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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Almous, Almus, Almos, n.1 Also: almouse, almows; almws, almuis, awmus; almose, almois, alimos; allmes, almes; amas. [Northern ME. almus (c 1300), ON. almusa, = OE. ælmysse, whence ME. almisse, almesse, almes, mod.E. alms. The form almose (almoys) occurs also in late ME. and early mod.E. The later Sc. form is awmous, awmus.]

1. Money, etc., given in charity or as an act of piety.Dede of almous = Almous-dede. Hous of almous = Almoushous.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxiv. 198.
He of thare almouse gat And knew thame wel
c1420 Wynt. v. 2285.
Off almows mony dedys sere He dyd
Ib. vi. 147.
He wes a man off almows grete, Bath off moné, and off mete
14.. Acts I. 32/2.
Mysal men … sal sit at the toune end and thar ask almous at furth passand men and ingangand
c1420 Ratis R. 634.
A rich man gyf that thow bee Luk one thi almous thou be free
1503 Edinb. B. Rec. 97.
The pure failyeit folks … sic as may guidlie be sustenit be thair almous
1560 Rolland Seven S. 242/11.
My counsall is, pas hame to ȝour awin hous, Giue to the pure, and gar deill greit Almous
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 57.
All persounes refusaris [of] almous to the puiris bred to be summondit agane Wednisday nixt
1612 Reg. S. Trin. 247.
Emolumentis, maillis, almowsis, dailsiluer, obiitis and anniversareis
1624 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 139.
Ȝe cuming to visite her desyrit almous of hir
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 54.
Hyre sa wisly can scho ware With almus, fasting, & prayere
Ib. xl. 243.
He was … large in almus & dowyng
c1420 Wynt. v. 2965.
Than thare almws halyly … Thai oysyd to cast to that dragowne
1464 Peebles B. Rec. 151.
At the sayde frere Wylyam … mycht byge apon it a Hous of Almus for tyl harbry in it pur foulk for saull heile
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 91.
Item … gevin to breddis in the kirk and awmus
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. 211.
[The council] grantis ane day licence ilk moneth to ony persoun that will procur almus throw the toun to the said wiff and barnis
1578 Waus Corr. I. 190.
Ane man … cum and askit almus at ane bischop
(c) 1418 Liber Melros 503 (see sense b (c) below). 1499 Edinb. B. Rec. 79.
For helping of the pure bedrentis to thair sustentatioun, ilk nychtbour … sall pas … and procure almois to thame
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 261/22.
Thir thre brethir … spendit thair gudis … in bigging of abbais and in almos to the pure
1559 St. A. Kirk S. i.
Havand respect to the inlayk of almos, and multitud of misterfull to be helpit therwyth
1566 Reg. Great S. 513/1.
Lie almos, dail-silver, obeittis
(d) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 47/14.
The best counsall agane syn js almes and mercy
a1578 Pitsc. II. 59/6.
As he enterit in at the abbay kirk doore, thair was ane poore man … askit at him allmes
1587 Acts III. 500/1.
The charter … off all and sindrie … canis, seruices, almesis, … obitis [etc.]
1603 Elgin Rec. II. 108.
The glassin wrycht callit Michaell Scott inhibit to beg almes
(e) 1629 County Folk-Lore (Orkney) III. 78.
Ye cuming ... and seiking amas, the said Jonet said sho got litill guid by gevin amas

b. In the phrase in (rarely into) almous, as alms.(a) 1399 Chart. Holyrood 112.
The said Davi has giffin in pure & perpetuale almous to the said Religious men twenty mark of Annuale Rent
14.. Acts I. 361/2.
Al thai that haldis landis gevin in almouse salbe quyt of gevin of toll
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 34/3.
It that ladyis wyynnis vnlefully … thai may lefully geve in almous
1531 Treas. Acc. VI. 38.
To ane auld failȝeit man in Striveling … in almouse
1552 Ib. X. 134.
To the gray freris of Edinburght in almous, and to thair support
1585 Chart. Holy Trin. 81.
To remane with thame perpetualie in all tyme cuming, in puir and perpetuall almous
1622-6 Bisset II. 31/26.
[To be] haldin be the saidis bischopis … in puir and perpetuall almouse
(b) 1429 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 42.
In pure and perpetuale almus for the heil of my sawle
1459 Acts XII. 26/1.
With outheris possessionis gyfyn to the sayd abbay in almus be nobyll and deuote prynces
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 90.
Item, in awmus to pure folkis, v s. viij d
1500 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 66.
For the heile and salvacion of thair saulis in puir and perpetuall almus
1560 Rolland Seven S. 74/18.
Gif ȝe pleis ony thing for to deill Into Almus, for my weill and saull heill
(c) 1418 Liber Melros 503.
He is obliged to gyf … in verray almose ten pvnd of gude and vsuale moné
1476 Exch. R. VIII. 344 n.
Yerli … fourty schillingis in pure almois of oure lordschip of Galwaye
1485 Liber Coll. Glasg. 195.
In pure and perpetuall almose

2. A meritorious act, a good deed. Used ironically. ?1438 Alex. ii. 2023.
Great almous it war that sic menȝe Micht at thare will assemblit be [orig. Grant aumosne seroit de tex gens assembler]
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2626.
It wer Almous the for to draw and hing, That suld presume … To glar my drink
1581 Burne Disput. 84 b.
It var almous to hang the, fals theif knaif
1585 in Calderwood IV. 309.
It were almous to punishe you in example of others

3. Attrib. in the sense ‘given in alms’, as almous bed, clathis, goun, silver. Also almous dealing, distribution of alms. 1489 Treas. Acc. I. 108.
On Skyrys Thursday, giffin for the Kingis almus clathis, xvij merkis
1496 Ib. 270.
For the Kingis almus clathis on Gud Friday, xxvj li.
1516 Ib. V. 75.
Almos gounis and hudis for the kingis almos on Cena Domini
1568 Liber Coll. Glasg. p. lxxxii.
All … almois siluer, dailsiluer, obeittis siluer, and anniuersarijs quhatsumeuir
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 31.
The almous bed last possest be vmquhile John Gibsoun
1599 St. A. Kirk S. 883 marg.
Almous dealing at buriallis dischargeit
1641 Peebles B. Rec. 107.
Almous silver, obite silvir, and anniversaries

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"Almous n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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