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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.

Answer, Answere, v. Also: aunswere (awnswer-), ansuere, answeir, -sueir, answear; ansuer, ansver, answar, -suar; ansour (-swour), ansowr, ans(u)or, ansuir. [ME. ansuere, answere, answare, also aunsware, etc., early ME. andswer(i)en, -swar(i)en, OE. andswarian. In MSS. freq. written anfr: see Answer,n.]

1. intr. To make answer; to speak or write in reply; to reply, respond. Also with that and clause, or words quoted.(a) 1398 Acts I. 211/1 (that the schancellor sall ansuere til his lettres). 1456 Hay I. 235/16 (I will ansuere schortly); 251/18 (I ansuere that … ). 1490 Irland Mir. I. 23/21 (I ansuere to that affirmatiue). 1562-3 Winȝet I. 4/18 (hoipand that thay sall ansueir to the samyn).(b) 1375 Barb. viii. 144 (he ansuerd ernystfully); xi. 406 (all ansuerd with a cry). c1420 Wynt. ii. 1376 (to this message thai ansuerd then). c1420 Ratis R. 1286 (scho can nocht ansuer weil to argwment). c1475 Wall. i. 398 (Wallace ansuerd, said … ). 1513 Doug. i. iv. 104 (thai answer nocht). 1549 Compl. 38/28 (rotche craggis ansuert vitht ane hie not). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 15 (that euery auditour ansver hys cours about).(c) 1481 Peebles B. Rec. 189 (the balyeis answarit and said … ). 1533 Gau 98/21 (the saul ansuaris … ).(d) 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 58 (I have ansourit to naine of thayme). 1580 Cath. Tr. 70/11 (to ansowr direklie to the demandes). c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxiv. 37 (to this sanct Peter ansuoris that … ).

b. tr. To reply to (a person).1375 Barb. xi. 411 (qwhen the king had herd his men sa hardely him answer). c1420 Wynt. ii. 486 (thai war ansuert that … ); vi. 2088 (the king awnsweryd hym all gudlykly). 1456 Hay I. 66/20 (I ansuere thé that … ). 1513 Doug. ii. vi. 54 (with thir wordis he answerd me). a1578 Pitsc. I. 21/8 (Douglas ansueris him againe). a1585 Polwart Flyt. 159 (to answere thee in sermon short).

c. To utter in reply.1560 Rolland Seven S. 34/14 (ane word he answerit nocht). a1578 Pitsc. I. 141/21 (to the quhilk was anssuirit be the ambassadour). 1630 Kirkcaldy Presb. 12 (it was answerit negative).

2. intr. To reply to a charge; to appear before an authority to do this. 14.. Acts I. 22/2.
He sall nocht ansuere withoutyn day and terme lachfull
1456 Hay I. 162/7.
Gif thai do the contraire, thai ar behaldin till ansuere before God, and the warld
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1198.
To declair … Quhidder the scheip suld answer in iugement Before the uolf
1540 Edinb. Chart. 211.
The saidis personis ar … warnyt at the command of the … Ballies to compeir befor tham to ansuer
1560 Peebles B. Rec. 269.
It wes fund … that the said wardane suld ansuer afore the baillies as ane nychtbour

b. To respond or reply to a claim, obligation, etc. 1460 Peebles B. Rec. 137.
Andro Folcart … bad hym schaw hym his obligacioun and he swld ansuer to the obligacioun
1492 Dunferm. B. Rec. 32.
Wilyam Stewart … borowit Jamys Bosuell … to ansuer to Johne Wilsone claym but fraud or gill
1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. 208.
Walter Cant ansuerand to the clame gevin in vpoun him be maister Johne Prestoun … allegit that [etc.]
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 52.
Vnder promeise to compeir and answer to the cryme of the kingis murthour layd to his charge

c. To give account to one. 1471 Acta Aud. 19/1.
To ansuer to our souerane lord vpon the breking of the decrete
1506 Edinb. Chart. 190.
As ye will ansuer to ws vpoun the executioun of your office
1513 Dunferm. B. Rec. 190.
He was redy to ansueir to Robert Cowsing for the hors he clamit him of
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 14.
The principal … sal tak head that thyr thyngis be performit, as he wil ansuer to the jugement of the rectour
1622-6 Bisset I. 150/13.
All [three shires] suld ansueir to the iustice air of the schirefdome of Inuernes

3. To be accountable or responsible, to give a guarantee or assurance, for some person, action, etc. 1398 Acts I. 211/1.
The consail with hym beande sal ansuer for his dede
1482 Acta Aud. 98/1.
Wilȝaim Cumyng masare ansuerand for him vnder cautioun
1557 Menzies MSS. 8.
It is within the power of Alexander Menȝes … to ansuer for the gud reule of the Clangregour
a1578 Pitsc. I. 177/8.
To bring the doaris … to the kingis iustice … or ellis they sould ansuer for the cryme thame selffis
1622-6 Bisset II. 220/20.
All chiftannis of schipis … to ansueir for the men of there charge

4. tr. To respond to the commands of (a person or authority). 1398 Acts I. 211/1.
All the legys … sal ansuer, … mayntene & suppouel the said lieutenande in his office
1453 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 403.
To ansueir and underlie the law
1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. 295.
That he suld answer and obay the provest and baillies and officeris of the town
1567 Acts Jas. VI (1597) .
To aunswere & to obey the saidis Ministers & their Collectours

b. intr. With to (a person).Usually in the phrase intend, answer, and obey. 1471 Edinb. Chart. 134.
That ye … reddily intend, ansuere, and obey to the saidis Provest, Balyeis and Communite
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 320/1.
That the said tennentis suld ansuere and obey to him
1596 Dalr. I. 222/23.
Nathir soulde a vidue be compelled a thousand pace ouer her awne dores to ansuer to the lawes

5. To satisfy (a person) by payment; to requite or compensate. 1511 Reg. Privy S. I. 344/2.
To mak the said Jhone be ansuerit of the landis and aireschip gudis
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII. 365.
To his gracis servitour, … ane precept to anser him of ane lyfray
1560 Rolland Seven S. 162/23.
For coist se ȝe not spair, Thairof ȝe sall be answerit and far mair
1588 Waus Corr. II. 425.
In cais the childer be nocht anserit immediatlie … [ye sall] anser ilk ane of thame of halff ane pek meill be ten dayis
1587-99 Hume 170/112.
That they suld not be ansuerd of thair stipendis

b. To recognize by payment; to pay. 1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 326/2.
Providit that thai ansuer nocht na new preceptis in tyme tocum
1529 Ib. I. 593/1.
That na lettres of gift … be ansuerit at the signete … without the subscriptioun of the said Robert
1560 Stirling B. Rec. I. 72.
Robert protestit that he be nocht compellit to ansuer ony uthir money nor he gat for the said meill
1647 Hope Diary 142.
He would have me advance and ansuer money upon his lettres

6. To correspond or be similar (to).1428 Edinb. Chart. 63 (proportionablie ansuerand to the sarplar). 1446 Reg. Cupar A. I. 126 (al duyte and servys ansuerand to sa mekyll land). 1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 289 (to mak twa forttis, ane to answour and defend the wdyr). 1692 Lanark B. Rec. 241 (to build two stairs … to answear the lofts).

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"Answer v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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