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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Caus(e, Caws, n. Also: cauis, cavis, cawis(se, cais. [ME. cawse, cause, F. cause, L. causa.]

1. A (or the) cause or reason of something.(a) a1400 Leg. S. v. 179.
He … sex cause[s] schawit quhy That thai men war than vnhappy
Ib. xv. 63.
Thai askit thame … the cause of thare cummynge
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 263.
Thys is the cause … Why it delayed is whyl now
c1420 Wynt. v. 1215.
The cause of this peté was For he hard of his rychtuusnes
1456 Hay II. 12/3.
That cummys of this foresaid cause, that he was [etc.]
Ib. 36/26.
Quhat is the cause that he takis the ordre for?
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 161.
The verray cause of his come I knew nocht the cace
a1500 Bk. Chess 1558.
For this cause I praye for thi welfaire
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 323.
The cause … to declair Of thy curst kyn
1549 Compl. 149/30.
The philosophour sais that the cause of ane thing is of mair efficacite nor is the thyng that procedis fra the cause
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 191.
I wes the cause of mekle more myschance
1562-3 Winȝet II. 5/25.
For twa causeis I hoip to be admittit ane of Godis airmie
1596 Dalr. II. 58/24.
Sum … sew sum causes of contentioun
(b) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1263.
Exylid for that caus wes he
Ib. v. Prol. 37.
All the caus materyalle Off the dowbyll governale
1448 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 114.
That ȝe … rais [na] amersiament na unlaw, for the causis forsaid
1456 Hay I. 116/11.
He speris quhy and for quhat caus knychtis suld be punyst
Ib. 184/34.
For causis resonable
c1460 Wisd. Solomon 834.
The vnderstanding of the caus quhy thai ar said
a1500 Henr. Fab. 5.
The caus that thay first began
a1500 Bk. Chess 45.
The caus quhy it was tane on hand
a1500 Seven S. 1066.
He thocht the caus for till aspy
1507 Edinb. Chart. 191.
For vther racionabil causis and considerationis moving ws
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 434.
Thus mycht scho not pretend na just caus quhy
1535 Stewart 267.
The caus quhy that thir plaigis all fell
15.. Clar. ii. 506.
This is the caus of his abaid
a1568 Scott xxxi. 34.
This is the quhy And caus that I Complene so peteously
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxiii. 4.
Trewe men … Off hous and landis disposest Without ane cauis
1607 Elphinstone Mun. 28.
The only caus of the miscareing of that haill seruice
1634 St. A. Baxter Bks. 98.
For certain guid causis and considerationes
(c) 1513 Doug. i. vi. 180.
That na man suld … the cawsis of thar cummyn speir
Ib. ii. Prol. 17.
Ȝour bewte was the caws
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxxiii. 27.
And thow be blythe, is caws of lang lewing
1604 Stewart Mem. 110.
For the reasone and caws following
1607 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 107.
[That] heirefter thay be na cawisse of gruge on ather syd
1611-57 Mure Dido ii. 557.
They … cawses fain'd, to keip their plots vnkend
(d) 1572 Sat. P. Ref. xxx. 34.
Gif that our Lords wald craib for ony cais [: wais = walls]

b. For his caus, by reason of him. c1420 Wynt. iii. 278.
Thai ware For his caus than anoyid sare

2. Without article, freq. in prepositional phrases, as but caus. 1375 Barb. i. 280.
Sum thai put in presoune, For-owtyn caus or enchesoun
Ib. ix. 25.
I had gret caus hym for to slay
a1400 Leg. S. xii. 307.
Judas … tynt had Sik dingnite, fore he cause mad
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1096.
To be peryst withouten blame And but cause makyng of defame
c1420 Wynt. iii. 956.
Caus and matyr bath gave he Tyll his dede
Ib. vi. 278.
Noucht sa gret as thare caus wes
Ib. viii. 3619.
Qwethire thai caws had or nane
1456 Hay I. 232/31.
He aw nocht to be grevit but caus
Ib. 265/26.
Bataill particulere is ay for hid caus
c1460 Consail Wys Man 158.
Thocht thow have caus, bost nocht to vrek
c1450-2 Howlat 108.
I am netherit ane owll … Withoutin caus or cryme kend in this case
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 264.
Ȝour sugurit lippis … Bene to oure eris cause of grete delyt
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 6.
Thocht he haif caus or nane
1551 Prot. Bk. R. Lumsdane 17.
The land … to be sawin … as he thinkis caus
1551 Hamilton Cat. 284.
It can nocht be said … that he wald speak ony wordis in vaine or without necessarie cause
1558 Misc. Wodrow Soc. 97.
Mekle better content nor thair wes cause
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1644.
He is not dum but caus
1575 Edinb. Test. III. 397.
Ten markis … to gif thame quhen he thinkis caus

b. For (or of) caus, for a good or special reason. c1420 Wynt. vi. 2072.
Quha evyr … wald be For caus frawchtyd owre that se
Ib. vii. 3409.
Suppos, off caws as hyr behowyd, Swa fra hyr kyn scho wes removyd
c1420 Ratis R. 151.
Sa for caus it suld swa be

c. For caus (that), because. For caus of, because of. (Cf. Because.)(1) a1400 Leg. S. v. 601.
For cause than nan ves hym nere
Ib. xxviii. 88.
For cause scho cristine treuth can ta
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1021.
For cause it was That assyth was not maid
c1420 Wynt. ii. 426.
Thai fenyhe that tyme he mad men, For caus [C. causse] he gert thaim craftis ken
Ib. iv. 1380; etc.
That he refoysyd … For caus that he thoucht [etc.]
c1450-2 Howlat 784.
For caus thai ete of the corne
1499 Dunferm. B. Rec. 101.
For cavis that he mycht nocht be present hime selff
1526 Carnwath Baron Ct. 27.
The inqueist findis the officiar in the vit for caus he maid it vnorderly
1535 Stewart 30155.
For caus that tha no wald Resist the wrang
1567 G. Ball. 43.
For cause thay knew him to depart
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 996.
To the ded They war to do for cause of fed
c1420 Wynt. i. 1669.
Than, for caus off swylk succoure [etc.]
1456 Hay II. 11/24.
For caus of irking of lang proceess
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxix. 4.
All for caus of cuvetice
1562-3 Winȝet I. 25/12.
For caus of exercise and priuate studie

d. Without prep. = Because. Also with of. c1550 Rolland C. Venus i. 503.
Lat we sic ly, caus we ar ignorant
Ib. 837.
Caus our knicht tuik our opinioun
Id. Seven S. 5869.
The Deuill … Wald nane war gude … caus he is euill
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 295.
Ȝe suld not chuse thame cause ȝe lufe thame
1570 Sat. P. xii. 60.
Ȝour burrow rudis ly fauch Cause of this murther
Ib. xx. 39.
I sall thame ban, … Caus our Regent … That cursit seid ouer ran
1611-57 Mure Dido ii. 594.
Ar my favours hated, 'cawse enjoyed?

3. A reason for praise or blame: a. Good service. 1375 Barb. xii. 122.
Swa suld thai, that caus [has] mad … Leis ane part of thair lovyng
1509 Lennox Mun. 189.
Dwyng for me my materys … and [for] wderys gud caws to be done to me and thame

b. A (real or imputed) fault; a charge or accusation. 1461 Peebles B. Rec. 141.
Geif he after defauttis, [sa] at it be a seand caus and a gret faut to the to[u]n
c1500-c1512 Dunb. ix. 139.
I schryve me … Off criminall caus, off deid of fellony
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 251.
The said provest … ordanit for tryell of the caus specifiit thairin … that euery baillie [etc.]
1561 Inverness B. Rec. I. 65.
James Paterson … exponit playnelie that it was Thom Gollanis cause he vald nocht cum to the Cunsall
1562-3 Winȝet II. 78/17.
Iustlie … the cause is laid to our charge, gif be silence we foster an erroure
1587 Misc. Bann. C. I. 124.
Put to death apon simulat causes
1611-57 Mure Dido i. 173.
For one man's caws no Trojane finds a shield

4. A matter affecting a person or persons; the case as it concerns any one; (one's) account or interest. 1375 Barb. iii. 302.
For his caus ȝeid fra ill to wer
c1420 Wynt. iv. 886.
How oure frendys … For yhoure caus … In till oure suppowale ras
1424 Acts II. 8/2.
That the Juge … get a lele & a wys aduocate to folow sic pur creaturis caus
1456 Hay II. 27/4.
He doubtis nocht the dede, in regarde of honour and his rychtwis caus
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1059.
Lat neuer our souerane his cause with schame to encheif
a1500 Lanc. 3395.
I wald not … for my caus, that such o knycht suld de
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 625.
In to my propir caus Suppois I speik, ȝe suld nocht be displesit
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 27.
So litill ressone to help the common cawis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 13/12.
We speikand frelie in the cause of our God
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 44.
The bischoppis … and vtheris diuerse quhais caussis wer in his protectioun
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 233 b.
Ernestlie requeisting thame for Goddis caus to execut … this hir lattre will

b. A side or party; an interest. 1456 Hay I. 82/21.
To defend rychtwis causis and querelis and haly kirk
Ib. 265/29.
Wenand thame self till have rychtwis caus and querele
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 449.
All wrangvys caus … Thai wyll manteine throw thar maistre
c1475 Wall. ix. 919.
Off crystin blud to se it was gret syn, For wrangwis caus

5. A matter of debate or dispute; a case to be decided by law.(a) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 138*.
In the tyme that I … assentyt to resayue this cause … in myne ordenans, and thairof gyf iugement
Ib. 139*.
My determinacyoun and ordenans of the cause before wrytyn
1483 Acta Conc. II. Introd. 4.
Quhilk some was recoverit … befor the auditouris of causes
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 52.
Ionete Ramsay … becom souerte … in the actione and cause mowit betuix hir … and Dauid Balfoure
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 427.
Mony sayis … That sum solistars … Vincusis laweris in thare cause, For all thare ledgin of the lawis
1622-6 Bisset I. 212/10.
Na thing restis to be done, bot the iudge to advise the cause
(b) 1409 Exch. R. IV. p. ccxi.
In tha causis that he refusis to submit him apon
c1420 Wynt. ii. 244.
Before jugys ordanyt he Be plede causys mot to be
Ib. viii. 1575.
Men … browcht that caus in jugement Before the Kyng
1456 Hay I. 180/3.
Suppos I have put in his procuracioun … all othir causis and dettis
c1450-2 Howlat 225.
[An] officiale … that the law leidis In caussis consistoriale
1471 Acta Aud. 22/2.
The lordis auditouris of causis & complantis to be ourman all as ane
a1500 Bk. Chess 1426.
His office is to put in writ sic thing As men suld vse in causis of the law
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 464.
For gredie iugis, I yow assure, Doith sell the causis of the pure
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxiv. 56.
Causis ilk day so fast dois multiplie That with this seit can nocht ourtakin be
(c) c1420 Wynt. viii. 3044.
In the caws off that upset, … The byschape off Lwndyn scho gert be Hey hangyde apon gallow tre
1556 Grant Chart. 120.
The saidis parteis … to cum befoir noyne, and thair accept the . … caws debatable

b. Hour of caus, the time appointed for trying a case. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1163.
The hour of cause quhilk that the juge vsit than
1528 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) Scott v. Seytoun.
To compere before ws … in the hour of caus … to ansuer at the instance of … William Scot
1594 Acts IV. 60/2.
To compeir … in his maiesties parliament … in the hour of caus … to ansuer … vpoun the tressonable crymes
1594 Conv. Burghs I. 456.
James Lidderdaill [etc.] … war laufullie summondit … to haif comperit this day, … in the houre of caus

6. Sele of caus: see Sele n.

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"Caus n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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