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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.

Cullour, n. Also: culour(e, culloure, culler. [Variant of Colour and Coulour n. Very common in the 16th cent.]

1. Colour, hue. c1420 Wynt. i. 1655 (C).
That payntit figoure withe culouris fyne
1513 Doug. iv. x. 7.
Beistis and byrdis of diuers cullouris seir
Ib. vi. iii. 92; etc.
The brycht glittyrrand goldin cullour
1535 Stewart 36359.
In lynnyng clayth … Tha wand his cors … Wnder ane carpet of ane cullour cleir
1549 Compl. 70/6.
This ladeis mantil … vas baytht altrit in cullour ande in beaulte
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 1.
Off cullouris cleir … Ar sindry sortis in to this toun
a1585 Maitl. Q. 120/22.
Tak black, it best becumis thy heid; But cullouris mo sie thou refuis
1587 Waus Corr. II. 383.
Ye will remember that the gentilmen be cled in blak but cullouris
1591 Crim. Trials I. 253.
Fyve clewis of sindrie culloures of worsett
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix.
Esopes … colȝer and fuller … in respect of their cullours, could not lodge together
1622-6 Bisset II. 387/33.
The cullouris of blew of his floure de luces
1634 Buccleuch Mun. I. 264.
A litle baner of the defunct's cullers, viz., azur and or
1669 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 256.
About aught hundreth elnes plaiding, which they ordane him to cause make in reid cullour for their vse

b. Colour of the face or skin; complexion. 1513 Doug. xi. xv. 119.
The rudy cullour … Blaknyt, and fadys quyte out of hir face
1535 Stewart 28925.
Tha fand thre bodeis … [alike] Of similitude, cullour, and quantitie
1549 Compl. 52/21.
The pepil that duellis vndir the equinoctial ar blac of ther cullour
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4619.
Vnto the time he saw hir change cullour
a1578 Pitsc. I. 61/8.
Ane body … wncorrupt and … of cullour as the first houre at [it] was burieit

2. A pigment or paint. 1502 Treas. Acc. II. 251.
To David Pret, to by culouris to the Kingis lair in Cambuskynneth
1538–9 M. Works Acc. V. 25 b.
Cullouris to the furnessing of the paintouris
1617 M. Works Acc. XV. 49 b.
For laying over the catchball of Falkland with a blak cullour
1628–9 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 369.
xiij stane wecht of calk, oyle, and cullouris to Valentyne the painter

3. fig. Outward show or semblance; esp. pretence or pretext. (Cf. Colour n. 3.) c1420 Wynt. vi. 1790 (C).
For til eschewe repruff and blame, And be culoure to put by schayme
1555 Conv. Burghs I. .
Gif thai … vsis pretence and cullour with thair markis
1559 Reg. Morton I. 8.
To pay … foure thowsand pundis sterling without fraude, cullour, or dissait
1570 Leslie 77. Ib. 202, etc.
It mycht gif ane cullour to clame title to the saide realme
1589 Sutherland Chart. 164.
That the said erle … sall not intruse or be ony cullour or ingyne posses thame, … in ony of the said … landis
1622-6 Bisset II. 227/9.
Merchandis sall nocht by bartar nor change … or uthir culloure or conditioun [etc.]
1626 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 270.
His … father … had na vther pretext or cullour bot the said pretendit infeftment

b. In the phrase under cullour (of something). c1420 Wynt. v. 227 (C).
Othir martyris mony ane He made undyr that culoure
1535 Stewart 51130.
Edward … Ane herald send, quhilk trewis with him tuke, Wnder cullour
1549 Compl. 93/6.
Quhen kyng Eduard maid ane conuocatione of al the nobillis of Scotland … vndir culour of faitht and concord
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6821.
Presenting thair the deuillis net Under cullour sa cautelous
1572 Reg. Privy C. II. 132.
Thair is a nowmer of rascall people … leaving upon unlauchfull meanys … under the cullour of men of weare
1596 Dalr. I. 150/15.
Thay say farther that freindschip fairlie offerid was bot vndir a cullour
1622-6 Bisset II. 223/17.
That na freindis guidis nor schipis be takin under culloure that they be fæis
1637 Ann. Banff I. 76.
Wnder the cullor and pretext of the bountay draucht of peitis giuin be the maisteris to their servandis
1660 St. A. Baxter Bks. 127.
That na brothar … sall presum … vnder quhatsumeuir cullour or pretence [etc.]
1674 Glasgow B. Rec. III. 178.
Under cullour of his awne [guidis]

4. Rhythm, metre; a rule of verse. 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 348.
Sum tyme the text mon haue ane expositioun, Sum tyme the cullour will caus a litill additioun
c1550 Rolland C. Venus iv. 740.
Quhair ony thing is tald, Throw haltand verse quhair cullour dois not hald
Id. Seven S. Prol. 125.
Quhair I it fand into plane prois … Without cullour or feit
1585 James VI Ess. 57.
First, ȝe sall keip iust cullouris, quhairof the cautelis are thir. That ȝe ryme nocht twyse in ane syllabe … [etc.]
Ib. 61.
This syllabe, nocht, nather seruing for cullour nor fute
1600-1610 Melvill 23.
Wherin I … lernit sum thing … of the missours and cullors of Scottes ryme

5. A flag, ensign, or standard. 1604 Craig i. 24/7.
The British saints … Whose cullours on the glasie salt no terror small haue bred
1611 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 305.
Ilk persone … put in ordour … about the tua antsingȝies and townis cullouris
1627 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 358.
Tua new cullouris to be anseinyeis to be bocht vpoun the tounes charges
1629–30 Misc. Spald. C. V. 102.
For ane stang to the kingis culleris, to be set up on the chappell
1640 Peebles Gleanings 216.
Ordanes ane cullouris with tounes airmes to be bocht
1651 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 121.
To caus mack thrie pair of cullouris and four drumes for the tounes vse

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"Cullour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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