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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Special, Spetial(l, adj., adv. and n. Also: spes(s)- and -ial(l)(e, -yal(l)(e, -yelle, -iell, -ell, -eall, -(e)ale, -aile, -al, -yll, -ull, spaschelle, speacialle, spyciall. [ME and e.m.E. speciale (Ancr. R.), specyal (Manning), speciel (c1325), speciall (1340-70) all adjs., speciale (Cursor M.), specyalle (15th c.), speciall (c1440), spetiall (1545) all advs., also special (1290), speciall (1473), specyall (Caxton) all nouns, OF especiel, -ial and special (12th c., all in Larousse), L. speciālis individual, particular f. speciēs; Species n.]In MSS freq. abbrev. as spãle, spẽale, spãl, etc. In instances where the form is written in full c and t are often indistinguishable.

A. adj. 1. Exceptional in character, quality or degree, exceeding what is usual or common. a. Of actions, feelings, qualities, etc. b. Of material things. c. Of persons.a. (1) c1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
We discharge vs to yow of all speciall tendirnesse
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1587.
The king in gret effectioun Resavit him in speciall grace
c1420 Wynt. vii 2518.
Thare made thai specyall acqwentawns
c1420 Wynt. ix 1469.
The gud Duk off Orlyans, That had specyall affectyowne All tyme to Scottis natyown
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2447. 1490 Irland Mir. III 57/19.
Thou may weill knaw that the speciell werkis of God and Jhesu excedis in gudnes the euill and wikitnes of man
a1500 Seven S. 1376.
Off it [sc. a tree] my lord has biddin me haf Speciale luf our all the laif
1540 Edinb. Chart. 212.
The speciall favouris luffe and tender affectioun thai bure to the … toun and communite thairof
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3458 (Ch.).
That speciall luife ingent God had to man
1593 Acts Sederunt ii 20. 1581-1623 James VI Poems I 23/89.
Men of special chose, Consumde in learning, and perfyte in prose
1596 Dalr. I 347/5.
The duchtie deides … appeiris rathir to proceid of sum diuine grace and special gifte of God, than to be done throuch ony strenth of body, or mychte of man
1619 Innes Sketches 522.
I pray yow haiff ane speciall cair of your dochteris
(b) 1535 Stewart 42415.
The greit vertew and mony spetiall grace That rang in him
(2) a1550 Ave Gloriosa 97.
Specull of pulcritude, Thou seid of sanctitude
b. 1456 Hay II 110/3.
Think on how the quene of Inde send the money, jowellis, and speciale presentis
c. c1515–24 Innes Rev. XV 189.
Command my service hartly to myn eme priest off the collage and say to hym I sall be … ane specyall orator dayly for his gud mastership

2. Of relatives, friends, etc: Held in high esteem, loved, cherished, dear; close, intimate. Also ellipt. Also predic., const. to or with (a person). b. Of a place.attrib. 1400 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 7.
To my lufit & my speciale Alexander of the Wemys my son
1408 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 67.
Oure lufit & speciale cosinez
1417 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 249.
My dere & specale frende
1539 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 552.
We … haue sett in assedacioune to … our speciall louit frend [etc.]
1545 Reg. Privy C. I 11.
Ane honest gentleman and ane of thair special freindis
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 23.
Johne, Lord Lindesay, my maister special
1554 Wemyss Chart. 290.
Oure maist speciall helply frende
1583 Waus Corr. 275.
Maist speciall eme I commend me hartlie to you
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I 38.
Richt speciall freyndis and nichtbors efter our maist hartlie commendaciouns [etc.]
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 356.
Drumlanrig, … sustenit great skayth … be slaughter of his speciall kynnismen and freyndis, [etc.]
1606 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 54.
It shal be lesum to fyve or sex … of the speciall freyndis of the defunct to be present at the lyk walk
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I 35/6.
Ane certaine of thair maist spetiall freindis
1584 Grant Chart. 158.
I may lippin in ȝow as my maist spetiall freindis
c1620 Old Ross-shire II 7.
(c) 1596 Waus Corr. 529.
To the rycht honorabill and his spesyll eyme the lard of Barnbaroch
ellipt. 1609 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 28 Dec.
Rycht honorabill Schir and maist speciall, my hairtlie dewtie rememberit
predic. c1420 Wynt. vii 2036.
Thai war ilkane till othir Specyalle [C. specyal], as he had bene his brodyr
a1500 Lanc. 905.
But dulay one for o knycht he send, That was most speciall with the lady kend
a1500 Lanc. 1185.
She clepith one hir cwsynes ful nere Wich was to hir most speciall and dere
b. 1513 Doug. i i 26.
Thare was ane ancyant cite hecht Cartage … Of quhilk a land Juno … As to hir special abuf al otheris maid

3. Of a liege man, servant, etc: Particularly highly regarded, trustworthy or reliable; admitted to a particular status or intimacy; entrusted with particular duties. Also, once, in reference to the Virgin Mary as a mediator between man and God. b. specif. Special man, with reference to the relationship of manrent: Liege man, see esp. quot. 1516.attrib. c1420 Wynt. vii 1174.
He [sc. the king] depute hys Counsale The erle of Fyffe mast specyalle
1456 Hay II 97/22.
Than suld thou have sum of thy speciale men that thow traistis mekle in, about thé
1456 Hay II 153/36.
Thou sall … ger geve him be ane of thy speciale servandis sum giftis
c1466–80 Letter from Lord Hamilton.
Plesit ȝou to wyt that a speciall man of myn … disponys to vesye the sege of Rome
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 417.
I am the kingis blude, his trew speciall clerk
1516 Misc. Spald. C. II 268.
Our louit cusing … is becummyne speciale man til ws and out airis male … as at more lyntht is contenit in his lettir of manrent … Herfor … we sal supple maneteine and defende … and be and do for him … as we aucht to do for our speciale man kynisman and seruande
a1550 Lang Rosair 239.
Haill, maist honorable and luflie Lady, … the quene of chaistite, … the maist speciall mediatrix for man
1570 Conv. Burghs I 19.
That ane speciall man suld be direct be the provest and baillies of Edinburgh … to the … King of France for obtenying of discharge of the edict [etc.]
1576–7 Orkney Oppress. 19.
It was ane pairt of his office, as ane speciale man chosin for his discretioun and jugement, to be chancellar of the assyis in all courtis
1593 Warrender P. (SHS) II 211.
We have made choyse of certane speciall persones of our counsell to be attending and resident with ws, that ar knawin to be wyse, weill affected to religioun, our estate, and amitye betuixt the two realmes [etc.]
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 347.
Becaus he was a speciall servand to the Erle of Mar, it was concludit that he sould be bureit with solemnitie in Sterling
1604 9th Rep. Hist. MSS App. ii 197/2.
Donald Gorme … hes tane the maist speciall man pertening McCloid. Sua that their is a greit mischeif of leit begun betux thame
1611 Black Bk. Taymouth 42. 1667 Highland P. II 42.
Alister McGorrie and Ronald McRorie two speciall commanders of Glengarrie's kin [etc.]
predic. 1375 Barb. v 501.
Thai vald nocht persauit be, That thai war speciall to the king
a1400 Leg. S. ii 96.
To Nero this Patroclas Sa luffit, and sa speciale wes
c1420 Wynt. ix 2923.
In Paris … The Erle of Werwike … wes tretit honestly As a strangeare; bot specialy This Erle of Mare wes tretit thare As of househald famyliare Speciale to the King of France
1460 Hay Alex. 12219.
Alexander made the first ansure Sayand that [h]e cum fra the men of were And that he was with thame richt speciall And knew richt wele alhale the gouernale
a1500 Lanc. 411.
To them that war to hyme most speciall … By whois conseil, of the worthiest He chesith ten

4. a. Expressing the particular relationship between a vassal and his overlord, also, once, of minstrels and the like: Exclusive. 1408 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 70.
Sir Gilbert hase made his duelli[n]g and speciale retenew with our saide lorde the gouuernour and with his lauchfull ayris in pece and in were … for al the terme of his lyfe
1408 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 70.
Thai salbe oblist of speciale duelling and retenew til our saide lorde the gouuernour and til his lauchful ayris [etc.]
1456 Hay I 253/24 (see b below). 1468 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 405.
George Lorde Gordoun to quhome I ame mane of feale and speciale retenu
1526 15th Rep. Hist. MSS App. ix 14.
Robert Grahame … and his ayris, [who have become bound to the grantor] in speciale manred and service … perpetualy for evir in tyme to cum
1574 Acts III 87/2.
All menstrallis [etc.] … not avowit in speciall seruice be sum of the lordis of parliament or greit barronis or be the heid burrowis … for thair commoun menstrallis … salbe … pvneist as strang beggaris and vagaboundis

b. In collocation with lord, describing the relationship of overlord till vassal. 1456 Hay I 253/25.
He … that is king of Napples mon in his begynning mak speciale aith and oblissing to the pape as specale lord soverane till him

5. Of a person of status: a. Particularly fair and good till those under his authority. b. Most distinguished or important, of highest standing (also, of a parish).a. c1420 Wynt. v 1094.
He [sc. Trajane] wes … sa liberale, Sa luwand, and sa specyalle, Till [all] abowt hym, fere and neyre
c1420 Wynt. vii 2606.
Galo … the Cardinale Till Ingland wes rycht specyalle; Bot till Scotland, dyspytuws He wes all tyme and grevus
b. 1591 Reg. Privy C. IV 623.
[The said work] to be … accomplissed according to the conclusioun and ordour sett doun be the speciall and cheif personis of the said parochin
1596 Dalr. I 107/35.
Cheiflie in tyme of Parleament quhen present ar al the thrie ordouris, to the special nobilitie thay [sc. the bishop] make appne houses
1596 Dalr. II 64/3.
Mony of the special nobles gyues him [sc. the king] the convoy, ioyneng thame selfes to his societie
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 165.
A speciall gentilman of reputation was murdreist amang thayme callit Erskin
1627 Bk. Carlaverock II 80.
The Chansler hes wrettin to … the speciall men of the landward parochenes, to giue all thair enrolled men to my Lord of Spynie his capitanes
compar. 1624 Crim. Trials III 585.
This fellow … hath so villanouslie … defamed his owne contrie, by writing in such sorte againste his contriemen, the specialler of our seruantes

6. Set apart in some way from others of the same kind, having a distinct character; specific, particular. Also predic., also in const. specific as to something. Passing into sense 6 b below.attrib. (1) c1466–80 Letter from Lord Hamilton.
Gif my seruande … mystaris other lettiris or speciall takynnis of ȝouris thrucht the lande to conwoye hym I requer ȝour ladischip hartly therof
c1515 Asl. MS I 329/20.
Poyntis of speciale and generale cursing
c1515 Asl. MS I 325/32. 1589 Bk. Carlaverock I 284.
The Lord Maxwell … to take speciall diligence that the committing of disorders by their men … be left off
1596 Dalr. II 219/10.
The king selfe was present … condamneng to be heidet … Adam Scot special bordirer and limmer, commounlie calit king of traytouris
(2) c1420 Wynt. v Prol. 53.
Thai swerdys twa, Quhareoff the specyall mentyowne Wes sayd in Crystis Passyoune
1587–8 Aberd. Council Lett. I 22.
That quhair Androw Kellie [etc.] … beand … passand in paciabill … maner [etc.] … Nevirtheles John Leslie [etc.] … unbesett the foirsaids speciall persones … and hes … woundit sindrie of thame [etc.]
1593 Acts Sederunt ii 20.
Quhatsumevir presentationis … past heirefter, of ony of the saidis ordinar places, besides the special forme and ordor above specifeit, to be null
1595 Innes Sketches 533.
To examinat and interrogat me vpone that speceall heid
(3) 1533 Gau 7/2.
God hes noth commandit vith out ane special caus … that the x commandis suld first be vritine and sine … prechit to the pepil
1551 Hamilton Cat. 5.
Ane scholar quhilk is to leir ony special science man first leir the … rudimentis of that science
1572 Bann. Memor. 278.
That thair be ane speciall day appointed … for apprehending of the messe sayaris
1576 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 276.
The persewar in his libell had condiscendit upoune sum speciall tym of warning
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II 141.
Williame Gibsone … Alledgit him to haue ane speciale interesse to the landis acclamit … in respect of ane assignatioune alledgit maid to him [etc.] … and all pairteis haiffand interesse to compeir [etc.]
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
The lawes and constitutiones … conteinis certaine speciall paines to be enjoyned to him [sc. a sheriff], for his malice or negligence
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 281. a1646 Spotisw. Practicks 309.
A nief … marrying a free-man, is thereby made free, and shall never be nief after without a special act done by her, as divorce, or confession in a Court of Record
1641 Spalding II 11.
Oure desire concerning vnitie in religioun, and conformetie in churche government, as a speciall meine for conserving of peace betueen the tuo kingdomes
1677 Red Bk. Grandtully II 233.
Yow uill find me taik it … as a speciall demonstration of your good inclinations for me
(b) 1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 276.
Yf yowr grace have nott a spetyall [e]ye unto thys place, and comande … suyche as ar yn the northe partys to be more dylygent yn my suplye, I feare … thatt ther neglygence wyll putt the pecys here yn danger
predic. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 126.
Faith … is takin in twa sortis … thair is ane fayth, quhilk is general, deade, and ydil. Also thair is ane fayth, quhilk is special, leiffand and wyrkand
1678 Edinb. B. Rec. X 351.
It wes found necessary by our predicessores to be preceis and speciall as to the tyme of the continowatione of there magistrats
ellipt. 1484–5 Acta Conc. I *97/2.
To bring with him to the said da the power that he had in write, outher of generale deputre or speciale, of the said office
1629 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 79.
[The pannell] dennyit the haill remanent pointis baith speciall and generall
absol. a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 287.
The greatest cryme should be specified in the remissione, and in that cais the generall claus will comprehend the lesser crymes; bot, if the greatest cryme be not specialy exprest the generall claus should not save the partie from ane greater cryme nor the speciall is

b. Important, main, principal. Also superl. 1535 Stewart 1754.
The parliament … quhair mony berne full bald Convenit … befoir this crownit king, For till devyis for mony speciall thing
1549 Compl. 27/26.
Thai [sc. the English] ar, ande … hes beene, the special motione of the iniust veyris that hes trublit Cristianite
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 171/17.
The speciall caus … of … variance in religioun … is that princis has vendicat dispositioun of benefices disponand thame to vnqualifeit men
1562-3 Winȝet I 6/29.
The speciall rutis of all mischeif … pryde and auarice
1562-3 Winȝet I 52/12.
This first and speciall part, and almaist the hail-wair is, that [etc.]
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 347.
[They] layd spyis upon a barron … wha was ane of the speciall actors of that crwell murther, and obtenit a commission of the king to … apprehend him
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I 312.
Your ladyship nott onlie hes given your consent bot also hes bene a speciall furtherar for the quhilk
superl. c1522 Doug. in Doug. (Sm.) I p. ci.
The … Bischop of Glasgwys … promotion for Sanctandrs suld prosper consyddyryng he is the mast spyciall man that manteinys and allways hes manteinyt the said duk
1533 Gau 26/14.
Thir ar the gretast and maist special articulis of our faith of the quhilk al the laiff dependis
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 134/8.
The sammyne doctrine is … manifestlye set furth be the sicht of the most speciall ennimeys of the kirk of God
1561 Reg. Privy C. I 170.
He … hes … uptakin the profittis thairof fra me … quhilk wes the maist speciale thing that I and my barnis suld have levit on
1581 Aberd. Chart. 241.
The maist speciall dewtie of the said burgh detbund to be payit ȝeirlie to our … souerane lord
1606 Forbes Rec. 535.
We doe not … deny your Highnesse's power … to command and cause us in our specialest actions [Gibson's MS spirituall callings] to redresse whatsoever is contrair to the purity of doctrine

c. Special personaige, the Queen's husband-to-be. 1567 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 559.
Thay [named] the said noble prince, now Duke of Orknay, for the special personaige [sc. the Queen's next husband]

d. ? In a particular or unique way, or perhaps more likely, ? erron. for spiritual. c1420 Wynt. vi Prol. 25 (W).
The Pape oure fader is speciall [C. spiritualle, R. spyrytualle]

7. Having a particular or limited application, relating to a particular action, state of affairs, person, etc., for a particular purpose or with reference to a particular instance or case. Chiefly, with reference to legal processes, documents, letters, etc.; also, specif., our full, etc. … power (and) special mandment, etc.(1) 1384 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 5.
That speciall trew and assurance sall [be] be twix thaim … hauenand the force and effecte in all poyntz as the next trewe gangand be fore
1386 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 9.
1456 Hay I 186/26.
Passagis commouns ar ordanyt till all creature that curtasly will pas, and be privilege speceale, suld be denyit to na man
1491 Reg. Episc. Glasg. 482.
We prayis ȝow … at ȝe will … ger doe special messis for us
1504 Crim. Trials I i 41.
Specialle respuyt in favor of the men, kin, tenentis [etc.] … of Robert Archbishop of Glasgow
1586 Rait & Cameron King James's Secret 77.
Onles speciall remeid was providit in expres termes to salve that mater, … it culd not faill to be in tyme prejudiciall
1597–8 Warrender P. (SHS) II 354.
[They] can nor mai be derectlie mellitt with nor effectualie punesitt bot gif we tak speciall entres and commision heirin
(b) 1424 Acts II 8/1.
That ilk bischop gif bidding … till his clergy to mak processionys & speciale [abbrev. spãle interp. (prob. erron.) as spirituale s.v. Processioun n. 1 (1)] prayeris for the welefar … of our lorde the king [etc.]
1503 Acts II 250/1.
This statute to indure vnto the tyme oure said souerane lord mak speciale reuocatioune of the samyne
(c) 1485 Acts II 172/1.
That speceale lettrez be writin to our haly fader the paip … that al benefice electiue quhilkis … pertenis to the eleccioun of chepteris as denreis and vtheris be confermyt
(2) 1393 Reg. Morton II 190.
The fornemyt Lorde Erle hase grantyt … to the said Sir James of Douglas the fadir his speciale leife that he may enfef herytably Sir James of Douglas his son … in to the Barony of Prestoune
1416 Liber Melros 539.
At our speciale instance and besy request the saide abbot [etc.] … has remowit thair plwis fra the said land
c1420 Wynt. vii 1490 (C).
1427 Acts II 15/2.
All bischoppis [etc.] … the quhilkis the king wil be … summonde to … parliamentis be his special precep
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 45.
Gif it be swa sufferyt of the kingis leff and will in his special & lel mandment that he was fre maid & out of seruitut [etc.]
1503 Acts II 242/1 (see Special(l)y adv. 3 (a)). 1586 Misc. Bann. C. III 307.
To rander agane the … writtingis … to the said erle, his airis or assignais, or ony vthairis havand his speciall mandment in writ
1651 Burnett Fam. P.
Quich sowme … I the said Schir Thomas have mortified for the speciall use of the hospitall
1661 Acts VII 18/2.
That non of them presume … to require the renewing … of the said league … without his majesties speciall warrand and approbation
(b) 1688 Rec. Old Aberd. I 144.
That no deacan … presume in any tyme cuming to raise any lres. of lawborrowes … against any tradesman … without the speciall advyce … of the Bischop … or the magistrates
(c) 1532–3 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 100.
We haue takin … all … his … gudis movabill and vnmovabill … vnder our speceale protectioun
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 157.
That there is a number severed out, in Gods speceall purpose, from the race of mankind
(d) 1543 Treas. Acc. VIII 240.
The expensis debursit by my lord governoris preceptis and spetiall command
(3) 1478 Acta Conc. I 13/1.
The said Robert … has the landis of the said vmquhile Annes his spous bot be a speciale preuilege … grantit … to the persons that maryis a maydin & feis the land
1484 Acta Aud. *143/1.
A speciale command in writ … direct to the lordis auditouris to decist of all intermetting therwithe
1541 Reg. Privy S. II 654/1.
That oure clerk of registri and consale suld mak ane autentik copy of all sic actis … and … the sammyn … to be imprentit be quhat prentar it sall pleis him to cheis; providing alwais that the said prentar sall have ane speciale licence thairto
1551 Hamilton Cat. 123.
Remede is socht be sum special medicin, gevin be sum expert medicinar
1571 Melville Chart. 119.
Becaus the gudis that he had ar only the plennissing of his landis [etc.] … he himself culd mak na speciall inuentare thairof
1571–2 Wemyss Chart. 202.
He commitit … his saidis executtouris to mak inventouris … of the dettis awand be him to quhatsumeuir otheris personis, becaus he had no speciall memorie of the sam
1600-1610 Melvill 367.
Efter all our fastes, (quhilk I haiff pretermitted in this storie because I have wraitten a speciall treatise thairof)
(b) 1595 Innes Sketches 533.
With ane speceall commissioune, gif I sould nocht delyuer the said band and reveill the leill circumstancis thairof … to put me to the present tortor
(4) 1439 Edinb. Chart. 64.
Grantande to the saide Schir Robert [etc.] … oure ful and playne poware and speciale mandement al oure said landis to sets, oure malis to raisse [etc.]
1446 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 313.
[To] our balȝeis … oure full free lauchfull and playne poware speciall mandment and expresse bidding for to gife and deliuer [etc.]
1477 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 69.
Grauntand to my forsaid bailȝe my ful and hail power and speciall maundment my courtis til hauld [etc.]
1510 Reg. Privy S. I 326/2.
Gevand … to the said reverend fader and M. Thomas our verray full, plane, expres power, speciale mandment and charge to [etc.]
1510 Reg. Privy S. I 330/1.
To Adam Erle Boithuile, Lord Halys, … committand to thaim full power, speciale mandment, and fredome to inbring all maner of persouns … quhilkis ar fugitive fra the lawis
1606 Liber Melros 657.
We James commendater … gevand … to thame … oure … plane power speciall mandament expres bidding and charge … to compeir [etc.]

b. Special charge, special service, relating to specified lands. See Servic(e n. 14. c. Of a legal document: Precise, specific (to the circumstances).b. 1681 Stair Inst. iii v § 23.
A special charge to enter heir differeth from the general in this, that the general charge is in lieu of the general service: … but thereby the creditor cannot reach the lands and annualrents, which are not as yet established in the person of the apparent heir, he not being specially served thereunto or infeft therein. And therefore, that the creditor may reach these, he must use a special charge, which supplieth the special service and entry
1681 Stair Inst. iii v § 25.
In special services, the heir cannot be served to him who is last served special heir, unless he had been also infeft; the reason … is, because the special service, as an incomplete right, evanisheth, and the next apparent heir must be served again to the same defunct; but it is not so in general services
c. 1494 Acta Aud. 189/2.
My lordis … haid gevin ane sentence … that the summondis rasit be the said Robert … wes speciale a nevch & therfore ordinit the Lard of Tynwaldis procuratour to ansuer therto

8. Of a person: Appointed or employed for a particular purpose. b. Consail special, contrasting with counsail general (see Counsail n. 2 b.), a council of state made up of a limited number of highly placed and loyal councillors for the discussion of secret matters (see Introd. to Sc. Legal Hist. (St. S. 20) 326). 1408 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 67.
Be it kend til al men … vs Jamis of Dougla[s] … til hafe made & ordanyt oure … cosinez … oure procreouris and speciale attournais
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 21.
The ferd [doctor] … Wnto the laif was speciall president
1569 Q. Mary in Facs. Nat. MSS III lix.
Oure verray lauchfull vndoutit and irrevocable commissionaris procuratouris, actouris, factouris and spetiell eirand beraris
1584 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI 119/2.
All … salbe present at all the exerceises of the word and prayer … and the eldars … salbe speciall inspectors and notars of the absents
1595 Banff Ann. II 404.
To heff maid … George Currour … Johne Kennedy [etc.] … our werray lauchtfull irreuocable and spetiall procuratouris, executouris factouris and commissionaris of the said burghe
1596 Douglas Bequest 7 June.
To haif maid … our verry indoutit and irreuocabill procuratouris actouris factouris and speciale erand beraris
1602 Conv. Burghs II 145.
That na man … sall tak the chairge of ane schip … vnles he be first tryet be foure speciall maisters
1688 Acts Sederunt ii 180.
Parties shall be obleidged to answer to all speciall pertinent interrogators, in relation to their haveing of the wrytes, or putting the same away [etc.]
b. 1398 Acts I 210/2.
That he be oblygit be his lettres & suorne til gouerne his person & the office til hym committit with the consail general and in the absence of thaim with the consail of wyse men & lele of the qwhilkis there arre the namys … the duc of Albany [etc.] … . The quhilkis consail general & special sal be obligit [etc.]

B. adv. All instances with final -e have been treated here, some may properly belong at Special(l)y adv.

1. a. Expressly, for a particular purpose.(a) c1420 Wynt. vii 1884.
Gret clerkys off the Kyngis cownsalle, Chosyn till hym for specyalle [C. specyelle, W. speciall]
1490 Irland Mir. I 24/3.
Becaus this hevinly orisoune … is sa preignant and full of mater … I will discend speciale to declare euirilk partikile of it
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 145.
Be thir our lettres in the law … speciale respittis our said cousinace … quhill the tyme of hir raturnyng agane
1518 Chart. Coupar A. II 117.
Johne Striuelyng … schereff, to James Ȝonge [etc.] … maris of the said scherefdome coniunctlie and seuerale speciale constitut
1592 Conv. Burghs I 389.
It is speciall statut and ordanit … that [etc.]
1664 S. Ronaldshay 45.
[She was] speciall fined 40 s. for abusing of the bailȝie
(b) 1542 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 210.
It was spaschelle statudis in my lord court … that [etc.]

b. Const. gude, exceptionally, particularly; chiefly, in the assignation of a letter. 1513 Doug. i Prol. 86.
My speciall gud Lord Henry
1566 Facs. Nat. MSS III lii.
As ye will do me a speciall gude turne and plesour
1569 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 25.
To his spetial gud lord and maistir
1577 Waus Corr. 160.
To the rycht honorabill, and my spessiall guid frind
1615 Melrose P. 212.
1616 Haddington Corr. 133.
To the rycht nobill, my verry speciall guid lord
1618 Haddington Corr. 134.
My most spesialle good Lord
1618 Haddington Corr. 135.
16… Morisone in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 211.
Loch Shell, which is a more open place, yet there is speciall good ryding in it

c. Especially, above all, principally. 1542 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 210.
Tha[t] na tanandis sould call uthir to the cons[is]terre to spend thair geir and spaschelle for the thyngis that consarwes his barowne court
a1578 Pitsc. I 302/31.
The Duik of Albanie … maid … persecutioun wpoun the Homes and spetiall wpoun the Laird of Wadderburne
a1578 Pitsc. I 408/33.
The … worde … teichit sinneris to ane amendement of lyfe and spetiall idolatouris and adullteraris
1641 Inverness Rec. II 176.
The … towne counsell haweing takene to thair considderatione the many bygane miscariages … of Donald Foullar … and of his … vyff … and speacialle the unreverand, malicious … spechis wtterit … be … [them] againes George Abrahame
1650 Boharm Kirk S. 28 April.
Familie worship was earnestlie recommendit to all, and speciall to those that can read

d. Explicitly, in a detailed manner. 1581 Sempill Sat. P. xliii 89.
Sum auld exemples heir I man induce, To bring my purpose to more speciall

2. Const. in special. a. Distinguishing for particular mention a subsection of the class referred to; particularly, especially, above all, chiefly. Sometimes written as one word. Also in collocation with in generall. Also const. into speciall.(1) c1460 Consail Vys Man 56.
With na trwmpouris haf na daill Na with thaim cald fals in speciall
1471 Edinb. Chart. 134.
We charge … al and sindri our liegis and subditis and in speciale the masteris and governouris of the saidis botis that [etc.]
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 174/25 (Asl.).
In nobilnes the richtis of … treuth ar contenit and in speciale to kepe [etc.]
1513 Doug. Comm. i ii 27.
Thir goddis bein clepit penetes, of quham in dyuers placis eftyr, and in speciall in the thrid buyk
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4846.
Tyll all vertew thare hartis thay [sc. priests] suld inclyne, In speciall, to preche with trew intentis
1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 157.
Amangis mony divers exemplis, ane in speciale wyl we cal to remembrance
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 151/2.
To the redar in generale, and in speciall to Knox, Willock [etc.]
1567 G. Ball. 46.
Pray for all men in generall, … Pray for ȝour Prince in speciall
1570 Leslie 130.
Thair wes diverse articles proponit … inspecialle ane that [etc.]
c1578 Maxwell Mem. I 313.
Na braissillettis nor gold in speciall
1587–8 Aberd. Council Lett. I 32.
Lat this be heystlie delattit to the king and counsall and inspeciall to the toune of Edinburgh
1648 S. Leith Rec. 82/2.
That non ly in the church yard upon the Lords day and in special in tyme of divyne service
1674 Forbes Baron Ct. 297.
All tennentis and nighbouris … sall keip guid nighbour heid in speciall for bigging of keill ȝaird dykis
(b) 1559–60 St. A. Kirk S. 25.
He knawis na thing … bott that sche is ane honest woman, and in spetiall betuix Andro Olyphant and hir, and he knawis never machinatioun of dead be hir to him
a1578 Pitsc. I 297/23.
The Duike of Albanie … grantit all thingis that the quen wald desyre … and in spetiall for ressait and intertinement of hir husband
15… Moray Mun. Box 3, No. 39.
Rycht weilbelouit in the lord And nobill lady in spetiell
(c) 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 78a.
My wyfe for [= as regards] her madenes ine specell to pot ane of iii madens avay
(2) c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 241.
Brether in armes, adew, in generall. … All trew companȝeounis, into speciall, I say to ȝow adew for euermoir

b. Distinguishing an instance for particular mention; with reference to a particular individual (person, thing, etc.) to the exclusion of the (usu. implied) class to which it belongs; specifically, in detail.(a) c1420 Ratis R. 1466.
I sal ȝit ensampil schaw Of sere men levand … Bot thow sal nocht in speciall Wyt quhome of that I tell my tail
c1450-2 Howlat 101 (A).
I come to speir … in to speciall Quhy I am formed so fowle
c1450-2 Howlat 138 (A).
The swallowe so swyft, in speciale expremit The Papis harrald at poynt in to present
1501 Acta Conc. III 50.
The landis of the Park war in speciale expremyt in the King Robert charter
1501 Acta Conc. III 95.
The lordis ordanis Henry Ramsay … til schaw til the sade Symone quhat akris thai ar in specaile that he arrestit
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 5.
Schir Johine the Ros ane thing thair is compild In generale be Kennedy and Quinting … Bot had thay maid of mannace ony mynting In speciall, sic stryfe sould rys but stynting
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 132/14.
The doctrine of the anciant fathers … quhilkis all heir to reherse var our prolixit. Nochtthelese sum vil ve in special adduce
1563 Davidson Answer in Misc. Wodrow Soc. 231.
The thing that the Scripture speakis of first here in generall … it exponis the same heirefter in special
1566–7 St. A. Kirk S. 289.
He … resavit the … confession of Issobell in speciall
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xl 106.
That this may be maid mair manifest, I will discurs sum thing in speciall Tuiching this lamp [sc. Knox]
1593 Warrender P. (SHS) II 211.
The act … quhairin thair names are expressed in speciall
1608 Dundonald Par. Rec. 172.
Bessie Cvthbert … deponit that scho gat ane word of charming of beastis bot scho could name nane in speciall
(b) ?1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 225.
My lordis gres and the chonsall ar all vell mindyt to that bowndis in spessall of onie port of Skotland

c. Referred to as an individual (person or thing); individually; separately; personally. Freq. in collocation with (in) generall. 1482 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 501.
Full power … til reuoke and gaincall all baillies mad be me baith in speciale [MS abbrev. speale] & generale
1494 Loutfut MS 134b.
He … gef thaim a name in special & in general to be callit herraldis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 495.
To every man in speciall speke I sum wordis
1540 Lynd. Sat. 71.
Tak na man greif in speciall: For wee sall speik in generall
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5320.
Off fyftene signis in speciall Affore that Jugement Generall
15.. Dunb. App. iv 12.
Thocht I say in generale, Sum sall it tak in speciale
1569–70 Cal. Sc. P. III 63.
[Wherein she presses me to desire answer of her last letter, and also] doithe meane of sum preachings made agains her in spetiall be name
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. 59/16.
I will not speik in speciall Bot pray all in generall That [etc.]
1597 Conv. Burghs II 11.
All persouns maid burgessis be ony of thair touns that duellis nocht … thairinto … to be chairgit be thair nameis in speciall [etc.]

d. In a manner relating to the inheritance or acquisition of specified lands. See A adj. 7 b above. 1497 Acta Conc. II 84.
The twa last letters [sc. concerning the reversion of lands] that past apone the sade Adam personaly and in speciale procedit of the first letters purchest … quhilkis contenit bot ane charge generaly
1632 Cullen B. Ct. 6 July.
Margrat and Elspet Ogiluye aris portioners … in generall and in speciall in and to certane croftis of land folloing [etc.]
1699 Rothesay B. Rec. 524.
Adam Ker craves to be served aire in speciall to umquhill John Ker his brother in all lands heretages and annualrents quherin his said brother died infeft and seased

e. Exclusively, only. Also in to speciale. 1466 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXIII 34.
The expensis of the chawmerlane sal nocht be in to speciale put nowder to alderman na bailleis bot … to quhatsomeuer personis … that wil ressaue hym upon … lest expensis. And inlike wise … ther sal nowder alderman na bailleis in speciale haue the charge therof bot quhat other convenient fre man therfor sal pas gef thai wil tak the charge upon les expensis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5194.
Thare sall nocht be one man allone, Hauyng that name in speciall
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 116.
That the said javelour in speciall have ane buke for inserting of the prisoneris names

C. noun. 1. a. A female sweetheart. a1500 Colk. Sow iii 117.
Cokcoby the tent and Sprutok his speciall

b. A close friend or intimate; also const of: the closest or most intimate of one's friends or kin. Cf. A adj. 2 above.(1) 1587–8 Waus Corr. 413.
I man … desyr your lordship, as my speciall, to forther the puir man sa far as your lordship may
(2) 1600-1610 Melvill 58.
The Lords of Arbrothe and Pasley, with the specialles of thair frinds, namlie, sic as war giltie of the guid Regent's murthour, fled away in Eingland
1613 Misc. Maitl. C. III 32.
The speciallis of his freindis
1641 Justiciary Cases II 403.
Margaret Irving, as dochter to the said umquhile Rosie Baittie and sister to the said umquhile William Irving … compeiris … togidder with the said Daniell Irving, uncle to the boy and brother in law to the mother, quha ar the speciallis of thair kyn

c. A liegeman or supporter of particular importance, closeness or status. Cf. A adj. 3 above. 1553–4 Corr. M. Lorraine 382.
I sall thank God gyff … your grace wyll suay us me as your grace awyne specyall
1570 Cal. Sc. P. III 219.
[They were in] Sterveling [at the convention, as was] spokin [to make Lenox their Regent, but] sum wthris of his speciallis [showed me secretly] nethir wald thay cheis him, nor durst he except it
1581 Sempill Sat. P. xliii 129.
Ane of the speciallis [that] did mentene ȝour croun, Ȝour ferme protectour in ȝour tender ȝeiris
1596 Dalr. II 84/14.
King Henrie the vi … sendis to the Scotis king … of him to require libertie to cum to Scotland with … his garde of a thousand specialis
c1650 Spalding II 475.
Montross … gois to Birkinbog … quhair he and sum speciallis ar quarterit. The rest of his army he directis throw the countrie vpone quarteris

d. A distinguished person, an important public figure, a leader of a community, etc.; a member of the nobility; a chief. a1585 Maitl. Q. 281/35.
O cruell deith … To cutt this noble lord with thy scharp huik … Thy triumph is bot small Vnto the nobles done is maist iniure Quha spoyled ar of sick ane speciall
1590 St. A. Kirk S. 683.
To adverteis the maist speciallis baith of the universite, town, and upon land, to be present … to the nominatioun of ane uther minister
1596 Dalr. II 31/2.
Sum of the Specialis … war sa proud of thir victoriis that against thair king Henrie tha began to rebell
1596 Dalr. II 213/28.
The specialis of Glenchattane
1622-6 Bisset I 14/7.
The rolment of courtis … sene and considderred be sum certane speciallis of his maiesties previe counsall

2. A particular point, statement or detail or ? action. 1492–3 Acta Conc. I 262/2.
Na speciale beand maid quether the said sisteris had constitut ther procuratouris vnder ther selis or nocht
c1578 Reid Swire 151.
Theirs all the specialls I of speake, By others that I could not ken
1581 Sempill Sat. P. xliii 25.
To pen the speciallis it passis mony a hunder, And makis the tyme ouer tidious to declare
1584 Gowrie P. 27.
The generalnes of the lettre would make the kinge couriouse to knowe further of the speciall
1635 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. I 91.
One Mosman … pursuing a special against the Earl of Abercorn, as intromitting with the goods of the umquhile Lady Abercorn his mother

3. Of a hill: The highest. c1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 540.
Ther ar great hills betwix Can Loch Ew and Loch Bruyne where of the special is called Ben-Nedd

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"Special adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Jun 2023 <>



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