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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.

Cun, v. Also: cwn(d), kune, con(e, cowne. [ME. cunne, conne, etc., OE. cunn an to know, to be able, cunnian to get to know, examine.]

1. tr. To know; to get to know, to learn. 1375 Barb. xix. 183.
Othir in thar sted sall ris, That sall cwn litill of sic mastris
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1065.
Sanct Machor than set all his vit To cun parfitly haly writ
Ib. xxxii. 620.
The haly gaste al thinge Ma gere man cone but trawalinge
c1420 Wynt. v. 4310.
Frere Martyne and Vincens Story is to cwn dyd diligens
?1438 Alex. ii. 1427.
Quha seis gude, the gude suld cone
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2916.
This simpill counsal … to cun perqueir se thow not tarrow
a1500 Seven S. 622.
He had with him his sister son, That able was all craft to con
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 767.
Thairfoir of it I reid no moir ȝe cun. Lat it ly still
Id. Æn. viii. Prol. 69.
Swengeouris … Gevis na cur to cun craft
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xciv. 83.
My counsale I giff generalie To all women … This lessoun for to cun perqueir
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. vi. 39.
That leson … , But a book, I cund it soon perqueir
1600-1610 Melvill 46.
I haid cunned my dictata, and haid them readie aneuche
1698 Lothian P. (Reg. H.) VII. No. 78.
I wold be glad the Earle Lothian wer at hom to cun my son at this time

2. To cun thank(is), to feel or express gratitude. 1461 Liber Plusc. 398.
Quhat thank cunnis God thé for to justify The pure commonis that thou has in to cure
1568 Maxwell Mem. II. 133.
My Lord Regent … , I think, Will cowne me lytill thank for the … labouris that I haif tane
a1568 Bann. MS. 121 a/74.
Than ben thair come ane gredy sow, I trow he cund hir littill thank
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1260.
Unsocht ȝit, he mocht ȝit For kyndnes cund us thank
(1590) Calderwood V. 82.
These whose lampe I find burning, provided with oyle, these will I cunne thankes to

3. To taste (ale) to ensure that it is of the proper quality; to value after tasting. 1493 Dunferm. B. Rec. 46.
All ale … at is nocht wortht xij d. to be cunnit [pr. cumit] witht the officiaris for viij d.
1500 Ib. 108.
Quhar it wes cunit to x d. the gallone thai sald it for xij d.
1548 Stirling B. Rec. I. 54.
Every brouster sall, as sone as hir new aill is reddy to be cunnit, charge the ballie [etc.]
1561 Inverness B. Rec. I. 50.
That ane of the balyes and the cunstaris pas tweys in the weke … to cowne the alle
Quhar onne of the browstaris sellis thare ale derrer nor it is cunnit
1571 Prestwick B. Rec. 72.
The bailȝeis … sal pas throw the towne … and cwnd and vese the aill
1580 Inverness B. Rec. I. 278.
Being … accusit for selling of xij d. aill efter the samyn was cunnyt and sett for x d. the quart
1582 Elgin Rec. I. 167.
Thomas … passing … with thame and the cunstaris of Elgin through this town to cun
Ib. 168.
He culd cun sowannis better nor aill
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 91 b.
That the ale be sufficient and owklie to be cunnit be Ihone Sinclair

b. To taste (food, etc.). Chiefly fig. a1540 Freiris Berwik 266.
Dame, eit with me, and drink, gif that ȝe may. Said the gudwyf, ‘Devill inche cun may I’
a1568 Scott xxx. 6.
For than thruch grace he is begune The well of wisdome for to kune
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 626 (L).
Thay sall nocht than the cherrie cun, That wald nocht interprys
1587-99 Hume Epistle 40.
I felt the sweete, but had not cund the sowre

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"Cun v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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