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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
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Mote, Mot(t, Moit, n.2 Also: motte, moitt(e, moyt(e, moat, moot, moett. [ME. (a 1272) and e.m.E. mote a (castle) mound, a motte, also ME. (14th c.) and e.m.E. mot(e, moote, a moat or a pond, OF. mote, motte, clod, hillock, mound, castle-hill, med. L. mota, motta, MDu. mote.]

1. A mound or hillock, natural or artificial; also, an embankment.Freq., an artificial mound on which a castle or fortification was erected, a ‘motte’; also a funeral mound, a tumulus or barrow; and generally.Also const. of (earth).

As a place-name. Also attrib. b. In general use.Common in Douglas and Bellenden.a. (1) 1430 Reg. Great S. II. 34/1.
Licenciam specialem construendi castrum, in loco illo qui vulgariter dicitur le mote de Lochorwart, vic. Edynburgh
1457 Exch. R. VI. 345.
Terre dela mote de Erelistoun
Ib. 346.
De le mote de Urr
1489 Reg. Great S. 397/1. 1534 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 422.
To ane place of the west bordour callit the mote of Liddale
1566 Reg. Privy S. V. ii. 85/1.
Etiam motam vulgo lie mote de Carale olim castrum de Carale vocatum
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (M.C.) 305.
To the height of a hill, callit the mote of the Wowmat
(b) 1471 Reg. Great S. 216.
De terris … de Cleisch [etc.] … excepto le mot dictarum terrarum pro capitali messuagio
(c) 1538 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 671.
De lie moit de Lochquhorat
1546 Reg. Great S. 754/2.
Cum … fortalicio lie moit de Errole
1583 Ib. 178/1.
Lie moitt de Craile
1624 Ib. 191/2.
Ex occidente monticuli lie moit de Gladismure
1641 Acts V. 474.
The landis of the moitte or maynes of Killbocho
(d) 1653 Retours II. No. 607 (Perth).
South toun of Kinrossie called the Moat
1698 Ib. I. No. 350 (Dumfries).(e) 1604 Retours I. No. 57 (Kirkcudbr.).
Moett de Ur
(f) 1652 Retours II. No. 603 (Perth).
The moot of Errole
(2) 1521–2 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XV. 328.
The Kings streit extendand to the mott on the northt part
1590 Crail B. Ct. 23 June.
In ane part callit the moit or grene
1681 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 544 (9 Dec.).
To the hill called the moat
(3) 1632 Sc. Ant. III. 129.
The Orcades that hants in Mearock's mote
(4) 1637 Retours I. No. 162 (Dumfries).
attrib. Et Motpuill infra senescallatum praedictum
1645 Ib. No. 220 (Lanark).
1678 Ib. No. 615 (Ayr).
In terris de Moitt … et terris de Moitsward et Brown Meadow
b. (1) 1513 Doug. iii. i. 46.
A litil mote … , Quhar hepthorn buskis on the top grew hie
Ib. v. 105.
He … Troiane wallis heir has beild vp thus, And on thir motis a strenth hait Ilion
Ib. vi. xvi. 13.
Apon the sepultur … Ane hepe of erd and litil mote gart vprays
Ib. xii. 74, viii. i. 76, x. xi. 102; etc. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 24.
The Scottis and Pichtis … convenit on ane litill mote
Ib. II. 386.
The castell of Striveling … was … richt strenthy be nature of the crag, standing on ane hie mote
Ib. I. 59, II. 148. Id. Livy II. 11/18, 105/5; etc. 1533 Boece iv. ii. 127 b; etc.(b) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2944.
Thai maid be out the wallis ane mott Vpoun the quhilkis thair men mycht saiflie stand
1531 Bell. Boece I. 69.
He gart rais ane huge stane gravin to the quik image of Cadall apon ane hie mot
1616 Reg. Privy C. X. 499.
[They] caryit him to a hoill betuix tua mottis
1682 Spottiswoode Misc. I. 320.
To ane other little mott where the Queen's lodgings were
(c) 1513 Doug. ii. xi. 59.
Thair is ane moit quhar ane auld temple … standis … of the goddes Ceres
Ib. ix. iv. 71.
Ib. xi. xvi. 38.
A byng of erth, vphepit like a moyt
1531 Bell. Boece I. 43/36.
The morrow following the confideratt kingis displayit thair baneris on the nixt moitt
Ib. (M) 137/30.
The municioun wes ane moit with ane mos circulit on euery syde
1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 256.
A mote or mount was dedicate beside everie churchyard to receave the souls
(2) 1683 Lauder Notices Affairs II. 472.
His mots of earth did no prejudice to the water

2. A ditch. c1590 Fowler I. 371/64.
Till at the last Amid the mote they light

3. In Kirkcudbright: The tidal moat which encircled the town.Also attrib. in mot(t)-woll, -well (appar. = -wall). 1584 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 200.
Ane pece land of thair commoun lands of the said burgh betuix the moit of the samin and the sey contenand fyiftie futts of lenth end langis the said mot begynnand … nerrest the moit woll
1608 Conv. Burghs II. 267.
The supplicatioun … of … Kirkcudbright … craifeing support to the reparatioun of thair heawin and mott
1640 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 613.
Coallis out of ane bark at the mot woll
1667 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I. 143.
Lyand at the moat theroff, the watter of Dea on the north, the mott well on the west

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"Mote n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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