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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Tynsal(l, Tinsal(l, -el(l, n. Also: tynsal(l)e, -ail(l, -aile, -el(l, -ele, -eill, -ile, -yll, tynesyle, tyinsell, tinsale, -ail(l, -ele, -ill, -ull, tincel(l, thinsel, tensal(l, (tilsall). [ME (chiefly north.) tinsel (Cursor M.), tynsil (Rolle), tynsell (Manning), tenselle (c1400), f. as Tyn(e v. Cf. mod. Norw. tynsla destruction, damage.]

1. The losing (of possessions, etc.); loss, destruction, harm, detriment.(a) c1420 Ratis R. 678.
Vyninge of thaim [sc. riches] is cowatics, Tynsell of thaim is dolorus
c1420 Ratis R. 1408.
This eild … louis weil ay new aray, And settis nocht by tynsell gret Bot thinkis ay mar to get
1490 Irland Mir. I 91/38.
The honour and dignite of God is sa grete that for the waloure ore tynsall of a thousand waurldis and all creaturis, he suld nocht [haue] offendit Him
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 184/26.
Quho suld for tynsall drowp or de, For thyng that is bot vanitie, Sen … Heir is bot twynklyng of ane e
1531 Bell. Boece I 244.
With … tinsall of thair schippis
1546 St. P. Henry VIII V 574.
For … fear of the tynsale of the castell of Edinburgh, and the hole countre besoutht Fortht
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 78.
Tha pepill that for feir of thair lyues, And tinsall of thair houshaldis, bairnis, and wyues [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 134/10.
The wnhapie mischance will beare wittnes of the lose and tinsall of the boundis of France quhilk war Inglandis befoir
a1585 Maitl. Q. 41/19.
Tinsell of thy geir
1587 Aberd. Council Lett. I 9.
The saids complenaris are forced … nycht and day to watche and stand upoun thair gaird to the tinsall of thair traffique and handylabor
c1650 Spalding I 210.
The tounes folkis … foolishlie left the brig, … quhilk wes veray vnwyslie done, and to the tynsall of the brig
(b) 1569 Reg. Morton I 44.
The few that we subscriuit to James erle Bothwell wes subscriuit … for werray dredour and feir of our lyfis and tynsyll of our levyngis

b. Financial, etc. loss (sustained in a commercial or other transaction).Also to tak the (sic) tynsall.(a) ?14.. Ship Laws c. 10 (H2).
And gif the schip be in hyre and the maistir duell about thair debait the maistir salbe pait his tinsale sustenit in thair defalt
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 118.
The byar … salbe tharof deliueryt of all tynsall
1511 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 106.
Gif your lordschipe will tak sic tinsale … your lordschipe may aduert me again
1543–4 Ayr B. Acc. 94.
Quhair he can nocht get payment of the samyn, the toun to tak the tinsale thairof
1545 Reg. Privy C. I 11.
Becaus … that ane grete part of the saidis grotis … ar pas amongis the liegis … and that tha be nocht putt to extreme tinsell therthrow it is permittit to all … to bring to the cunyehous and tha sall have payment for thame
1559 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 297.
Allowit to him … haifand consideration of his tynsale to cum heir and laubour [etc.]
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. 151a.
& in speciale anents lv stane of voll or thairby in bying & selling wynnying & tynsale thairof vsit & handdilling it
a1568 Sempill in Sat. P. xlviii 87.
Albeid I haif tynsell, ȝet mon I tak hansell To pay my buth maill and my stand
1574–5 Glasgow B. Rec. I 456.
Allowit to the comptare for tinsell … be resate of hardheidis cryit doun
1582 Perth B. Ct. 20 Aug.
The said aduancement tendis to his grete comoditie and tynsall to his said fader and brother
1608 Glasgow B. Rec. I 290.
That Ninian Andirsoun … did incur los and tinsal be taking of the custome of the brig … be vehement frost quhairby the river … wes closit
1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I 360.
The … moneyis whiche have thair course in this kingdome may be convertit in the standard money without tinsell and grit lose
(b) 1693 Dundee B. Laws 457.
For ean year's service, his fie is 10 pond, and if [he] have no tinsill, he is to resave 1 lb more and if he have onie he is to pay 1 lb 10 sh
(c) 1563 Lennox Mun. 247.
Gar enter me … to the landes … geif ȝe trow that it may be ony thinsel to me my lang lyeing vnentret

2. Loss (of life, limb, etc.).(a) c1420 Wynt. v 2544.
For dowte off tynsall off hys lyve, He mad … Till ydolys fals hys sacryfyis
14.. Acts I 74/2.
Nane athis be maid of tynsal of lyff or of lym … bot throuch lele men of gud fame
1456 Hay I 33/28.
Weris amang kingis … touchis bot anerly the tynsale of the body and of the temporal lyf
1463 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V i 490.
Scho … is in poynt of tynsale of hir lyfe
14… Edinb. Univ. MS 27, 288a.
Of sum membre [to] thole tynsel Thruc maledy or wonde
1513 Doug. iii x 12.
A quhissil … Wes al his solace for tynsell of hys e
1533 Boece 67.
We se the detestabill tratouris … providing castis for tynsale of oure livis and kinrik
1545–6 Reg. Privy S. III 252/2.
He is seiklie … quhairthrow he … may nocht gudelie travell … without grete pyne, tinsale of his life [etc.]
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Machamivm.
Manȝie, hurt, … demembration, or the losse or tinsell of ony member of ane mannis bodie
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 26.
(b) c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxiii 68.

3. Loss (of a non-material attribute). a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 658.
The tynsale of his fadir speke
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 20.
Laith wer I … Flyting to use … For it is nowthir wynnyng nor rewaird Bot tinsale baith of honour and of fame, Incres of sorrow, sklander and evill name
1533 Bell. Livy II 48/27.
The dammage that ane man incurris be tinsale of his fame or faith is mare than may be estimate
1581 Sat. P. xliv 253.
Balcanqual … Planelie denuncit the tinsel of his fredome
c1590 Fowler II 30/25.
If … ressoun had possessit thee, besidis the tinsal of thy estimatioun, thou suld not causit vther mens honours to cum in hazard

b. The spiritual loss (of a person, his soul, or eternal life), damnation. a1400 Leg. S. xxxv 82.
Fore quhais [saulis] thu mon reknynge Ȝeld, [as] strate as for thine, & be condampnyt als wele For thame as for thi awne tynsele
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 5/2.
All he dois for thi decepcioun and tynsall of thi saull
1490 Irland Mir. I 129/21.
The tinsale and condampnacioune of man
1490 Irland Mir. II 92/20.
This sciens and doctrine concernis the salvacioun or tinsale of the man
1490 Irland Mir. III 54/3.
The tinsal of the hevinly and eternall premiacioun
1567 Jurid. Rev. XIV 370.
It is tinsel baith of their bodies and soulis, gif God's Word be not ruted in them
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 35/6.
Except the patient first beleeue in their power, and so hazard the tinsell of his owne soule

4. Loss of or failure to gain (a benefit supplied by another). 1534 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 145.
Ve ordand Nychoill to sweir quhat skaytht he had throu tynsaill of hir service
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 64/4.
Quhaire I thocht be being gratiouse … to uinne all mennis hartis to a louing & uilling obedience I be the contraire fande the disordoure of the cuntrey & the tinsell [1603 losse] of my thankis to be all my reuairde

5. Loss (of a person) by death, desertion, etc. 1375 Barb. iii 647.
Schyr Erle … Syn yow eschapyt is away Off the tynsell is na plenȝeing, Bot … thar will fall the gret foly To pas oft fra my cumpany
1375 Barb. xvii 900.
Thai … but tynsaill of men has maid Rescours to thaim that in Berwik War assegyt
1375 Barb. xix 503.
a1400 Leg. S. xxix 792.
Thai … & sad: ‘allace!’ For tynsale of thare fadir
?1438 Alex. ii 63.
That tinsall oft me turnes in tenis
?1438 Alex. ii 247.
I haue mare dule of him … Than of fyue hundreth vther ma. Of ane gude man great tynsall is
1533 Boece 252.
Conare … deceissit … the bischop weyit hevily the tinsell of this nobill man
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 2.
How Cadall, beand soroufull of the tynsale of his army was confortitt
1542 Misc. Spald. C. II lxxxiii.
[James V passed eight days at Edinburgh] with great dolour … for the tinsel and shame of his lieges [at Solway Moss]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7023.
The quene kest … Of this mater quhat scho suld do … Tuitching this knicht als to hir awin husband Be sic thing knawin, than banisching the land To my tinsell, and euer warldis schame
1558-66 Knox I 455.
Oure dolour was dowbled; not so muche for the loss of the money, as for the tynsall of the gentilman, whome we suspected to have bene slane, or at the least that he should be delivered to the Quenis handis
1596 Dalr. II 146/13.
Althoch ma Inglismen war slane, mony alledge that we tint the feild, throuch tinsell of our king
c1610 Melville Mem. 76.
As for the plegis, sic men to be chosen out that France wald mak litle accompt of ther tincell as Monsr de Candall [etc.]

6. Loss or deprivation by way of confiscation or forfeiture as a punishment or penalty.(a) 1456 Hay I 28/34.
Thai … dar nocht for dout of tynsale of thair beneficis say othir wayis
1543 Reg. Morton II 291.
The said Erle dred ever incarceratioun, warding, and tynsale of his life
1544 Reg. Cupar A. II 39.
Sway the samyn be prewyne sufficientlye vpone thame, it sall be tinsall of thair takis
1573 Davidson in Sat. P. xli 36.
Thair ioukers durst not kyith thair cure, For feir of … tynsall of the charge
1581 Hamilton Facile Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 238/7.
Politik Catholiks, wha for feir of tinsel of geir, or for aduancement to warldlie riches … dois communicat at the table of thir Caluinian ministers
1622-6 Bisset I 127/20.
Summonis anent tynsell of superioritie
1627 Justiciary Cases I 73.
He hes committit … treasone … and sould be pwneist be tynsell and forfaultour of lyfe, landis and guidis
c1630 Scot Narr. 145.
That no letters importing tinsell of life or moveable goods, shall be of force, except they be execute … betwixt eight hours in the morning and twelve at noon, before famous witnesses
1631 Highland P. I 330.
To infer nullitie reductioun, tinsall, or amissioun of the forsaid infeftment
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 17.
The lords of session ar only judges competent to the tinsell of lyfrents
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 285.
All cryms which be punished be … cutting or tinsell of ane member
(b) 1581 Crim. Trials I ii 96.
Incurrand thairby the panis of tressoun, viz. tinsull of lyfe, landis and guidis, and be the extinctioun of his tytillis, fame, honoure

b. Of a person: To be put intinsale to (another), ? to be penalised, punished with regard to or by (another). c1500 Harl. MS 4700 282a.
Gif the tennend … sellis the hous … but leif of the lord or lady the tennent may be put in gret tinsale to the lord or lady

c. Under (on) (pan(is) of) tynsall of.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxv 166.
& that thai vndone nocht lewyt Vndir tynsal of thare hewyd
1397 Acts I 208/1.
That na man vse sik destruccions … vnder payn of tynsale of life & gudis
1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I 389.
Vnder payne of lyffe and tynsale of gudis
1445 Aberd. B. Rec. MS IV 401.
1455 Acts II 42/2.
That na persone … herbery … James umquhill Erle of Dowglas his brethir complicis or anerdance vnder the payne of tynsaile and forfature of lyf landis and gudis
1466–7 Acts II 87/1.
1498 Perth Guildry 146 (Aug.)
Vnder the panis of tinsell of thir fredome & tene lib to be pait
1515 Treas. Acc. V 53.
To bring in the samyn undir escheting of thair gudis, tynsall of thair fredomis [etc.]
1530 Reg. Soltre 98.
Hald the same sufficient wndir tinsell of the takkis … and refounding off the skaith
1535 Grant Chart. 79.
Vnder the pane of … tinsale of perpetuale faytht, lawte, and cridence
1574 Reg. Privy C. II 368.
Under the pane of infamy, repruif, manswering and tinsall of perpetuall traist and credite
1581 Acts III 224/2.
Vnder the pane of amissioun, tynsell, & confiscatioun of thair haill schippis and guidis
c1590 Fowler II 177/14.
That nane after his race … ley his lance vpon his shoulders vnder the paine of the tinsell of that that he hes done in his course
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 4.
All judges … should doe true and equall justice … under paine of tinsell of their honor, fame, and dignity
(b) 1546 Treas. Acc. IX 32.
(c) 1666 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 162.
(d) 1472 Peebles B. Rec. I 168.
Thir four personis sal … huphald the sayd dikyng … vnder the tensal of thair fee
(e) 1519–20 Stirling B. Rec. I 2.
(2) 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
On paine of tynsail of lyfe and lyme

7. Harm, injury, hurt, damage, ruin. Also pl.(a) 1375 Barb. v 503.
Thai maid him mony tyme warnyng Quhen that thai his tynsaill [C. tynsale] mycht se
1375 Barb. xi 495.
Oft-sys throw a word may rys Discomford and tynsaill with-all
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xi 447.
Thai war sa ful of yre & tene, For the tynsale that thai thar hade, & of the ruyne wes thare mad Of thare goddis
?1438 Alex. ii 1550.
His men him hates … To his tynsall [F. confusion] thay will him lede
c1400 Wemyss Chart. 37.
Gif … ony of the said partis sustene tynsale or scathe … the part as sustenys the tynsale or scathe … sal haf fredome to distreyne for als mekil tynsale and scathe as [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. iii 188.
And to thame scho sulde telle it hale, Swa that thai ran noucht in tynsalle
1525 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. V 30.
In gret skayth and tynsale off the said Lord of Ȝestyr
c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 11.
Christ … promisit reward to all thaime that suffrit tynsale for His saik
1540–1 Linlithgow B. Ct. 4 Feb.
In gret tynsale hurt and preiudice to the burgesis of the said burgh
1570 Sat. P. x 199.
Cair not, that is small tynsall
1622-6 Bisset II 221/19.
Gif ony misordoure inconvenientis or tynsall happynnis, the admirall … sall punische according to the cause and the tynsell to be restored be the faulter
(c) 1513 Doug. Direct. 33.
Quhar that I haue my tyme superexpendyt … God grant I may amend it, With grace and space to vpset this tynsell
(d) c1420 Wynt. iii 226 (W).
My wif has tald it ȝow but faill, And kepit ȝow out of tinsaill
1489 Lennox Mun. 131.
We offer our personis for the eschewing of the tinsail, skatht of this realme [etc.]
(e) 1460 Hay Alex. 2916.
Fair language garris men oft chape gret perrell And prydie wordis fall oft in gret tinsall
1460 Hay Alex. 3590.
Gif my liffe mycht succoure all the laf, And I war dede … Smal tinsale war
1581 Perth Kirk S. in Lawson Bk. Perth 139.
The said Janet is nutrix to Andrew Bowie, who may not guidly spare her … for tinsall of his bairn
(f) 1627 St. A. Baxter Bks. 87.
For … inputting of burges daugh … befoir the said Thomas his daugh … to the said Thomas great hurt … and tinsull of his stuffe
pl. c1610 Melville Mem. 46.
Spurrit fordwart be many treasons tincelis, and rebellions against him

b. Loss by the effects of damage, mistreatment or neglect; ruination, esp. in (on) punct (hazard, perell, etc.) of tynsall.Some examples may belong in sense 1.(1) 1513 Doug. xi vi 93.
Quhat suld I tell of Neoptolemus … The hard myschans and tynsell of hys ryng?
c1650 Spalding II 47.
The kingis majestie might be deposit of his croun … for proditioun, that is, seiking the tynsell and loiss of his kingdome, by distroying there lawis and liberteis
(2) 1490 Irland Mir. III 129/22.
Quhen the realme and all the pepil is in perdicioun, and in perell of tinsal, than baith king and all vthir suld spend thar gud and put thar persoune in danger for the defence of it
1497 Acta Conc. II 88.
Throw the quhilk the wynes and uther gudis ar in punct of tinsale
1505 Misc. Spald. C. V 36.
Quhilk is ruinous, and standis in poynt of tynsele without it be reformit, biggit, and mendit
1513–14 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 9.
The saidis merchandis gudis being in thar schippis in greit punct of tynsell in rotting
1525 Acta Conc. MS XXXV 36.
The realm standis in punct of tinsale without gud provision be maid for the defencioun tharof
1570 Leslie 120.
It apperis to be sufficient … to defend our awin realme … utherwayis we may putt the haill cuntrey … in hazard of tinsall
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 178.
Thair kin and freyndis infectet with the pest lyand in Sanct Colmes Insche in poynt of tynsale for falt of sum persounis to awaitt vpoun thame
1583 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 310.
The castell of Stirling is rwngows in sic sort that the greit hall thairof is in poynt of tynsall
1598 Glasgow B. Rec. I 189.
Salt coft for the commonetie lyand ontane of the mercheantis handis, and thairthrow is in perell of tynsall
1600 St. A. Kirk S. 922.
She played woiert on the Saboth day upon necessitie, it being on perrell and danger of tinsell
1636 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 177.
That they have some victuall in some schippis at Leith spilling and in poynt of tinsell in respect they have no loftis nor housses … emptie

8. Waste, esp. of time. a1500 Bk. Chess 177.
Ydilnes … Is mannis deid & tinsall of his dayis
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xxvi 8.
A woman that had a boist … of precious onyement … sched out on the heid of him … And disciplis … said, Quharto this tinsale?
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Mark xiv 4.
Quharto is this tinsale of onyement made?
1533 Bell. Livy I 233/11.
Appius, seand finalie his rigorus … wourdis nocht availl … bot alanerlie tynsell of tyme [etc.]
1565 Edinb. Univ. MS La.iii.388a, 3b.
Becaus thair is bene great tinsale of tyme maid throcht inquietatioun of the lordis be inoportune solistatioun be diuers
1591 Reg. Privy C. IV 700.
He wes … forceit to enter in new … proces … to his grite … chargeis besydis the tinsall and losse of his tyme
1600-1610 Melvill 463.
All uther things was … bot vanitie and tinsall of tyme to him

9. Failure to gain (something), failure, esp. to win (a battle or court action); loss or failure of (a court action). b. Failure to keep (an appointment). a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 540.
The tynsale of my pray
1535 Stewart 55246.
Stewart and Marche … Of his tynsall the haill caus … And all the laif thair fleing, hed the wyte
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 241.
The tynsall of the jeornay of Penke
1555 Ayr Chart. 106.
Becaus the said actioun concernit strangearis and wes in point of tinsale
?1571 Sat. P. xxv 106.
When thei have tint als mony teith As thei did at the seige of Leith They wilbe faine to leive it. Then quha, I pray ȝou, salbe boun Thair tinsall to advance
1570 Leslie 177.
The gret hurt … sustenit be the tinsall of the feild
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 76/25.
Vtheris vylie toddis foreseing the tinsall of thair action … refusit to admit thair iugement
1650 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 616.
Twiching the tinsell of this battell
b. c1500 Fyve Bestes 231.
Syng ȝe nocht ȝone clerk sall slepe quhill day … It war gret pete he suld tyne his kirk And of the tynsall ȝe sall haf the blame

10. In collocation with winning (vantage) in various of the above senses, esp. sense 9. Also proverb.(a) 1460 Hay Alex. 102.
The quhilk standis on all my fortune hale Othir evill or gud winning or tinsale
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (STS) 174.
He sais that al thing has a tyme in this warld … as … tyme of tynsell, tyme of vynynge [etc.]
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 193.
Fore gret tynsell thai move thaim nocht, Na fore gret vynyng changis thocht
1488 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 55.
That … sic a burges … marrow him with ane maister of substance and lay his penny to his … and thai to dele thairvpoun vyning and tynsell as effeiris
a1538 Abell 20a.
Thai that faucht and gat maire tynsall na wynnyng [etc.]
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 382.
In this consistis, withouttin faill, Boith the wynning and tinsaill
a1578 Pitsc. I 115/8.
He wald gif him battell athir be tinsall or wyning to put the haill realme in ieopardie
1593–4 Cal. Sc. P. XI 277.
He will nocht for nathing satisfie the desyris of the Kirk and for na tinsall nor vantage [He will not hurt his conscience for any earldoms or worldly authority]
(b) 1538 Aberd. B. Rec. MS XVI (Jam.).
At the goiff, … thai war partismen wyth the said Jhone in wynning and tyinsell
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1706) 290.
Your winning is not my tinsel

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



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