tried power of resistance, ability to withstand assault (also, by a specified type of weapon), impenetrability.
Chiefly in the phr. (corslet etc.) of prufe, and see Corslet(t n. 2 for further examples; also, as adj., by ellipsis of of. At proofe of, of the prove of = impenetrable by.
(1) The traist that he has in his gude armouris makis him hardy … for thai ar of prove; Hay I 85/6.
Ane croslatt of pruiff; 1595 Invent. Castle Campbell in
Argyll Mun. MS 21 Feb. (Old Argyll MS Inv.).
That tha prepare a hunder cumpanies in corsletis of profe; Dalr. II 419/10.
It did him no hurt, be reasone of his doublet of pruiff; 1600 Crim. Trials II 296.
Ane murrioun of proofe; 1605 Black Bk. Taymouth 341.
2 heidpeices of pruff, a tairge of pruf; 1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 26 Sept.
1640 Bk. Carlaverock II 502.
Having on him a corslet of prooff; Wallace Orkney 72.
(2) Tua corslattis the ane pruif and the vther ane quhyt corslat; 1583 Edinb. Test. XIII 49.
A being proof of lead, iron, and silver, or a brieve makeing men invulnerable; Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 350.
(3) God him self … Maid caibinetis faire at proofe of sunne quhiche out his beames did keipe; James VI Poems I 111/44.
Ane new secreitt of the prove of ane durk; 1644 Edinb. Test. LXI 2b.
II. A test of a sample as a means of ascertaining the yield or the quality of the whole. 4. Of ore or metal in coining.
Than the foirsaid unfynit stuff salbe takin out agane be wecht or compt and ane quantitie thairof for ane pruif fynit be the said Abraham … and as the said pruif declaris the quantitie of the said gold and silver to be in the saidis gummis and sandis [etc.]; 1575–6 Reg. Privy C. II 512.
Loist upoun Abrahame Petirsonis pruiffis maid be him of plakkis and babeis; 1576 Treas. Acc. XIII 102.
[They] causit oppin the box quhairin wer the assayis of all … money quhilkis wer cunyeit sen …  … the pruiff of quhilkis assayis of gold siluer and allayed money being tane and the samin tryit be the fyre … [they found that] all the saidis assayis keipit the iust fynnes appointit be the … actis … maid thairanent; 1591 Reg. Privy C. in Cochran-Patrick
Coinage I 176.
5. a. A sample consisting of a fixed proportion of the corn in a stack or of a grain-crop (e.g. one sheaf out of twenty-five) threshed, winnowed and measured so as to estimate the total yield of the stack or the crop. b. The yield of the sample. c. The act of estimating the yield of a stack or a crop in this way. d. The estimated total yield.
To cast a or the prufe, to estimate a yield by sampling in this way; to cast to (into) (the) prufe, to estimate the yield of (a crop or stack) by sampling in this way: see Cast v. 14 b. and Castar n.
(1) The first stak of aitis the pruf vas ij ferlotis ij peccis … the secund stak aitis the pruf v ferlotis iij peccis; 1505–6 Exch. R. XII 672.
[Sir William Ramsay] jactatoris archoniorum [of the said crop, extending to 3 f. and 1] batum [of] lie pruffe, [16 b. 1 f. barley]; 1507 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 192.
[From 2 c. sown in the kirkland and meadow of Clony … bearing of] lie pruff [2 b. 3 f. 2¾] bata, [3 c. 9 b. 2 f. oats]; Ib.
As ane of four barnemen quhilkis rassauit the pruiff of the samyn [oats] quha nait he mellit wyth ony of the said pruiff; 1562–3 Inverness Rec. I 101.
Twa dayis wondong … [of corn] on the morne cuming agane to wondo the pruf; 1567 Lothian P. MS (Reg. H.).
To wpwark for sowde sawing pruiffis corne and all wther dewyte ane cottar … suld haif; 1567 Inverness Rec. I 157.
As he that com souerte for hyme … of ane pruf attis of xiij bollis and pettis [sic] ij bollis j firlote attis and sex pekis beyr of x firlottis beyr; 1567–8 Ib. 159.
That … he makis him nocht compt reknyng and payment of iij bollis quheit, four bollis greit aittis [etc.] … of the rest of ingang of his pruiffis; 1569 Ib. 180.
That he withhaldis fra me the pruiff of xxiiij bollis beir the said yeir, quhilk I aucht … to haif for my laubouris; 1571 Ib. 204.
And sayis he gaif newyr ane cottar the pruiff of his beir in respect the beir of the said towne … wes … thressin be my awin serwand men of my house, quharfor I aucht to pay na pruiff beyr to him; Ib.
And the said William is fundin fre of the beyr pruiff; Ib. 205.
A tasker … if he be imployed to thresh … he is to have the twenty-fifth part of all such corns, as he shall happen to thresh (which is commonly called the lot or proof); 1656 Edinb. Justices Peace 407.
Skene Agric. MS (see (2) below).
The deponent … wes delyvering … some beir and fodder, the proofe wherof wes carried … in to a barne; 1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser XIII 187.
(2) To mak compt reknyng and payment … of xiij bollis aittis and ane half of ane pruiff castin … be Jame Baittis and xviij bollis aittis and ane half of ane wther pruiff cassin thair be William Anderson; 1567 Inverness Rec. I 148.
And the said William … confessit hym to be souerte for the ingang of the prufis quhilkis Dauid McConyll suld thress and desyrit the pruf manis ayth, and thair comperit Johne Gibson and deponit the prufis to be justle castyn; 1567–8 Ib. 159.
To refound … the sowme of sex bollis aittis inleakit of tuay pruiffis aittis quhilk thai had the handling of, conforme to the ayth of Johne Donaldson castar of the saidis pruiffis; 1569 Ib. 179.
To warne the pruiffis castaris this daye aucht dayis; Ib. 180.
As concerning the casting of the prooff the greive must not cast the prooff but an other man must doe it, the twentie fyft sheiff is the prooff first telling, twentie fowr then the twentie fift is the prooff, beginning at one again. And everie peck a prooff gives six furlets in the stacke; Skene Agric. MS.
(3) Of beir as it wes castin to the proif xxiij bollis; 1564–75 Hamilton & Campsie Test. I 20b.
The tendis of the toune of the crope and ȝeir [etc.] … castin to pruf be Gudbert Lyll; 1596 Oldcambus Acc. 2.
The hall q[uhei]tt of the crope … being castin to pruf conform to the perticular cunt thairof extends to j ch. x bs. ij pcts.; 1597 Ib.
Sawin … fyv bollis peis quhilk being collectit schorne & cassin to the pruiff extendit onlie in increas to fyftein bollis peis; 1631 Edinb. Test. LV 152.
Cast into the proffe sex bollis … peas; 1665 Brechin Test. VI 300.
e. attrib. and comb.: That is or serves as the ‘proof’ or trial sample in this sense; as ascertained by taking proof in this way.
(1) Quharfor I aucht to pay na pruiff beyr to him; 1571 Inverness Rec. I 204.
— To mak me thankfull payment of xiij bollis aittis for my sowde ij bollis aittis sawing pruiff corne and all wther dewytie … wont to ane cottar to get; 1567 Inverness Rec. I 157.
ij bollis aittis sawing wyth pruiff cornis; Ib.
(2) That the abbotis officiar had tane Ihone Robertsons aitis cassin be proif schaif out of stak; 1543 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) No. ii, Robertson v Campbell.
[Ready to deliver the grain … and to cast the same with] proif schaif; 1549–50 Prot. Bk. Sir J. Cristisone 105.
Ane stak of aitis cassin be prouff scheiff; 1621 Brechin Test. IV 39.
(3) And as to the pruff avale of the proffittis of the saidis landis … the Lords … contenewis … the sade summonds; 1496 Acta Conc. II 8.
III. 6. An attempt, enterprise, endeavour.
I have heirwith imparted to ȝour lordship his hienes first pruif and prentissage in poesie; 1584 Montg. Suppl. xlvii n.
His great courage, vnhappelie bestowed in pruiffis of that kynd; 1611 Crim. Trials III 167.
Like man, like matter, like purpose, like pruif; Carmichael Prov. No. 1068.
IV. 7. a. The fact of having confirmed something by trying it out; confirmation by experience, test or examination.
Chiefly in later texts.
Be, by, also in prufe, by experience.
(1) I speik not but pruife, quhilk I may sairlie rew; 1567 Sat. P. iv 157.
[So as her highness and your lordship shall find] profe of my affectionate mynde [to (etc.)]; 1569 Cal. Sc. P. III 31.
Ȝour quene had pruif that Mortounis race To covatice wes hoill inclynde; 1572 Sat. P. xxxv 25.
So pruif and deid sall testifie Ȝour kyndnes and our honestie; Ib. 95.
We heving sufficient proif and experience of the said Mr. Robertes lyfe and conversatioun [etc.]; 1585 Edinb. Univ. Chart. 96.
Melville Mem. 257.
Proofe; 1673 Aberd. Council Lett. V 292.
(2) Sume fulis … That wil trew nane bot that thai Be verray prowe here ore se may; Leg. S. xxiii 10.
Be pruif richt weill I doe espy The Scottisch tred … To be so bad; 1572 Sat. P. xxxiv 9.
His maiestie and thrie estatis finding be guid pruif and experience the skaith and inconvenient [etc.]; 1584 Acts III 303/2.
By art & prouff thai craff is knayne To me; Montg. Suppl. v 39.
I howpe by prwife yow sall find [etc.]; 1609 Writers Signet 240.
In respect of the valiancie and courage which he had tryed by prooff to rest in him; Gordon Geneal. Hist. 34.
— This we haue in proofe by them that are carryed with the Phairie; James VI Dæmonol. (S.T.S.) 55/28.
(3) A gude pruffe have ye … of hir majesteis benignitie thir thrie yeiris … that scho hes lived in the governament over yow; 1564 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) I 44.
Buch. Detect. (1727) 136.
Vnto the tyme that my sones cum to ane gritter … discretioun or that I may haif ane suir pruif of thair guid behauiour towardis me; 1582 Misc. Spald. C. II 334.
The lang and guid experience and the manifauld pruiffis quhilk his maiestie ever hes gevin of his hienes clemencie; 1600 Bruces of Airth App. xciv.
Prooffes; 1614 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 223.
As for his qualificatioun for the place thair wisdomes hes had pruiff thairof for a long tyme; 1636 Aberd. B. Rec. III 96.
Having had so good a prouffe of ther affectione heirtofor; 1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 54.
b. The fact of displaying (a quality) in action; (a) demonstration.
(1) Of forraine landis the inclinatioun Be pruif richt weill I doe espy; Maitl. Q. lx 9.
Quharin he gaif sic pruif of his vailȝeantness, courage and gude conduct; 1567 Anderson Collect. Mary I 90.
And continualy sence hes ramenth constant and obedient as be ȝowr ward ȝe haue giuen ane guid prwffe; 1583 Reg. Morton I 137.
Ye have gevin effectuell pruif with quhat earnist zeale ye are devoted to our service; 1585 Laing MSS I 52.
1594 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) II 254.
Who be some notable service shall gif proffe and testimonie of [etc.]; 1611 Reid Auchterarder 15.
Proiffe; 1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I 330.
Young gentlemen to give proof of their literature by makeing publick lessones; 1650 Acts Sederunt ii 69.
(2) pl. I saw suche perfyte proofes of grace in him; Fowler I 39/71.
The bypast pruiffes of your vndisserved favour to me and my doughter; 1613 Southesk MSS 14.
V. 8. That which makes good a statement or establishes a fact; sufficient or certain evidence, confirmation, verification (of some alleged fact). b. pl. c. An instance of this.
(1) At thu … May knaw be pruf richt weil now, Me suthfastis Goddis son to be, Ger ane of thi men now hed me [etc.]; Leg. S. i 356.
That ony man Suld wit be pruf scho ware weman; Ib. xxx 590.
Pruff; Ib. xxxi 382.
The indenture till hym gave he, Off thare cunnandis prwff [C. pruff, E., A. the pruf] to be; Wynt. viii 2808.
For I to this haiff don my diligence, Eftyr the pruff geyffyn fra the Latyn buk; Wall. xi 1413.
That the said Johne bakbitit him, quhilk the said Johne requirit prufe thairof; 1562–3 Peebles B. Rec. I 288.
Quhilk gif your grace will deny, I sall addres me for the prufe; Knox II 406.
(b) Besydis the barbar grosnes of boyth thair translationis, whiche I culd sett doun by prwif … in twoe hundreth passages and moe; Fowler I 16.
They … will also profess and gif prwif to be ennemie to all the … ennemies of our … cuntrie; 1593 Misc. Spald. C. I 7.
Bisset I 159/14.
(c) As he has gevin us proif of the ane, sa mot he gif us the proif of the uther; 1600 Crim. Trials II 252.
For proif, efter that my brother … brocht [etc.]; Melville Mem. 238.
(d) & swa with prooff of mychtfull dede He strinthit alway Godis sede; Leg. S. xxvii 941.
I kan nevir find … anie apparant reason, mekle les presumption prooff or indice to [etc.]; 1616 Misc. Hist. Soc. II 172.
(e) I luik at this tyme to have prove of the same; 1611 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 2 Sept.
(2) Tharfore suld men be wele avisit or thai put crime till a man, bot thai war wele sekir of gude pruf; Hay I 74/5.
The rollis registeris and euidentis schawin … is sufficient pruff for the possession; 1477 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 200.
Maitl. F. lxxxix 31.
Without mair prufe; Rolland Seven S. 3961.
The perfite prufe of hir rebald and knaif, Thame self baith fylis; Ib. 10679.
To preif the figuris of the auld testament sufficient pruyf of materis of fayth concerning the new testament; Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 152/6.
In manifest prufe of hir continewit hatrent; 1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 542.
But that I may beleue open and solleme prowfe, erneste and lyberall protestacyons; 1584 Gray Lett. & P. 14.
The erle of Argyll quha at my last assemble not onle gave to me, in secreit, exceiding gude prove of his religione, … bot [etc.]; 1615 Denmylne MSS in
Highland P. III 189.
Seing it is na lauchfull pruif to infer or preve witchcraft that ane man deing sould lay his daith upone ony [etc.]; 1629 Justiciary Cases I 108.
b. (a) And gif the prince may … get knaulage of othir pruf or witnes or othir pruf be instrument or obligacioun or to draw out of the party be inquisicioun of confessioun and othir maner of prufis; Hay I 286/1, 4.
Quhilk strange and vnnaturall crueltie … now euidentlie knawin be mony infallible pruiffis and argumentis; 1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 549.
Which thing as they bring furth in yow the desartis and prwifes of perfyte praise; Fowler I 16.
(b) And nane wate it bot he himself na may nocht othir provis gett as to that mater; Hay I 259/12.
The planenes of the proues considderit; Buch. Detect. (1727) 84.
c. Crystofer & Theodera To this a verra prowe ma may, That thar is na defence sa gude As is the takine of the rude; Leg. S. xxxii 50.
The mantenyng of the Scottis nobillis fugitiveis … is bettir knawin nor nedis ony pruif; Lamb Resonyng 33/12.
Sic a declaratioun wes na pruif; 1565 Q. Mary in Misc. Maitl. C. III 181.
Lo heir a toy and licht conset … But onlye for ane treuth and prove [: move] To ladye maistres myne; Maitl. Q. lxxx 37.
Except … quha … sall gif ane pruif of thair qualyficatioun; Bisset I 159/8.
9. The action of establishing the truth of a statement.
I pas the contradictioun … broght in by ȝow for profe of the saming; Fowler II 51/20.
10. The action of establishing something in a court of law, esp. by evidence; the bringing of evidence.
To mak prufe of (something), to establish it in this way.
To mak prufe, to be accepted as sufficient evidence, to be held to prove the case.
(1) Of pruf & acquitans betuix burges & wplandis men; Burgh Laws c. 22 (A) h. of ch.
And [gif] efterwartis the folowar … mak a defalt … he sal tyn the benefite … of his pruf [L. perdat … beneficium … probacionis] and gif the … deffendour … be absent … the pruff sal pass again him [L. transeat probacio contra eum]; Acts I 377/2.
Or ellis in that pruff he sal nocht be herde; Quon. Attach. c. 35.
For quhen a man takis his pruf or defens in sik maner [trial by battle], it is like as he tempit God; Hay I 73/16.
And gif a man failis his pruf, the defendour is quyte; Ib. 73/34.
The quhilk [theft] may nocht be provit be opyn pruf; Ib. 260/29.
And faleȝand of the said pruffe lettres tobe writin [etc.]; 1478 Acta Aud. 59/1.
The lordis continewis the pruf assignit … to pruf his sufficiand defesans; Ib. 63/1.
For falt of entre in a pruf; 1488 Lanark B. Rec. 4.
The secund poynt of pruif, possessioun of this land past memor of man; 1539 Prot. Bk. Hew Rig 31a.
It is in the election of him quha is accused, to vnderly the prufe of the woman, or [etc.]; Skene Reg. Maj. i 67b.
Ib. 106b (see 11 (1)).
The said John taks it to prove be 4 witnesses; 1657 Boharm Kirk S. 1 March.
(2) Sa that the party playntife mak prufe of the dede or of manance … done till hym; 1429–30 Acts II 19/2.
(3) The saidis letters producit thaireftir salbe vode and mak na prufe, or have ony executioun; 1569 Reg. Privy C. II 76.
11. That which makes good a claim or statement or establishes a fact in a court of law, or an instance of this; (an) evidence. Also pl.
Freq. to lede prufe, Lede v. 19, q.v. for further examples.
(1) To bring furth witnes or pruff [L. testes vel probacionem] again his perty aduersar [etc.]; Acts I 377/2.
The folowar sal bring his pruff gif he allegis it rycht thar in his hande … & gif his pruff be sufficiant [etc.]; Quon. Attach. c. 35.
That he suld be dettour of the som bot he mycht pruf with suffysand prwf that is fuwli content and payit; 1459 Peebles B. Rec. I 134.
To restore … sa mekle of the saide lede vre as he may prufe was takin … , to the producing of the quhilk prufe the lordis assignis him [etc.]; 1466 Acta Aud. 6/1.
That … the said Margret bring … sic prufe and document as scho will vse; 1471 Ib. 21/2.
Becaus the said schir Robert allegis that he has vther pruf the quhilk he mycht nocht get for schortnes of tyme the lordis auditouris continewis the said pruf [etc.]; 1478 Ib. 59/2.
Be sufficient testimony and pruffe allowable be the lawis; 1586–7 Reg. Privy C. IV 141.
Without confessioun, preuffe or euther tryall; 1608 Hist. Fam. Seton 908.
Gif the partie defendand that day of prufe be absent, and the party followand being present with his prufe in his hand, and swa the partie defendand be not … present to receiue the prufe against him; Skene Reg. Maj. i 106b.
(2) It is forbodyn … that ony man suld be witnes in his awin cause, the quhilk he ingeris him to be that wagis bataill, sen his awin persone is a pruf; Hay I 257/24.
Gif the beist … happin to die, the defendar aucht to bring to the court ane pruif thairof, viz. the top and tail [etc.]; Balfour Pract. 523.
(3) pl. For quhy that it war bot vayne thing to jugis to do justice, gif men suld be prufis thame selff; Hay I 73/22.
All folk to move plede for thair accioun, and to lede sufficient provis thareapon; Ib. 257/26.
And sen it is sa in lawis ordinaire that quhen I have led a certane of witnes [etc.]. … And gif ane of my provis [sc. a weapon] failis me in lissis; Ib. 268/31.
The lettres, euidentis, documentis & richtis profis & witnes producit be bath the partijs; 1466 Acta Aud. 3/2.
Pruffis; 1500 Acta Conc. II 473.
& produccioin of prufis producit be the saide William Peirson hard red & vnderstandin; 1507 Edinb. B. Ct. Bk. 3.
Bot proovis wer brocht in aganis him; Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 62.
If he bring him to a legall tryell will allow him all his lawefull proufes and defences and doe him justice; 1644 Laing MSS I 214.
And in this crime there are seldom other prooves; Mackenzie Laws & C. i x §1 (1678) 81.
12. a. The giving of valid evidence on oath in court; the action of serving as a valid witness.
Thir are the namys of thame that may nocht stande in assise nor in pruf nor in acquyttance; Acts I 380/2.
Gif a man … sais that [another] … is manesuorne and be that wald mak him unhable to stand in pruf na witnes … he [etc.]; Hay I 263/23.
Ȝit have thai [sc. liars] scham in euery place Fra pruf and wytnes baith vnabile, And fra al office honorabile; Consail Vys Man 79.
Quhasa euir brakis in ony of thir condicionis sall be haldyn infamous maynsworne [etc.] … and nevir to be harde in prufe na witnes; 1467 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 403.
b. A person who gives evidence on oath in court, a witness.
The lordis … ordanis him to haf lettres to summond his profis; 1466 Acta Aud. 6/1.
Prufis; 1478 Ib. 75/1.
The balleis advyssand with the depositioun of the proffes and assessouris hes fund [etc.]; 1571 Lanark B. Rec. 57.
Aganis these tua he brocht in tua fals provis, and cawsit thayme be confrontit before the juge; Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 209.
Who but witches can be prooues, and so witnesses of the doings of witches? James VI Dæmonol. (S.T.S.) 55/9.
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