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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.

Pifer, n. Also: piphre; pepher, -our; piffer. [16th c. F. pifre, piffre (Huguet), It. piffero, med. L. piffarus, -erus (1386 in du Cange), a fife.]

1. A player on the fife; a ‘piper’.(a) 1564–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 482.
To the haill trompetouris and sueschouris and pephouris … in playing afoir the toun
1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 332.
To the said tabourers and pepher the day of the upcuming of hir maiestie to the abay
(b) 1587 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 488.

2. A fife or other wind instrument.(a) 1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 250/909.
Praise him with trumpet piphre [MS. fifre] and drumme
c1650 Spalding II. 206 marg.
Drums trumpetis piferis hard on the nicht
(b) 1627 Bk. Carlaverock II. 91.
I will desyr ȝour lordship to cause by ane fyne piffer of brase to him in Edinburgh
c1650 Spalding II. 206. a1651 Calderwood VII. 595.
Like the beatting upon drummes and playing upon piffers and the sound of trumpets

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



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