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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.

Custom(e, n. Also: cwstome, custame, costom(e, quostome, coustome. [ME. custome (c 1200), usual variant of custume Custum(e n.]

1. A custom, habit, usual practice. = Custum(e n. 1. a1400 Leg. S. v. 538.
And ȝete elimentis ay That custome kepis to this day
Ib. 633.
As is the custome fore to do
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1374.
He … bade that thai sulde … oys his custome and his lawe
Brus v. 554 (E).
The King had in custome [C. custum] ay For to rys arly ilk day
1492 Myll Spect. 290/19.
His frendis, as than was the custome, beryet him in the kyrk ȝard
1563 Davidson Answer 227.
The rewlars … of ane custome may take tryall [etc.]
1571 Bk. Caerlaverock II. 481.
Thatt the lowabbill vs and costom of our forbears be … kepitt amang ws
a1578 Pitsc. I. 249/3.
Then the wse was and costome at the beginning of meate [etc.]
1621 Acts IV. 609/2.
The abvse & evill custome which … hes bene obserued in comprysinges

2. An impost or duty; the imposition or collecting of this. = Custum(e n. 2. 14.. Acts I. 305/2.
Of custome of merchandise
1488 Lanark B. Rec. .
The customs set to William Madur for a yer
1493 Dunferm. B. Rec. 48.
Alan Cant … folowyt a broch apon Wilyem Jakson for the wranguys haldyn fra hym ixs of quostome
1538 Reg. Privy S. II. 400/2.
The soume of xl lib. … to be pait to him of the reddiest of the grete customis of the burgh of Dunde
1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 203.
Ten dosone clayth passand custome sall bring hame ane vnce siluer
a1578 Pitsc. II. 311/20.
With all thame that had the coustomes
Ib. 22.
Nathir tackis nor lyfrentis of customes availled to thame
1597 Acts IV. 136/1.
The A.B.C. of the custome of all clayth and vtheris wairis … brocht … within this realme

b. ellipt. A standard measure. 1563 Peebles B. Rec. 291.
That na meill man haif ane furlat of his awin, but that the haill mercat be seruit with the custome; and that the samyng custome be mesurrit justlie for ewading of sclander

3. A customary payment or due; tribute. 1561 Reg. Dunferm. 425.
In … anuellis, customis, borrow meallis [etc.]
1568 Chart. Crosraguel I. 180.
The maillis, fermeis, canis, customes, hariage, kariage, and wthiris dewiteis
1596 Dalr. I. 209/27.
That ȝeirlie xx thousand crounes thay pay in custome [L. tributi nomine]

4. Attrib. (esp. in sense 3) with aittis (oattes), booth, buik, corn, lamb, linen cloth, mart, salt, stamp, stane (stone), turf, wedder (weather, etc.). 1596 Misc. Spald. C. II. 134.
Four bollis custome aittes, yeirlie addettit be the said William
1600 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 511.
Bollam auenarum wulgo custome aittis
1617 Reg. Great S. 140/1.
Bollam lie custome aittis
1654 Peebles B. Rec. III. 22.
The proveist and … baillies to await upon the gentlemen … anent custome oattes
1639 Baillie I. 228.
William Cuninghame in the Custome booth at Edinburgh
1579 Conv. Burghs I. 94.
For sycht of the custome buikis at twa syndrie tymes
1591 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 35.
The inlaiks to be payet … according to the custome-buiks and na other wayis
1582 Brechin Test. I. 71.
vj firlottis of cwstome corne
1647 Burnett Fam. P. MS.
Fyve mairks for a custome wedder & a custome lamb
1632 Misc. Spald. C. V. 220.
The bailȝie … ordeanis the haill tenentis … to pay and delyuer to the lai[r]dis thair haill custom lining clothe
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 56.
Andro … confessit that he prayit mallesonis to the said Robert for ressauing of his kow tane for the custome mart
1532 Reg. Soltre 108.
I assigne to him … the sext part of the landis off the Blair with the custom salt off the samen
1581 Ib. 196.
The custome salt … is nocht put in this comput
1581 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 194.
The porteris … to suffer na pakis to pas furth of this burgh except thai se the samyn customit be the custome stamp
1649 Peebles Gleanings 305.
Everie stane of yarne weghtit be the custome stane … 8 d.
1662 Peebles B. Rec. II. 52.
The saids stones being first … weichted be the custome stone or tounes stand
1617 Reg. Great S. 140/1.
60 onera lie custome turves, 4 onera lie tak turves
1631 Brechin Test. V. 12 b.
Ane custome vedder pryce liij s. iiij d.
1657 Ib. VI. 118 b.
Ane custome weather and ane lamb
1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 175.
She knew his sone … geat ane recept for two custome wadders from Iames Buchane

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"Custom n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2022 <>



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