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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.

Civil(l, Cevil, a. and n. Also: cyvile, civyle, -ile, civille, ciwill, sivill, cyv-, civell, civiell, ciwell, -eill, cyvle; ceveill, ceivill, sevill, cewil(l, -eill. [ME. civile, cyvyl (c 1380), etc., OF. civil, L. civīlis.]

1. Of law, or persons and things connected with this: Civil. a. In expressed or implied contrast to canon (see Canone n.13 and 3 b).(a) 1400 Maxwell Mem. 141.
Na remede of lach canoun na ciuyle to be proponit in the contrary
c1420 Wynt. viii. 349.
The lawys cyvile, na canown, Gyvys for yhoure part na resown
1456 Hay I. 138/15.
This opynioun may be provit be law civile
Ib. 214/25.
Sa sais the lawis civile
1469 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 416.
Na remed of law civile nor canon nor act of parliament … aganestanding
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1365.
I … In ciuile law studyit full mony ane day
1521 Maxwell Mem. I. 248.
Al remede of law, cywel or cannon, … to be excludyt alwterly
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1938.
The weir alluterlie doun thrawis Boith the ciuill, and cannoun lawis
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 449.
Als weil the canone as ciuile law, Thay suld thame vnderstand and knaw
(b) 1502 Stirlings of Keir 279.
Renunciande all exceptione off law, cewille or canowne
1592 Conv. Burghs I. 384.
With the actis of parliament, municipall and ceweill lawis … obseruit

b. Dealing with personal disputes, esp. in contrast to criminal. 1456 Hay I. 138/35.
Sen the accioun is naturale, it may nocht be turnyt in accioun civile, be the writtin lawis
1525 Douglas Chart. 222.
Geif ony dissention, … sal happyn … anent … actions criminall or cewil
1530 Maxwell Mem. I. 262.
Dischargand the sayd Erle … and thar arris … for all aksionis ciuile … aganis tham
1539 Reg. Privy S. II. 472/2.
The said Johnne to be … unpoyndit and untrublit for ony actioun civile bigane
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxiv. 76.
O lewand lord support this ciwell seit [= the Court of Session]
1596 Stirlings of Keir 433.
With all actioun, criminall, and ciweill
1622-6 Bisset I. 87/23.
Sum actionis ar civile concernyng landis, dettis, and pecuniall penalties

c. In contrast to ‘ecclesiastical’. 1564 St. A. Kirk S. 191.
The sayd Iames to underly al maner of disciplyn alsoweyl of the kyrk as punischement of the civil magistratis
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 276.
Yitt want ye, kyngs, your officiaris Ciuil and gostlie mynistaris
a1578 Pitsc. II. 60/13.
Heretickis … sould be put done be the ciuiell and magistrat law
1583 Wodrow Soc. Misc. I. 460.
Being oft tymes to be chosin to be judge arbitrall in sevill materis, he for just causis refusit it
1642 S. Leith Rec. 41.
That more exact punishment should be inflected be the sivill maiistrat

2. Ellipt. as noun: Civil law. c1420 Wynt. v. 4801.
The Code and the Digest … are bukys off cyvylle
Ib. viii. 414.
Doctor solempne … He wes in canown and cyvyle
1456 Hay I. 102/16.
Be the decrete of that lawe of civile
Ib. 194/6.
Thare is a law in civile that sais [etc.]
1456 Reg. Dunferm. 341.
Withoutyn ony ramede of law of canon or ciuille

3. Occurring, carried on, between citizens. Esp. civill were.(a) c1420 Wynt. iv. 2123.
The Were Civile was than sa fell
1549 Compl. 167/15.
The thrid sort of veyris var callit battellis ciuilis
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 204.
It suld be ȝe, that suld do diligence For to aggre this ciuile difference
1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 214.
Sir Williame Kirkcaldy hes … rasit and continewit the said civile and intestine weare aganis … his Majestie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 89/4.
Nobill men that … abhorit allutterlie thir ciwell wearis rysand amang our selffis
1583 Misc. Bann. C. I. 82.
The cyuell troubles taken up by Act of Pacification
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 82/18.
Wtheris wickit flatterrarers to quhome cevill dissentioun was ewer plessant
1581 Hamilton in Cath. Tr. 104/5.
The actis maid … in tyme of ceuill dissensione aganis the lauchfull magistrat
c1615 Chron. Kings 17.
Heffing intelligence of certane ceueill seditiouns

4. Civic, municipal. 1513 Doug. vi. xiii. 37.
With coverit hedis … With ciuile crownys of the strang aik tre [L. civili quercu]
1533 Bell. Livy I. 114/6.
The fundacioun of the tempill of Jupiter, and … siclike vrbane and civil laubouris
1560 Acts II. 534/1.
Quhasaeuer gangis about to tak away, or to confound the haill state of ciuile policeis now lang establischit
a1578 Pitsc. I. 43/1.
The honour in ciwill government quhilk ȝour forberis conquist to ȝour posterietie
? 1639 Maxwell-Stuart Mun. 40.
His Majesty doutes not of Montros' cariage in all ceiuill poyntes

5. Well ordered and governed; proper; polite. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 11.
Thay war ane civill pepil, richt ingenious and crafty baith in weir and peace
1592 Conv. Burghs I. 383.
That they [magistratis] may be electit in sic ciweill maneir … as best aggrewis with the … law of this cuntrie
1596 Dalr. I. 86/28.
Thay war a people baith ciuile & weirlie
1624 Peebles B. Rec. 363.
Ordaines the haill honest men to be wairnit to attend the magistrattis in maist ciuill forme
1648 Ayr & W. Coll. VII. 86.
To use him with all sevill respect

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"Civil adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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