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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.

Charge, Chairge, n. Also: charege, charg, chardge; chairg, cherg(e, chearge; schairge. [ME. charge (a 1225), OF. charge.]

1. A load or burden; a weight. Also fig. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 328.
Berand gret charges with hym there Of golde
Ib. 646.
The syluer and the golde … they ta, And the charges of whet alsua
c1420 Wynt. iv. 2235.
In tyll his bate, quhen he Wes gane … Throuche the charge at it bare, Into the se it sank
1456 Hay II. 48/31.
As the hors beris grete charge of the armyt knycht, and sadill and harnais
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 62/27.
He that … putis the charge of all [the horse] on the wakest … dois aganis resoun
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1410.
All temporale riches … Is bot a birding and a hevy charge
1513 Doug. v. v. 8.
Eneas … bad onto thar schippis bair … Presandis of wyne, and of siluer a charge
Ib. x. ix. 49.
A gret talent Or charge of fyne siluer
1562 Treas. Acc. XI. 180.
For x elnis ij quarteris of Franche blak to covar the charge of the mulettis
1567 G. Ball. 177.
Quhair we war wount to go rycht glaid, Now haif thay vs with chargis ouer laid

2. A payment or service imposed or exacted; an outlay or expense. c 1380 MS. Charter (Reg. H.).
I sall gif hym … a peny gif it be askyt … for al vthir charge or seruyse in name of blancheferme
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1339.
The Archebyschape … Mad this protestayowne, Off cownte and charge he suld be, That secularys oysyd, all tyme fre
1447 (1451) Reg. Great S. 106/2.
Al chargis, exactionis and demandis that may be rasit or askit rychwysly of thaim
1461 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 22.
That man … sal … kepe the toun vnscathit … of all dettis and chargis acht be hym
1474 Reg. Cupar A. I. 193.
Payand to ws ȝerly x pundis … for male and al chargis, bonage or caryage
1486 Exch. R. X. 100.
For the uphalding and bering of the … chargis of the said office
1513 Reg. Privy S. I. 382/2.
An exemptioun maid to H.L. fra all … wapinschewingis, walking, warding or uther personal chargis
1519 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 193.
Thai have takyn of thair fre will till beir uther neidfull chairgis in this meter
1565 Fleming Q. Mary 495.
He onderlyis charge and expensis for the keping of the said Castell
1573 Sat. P. xxxix. 45.
Quhat chargis wes hir schipis at, may I speir?
1596 Dalr. ii. 442/23.
Quhilkes customes, and sair chairgis, … quhen first now tha persauet vpon thame to be laid
1605 Misc. Spald. C. V. 77.
To Johne Craufurd for his chairges in on vyting in Lauren fair
a 1637 Exch. R. I. 23.
Ane chairge of silver, victuals, and caynis, perteaning in evrie schyre to the king
1658 Mun. Univ. Glasg. II. 504.
For exchange and chairges of cairedge [of dials]
1664 Forbes Baron Ct. 246.
The haill tenenentis … sall giv obedence to their officeres for all services, publict dewis, sess or ony other charg

b. The amount for which one is held responsible or answerable. (Cf. Charge v. 2 c.) 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 280.
The charge and discharge being seine, hard and understand

3. A task, duty, or commission laid upon or assigned to one.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 141.
And fra he wyst quhat charge thai had, He buskyt hym
c1420 Wynt. iii. 34.
All othir off dreych than gert he drawe, Hys charge quhill that he suld schawe
Ib. vii. 2258.
Quhat for corruptyoun and inwy, Thare charge thai dyd noucht detfully
1456 Hay I. 70/29.
To quyte thair dett … of the grete charge thai have tane of haly kirk
Ib. II. 50/33.
Men may se that knychtis, be vertu of thair ordre, has a grete charge
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 188.
Be nocht redy chargis to tak, Na erandis bere
c1475 Wall. vi. 914.
Off na sic chargis haiff I; We will gyff gold, or oure purpos suld faill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc. 57.
Quhair seldin compt is tane, and hes a hevy charge, … That man is abill to fall ane gret mischance
1513 Doug. i. v. 130.
He … to the cuntre of Liby come in hy; Thar dyd hys charge
1562 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 342.
Because the said Thomas … hes borne office of dignitie and charge of this guid toune
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 16.
Because in tymes by past the … bischeppis war conservatouris, … and now is raisonable that thay susteine the samyn charge
(b) 1556 Lauder Off. Kings 509.
Quhome ȝe aucht for to refuse Frome that gret office, chairge, and cure
1612 Highland P. III. 123.
The laird of Lundy hes vndirtane the chairge with promissis to do his indevoir [etc.]
a 1660 Coll. Aberd. & B. 191.
The honorable chairge he did bear in that ambassage

4. The task of looking after something; the care or superintendence of a matter, etc. c1450-2 Howlat 327.
Gois halkis war … Chosin chiftanis, chevalrus in charge of weris
1456 Hay I. 160/33.
All the warld wate wele that thir pure folk has na charge … na partage of the weris
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 440.
Vndir his charge na wrangwys deid may fall
1568 Sat. P. xlvi. 3.
Quhat pylett takis my schip in chairge. Mon hald hir clynlie
1571 Maitl. F. clxxvii. 18.
We haiff thé chosin to the cheifest charge, Our tossit galay to gowerne & to gyde
1596 Dalr. I. 163/7.
King Galdie haueing vndir charges fiftie thousand men of weir

b. The office of pastor to a congregation. 1643 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 4.
He … desyrit the counsell … to permit him to remove from the chairge at Witsinday nixt

5. An injunction, command, or order; a legal summons.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 1650.
Dene Heinry … wes chosyn thare Off this charge to be berrare
1456 Hay I. 112/34.
Tharfore was it gevin be charge to the princis [etc.]
Ib. 113/31.
He suld … ay be redy … to do his honour and charge of his lord
1473 Treas. Acc. I. 47.
The currouris … to … cum to the King for certane chargis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1154.
Schir Corbie Rauin … The charge hes tane, and on the letteris bure; Summonit the scheip before the uolf
1495 Liber Aberbr. 289.
Bath the said parteis beand lauchfully summond … at the command and charge of our souerane Lordis lettres
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 319.
He durst not sit anys my summondis; for, or the secund charge, He wes ay redy for to ryn
1513 Doug. iv. viii. 103.
We sal obey thi charge
Ib. v. xii. 150.
The charge brocht by hys fader deir
1531 Bell. Boece II. 8.
Thay brocht certane chargis fra the confederat kingis to the Britonis
Ib. 143.
The feir of deith, mair pissant … than ony charge of capitane
1542–3 Treas. Acc. VIII. 166.
To Archibald Heryot, messinger, passand witht charegeis to the castellis of Craufurd … and Lochmaben
1557 Melrose R. Rec. III. 153.
The said supprior … gaif express command and charge to Thome Davidsoun, barroun serjand … to charge [etc.]
1578 Conv. Burghs I. 57.
Henry Nisbet, … to quhome we have givin … speciall mandement, and charge to do [etc.]
(b) c1520-c1535 Nisbet I. 10.
He … gewithe thame cherg how to behaif thame selfis
1558-66 Knox II. 415.
A chairg wes gevin unto him to adverteis the bretherin … as oft as evir dainger appeirit
1566 St. A. Kirk S. 290.
He resavit hyr ansuer and cherg to say to hyr mother, That [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. II. 222/19.
My lord regent had givin ane chairg to the Scottis … to delyuer the erle of Westmurland vnto his handis
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI. 156.
Anent the chairg gevin be vertew of our Soverane Lordis letteris to Androw Iohnestoun
1614 Highland P. III. 166.
A commissioune of liftenendrie … with suche vthers lettrez and chearges as he thocht fitte for the furtherence of this seruice
1615 Ib. 209.
The said George Grahame and Duncane Campbell … disdaneing that chairge past … towardis the Castell
1624 Peebles Gleanings 47.
To the men that brocht the chairge about the borroweis

6. An imputation or accusation against a person. c1420 Wynt. v. 3674.
Can thow noucht ken the fellown Charge off thi presumptyowne?
Ib. 4632.
Quhen Iustynus … The charge had hard off the erroure
1442 Reg. Great S. 64/1.
Til underly the charge of ath breking and perpetuale reprufe
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3076.
Ȝour sone againe gar caw, That he thoill not the vtter charge of law

b. In the phr. under all payne and charge, etc., used to emphasize a command. 1451 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 315.
And this yhe lefe nocht undone vndir al payne and charge that eftir may folow
1456 Hay I. 128/21.
His fader … sendis him mandement, under all the hyest payne and charge that he may commytt agaynis him
a1500 Bk. Chess 967.
He … chargit him he suld cum nocht agane, And he suld byd with all the charge & pane
1492 Douglas Chart. 137.
Vnder all the hiest pane, charge and offence that ȝe … may committ and inrin agane oure Maieste
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 320/1.
That the said tennentis suld … obey to him … under all pane and charge
1535 Stewart 20455.
Wnder all charge and pane, To execute sic barbour lawes agane

7. Responsibility, blame. Esp. to lay to ane's charge. c1420 Wynt. viii. 906.
Thus say thai all here standand by, Suppos the charge off this tak I
1456 Hay I. 197/24.
Tharfore has he na charge, bot the charge all hale lyis apon his maisteris conscience
Ib. II. 24/31.
All the charge of the misgoverment … is be his default
c1475 Wall. viii. 897.
We haiff no charge quhat our king gerris ws do
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 326/2.
The quhilk gif thai do, we will that the sammyn ly to thair charge
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 90.
As he will ansuer to the Kings Grace at his vtter chairge
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 518.
The haill thyng to your charge is laid
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 52.
To compeir and answer to the cryme … layd to his charge
1596 Dalr. I. 126/1.
To quhais chairge is laid to treate thay materis

8. = Chargeour. 1540 Treas. Acc. VII. 357.
Gevin for v chargis of quhite irne to the cannonis; Item for ix chargis to the culverings, bastawis, and culvering moyanis

9. A charge of cavalry. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 29.
Eftir the first charge of the Inglis hors men [he] ressauit [sic] the Dowglas reddy to ressaue ane vther charge

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"Charge n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Mar 2023 <>



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