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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).

Relaps(e, n.2 and adj. Also: -lapis. Noun pl. also: relaps. [L. relaps-, p.p. stem of relābī Relaps(e v. Cf. e.m.E. relapse (1592), F. relaps (fem. -lapse).]

A. noun. 1. One who has (? again) fallen away from the ‘true’ faith; a backslider.Also, pl. without infl.In Concilia Sc. I clxvi, for both quots. for 1546, relapsis is transcribed as relaps, which if correct should perh. properly be regarded as an adj. (= that have backslid or relapsed). 1546 Reg. Privy C. I 61.
The names of the heretiks that ar relapsis or haldis opynionnis aganis the sacrament of the alter or that techis heresys
Ib. I 63.
Uthairis of thame abjurit and relapsis baneist of auld, now cummis pertly … to the court … and sum tyme … instructis uthairis in the saidis dampnable hereseis
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 108.
S. Cyprian teachis … of the relaps & apostats from the Catholik faith

2. One who has relapsed into wrong-doing or sin; ? a habitual sinner. 1657 Cullen Kirk S. 12 April.
Confessed he had caried fish on the sabbath, the sessione finding him a relapse, ordains him to satisfie as ane fornicator

B. adj. 1. Of a person: That has relapsed into (in) sin or wrong-doing, esp. a sin of which one has previously been guilty. a. predic.There is in some instances possible ambiguity with A 2 above. 1564 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 56.
Sick as are relapse the thrid tyme in any kind of crymes
1574 Ib. 327.
Sick as were papists … if they dissobey, to be haldin as relapse, and to proceid aganis them as relapse with the sentence of excommunication
1582–3 St. A. Kirk S. 495.
Margret Suyne, quha grantis … that sche is now relapis
1593 Perth Kirk S. in J.P. Lawson The Book of Perth 209.
Janet Fendour, relapse in fornication with Peter Stoup
1587-99 Hume 128/152.
That thou art daily relaps in publick sins
1602 Elgin Rec. II 106.
Gif scho beis found relaps to pay x s. to the officiaris
1667 Cramond Kirk S. II 5 April.
Shee being relapse into the said sin
1670 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. III 120.
The ministers … to present the names of the persons disobedient, obstinat or relapse to the king
1714 Caithness Presb. Rec. in Old-lore Misc. III 48.
Bearing that she is relapse in fornication

b. attrib., in pre- and post-positional use.Also, once, applied to the crime or sin. 1603 Dundonald Par. Rec. 29.
Conform to the ordour of this parochin for relaps fornicatouris
1605 Ib. 92.
Bessie Hunter, … fornicatrix relaps
1625 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II 20 July.
[He] was ordenit to satisfie for his relaps adulterie

2. That has fallen away from the ‘true’ faith. 1572–3 Acts III 72/1.
And relaps persounis … sall not be admittit as preuis witnessis or assysouris aganis ony professing the trew religioun
Ib. 71/2.

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"Relaps n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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