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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Over, Oer, Ower, a. Also: -ir(e, -yr(e, owar; oure. [ME. overe (13th c.), ouer (Cursor M.), -ir, e.m.E. over.In Sc. appar. an orthographic variant of Uver a., rather than an adjectival use of Over adv., which, in this form, it considerably antedates (but cf. Overhand and Ourhand).]

(The) upper or higher (of two (esp.) or more).Only attrib. or with ellipsis, and, except in sense 1 a, preceded by the definite art., possessive, etc.For further examples, see Nether a.1, Ned(d)er a.

1. Of places or topographical features: Situated higher.Also in various extended applications, as: situated further in, more northerly, etc. Commonly used to distinguish one of two or more places bearing the same name.a. In place-names, without article. b. Preceded by the definite art.a. (1) 1363 Rot. Sc. 878/1.
Terras suas de … Over Caldclogh
1379–80 Liber Scon 145.
Terras meas de Camymychel Overcolane et Nethircolane
1438 Reg. St. A. 430.
Sen Ovirmalgask is fundin a tenandry
1488 Reg. Paisley 407.
Williame Conyngham of Ovyr Cragayns
1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 212. 1495 Acta Conc. I. 415/1.
Of the landis of Ouertoun of Quodqwen
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 252.
1573 Montgomery Mem. 212.
The v merkland of Owir Caldwall
1590 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 24 Nov.
Johne Hempseid … past to the … landis of Owir Pettinbringand
1605 Reg. Dunferm. 502.
Terrarum orientalis partis ville de Lassodie ovir
1638 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 441.
Over Altar lands and Nether Altar lands of Foverane
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 1190.
A land cald Nedyre Sythya, Ovyr [C. Owir, W. Wnder] Sythy lyis in Asya
Ib. 1204.
Duche-land … That cald wes Owyr [W. Vuer] Germany
b. (1) 1500 Caldwell P. 52.
The said land off the Over Culglen
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II. 93.
The third part of our towun … callit the Owar Mwrtone
1569 Crail B. Ct. 17 Apr.
The Rylland bayth ower and nether
(2) 1492 Acta Conc. I. 207/2.
Out of the ovirwarde of Cliddisdale
1523 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 171.
That my lord of Arane mak siclik ordinance within the ovirward of the scherefdome of Lanark … and … that the said ovirward of Cliddisdale cum with the lord Somervell to the said ost
1547 Reg. Privy C. I. 71.
And with him the ouir ward of Cliddisdaile and gentill men of Tueddaile
(3) 1439–40 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 239.
The comon vay of the Owerkyrkgat
1552 Reg. Privy S. IV. 267/2.
In the ovir gait … that passis to the Castelhill
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 90.
Alexander Spens for the Nether Bow … Jhone Symsoun for the Over Bow
1553 Prot. Bk. J. Harlaw 63.
The Over Boll of Edinburgh
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 214.
Betuix the ovir Nether Bow and the Freir Wynd heid
1601 Ib. V. 290. 1631 Edinb. Test. LV. 38 b.
Ane loft in the Overbow
1542 Reg. Cupar A. II. 181.
The wedo and hir soun for the Owarthoun
1659 Stitchill Baron Ct. 16.
At the eist end of the over-toune
1641 Dumfries Treas. Acc. 7.
For gathering of stones in the oversandbede
(4) 1511 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 133.
Schewand thai ar greitlie hurt be the nychtbouris at the ovir trone of woll butter cheis [etc.]
1547 Ib. II. 128.
All irne that beis inbrocht to this port of Leyth be brocht vp to the ovir trone and weyit thairat in tyme cuming
1552–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 75.
For ane wey balk to the ovir trone
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 69.
The captan … keapit the vpper warde above the over trone to be thair saivegard
1612 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 86. 1621 Acts IV. 669/2.
[To erect] ane weyhous at the over trone [of Edinburgh]
(5) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 217/4.
Patrik Calbreth beand in the ower bailȝe
1519 Rec. Earld. Orkney 93.
Fra the overmylne dame of Sabay
1551 Reg. Cupar A. II. 68.
As the owar dyke passis about the saymmyn [lands]
Ib. 69.
Our owar wod of Campsye
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 269.
The four ovir north buithis
1564 Ib. III. 189.
To caus … mend the sloppis of the over kirk yaird dike
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 148.
The ower mylne being the cheifest mylne
1619 Perth Kirk S. MS. 12 April.
At the ower golf hoill of the Inche
1656 Craig-Brown Selkirkshire II. 390.
The overmaines
1683 Edinb. B. Rec. XI. 74.
The over dam of the watter of Leith
(6) 1513 Doug. viii. iii. 122.
And occupy thai boundis oriental Quhar as the ovir see flowys alhaill, And eik thai westir partis
1533 Bell. Livy II. 198/18.
For the power of the said Ethruschis war fra the ovir seyis namit mare superum to the law seyis namyt mare inferum betuix quhilk seyis Italie lyis inclusit
1533 Ib./20.
The ovir sey is callit Tuscum be name of the pepill that inhabitis the land thareof

c. Denoting the higher or more distant part of a territory. 1622 Orkney Antiq. Soc. II. 76.
[They] sall gang throwe the haill ower barronny as officiaris
1677 Inverness Presb. 77.
In the over paroch of Strathglass

d. Applied to the persons belonging to or representing the upper or higher of two or more places; see also b (2). — 1519 Selkirk B. Ct. MS. fol. 75.
The wost wach to warn Alexander Scot … and the ower wach Jhone Jhonsoun
1534 Ib. (ed.) 143.
The over vaych

2. Of things generally.Also absol., with the indef. art. c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 16/5.
Thus betuix thire twa as the nethir & ovire milstane [etc.]
1531 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 65.
The tua over durris of tua west roundis
Ib. 66.
For pannalis for the glewing of the grete braid over wyndois
1532 Ib. 94. 1551 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 160.
The owir stop of the said buith dur
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7832.
That this deid cors his ouir teith dois haue
1573–4 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII. 70.
The ower windois
1576 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 301. 1587 Acts III. 522/1.
A prik of irne … passing throw … the said ovir cors bar
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. (1609) ii. 56 b.
In the middis of the ower trie
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1171.
Betwene the cap and the over lip
c1600-1633 Johnston MS Hist. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 190 n.
Wpone the ouer [sc. scaffold] was cituat ane virgin
1661 Donaldson Cramondiana 85.
The miller must have the keeping of the overstone of the same
absol. 1683 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 23 June.
For fliting the windises from one chaft to ane over

3. a. The over warld, the earth as opposed to the infernal regions. 1513 Doug. vi. xiii. 15.
And first sal rys in the ovir [1553, othir] warld agane … Born efter thy deces, child posthumus
Ib. x. i. 92.
Bot now Alecto newly is furth sent Into the ovir warld

b. The over bar, the eighth or furthest row of squares on a chess-board. a1500 Bk. Chess 2167.
Bot so it be throw awentur he wyn The ower bar

4. Forming the higher or topmost (end, part etc.) a. of a place or object, b. of the human body.a. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1636.
The ouer cantall of his scheild he claue
1490 Irland Mir. I. 151/29.
The nethir fundament of the leddir js the nature that Jhesu tuk jn his humanite, the ower part is his diuinite
1528 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 96.
The wach to warne Symon Farle in the ouer part, John Brydin in the est part and George Mychellhill in the west part
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 259. 1558 Fam. Rose 225.
Ane borit stane at the over and north part of the said dyk
1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 174.
The tenement of land … liand … in the ovir end of the said wynd
1571 Inverness Rec. I. 205. 1590 Crim. Trials I. ii. 202.
The said wich … maid ane graif of your lenth and tuke vp the ower pairt thairof and laid it asyde
1593 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 86.
The stoupe laitlie sett up in the over end [of the fish market]
1599 Elgin Rec. II. 74. 1634 Cramond Cullen Ann. 39.
That two menwatch nichtlie … in the over end of the town and two in the nether
1667 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 184.b. 1513 Doug. iii. vi. 134.
Lyke to a woman hir ovyr portrature, A fair virgynys body doun to hir scheir
c1600 Medical Recipes 90.
The ouir part of ane man and the nather end of a voman
c1615 Chron. Kings 109.
Thay fand the King lyand … with his sark on his ower pairttis

5. a. That is situated on a higher level or floor of a building; (the) upstairs (room etc.). b. Denoting the upper portion or division of a building.(1) c 1450 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 204.
A faldyn stule of coruyn werk in the ouyr vestre
1469–70 Ayr B. Ct. 12 Feb.
Betuext the tennement of the oure loft on the ta part & [etc.]
1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 648/2.
In the ouer chalmer
1565 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 25.
In the ower galry
1570 Prot. Bk. A. Millar 4 b.
In the over heiche chalmer
1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 320.
In the over lardner ane punsioun of salt beif
1638 Elphinstone Mun. 26. 1658 Sc. N. & Q. 3 Ser. IX. 137.
Quhilk wester over fore-buith above disponed
1674 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 202.
The over or top housses of the saids tenements
1675 Ib. 239.
The over storie of the Parliament Hous
1697 Hector Renfrewshire Rec. I. 123.
Ane over rig chamber
(2) 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 206.
The bigging of the tolbuith and steving of the geistis of the over hous thairof
1560 Ib. III. 78.
[The treasurer] to loft and flure the ovir irne hous
1572 Canongate Ct. Bk. 398.
Ane foir laich duelling hous with ane laich sellar and ovirhous abone the samyn
1578 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 52.
Ane ower hous nixt adiacent to the said Walteris ower chalmer
1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 320.
In the over girnelhous
1603 Moysie 130. 1610 Stirling B. Rec. I. 124.
To big up the window in the over wairdhous
1637 Edinb. Test. LVIII. 244.
Ane ȝeires maill of ane over hous … [£240]
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 213. 1677 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 312.
To have … lights in his over housses above the volts
(3) 1557 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 7.
The … [council] being convenit in the ovir counsale hous
1571–2 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII. 59.
To the lok of the ovir counsallhous
1576 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 6 Dec. 1605–6 Misc. Spald. C. V. 80.
For mending of the lock of the over counsallhous dure
(4) 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 285.
Irne wark … to the irne hous and theivis hoill and over tolbuith
1555–6 Ib. 322. 1594 Acts IV. 56/2.
The lordis of articles … to sitt … in the ovir tolbuith of Edinburgh
1601 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 287.

6. a. Of a class in a college: Senior, more advanced. 1628 Edinb. Univ. Chart. .
All the tyme that the tuo over classes ar examinatting, the regent gives unto theme theames to turne into Greik

b. The over hous, the upper house, the (English) House of Lords. — c1650 Spalding I. 256.
The over hous, for the most pairt, and bischopis wes content. The lover hous send wp to the vpper hous [etc.]

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"Over adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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