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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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Scolar, -er(e, n. Also: scoll-, skoll-, schol(l)-, shol(l)-; scoular; scool(l)-, skooll-, school(l)-, shool-, shoall-, schoill- and -are, -air, -eir, -erd, -our, -ir, -ur; (scoliler). [ME and e.m.E. scholer (c1290), scoler (Manning), -ere (Rolle), schooler (1540–1), scoller (1572), scholer (1577), scholler (1579), OE scolere, scoliere, late L. scholaris, f. schōla Scule n.1 ME scoler(e may be wholly or in part f. OF escoler, escolier (mod. F. écolier). Cf. Du. scholier (? from F.), MDu. also scholare, scholer.] 1362 Reg. Paisley 145.
Early examples as a surname and as a place-name element are:- Wilelmus filius David Scolar
1387 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 177 (see also Scolastery n.).
Terre ecclesiastice de Ellon que dicuntur lie scolarlandis

1. A person receiving instruction in a school or college; a learner or student of Latin language and literature. a. One being taught in a school, chiefly (or ? only) in a grammar school (except in historical use); a school-child. Cf. Scule n.1 1.Also possess. in pl., and attrib. with boy (= schoolboy). ?12.. Reg. St. A. 316, 317.]
[Magistrum patricium tunc magistrum scolarum ciuitatis Sancti Andree et pauperes scolares eiusdem ciuitatis
(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi 971.
A gud man quhylum [had] a scolere [To] son, that than cane lettir lere
a1500 Seven S. 1630.
To scule as the scolaris couth found Ane scolar that hecht Edmound … sayis to his fallows [etc.]
1549 Aberd. B. Rec. I 266.
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4155.
Ewin as the scule maister doith mak ane wand To dant and dyng scollaris of rude ingyne The quhilkis wyll nocht study at his command
1574–5 Edinb. Kirk S. in Misc. Maitl. C. I 115.
Ane clark play wes plaid be the scollouris of the grammer scull
1580 Aberd. B. Rec. II 39.
Disourdourit barnis and scholaris of the grammer schuil … in taking of the schuill, vsurping aganis the maister [etc.]
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 190.
The scholeris … was put in waird for hadding of the hie schoill
1596 Elgin Rec. II 46.
That the scollaris quha hes tane the grammer schole be not molestit
1598 Edinb. Treas. Acc. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 206.
For ane galloun aill quhilk the skolleris drank the tyme thai playit the comedie in the tolbuith
a1605 Birrel Diary 35.
Ane number of schollaris, being gentelmens bairns, made ane mutinie … and tooke the schooll
1610 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 156.
1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. fol. 44b (10 Jan.).
Some quha haid intysit ȝounganes & scholleris to drinking & spending of silwer within thair hovsis
1627 Justiciary Cases I 66.
And that he shall teich na scolour nor instruct ony childrene [etc.]
1640 Dundonald Par. Rec. 465.
That the shollers be present at the sermons on the Lords day, that they sit round about the maister silent [etc.]
Ib. 466, etc.
Let the elder shollers them selfs speir at the maister quhat words they ar ignorant of
1650 Brechin Presb. 47.
Shee thought the Divell appeired to her … lyk a little duldie body or scholer with a joup upon it
1659 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 182.
Tuo short declamatiouns and a palemone, that by thes publict exercises the scollers may lerne boldness, and a vivacitie in speaking in publict
1663 Sc. N. & Q. 2 Ser. IV 2.
For accomadatione of such gentlemen … as schould be present at the … lauriatione of ther schollars
1671 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 271.
Ther doctor haveing delyverit wp the hallowdayes scollars to the masteris class, he may begine to receave the new scollars in the elementarie at the hallowday
1671 Inverness Rec. II 248.
Ewerie sholler alse weill to burghe as landward
1673 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 22 Feb.
The … baillies … obleissis thame … to assist mantein and defend the said Mr. William in correcting the insolence of the scholars of the said schoole
1698 Banff Ann. II 177.
Any scholler who shall damnifie the fabreik of the schoolhouse … or abuse the daskes … to be lyable for damnadges
1705 Rothesay Par. Rec. 192.
Two new common bibles to two poor schollares
(b) 1567 Crail B. Rec. in J. Lee Hist. Church Scotland (1860) I 337.
That the said Sir George hes seducit the barnis and scoulars from the said Mr. Jhone
(c) 1625–6 Peebles B. Rec. I 414.
For sax threwch pepper to the skoolleris to rine at
1643 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 3.
And authors ar not taucht to the capacitie of the scoolars
1648 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII 178.
Libertie to him to teach and instruct the scooleris in the hie scoole, learne them to wrytt
1649 Elgin Rec. II 433.
And all the schoolers in deep silence
1649 Peebles B. Rec. I 387.
It shall not be lesum to him to give the bairnes and scoollares the play in any dayes of the weik except vpon Tuysday and Thursday
1654 Ib. II 24.
The said counsell … shall provyde to the good accommodation of the scoole, scoolares, and scoolmaister
1665 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 180.
That they [sc. the schoolmasters] … teatche the schoolers to be courtiouse towards all
That they be discreet in their discipline, even to the meinest schooler
1666 Cullen Kirk S. 25 Feb.
To a poor schoolar Jack Thomas to buy a book 4 s.
1670 Fraser P. 256.
Ane poor and indigent scooller … at the scoolle of Drymen … unable to maintaine myselfe to proceed aney farder in my course of learning
1674 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 183.
[The fee for] ilk child or shooler that he shall teache or learn Inglishe reit [was 24 s.]
1701 Banff Ann. II 177.
(d) 1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X 248.
Ane act of secreit councill anent seaverall persones who teaches shoallers without licence from the bishop of Edinburgh
possess. 1643 Chron. Perth 38.
Buried … wnder the scollaris seat
1663 Stirling Common Good 17.
2 years rent of the scholaris yeard
1680 Cromarty Kirk S. in Sc. Eccles. Soc. I 111 n.
He sought that he might build [a desk] beside the Scholars Loft … , he to build two foot below the Scholars Loft
attrib. 1611 Crim. Trials III 128.
Ane scollar boy, being in his schole for the tyme, called Williame Dalrumpill
1677 Cullen Kirk S. 1 Sept.
That my said mortificatione of the dowcroft for ane poor scholar boy … shall not be violated or missimployed
1695 Cullen Kirk S. 13 Jan.
Schoolar boy

b. One studying at ‘the schools’ (see Scule n.1 4) at home or abroad; one following a course of advanced study, as in a university; a student. Also fig. or in fig. context.(1) 1456 Hay I 95/18.
A scolare at the study in Paris
Ib. 221/31.
The worthy scolaris the quhilkis … tak the … travaile to nycht and day study in sciencis
1555 Crim. Trials I i 378.
Berand that he wes scolare in the dyocy of Sanctandrois, and als allegit that he wes borne within the said dyocy
1562 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 126.
For the continuall exercitatioun … and teching of clerkis and scolaris in gramer arts philosophie [etc.]
1565 Edinb. Univ. MS La. iii 388a fol. 28b.
[The] dene of Glasquow … wreit certane thingis obseruit in practicque be the lordis of counsall, … quhilkis be veray helpfull to intrantis & ȝoung scolaris that lykis to luik thairon
1577 Reg. Privy S. VII 176/1.
[William Scot] now scolare actuallie at the scuillis
1579 Duncan Glasg. Physic. & Surg. 227.
Vagabound schollers of the Universities of Saint Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdein
1587 Reg. Privy S. in Orig. Par. II ii App. 832.
John Barbour … not being ane scollare, nowther vsing the musick or vthir science
1587 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II 222.
Quhairunto Mr. Patrik Fowlertoun scollar wes provydit for his intertenement at the sculeis
1590 Cal. Sc. P. X 427.
He ressavit support and avancement be him in sic thingis as concernit a scollare allanerlie
a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 55.
Lowrane Innes, pwir skollir in Aberdein
Ib. 56.
1596 Dalr. II 247/2.
The college thair [sc. at Aberdeen] quhair the burgesses and skolleris in diuers offices … intendet to set furth thair myndes and wilis efter thair power
1600 Crim. Trials II 333.
James Sympsoune, scoller
1605 Rec. Old Aberd. I 38.
It is statute that na browster givf any scholler ather meit or drink within this citie
c1610 Melville Mem. 13.
The twa Scotis scollairs never obtenit payement fra the bischop
1613 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I 196.
To present ane vther young qualifeit scollar to the said bursorschip
c1628 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 288.
Upone the Sabboth day … they tak the haill scolleris to the kirk, … the hebdomader goeing behind theme
1640 Acts V 272/1.
All the maisteris of vniversities colledges and schooles all scolleris at the passing of thair degries
1641–2 Misc. Spald. C. V 106.
At the lourtione of the skolleris
1642 Glasg. Univ. Mun. II 466.
That the schollers be exercised in lawful games such as gouffe, archarie [etc.]
c1646 Craufurd Edinb. Univ. p. 5.
The plague … raged vehemently all that yeer. So that in May all the schollaris were dissipate
1649 Lamont Diary 6.
[The] principall of St. Leonards colledge in St. Androus did laureat the scholars ther this yeare
c1650 Spalding I 225.
Bot thair young scolleris wes maid maisteris befoir tyme
1650 Strathbogie Presb. 130.
Howbeit his sonne vas and is ane scholler [etc.]
1691 Cramond Kirk S. III 23 April.
The session appoints … to give to Mr. John Macclurg a schollar & a stranger in strait three shillings sterlin
(b) 1664 Glasg. Univ. Mun. II 483.
That als manie of the schoolars as can convenientlie ly and dyet also within the universitie
(2) 1629 Lowther's Jrnl. 36.]
[The 1st year of students (of the College of Edinburgh) be called scholars [etc.]
(3) fig. 15.. Clar. v 830.
All the ladies … He feistit hes, … With mirrie wordis … For he ane maister was and no scolleir Into sike thing
1653 Binning Wks. 569.
When the scholar is brought along by these degrees, he is at length laureated in that great day of our Saviour's appearance

c. Inclusive of both senses a and b above, or ambiguous between these two senses, also with both senses in a single context.(1) c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 98 marg.
A proselite is anne nouice or anne yowng scoleir turned fra the faith of heythen vnto the Jewes
1551 Hamilton Cat. 5.
Ane scholar quhilk is to leir ony special science man first leir the beginning or rudimentis of that science
1571 Cal. Sc. P. III 567.
1586 Douglas Chart. 288.
The slayers of the scollar named Turnble
1588 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 51.
His [sc. Huntly's] oncle haid institut ane seminary … of four & twenty skollairis
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I 323.
For maintenance of poore scholares to be brought up in the grammar schoole and college of the said burgh
1632 Ib. 369.
That the maist pairt of schoillers presenttit be burges bairnes of Aberdeine
Ib. 367.
c1650 Spalding II 89.
The colliginaris and vther scolleris keipis the scoollis aganes thair willis this day [sc. Christmas Day]
(2) 1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I 316.
[£320] be yierlie imployed … on four schollers at the Gramer school of Aberdien for the space of four yiers … [£400] to be payit yierlie to other four schollers at the colledge of new Aberdien and students of philosophie theirat … and … to other tua schollers students of divinitie in the said new colledge … [400] Scottis marks money

2. a. One who has received instruction or training from a particular teacher; the pupil of a teacher. c1420 Wynt. v 412.
Saynt Petyr wrat thaim thare For he before was his scolare [L. ejus auditor]
Ib. 3382.
And Saynct Jerome … The best wes callyd off his scoleris
Ib. vi 1058.
He had twa lordys at lare, That hys yhong scolarys sumtyme ware
1560 Rolland Seven S. 423.
I can not tell trewlie How our scoller examit weill salbe
Ib. 5686.
His scollers in all haist come him till, And to him said maister quhat is ȝour will
1562-3 Winȝet II 35/20.
For he engenerit to his scoleris richt vehement cummeris, and grete perplexitie, as quhen the auctoritie of the Kirk drew thame fra this syde
Ib. 48/27.
Bot peraduenture he [sc. Origen] wes litle happy be his scoleris?
1558-66 Knox II 331.
Mr. Alexander Cockburne, who befoir had bene his [sc. John Knox's] scolare, … was the messinger
1583 Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. XI 50.
That masters instruct their schollers in the falshood of these tenetts
1597 Grant Burgh Schools 417.
[The master of the grammar school of Glasgow to catechise his] Irische scholleris [in the grounds of religion]
1600 Crim. Trials II 215.
Master Robert Rollocke whose scholler he was
1622-6 Bisset II 107/8.
He [sc. Hilarion] … instructed his scollaris or disciplis with reulis of holy leving
1628 Justiciary Cases I 96.
The said George was ane … abuser of his body at dyuers tymes uith ȝoung virganes his awin scolleris
1629 Aberd. B. Rec. III 25.
Dischairges the maister of the grammer schoole … in giveing his scholares leive to the bent
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 149.
Where foirsein faith was mentained by that learned mans schollers
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III 230.
To find sufficient and qualifiet doctoures, ane or ma, vnder him to teache and examine his schollares
1640 Dundonald Par. Rec. 468.
The maister to kyth his prudence in taking wp the severall inclinations of his shollers [etc.]
1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 268.
The seer trains his schooller by telling of the gradations of nature
1695 Glasg. Univ. Mun. II 515.
The humours, inclinations, and ingine of their schollars

b. A follower of the ideas, doctrine or practice of a particular master; a disciple. Also const. to. 1513 Doug. i Prol. 473.
Virgill … Pardon thy scolar
1562-3 Winȝet I 20/11.
Ȝour awin scoleris thinkis that ane mistoneit string confoundis all ȝour harmonie
Ib. 73/1.
Qvhidir affirm ȝe ȝour selfis only with ȝour scoleris to be the said haly catholik kirk
Ib. 79/13. c1590 Fowler I 18/3.
Who, worthye scollaris to the muses saige, Fulfild thair countreis with thair works dewyne
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 15/16.
Yea, he [sc. Satan] will make his schollers to creepe in credite with princes by fore-telling them manie greate things
Ib. 25/6.
That the Deuill illudes the senses of these schollers of his in manie thinges
1611-57 Mure True Crucifixe 2529.
The Greatest [sc. Christ] teaching who His schollers are
1633 Boyd Balm of Gilead in Boyd Last B. xlvii (see Scoll v.).
Scholler of Christ

3. A (good, or bad) learner; one who is quick, or slow, at learning. a1578 Pitsc. I 249/7.
The hollie bischope … was not ane goode scollar and had not goode Lattine
c1590 Fowler II 14/8.
An scoller of … litil vnderstanding can not pyke mekill praise for his trauel
c1610 Melville Mem. 365.
My brother was far meiter nor my self, being a gud scollair, and culd perfytly speak the Latin, hy Dutche [etc.]
1657 Hibbert P. No. 19.
His grandmother sayes he hes become a worse scoliler nor he was
1687 Dunlop P. III 42.
The littl ons are very weall. Sandie is a great scholar
a1691 Kingston Contin. Ho. Seytoun 78.

4. One who has acquired learning in ‘the schools’ (see Scule n.1 4); a man of learning, a scholar.Freq. with qualifying word, indicating the level of scholarship achieved.Also const. of or in the subject of study or expertise.(1) 1432 15th Rep. Hist. MSS App. viii 44.
[Sir Thomas shall] get a sufficient scoler to ler and to tech the said Jone sic thingis as … ar sene mast … profitabill to tech him
1460 Hay Alex. 1062.
He haid gud language, and ane gude scholare
1595 Colville Lett. 191.
Gualter Quin, a fyne scoler
1596 Cal. Sc. P. XII 352.
Boith notabill scollars and Jesuistes
(2) a1578 Pitsc. I 2/20.
Becaus he is bot ane ȝovng scholar that wrett it
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 156.
A cook wncrabed, a sholer wnscabed, ane tailyeor wnnyce, these ar thrie fairlyes
1607 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 74.
I am … a student … carying a ernest intentioun and studious indevoir to be a scoller
1622-6 Bisset I 100/31.
To … lordis, abbattis, priouris, provestis, deanis, archedenes, chantouris, thesauraris, schollaris, sachristeris [etc.]
1638 Innes Sketches 371.
It is requisit he be ane discreite man that is ane scollar, and that can speike both Inglis and Erise
c1650 Spalding I 363.
Nather man nor wyf, maister nor seruand, student nor scoller, pure nor ritche [etc.]
1655 Nicoll Diary 168.
Mr. Andro Ker, ane young advocatt, yit weill gifted, and a scoler
1673 Inverness Rec. II 256.
Ane leit of shollers … for teaching the gramer shoole for ane ȝier
1681 J. Menzies Sermon at the Funeral of Sir Alexander Fraiser 22.
He was educated a schollar at Aberdeen
1689 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 13 Dec.
Thir presents ar written be Mr. David Edgar, scholur, at Dalry
(3) 1562-3 Winȝet I 20/23.
Bot nocht ȝour awin best learnit scoleris of the samyn [validity of orders]
1588 Crim. Trials I ii 162.
Ane grit scoller and doctor of medicin
c1610 Melville Mem. 19.
A gret scollair in dyuers hich scyences callit Cavatius

b. ? In weakened sense: One able to read and write. But perhaps merely a further instance of a. 1618 Trial Isobel Inch 5.
By quhat means he attaint to the pretendit knowledge of palmestrie, he not being ane scholler

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"Scolar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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