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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

President, Presedent, n. Also: præ-, praesident, presydent, precident(e, -cydent, precedent; procedant. Plur. also presidence. [ME and e.m.E. president (Wyclif), -sydent, precident (Chaucer), -cydent, e.m.E. also precedent (1480), -sedent (1615), F. président (1296 in Godef. Compl.), L. præsidēns, -ēnt-. (Cf. Precede v.2)]

1. A deputed governor or lieutenant of a province, etc.; a subordinate ruler.Also const. to others (and cf. 5 c below).(1) a1400 Leg. S. x 397.
Quhene it hapynnis ȝov to stand Be-fore the precedent ore kynge
Ib. xx 59, etc.
Of that cunctre the president
Ib. xliv 192.
Befor kingis quhen ȝe sal stand Or befor precydentis of the land
Ib. xx 221, xliv 199.
1513 Doug. x Prol. 116.
Maid thou not man first president [Ruthv. procedant] vnder thé To dant the bestis
1533 Bell. Livy II 94/27.
This Cornelius Cossus was made president of the tovne [L. praefuit urbi]
1535 Stewart 20435.
Martius, In Lundoun toun … For to remane and president to be Of all the south and haif auctoritie
1543 Bk. Carlaverock II 24.
Thar efter we departit to the new castell, quhar as we spak with my Lordes Wardane and Presedent
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4074.
Ponce Pylat, the precedent, Said to thame [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2701.
In Plutois palice thair to be president Amang that graceles garisoun sa grim
(2) a1538 Abell 25 b.
The Britonaris … slew mony of the Romanis at wes presidence to thame

2. In Edinburgh and Elgin: One appointed or elected to preside in the council of a burgh as the provost's depute.Also, one appointed to serve as the depute of a burgh magistrate, generally.(1) 1487 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 52.
The quhilk day … Patrick Lord Hales my lord provest … hes with the consent of the baillies and counsale and a pairt of the community of this burgh chosin James of Creichtoun of Felde to be his depute and president vnder him indurand his will becaus the haill towne committit power to his lordschip to cheise his deputes and presidentis [etc.]
1513 Ib. 142.
The provest baillies counsale and communitie … thai haue lymyt chosin and left behind thame [sc., supra, efter thair passage to the Kingis armye] George of Towris, president, for the prouest, Robert Brus [etc.] … for the baillies, till haue full jurisdictioun in thair absence
It is statute … be the personis aboue written presidentis for the prouest baillies and counsall … that [etc.]
Ib. 144.
Be the president baillies and counsale
1514 Ib. 151, 152. Ib. 153; etc.
My lord principale prouest president baillies and counsall
1514 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 19.
Be avis of the saidis presedent, wattirbalȝe and Carrik
1519 Ib. 147.
To cheis the said erle of Arane for this yer in thar provest, thai haifand free electioun to cheis ane presedent with all uthir officiaris
1524–5 Edinb. B. Rec. I 220. 1535–6 Ib. II 74. 1557 Ib. III 15.
[The lord provost representing] how necessar it wes for thame … to haue ane honest and qualefeit man to be thair president induring the tyme of his absence
1558 Ib. 23.
The presidenttis baillies dekynnis and counsale foirsaid
1558 Edinb. Old Acc. I 269.(2) 1550–1 Elgin Rec. I 107.
The provest, baillies and haill comunate present hes electit … William Hay of Mayne precident of the burgh of Elgin till the provest returnying ouer Spey
1552–3 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 212 (7 Feb.).
Conforme to ane commission direct fra the provest precidente & baillies of Elgine

3. The person presiding over the chapter of a cathedral or collegiate church, a provost (in the ecclesiastical sense). 1491 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I 256.
That nayne rede legendis bot at commavnde of the president bot gif [etc.]
1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 153.
Without special leif of the dene or president and cheptour of Glasgu
1546 Rankin St. A. Ch. 91.
[Walter Fethy is termed] president of the chapter of St. Mary's
1552 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I 56.
With consent of the president and haill cheptour of Glasgw
1579 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 399.
With consent of the precedent and chaptur of Abirdene

4. a. The designation or title of that member of the Court of Session appointed or, between 1579 and 1661, elected, to preside in the absence of the Chancellor.Also in place of (= deputy for) the president, vice- president.(1) 1491 Acts II 225/1.
That for the eschewing of slauchter … and debate … betuix ony personis … be complant maid to oure souerane lord his chancellare or justice that the chancellare or presedent beand for the tyme with the avise of the consale or justice with avise of his assissouris sall [etc.]
1532 Facs. Nat. MSS. III xx.
Statutis … maid … be … Gawyne Archibischop of Glasgow Chancellar, Alexander Abbot of Cambuskynneth presedent, and the remanent of the lordis of sessioun
1533 Treas. Acc. VI 154.
My lord of Cambuskennetht, precedent in the Sessioune
1622-6 Bisset I 72/18.
1678 Edinb. B. Rec. X 358.
(b) 1511 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XI 107.
At the entre of my lord chancelar or president for the tyme that nane entir … bot [etc.]
c 1528 Ib. XI 116.
To the chansler, president, or clerk of register
1532 Acts II 335/2.
And tharfor tendis to institute ane college [etc.] … and tharfor thinkis to be chosin certane persouns … to the nowmer of xiiij persouns half spirituale half temporall with ane president, … providing alwayis that my lord chancelare being present … he sall haue voit and be principale of the said counsell
1538 Treas. Acc. VI 419. 1540–1 Acts II 371/2.
And attour gevis and grantis to the president, vicepresident and senatouris power to mak sic actis [etc.]
1574 Acts III 84/1.
Maister Williame Baillie, Lord Provand, President of the College of Iustice
1575–6 Waus Corr. 114.
Chancellare president and lordis of counsall and sessioun we greit yow weill
1579 Acts III 153/2.
That the president of the said college of iustice salbe chosine be the haill senatouris thairof
1596 Dalr. I 126/35.
1618 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 183.
[The Council] appoyntis to speik my Lord Chancellour and president anent [etc.]
1622-6 Bisset I 94/2. 1629 Lowther's Jrnl. 29.
My Lord Chancellor … , the President of the sessions … in a purple gown faced with red velvet, and … the rest of the lords
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 21.
The lords of session may choose their owen president
Ib. 25. 1642 Acts Sederunt ii 51. 1661 Ib. 70. 1672 Acts VIII 85/1. c 1700 R.A. Hay Mem. in Arch. Scot. IV 15.
For a part of my lord Castlehills seat, just behind the presidents [supra Sir George Lockhart, President of the Session]
(2) 1568 Bk. Univ. Kirk App. liii.
My lordis president of session, secretare [etc.]
1598 Household Bks. Jas VI 2–11 July.
His majestie dyneit and soupit with my lord president in his awin hous at Edinburgh
1633 Lithgow Poet. Remains 111. 1676 Edinb. B. Rec. X 287.
Sir James Dalrumple of Staires Lord Precedent of the Session
1678 Ib. 334.
The baillies to deall with the Lord Precedent and the rest of the lords
Ib. 358.(3) 1596 Dalr. II 357/1.
Henrie Sinklar deane of Glaswe, cheif in the hie court, and in place of the precident [L. summæ curiæ senator et vicepræses], a man of gret judgement

b. Latterly also, a member of the Privy Council who similarly deputised there for the Chancellor. 1624 Melrose P. 561.
Letters to the chansaller and presedent of Scotland
1629 Justiciary Cases I 126.
My Lord erle of Monteith president of his Maiesteis Secreit Counsall and Justice Generall to his Maiestie
1661 Acts VII 48/2.
The lord chancellour, lord thesaurer, lord president of the councill, lord privy seall, the lord secretary
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii vi 1.
His Majesties Privy Council in which the Chancelor is president, if he be present, but in his absence, the President of the Council precedes. This office of Precedent of the Council is a distinct imployment and it gives him the precedency from all the nobility

5. a. The chief official of a court or convention other than the above, who presided at meetings. c1460 Regim. Princ. 183 (Fairf.).
Justice wald haue a generale president Ane auditoure of complayntis of the pure
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3829 (Ch.).
That into Elgin … Sall be ane sute of clark[i]s sapient Togidder with ane prudent precident To do iustice in all the norther airtis
1676 Inverness Rec. II 270.
The saids Comissioners [of the Convention of Royal Burghs] wnder the subscriptione of Sir Patrick Threapland precident lau[fu]llie chosen

b. The person presiding over a meeting, the chairman. 1587 Carmichael Etym. 19.
Praeses, a president
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 382.
The Lord … proponed this race unto us; he is president and moderator of the race
1596 Dalr. II 219/8.
The nobilitie … compeiret in gret number; quhair the king selfe was present, baith juge and president
1633 Acts V 11/1.
The forsaids lordes of the articles … with my lord chancellar as president … satte daylie … within the … inner hous
1639 Articles of Militarie Discipline 4.
The collonell shal be president; and in his absence his leive-tennant
c1650 Spalding II 3.
Robert Lord Burly, chosin president of the meiting of the Estaites of Parliament
16.. R. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 396.
Thair presidents of thair everlasting continued parliaments, war of thair owne creation

c. A person appointed or elected as leader, presiding officer or chairman, to or unto others.Cf. also 1 (2) above. a1538 Abell 4 a.
To that purpos wes ane schosin of the best of the pepill & maist prudent to be president to the laif
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 21.
The ferd [doctor] … Wnto the laif was speciall president

6. A presiding (female) deity, a patron(ess).Only in Douglas (and e.m.E. (17th c.)). 1513 Doug. Comm. i i 14.
She [Juno] is clepit queyn of goddis, mastres and lady of realmys, precident of byrthis, [etc.]
Id. Æn. x v 97.
‘O blyssyt moder of the goddis’ quod he … ‘Be thou in batall now my president [L. princeps], Be my protectrix’

7. plur. a. The chief lords of the Parlement of Paris, serving as a judicial committee. b. Also applied, in the Latin form (also as presides parliamenti), to a similar committee of the Scottish Parliament, appar. similar to that known later as the lords auditors.See also Acta Conc. II xxxii, Sources & Lit. Sc. Law (St. S. 1) 19, Introd. to Sc. Legal Hist. (St. S. 20) 327, 336, and Lord n. 16 a. 1369–70 Acts I 176/1.]
[Comparentibus ibidem ipso die coram presidentibus ipsius parliamenti
c1420 Wynt. viii 271.
In Frawns to the presydentis [C. presidentis, W. presedentis] And lordis off the parlementis … the cas all thus wrat he
Ib. 535 (W).
With other gret men, presidentis, And peris of the parliamentis

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"President n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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