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Mos, n. Also: moss(e, mose, mois, moise, moiss(e, mooss, mowse, moas(s)e. [North. ME. mos (c 1260), mosse (? a 1400), also e.m.E. mosse (1485), moos (1486), ‘bog’ etc., and thereafter in this sense chiefly Sc., mod. north. Eng. and mod. Irish dial., OE. mos neut. bog. Cf. ME. (? orig. north.) and e.m.E. mos(se (1324–5), as the name of the plant (sense B below). Early north. ME. mose (? c 1150) in this use may be f. ON. mose.]

A. 1. As a place-name or place-name element, in senses 2–4 below, but esp. sense 4. (1) Obventiones totius terre mee de Mosplat; c 1220 Liber Dryburgh 157.
(2) Extendendo per le Byermos; 1219–33 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 428.
Usque ad locum vbi Clovindik cadit in Grenemos … et a parte aquilonali de Grenemos versus orientem inter mussam et moram; c 1300–30 Liber Melros II. 375.
And swa doun throw the Insnochmos to [etc.]; 1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 248.
Usque petarium nuncupatum Ridhalchis Mowse; 1475 Ayr Chart. 90.
To the Tressirrig-mos and round about the samyne mos quhill [etc.]; 1565 Reg. Great S. 656/1.
Downe to the south end of the said Kirk-medo-mos; Ib.
The battell of Sollen mos; Pitsc. I. 403 h. of ch.
Ascending up the Black Moiss; 1618 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 371.
About the Leavrick moise; 1661 Elgin Rec. II. 296.
(3) Nocht to birn no paittis within the mos of Mostowe; 1571 Elgin Rec. I. 128.
On the south syd of the mos of the Gardyne; 1578 Aberd. Chart. 339.
The grene ley betuixt the mos and the towne of Gardyne; Ib.
1588 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 20 July.
The haill tennents … to cast and leid thair leitt peitts … in the ordinar moss of Wrie; 1629 Urie Baron Ct. 66.
For not leiding of ten loads of peits from the moss of Home to Stitchell; 1677 Stitchill Baron Ct. 79.
To lead … ane leit of peates out of the latch of Glithnoe and moss of Cairntoune; 1682 Urie Baron Ct. 96.
(b) Cum communi marresio lie mois de Monymoir; 1564–5 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 537/1.
Quhill they came to the mois of Cowhill; 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 106.
That the divill appeired to her in the moiss of the Neutoune of Airly; 1662 Forfar Witches in
Reliq. Antiq. Sc. 144.

2. Boggy ground, moorland. Be hyll and mosse thaim self to weire; Bower Chron. II. 232.
Throw mony wilsome wayis … Throw mure mos throw banke busk & brere; Henr. Fab. 184 (Asl.).
Baith ouer mois & strand; Ib. 2520 (H).
Be … mos, slike & sward irksum to ane armye ȝoure regiouns aboundis; Boece iii. v. 97.
Into June … mos and myre with clot and clay will cling; Stewart 7398.
To fle, Sum to the mos, sum to the montanis he; Ib. 8833.
Ib. 635.
Lauder Minor P. ii. 46.
He dryfs Throw mos and montane [etc.]; J. Stewart II. 95/580.
Scharpe and hard hillis full of mosse, more and marrase; Dalr. I. 9/17.
Ib. 163/17.
Ferg. Prov. No. 168.
There is mosse in a montane, wod in a wildernes [etc.]; Carmichael Prov. No. 1633.
The lairgnes of this parochin in lenth thrie mylis … all moss; Rep. Parishes 70.

3. A bog, marsh, mire; also, a tract of bog or wet moor, a stretch of boggy moorland. (a) (1) [Sicut riuulus descendit a mossa, … inter mossam et duram terram; 1208–18 Liber Calchou 76.]
Le mosse; 1294 Reg. Paisley 94.
The hey gat liand was Apon a fayr feild, ewyn and dry, Bot apon athir sid … Wes a gret mos; Barb. viii. 164 (E).
The mekill mos … That wes swa hidwous for to waid; Ib. xix. 759.
Ib. viii. 173, xix. 738, 747.
Swa doun throw the mos; 1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 248.
The mos was strang, to ryde thaim was no but; Wall. iv. 273.
Ib. vii. 808.
To ane man biggit ane brig our ane mos; 1506 Treas. Acc. III. 356.
The heid of the mos; 1508 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 127.
1524 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 73.
To win … scherettis … to mak ane gait throw the mos; Bell. Boece II. 34.
Boece iv. i. 125 b.
Ane mos … With mony dubbis that war bayth deip and wyde; Stewart 51220.
Ib. 4742.
Quhen … everilk mos ar maid in gude domane; Bann. MS. 267 a/23.
Quhill it come to the heid of the said blind burne, quhair thair is ane littill moss; 1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 324.
For the relief of these who had thair lands overflowed be the moss; 1630 Kirkcaldy Presb. 10.
1675 Erskine Diary 224.
If the Lord could be tyed to any place, it is to the mosses and muirs of Scotland; 1683 Butler Leighton 417.
Sibbald Scot. Illustr. 30.
That the said mos may be improven; 1689 Rec. Old Aberd. I. 149.
A. Shields Grievances and Sufferings 25.
(2) The Highlanders … did runne of, all in a confusione, … till they wer gott into a mosse; J. Gordon Hist. II. 274.
All of them took presentlie [? = ran off into] a mosse; 1683 Misc. Spald. C. II. 293.
(b) He raid throw montanes many mose and myre; 1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 347.
Pitsc. I. 301/8.
Lie mures et mosis jacent. supra terras lie the brae-landis of Thornetoun; 1616 Reg. Great S. 537/2.
1679 Lauderdale P. 167.
(c) Frathin throw the mois as it is poittit; 1553 Prot. Bk. R. Lumsdane MS. 14 b.
Moir nor the twa pairt muirs, moissis and barren ground; 1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 50.
Mois; ? 1643 Misc. Spald. C. II. xlii.
(d) That the merch … goes from the moase at the backe of that hill, … from that moasse, … at the north side of the mosse; 1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes 82 (14 July).

4. (A tract of) bog or moorland as useful property, esp. as a source of peat or turves; (a tract of) peatbog. Also Pete-mos n., Under-mos n. See also Lair n.1 6, Lair n.3 and Mure n. Ib for further examples. (1) Owr predecessoris … tholyt the smyth tyll byg ane smyde in the mos becaus of his colys and fuell that was necessar to his office; 1459 Liber Aberbr. 107.
They sal neuer cast bot onder a fourhed leuand a pairt of the mos in the ground and fylland behynd tham with the sward of the mos; 1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 171.
He come in his rowm of the mos & hakkit his pettis; 1486 Prestwick B. Rec. 31.
Twa rod of mos, lyand in the he mos of Prestwick; 1511 Ib. 42.
That na personis pas to the mos with crelis … provyding alvais that tha that hes pettis in the mos [etc.]; 1549 Elgin Rec. I. 100.
1557 Reg. Cupar A. II. 130.
For the selling & casting of ma peitis nor four dargis in the delt mos; 1575 Prestwick B. Rec. 76.
1580 Elgin Rec. I. 158.
Thay … castis up thair eird and mossis, leidis thair pettis and dovettis; 1586 Reg. Privy C. IV. 117.
Mosse; 1628 Ib. 2 Ser. II. 256.
It haith nather moss nor lymestane; Rep. Parishes 36.
To cast peittis or turris in the mekle mos; 1632 Cullen B. Rec. 27 Apr.
That thai sall not beire peittis nor elding out of the hill nor moss; Ib. 27 July.
1638 Aboyne Rec. 287.
Spoiling of the mossis be cutting, holling and burneing the saidis mossis; 1652 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 132.
1664 Peebles B. Rec. II. 59.
1668 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 21.
Schoe … being in the mosse to bring ane caisie of peatis to her owin hous; 1665 S. Ronaldshay 49.
Ane insoume and tua hill soume and halff moss and moor; 1669 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 247.
Considdering that the common mosse quhen sett is over run they resolve that it shall not be castin againe ay and quhill it sward; 1674 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. MS. 4 May.
Mosses; Fraser Polichron. 454.
1678 Rec. Old Aberd. I. 132.
Few parts are far from good moss, which furnishes the countrey with fire; 16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 83.
Moss; 1698 Maxwell Lett. 347.
The usual … agreement with the proprietor of the moss; Brand Orkney & Shetl. 25.
(b) Fiff rodis of mose; 1473 Prestwick B. Rec. 22.
In hoiling and casting the toun mose; 1668 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 287.
(c) Mois; 1535 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 124.
Moiss; 1563 Dumfries B. Ct. 208 b.
Mois; 1588 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 20 July.
Thair being no guid mois vpon that pairt of the landis pertening to Casschogill, thay haue oft … haid licence … to cast … thair peattis … vpon the landis of Cnokconie; 1621 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI. 337.
The … comoune moiss; 1636 Misc. Spald. C. V 225.
The haill awneris of peitis within the moisses; 1637 Banff Ann. I. 76.
Be resone of the scarcitie of moiss be the gryt abuse in burneing of them and making of brintland; 1649 Misc. Spald. C. V. 229.
Where the laird of Monymvsk wes in ane moiss causing cast peitis; Spalding I. 270.
Ib. 205.
1693 Elgin Rec. I. 354.
(d) That no peits be led of the lairds mooss quhair his leit peits ar castin; 1646 Misc. Spald. C. V. 229.
(2) To be haldyn … the forsaide landys … in morys marres mosis myris hychttis [etc.]; 1461 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 362.
c 1536 Rec. Earld. Orkney 222.
With commounty in the muris mosis and myris of Ouire and Nether Lifty; 1540 Acts II. 379/2.
1550 Rec. Earld. Orkney 240.
To bruik … all mure mossis hillis and fevall boundis therof; 1595 Douglas Bequest 7 July.
1610 Aboyne Rec. 202.
Outseattis inseattis cottaigis moisses medowis [etc.]; 1614 Ib. 216.
Moisis; 1620 Grant Chart. 318.
1636 Glasgow Chart. II. 595.
And pertinentis of the samyne, grassings, sheilings, moss, muires [etc.]; 1657 Bk. Dunvegan I. 83.
With mose muire wood [etc.]; 1659 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 248.
1658 Oliphants 243.
Moissis; 1659 Stewart Mem. 134.
The said toune and lands … with … dependencies, mosis, muires [etc.]; 1662 Burnett Fam. P.

b. Appar. the right of taking peat or turves from a ‘moss’; also, an allocation of ‘moss’ or peat-bog for this purpose. Also to have (? = to enjoy) and to mak (? = to take for oneself) this right. (1) This inquest … hes gevin … George Jamsone to vs and hant all fredomes of our common … videlicet, mos, mvir and lynggers; 1535 Selkirk B. Ct. 197 b.
Tomas George desyris … to bruyk … mos and wraik; 1544 Prestwick B. Rec. 59.
With alsmeikle pasturage and mosse as effeirrs; 1672 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 40.
(2) And na stalenger nor onfreman to hawe moss nor mak moss at thair awin hand but consent forsaid; 1632 Cullen B. Ct. 27 July.

5. Soil, turf or peat from a bog; bog-soil, bog. For vij tu rs of hadder to the clay bargis vij s. viij d.; Item, for mos iiij s.; 1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 455.
Ib. 473.
Eldine to the fyre, quhither … it war of mos, trie or stane, is abundant … aneuch; Dalr. I. 28/7.
There is a great deal of black earth thorow the countrey, which the people call moss; c 1680 Coll. Aberd. & B. 99.
At the back of the toun there is a hill of black moss, wherein they cast their pites; Brand Orkney & Shetl. 86.

6. Attrib. and comb. a. In senses 2 and 3. Moss-cheeper, the meadow pipit. Moscrop, cotton grass: for appar. earlier examples (f. 1326) as a surname, see Black Surnames, s.v. Moss. Mos-erde (= earth), marshy or boggy ground. Moss-hag, -hole, a pit or hole in a moss (Hag n. b). Also mos(s)-bridge, -burne (= burning: cf. Mure-burn(e), -fauld, -fowl, -hous, -syde, -water, -wynd. If any person in casting of peats do cutt trouble or under mine the moss bridges he shall pay [etc.]; 16.. E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII. 15.
Makaris of murburne and mosburne … in forbiddin tyme; 1617 Acts IV. 537/1.
Titlinga, titling or mosscheeper; Sibbald Scot. Illustr. iii. 22.
Our hill mosses afford a long small grass, about the breadth of a straw, and a foot or two high … ; so that some mosses are so weel replenished with this moscrop, as they call it, that they are very good pasture; 1683 Coll. Aberd. & B. 104.
At ane strenth, environyt with moss eird, he lugeit his armye; Boece vi. vii. 198.
And in the samyn [valley] ane myre with mos erde; Ib. viii. viii. 266.
Terras de Balhoussie, Mosfauld [etc.]; 1662 Retours I. No. 385 (Forfar).
As to the right of pasturage, with the privilege of casting divots and peats out of the moss, they did likewise find, that Tunnel, being interrupted within the forty years, and by payment of moss-fowls … his declarator of commonty could not be sustained; 1673 Brown Suppl. Dict. Decis. I. 696.
Me thinks I see the wanderers lying in the moss-hags, jowking up and down; Copy of Letter by Mr. John Dickson when Prisoner in the Bass (1717) 13.
Ane complaint … for … filling of his mosseholls with hir lint; 1677 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 86.
The said barony called the moshoussis; 1570–1 Reg. Privy S. VI. 199.
The bank be the mossyid vnder the litill bray; 1537–8 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 151.
Terrarum de Mossyd; 1609 Retours I. No. 68 (Dumfries).
By John Spier of yearly feu for the moss-side of Over Johnston; 1680 Cunningham Diary 128.
The drink was sometimes blood and other times black moss-water; 1678 Fountainhall Decis. I. 15.
The croftis … bewest the mosswynd; 1642 Elgin Rec. I. 273.
1657 Ib. 301; etc.

b. In sense 4, with ground, turf, ward. Also Mos-lef(e, -maill(e, -rowm(e. All the islands are well fired by reason of the abundance of moss-ground; 16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 4.
The tennentis … shall preserve … the moss grownd … that ther be no firr nor aik holled therin; 1676 Misc. Hist. Soc. III. 305.
In the very best of moss grounds, which are ever on the tops of hills, whose peits when dry are exceeding hard; 1683 Coll. Aberd. & B. 103.
To cast any of the forbidden earth, grein earth and moss turffes; 1652 Lanark B. Rec. 148.
Warda maresia lie Moswaird infra wardas glebarias dicti burgi de Elgin; 1662 Retours I. No. 115 (Elgin).
Terris vocatis Mossward; 1691 Ib. No. 663 (Ayr).

c. Moss-maister, -ward, a person appointed to keep order on a communal ‘moss’ (sense 4). Also Mosgrive. Also mosman, found only as a surname (f. 1426); see Black Surnames s.v. Mossman, and add: Johne Mosman (1489 Acta Aud. 134/1). That ane moss maister sould be chosin for haueing a cair of the saidis mossis and … for the right regulating of the samen; 1652 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 132.
To the mossgrieve for his 2 years service as mossward he gat for keiping the moss; 1656 Misc. 3 Spald. C. II. 189.

B. 7. Moss, the plant or small vegetation. The only instance, unless, just possibly, quot. 1512, sense A5, really belongs here. Ȝe … offered him ane grass, as ȝe callit it, but to his appearance, nothing but ane litle quantitie of quhyt moss or fogge; 1643 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 182.

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"Mos n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/mos>



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