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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
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Clath(e, Claith, n. Also: claithe, clayth(e, cleath; clatht, claitht, claytht, claight, claiht, claetht; also pl. clais(e, clayis, clays(e, claes, clas. [Northern ME. clathe, clath (midl. and southern clothe, clooth, cloth), OE. cláþ. Cf. Cleth(e n.The forms with final -t are freq. editorial, representing clat, clayt, etc., of the manuscripts.]

1. A piece of some woven fabric.Contextually, a piece of clothing, a garment; more frequently in pl. (see below). Umest clathe: see the adj. See also altar, copburd, drinking, wesching clathe.(a) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 256.
The baser sad, schow wes vode That lente to hym a clath sa gud
Ib. v. 152.
Skantly had ilkane of tha A singill clath, fore-owtine ma
c1420 Wynt. viii. 1030.
Throwch all Lwndyn he bad hyr ryde, Na clath on hyr to cuwyr hyr hyd
1456 Hay II. 124/10.
Ger hete a lynyn clathe and lay thareapon
1512 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 82.
The thrid tyme the clathis to be eschet
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Heb. i. 12.
Thou sal change thame as a clathe
(b) 1450 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 197.
A blew claith [of] wellowis … abuff the alter
1512 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 82.
That … na walcaris duelland within this burgh … hing na claithis apoun the kirk wallis
1522 Dunferm. B. Rec. 209.
A pantit claitht, ane maskene fat
1562-3 Winȝet I. 84/16.
Quhy couer ȝe ȝour table with a quhyte clayth at ȝour communioun?
1564 Inv. Wardrobe 160.
Ane litle claith … quhilk hes thre bredis in braidnes
a1578 Pitsc. I. 91/23.
The erle … covered ane fair claith vpone his bodie that nothing micht be seine
1595 Duncan Appendix.
Colo, to syth or passe through a claith
1622-6 Bisset II. 342/8.
Christ himself layd ane naipkin or claytht on his awin face
fig. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 370.
Be vertu of his Godheid vnseyne, Vnder the claith of his humanite
(c) 1508 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 78.
The litsteris of this burgh sall wesche all thar clais at the burne

b. pl. Wearing apparel, garments.(a) a1400 Leg. S. i. 50.
Na clathis he had, at ware gude
Ib. xxvii. 690.
He … gef hyme … of his clathis twa & bukis
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1772.
Thare was no clathis … Nor ȝit no mete … To mak hime ony comfortinge
c1420 Wynt. iii. 865.
All thai wywys … Tyt wp thare clathis outh thair scheyre
Ib. v. 4950.
Thai clathys ar noucht thi awyne
14.. Acts I. 356/1.
Schapin and made clathes
1456 Hay I. 227/31.
Oft tyme a wood man … ryvis his clathis
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 64.
To Dauid gunnare … to by him clathtis
1495 Ib. 231.
vj ellis of Bartane clath, to the lynyng of thir clathis abone writin
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 371.
Thought he of all my clathis maid cost & expense
1540 Treas. Acc. VII. 415.
Gevin to Johnne Burnhill … to by him clathis
1549 Compl. 70/26.
His clathis var reuyn and raggit
1553 Cart. Northberwic 68.
To fynd the said Thomas clathis for halyday and verk day
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 10.
Because the maist part … will be glaid to se thair bairnis, and mak thayme clathys
1570 Leslie 13.
She … causit to cary furth the barne the kinge, as ane birding of her awne clathes, to Leithe
1614 Rec. Earld. Orkney 381.
To be William a pair schankis to his blak claths ij quarteris stenning
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 1666.
This eild … lwis furryt claithis wyde
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 238.
To Spede, the Eris lad, … to by him claithis
c1450-2 Howlat 978 (A).
Thy cude, thy claithis, nor thi cost, cummis nocht of thé
1535–6 Treas. Acc. VI. 277.
Deliverit … for keping of the Kingis gracis claithis, twa balhoyis
1557 Crim. Trials I. 399.
The said Nicholl … to cum in presens of the Prowest, … in his lynning claithes, bair-futtit
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 347.
Ȝe hammer men, ȝe that maks schois and claiths
a1578 Pitsc. I. 17/13.
Desyreand … to carrye away twa cofferis with hir claithes and ornamentis
1595 Misc. Spald. C. II. 129.
Thy wyf reife the officiaris handis & claithis
1629 Ann. Banff II. 250.
The bleitching of claithe and the wasching of claithes
1640 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 424.
For provyding of the armie in claithes, hois, and shoes
(c) c1420 Wynt. v. 2282.
Claythys that thai oysyd to were
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 60.
To by claythis to the Kingis litill lutare
1561 Crim. Trials I. 415.
The same boy … left his claythis behind him
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxii. 12.
So mony preistis … casting thair claythis on breid
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 910.
Borrowing ane coffer to keip his claythis, Bot with this baggage hame he geas
a1585 Maitl. Q. i. 4.
On claythis thai wair monye a croun
1597–8 Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI. 98.
Delyverit to Iames Moncreiff … for support of his claythtis
1614 Rec. Earld. Orkney 380.
The invitour of the claythis quhilk Marion … had quhen schoe yeid fra me
1622-6 Bisset II. 225/15.
The maryneris … salhave the cofferris … and commoun claythis servand to thair inimies
(d) 1570-3 Bann. Trans. 57.
They took of the abbotis cleathes ewin to his skyn
Ib. 129.
A boy with certane cleathis of my Lord of Maris
1583 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 780.
He had na will to weir his cleathis [: geas]
Ib. 1070.
A scheip hewit clock to cover his cleathis
1664 Brechin Test. VI. 288 b.
A stand of cleathes & a cloak
(e) a1487 Gud Wyfe & D. 57.
Pryd gais no thing be the clais [: has]
Ib. 62.
Half the riches that he has Sall scant be worth his viffis clas
a1500 Henr. Fab. 513.
I will put on my haly dayis clais [: gais]
Ib. 1084. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 163/4.
The spittin of his mouth and his clais … helyt seknes
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 224.
I reid ȝow, cummer, tak in ȝour lynning clais [: gais]
Ib. lx. 53.
Ane pykthank in a prelottis clais [: tais]
1522 Stirling B. Rec. I. 17.
That na persoun … woucht [sic] ony maner of clais at the toune bouirn
1530 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 103.
That na … man … tak ony clais in wedd or by ony auld clais wou or lynnyn
1546 Treas. Acc. VIII. 451.
To the parsoun of Dysart for clays furnist be him … to Elizabeth Hammiltoun
1549 Compl. 96/28.
He ordand that na Scottis man suld veir ony clais bot hardyn cotis
1558 Inverness B. Rec. I. 16.
Andro Waus … hes bundyn the said Robe for fyf yeris prenteschyp … with the saidis Robe first yeris clayse
1565 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 25.
In my Ladeis studie … four coffarris with hir clayis and sewingis
1566 Inverness B. Rec. I. 136.
To refound … ane garment of claise to his son
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 77.
Than ȝe knew thay wer ȝour fais, But now thay cum in freindis clais
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV. 163.
He … leuis to … his broder ane stand of buffill clais
1614 Rec. Earld. Orkney 382.
Send to your son … with Barnie quhen he maid his clais, 4 drop blak silk
1624 Elgin Rec. II. 185.
Ionet Lesly … was fund wasching clais … the tyme of preitching
1644 Edinb. Test. LXI.
Thrie stand of clais … with sarkes, ruffes, napkines [etc.]
Ib. 1652 Stirling Ant. II. 7.
The … breach of the Saboth by thos who bleichs … claise

c. A table-cloth (cf. Burdeclathe); a covering for a bench. 1375 Barb. v. 388.
Douglas … fand the met all reddy grathit, Vith burdis set and clathis laid
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 346.
The benkis war … Our-spred with goldin claithis cleyn
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1071.
In-tyll hys halle, apon a day, The burdys [being] wndyr clathis sete
c1450-2 Howlat 673.
Braid burdis and benkis … Cled our with clene clathis
a1500 Seven S. 1516.
Quhen all the mesis ar seruit & set, Thy kist keye in the claith thow plet
1530 Lindores Chart. 30.
iiij hayll claths for my lords bourd
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 241.
To mak ane grene clayth to the burd … to the counsalhous

d. A sheet, blanket, or bed-cover. Cf. Bed-claith. 1456 Hay II. 134/33.
To … slepe on hard bedding in foule clathis
1504–5 Acta Conc. MS. XVI. 228 b.
For the beddin of the said place & certane claithis distroyt
1530 Lindores Chart. 31.
Diuers claths bath for bed and burd
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3841.
He causit cast of all the clais of the bed
Ib. 4370.
Our bed … Couerit with clais sa clene and curious
1570 Sat. P. x. 3.
As I lay Tumbling swm tyme on bed abon the clais
1590 Edinb. Test. XXI. 199.
I leif to Marioun Schort … ane kist and ane furneist bedding of claythis
1605 Ib. XL. 300 b.
Ane bedding of claythis, viz. scheittis, worsettis, covering & cod
1624 Misc. Abbots. C. 137.
Being in ȝour bed, ȝe layed by the lap of the claithes [etc.]

2. Cloth as a material.See also Boutclaith, Bradeclathe, and bouting, carsay, kairsay, lin(n)ing, wowin, Bertane, French, Holland, Inglis, Rissill, Scottis, Ȝorkschire, etc.(a) 1375 Barb. xi. 153.
Or thai cum all to thair entent, Howis in haill clath sall be rent
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 59.
Lenyne clath he oysit ay
1398 Acts I. 574/2.
Inglis clath brocht in the lande, & Scottis clath … had out of the land
c1420 Wynt. v. 5057.
Thare suld lytill leve behynd Off warpe, or weffte, to mak hyre clath
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 164.
For v elne blak clath to be viij pare of hos
For viij elne of cotonyt quhit clath
1497 Halyb. 129.
Peter answeris for the clath in the hayll for 27 merk
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 221/9.
Iames … maid thaim all richt gret rewardis of wyne, … silk, and Ynglis clath
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 16.
That na maner of persone … by ony maner of clath … beyond the walter of Forthe
(b) 14.. Acts I. 336/2.
That thai mak our mekil refus and schredis of mennis claith
1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
The merket of all cottone claith … and all vthir claith … within vj quartaris, and al lynnyng claith
c1475 Wall. iii. 89.
His glowis of plait in claith war couerit weill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 139.
A govn of engranyt claith, right gaily furrit
1509 Reg. Privy S. I. 292/1.
Custumaris … of woll, hide, skin, claith, … and all uther maner of gudis
1540 Acts II. 376/1.
Anentis drawaris of claith and litstaris of fals colouris
1556 Peebles B. Rec. 234.
Quhat elnis of claith suld be payit … be the said wecht
1570 Sat. P. xii. 120.
Keip ȝow fra cauld, haif claith within ȝour scho
1596 Dalr. I. 93/9.
The Nobilitie delyted mair in coloured claith & sindrie hewis
1621 Acts IV. 626/2.
That the housband men and laboreris … weare no cloathing bot grayes, … and selff blak claithe
1629 Ann. Banff II. 250.
The bleitching of claithe … at the water mouth of Doverne
c1650 Spalding II. 25.
For providing of gray claith, hardin and schone, to the army
(c) 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 203.
Ten dosone clayth passand custome sall bring hame ane vnce siluer
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 21.
Temperand the air … be aspersioun of cauld vater mixit with vinager, or claythe vat therin
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 277.
Yorkschyre clayth, cairsayes, and all sort of schrynking clayth
1597 Acts IV. 136/1.
The custome of all clayth and vtheris wairis … brocht … within this realme
1604 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 45.
Ane narrow pece quhyt clayth … to be my lassis weylecottis
1620 Urie Baron Ct. 31.
Fourtein dozen elnis of sarking lining clayth
(d) 14.. Acts I. 334/2.
To merk clatht witht the selis of thar office
1498 Halyb. 133.
All thyngis contyt … off his pak of clatht
1499 Dunferm. B. Rec. 99.
Ane wob of claytht tilbe lyttit be him blak
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 365.
He grathit me … In gownis of engranyt claight
1549 Compl. 145/27.
At that tyme there vas no sumpteous clethyng of fine claytht
1566 Fleming Q. Mary 500.
Of fyne smalle lynine claiht, … of holene claiht
1594 Edinb. Test. XXVII. 131.
For ane blok of claytht sauld
1596 Misc. Spald. C. I. 91.
Thair scho suld find ane peice of claitht, fowr newikit
1601–2 Ib. V. 130.
The expensis maid be the burrowis on the mater of the claytht and strangers
(e) 1652 Thanes of Cawdor 311.
Tua ellis Inglisch cleath for ane cassig to the Laird
1647 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 83.
That no inhabitant … goe to the ensuing Rude faire … , nor buy any cleath thairin

b. Clothing, apparel. a1400 Leg. S. vi. 316.
Na temporale gud Ovtane anerly clath & fud
Ib. xxviii. 45.
Scho had symply hyre fud & clath
1456 Hay I. 239/23.
Thair office … grathis mete and clathe till all the warld
1531 Glasgow Prot. IV. 43.
The sayd George fyndand hyme his crafft, meit, and claetht
1533 Gau 14/19.
Meit and claith and oder neidful thingis
1541 Prot. Bk. T. Johnsoun 50.
[William shall receive his brother] till hous and herbery, met and clayth
1544 Prot. Bk. J. Cristisone 88.
Margret to have hir meit and claytht of hir moider
1547 Reg. Cupar A. II. 53.
Providing all wais that Ionet Fyndlayson, … be honestlie sustenit in meit and claitht … for hir lyftyme
1571 Sat. P. xxviii. 35.
But gude John Cowane gaif me meit and claith, Quhill I was seuin ȝer auld
1573 Ib. xlii. 456.
Thairfoir, … Prouyde me weill anis claith and fude, And neidfull thingis

3. A kind or make of cloth. a1400 Leg. S. xli. 294.
For thai to-giddir ware feid [= fed] Of a mylk, & of a clath cled
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1341.
His gowne wes of ane claith als quhyte as milk
1562-3 Winȝet I. 114/19.
Welwot, silkis, and wtheris fyne clathis
1611-57 Mure Misc. P. xiii. 19.
No blot, … no moth Presum'd to enter in so rich a cleath
1630 Ann. Banff I. 64.
Ane load of claithes of quhatsoever sort, 3 s. 4 d.

b. Clath of gold, of silver, cloth partly woven with threads of these metals.Also clath of arras, Bertane, estate, grane, pall, the seill, silk, state: see these words. 1454 Old Dundee II. 14.
Vestments of claith of gold
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 27.
A gowne of clath of gold … gevin to the hereald of Inglande
1492 Myll Spect. 275/12.
How will thai … attyre thare bodyes with claithis of gold, silkis [etc.]
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 64.
For making tua capes of clath of gold
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 412.
I saw al claith of gold men micht deuise
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 229/3.
Thomas Carvas … brocht hame mony gud iowellis and clathis of gold, siluer, & silk
1539 Treas. Acc. VII. 267.
With claytht of gold and small tapischery
1559 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 320.
Ane kaip of claytht of gold fresit with reid veluott
1561 Inv. Q. Mary 42.
Four quarters of a coitt of claith of gold
1561 Inv. Wardrobe 133.
A breid of claith of gold and ane uther of silvir
1578 Ib. 211.
Of claith of silver … contening threttie lang breidis
1581 Acts III. 220/2.
That nane … sall … vse or weir in thair cleithing … onie clayth of gold or siluer
1596 Montgomery Mem. 235.
Ane gown of claith of siluer
1618 Edinb. Test. L. 163 b.
Ellevin quarteris claith of silwer at tuelff pundis the elne
Ib. 164.
Ten quarteris claith of gold and silwer mixt at sexteine pundis the elne

4. A sheet of lead. a1400 Leg. S. xv. 206.
Al the fyre left in that stede Thai wepyt in a clath of lede
1550 Treas. Acc. IX. 431.
Coft tua clays of leid … weyand xv stane
1584 Misc. Spald. C. II. 44.
The rest of the north iyll was thikeitt all to fyf clayse of leid

5. A pack of skins. 1449 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 18.
Ilke merchande man … sal gif in honor of God … iiij grotis of the clath of skynnis

6. Attrib. and comb. with blanket, custom, draper, dressour, goun, kind, kist, leid (sheet-lead), maker, making, man, mercat, sak, sek, sok, takkar, weving, worth. 1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 648/2.
Ane pair of fustiane blankcattis, and ane pair of claith blankcattis
1581 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 220.
That na merchant or traffiquer pay the said clayth custom
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV. 286.
James Dow, clayth-draipper
1600 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 297.
Bernard and Claus Flemingis, clayth dressouris
1584 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 115.
Ane new quhyte claith govne
1505 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 106.
Ony maner of clayth kind, wollis or lynning, silks or vthers
1606 Edinb. Test. XLI. 349.
The haill insicht … of hir hous except the mekill claitht kist
1612 Dunblane Test. III. 189.
An littill claith kist
1560 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 97.
Clayth leid to the platforming of the steipill
1601 Conv. Burghs II. 107.
Ane callit Gabriell Byschop, claithmaker in Norvage
1603 Glasgow Weavers 86.
The wobstiris, weavaris, and claithmakeris within this realme
1605 Conv. Burghs II. 203.
Thair is … ma claith makeris resident to landwart nor in the said fre burrowis
1513 Doug. vii. xiii. 60.
Nothir rok of tre Ne spyndill … Quhilk in the craft of claith makyng doys serve
1594 Edinb. Test. XXVI. 268.
Thrie stane wecht of … woll, being spwn reddie for claytht making
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 46.
Williame Grahame, callit Claithman
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX. 14.
Iames Fyndlay claythman
1600 Conv. Burghs II. 91.
Of ilk clayth man, smythis, and vtheris standing vpoun the commoun calsayis of the said brugh, haifing geir to sell, tuelf penneis
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 214.
The clayth merket of lynnyng and wollin now being abone the tolbuth
1557 Ib. III. 17.
The said clayth merkat to be restoirit … abone the tolbuthe
1590 Ib. V. 30.
The rowmes of the stands in the clayth merkett
1421 Douglas Chart. 57.
Ane alde clathe sek, withontyn bras or barhyd
1444 Exch. R. V. 150.
Pro uno clathsekke et ejus coopertorio
1507 Treas. Acc. IV. 29.
Payit … for … mending of brases of clath sakkis
1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI. 137 b.
Ane dowblat … and ane pair of claith sokis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 10.
Off stomok steillaris and clayth takkaris, A graceles garisoun
1565 Hamilton & Campsie Test. I. 13 b.
To Williame Hendersone, ten s. for clayth weifing
1576 Crim. Trials I. 53.
Seis thow nocht me, baith meit-worth, claith-worth, and gude aneuch lyke in persoun?

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"Clath n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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