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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Debate, Debait, Debe(a)t, n. Also: debat, -batte, debaite, -baitt, -bayt, debeate, -bett. [ME. debate, debat (c 1300), OF. debat.]

1. Contention, dissension, mutual hostility; strife, conflict, fighting.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 149.
But he thocht weile, throuch thar debat, That he suld slely fynd the gate [etc.]
Ib. xvii. 864.
Tharfor fell eftir sic debat Betuix him and the king
1456 Hay II. 155/6.
To … stanche … langagis that may engender discensioun and debate betuix ȝow
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 452.
Set in this lyf thow haf daylie debate
1533 Boece ii. i. 58.
Giff we sua do, we sall wilfully amang oure self kendill ane bleis of debate and discorde
1658 Lamont Diary 110.
A great sea feght … bot att lenth, after long debatte, the Hollanders were victorious
(b) c1460 Thewis Wysmen 379.
Thai tak debait one lytil evyne, For lytill querell
c1460 Consail Wys Man 409.
Tak na debait with full [= fool] na stryve
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 5/22.
Quhilis it cummis … be debait, perrill of watter, or vther way
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiii. 17.
Follow on petie, fle truble and debait
1513 Doug. i. iii. 93.
As oft amangis commonys fallis Stryfe and debait in thar wod fulych ire
1535 Stewart III. 57 heading.
Of the stryiff and debait that was in Scotland
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 378.
Quhat trubbyll, trauell, and debait, Seis thow in euere mortall stait
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 458.
Frome all inuye thay suld be fre, … Frome toulȝe, bergane, and debait
1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 3.
Addres ȝour armour, bound ȝow for debait
1611-57 Mure Dido i. 38.
Bloody warre, (the mistres of debait, Attendit still with discorde, death, dispair)
(c) 1570 Reg. Morton I. 59.
Nochtwithstanding the wariance amangis us in debett and wnsettin of the commone caus
1641 Wemyss Corr. 68.
Nothinge that micht be any occasion of differ or debet
1676 Conv. Burghs IV. 559.
For avoiding all striffe, debeat, or any ground of contention in all tyme

b. To mak debate, to engage in strife or conflict, either by way of attack or defence; to maintain a fight or combat; to offer resistance.(a) 1375 Barb. viii. 502.
Thair so gret debate he maid, That in the castell enterit he
Ib. x. 182.
Than in hy suld thai … cum out And mak debat
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 578.
This George, that mad na debat, He gert cast in the caldrone
1409 Exch. R. IV. p. ccxi.
Gif ony of thair … brethir … makis ony riot, debate or distroubillance within the cuntre
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4741.
The Inglis ischeyd to ma debate To thaire barras
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii. 6772.
The ram oft gais a-bak That he the maire debait may mak
?1438 Alex. i. 1879.
Emynedus mekill debait can ma To tak the king
c1475 Wall. iii. 384.
Quhat Inglisman that baid in till his gait, Contrar Scotland maid neuir mair debait
Ib. vi. 587.
Full stoutly couth he stand Befor the king, makand full gret debait
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 529.
Crist said … and I had thocht, My ministeris had maid debait for me
1513 Doug. ii. vi. h.
Quhou Eneas the trayson did persave, And quhat debait he maid the town to save
1535 Stewart 58108.
The fox … makis debait als lang as that he ma
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 304.
I wald not effeirit be To mak debait aganis sic thre
1567 G. Ball. 96.
The sinfull man with euill will awayit The innocent that can mak na debait
a1578 Pitsc. I. 30/3.
Gif thay maid na debait … [thay] wald cuit thair throttis
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. vii. 13.
Thair is no draught that dou mak thé debait
(c) (c 1580) Alex. iv. 8503.
Quhair euer thay ga, the fecht was heat, Maid neuer futemen sik debeat

c. But, forout(in), or without(in) debate, without resistance or opposition; without striving or effort; peacefully. Also with litill debate. 1375 Barb. iv. 430.
Thai fled forouten mair debate
Ib. v. 386.
Douglas … enterit in forout debat
a1400 Leg. S. xxiii. 304.
He prayt thame that thai … lat hyme frely pase his gat but tarying or debat
c1420 Wynt. v. 1476.
All thus thai dyd wyth-owt debate
a1500 Rauf C. 44.
The King carpit to the carll withoutin debait
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 262.
Sen … but debait men may be vicious
Ib. 1191.
Thai wald do pennans blythlie but debait
1513 Doug. xi. Prol. 188.
Ane delicat … knycht … [That] but debait wenys till optene the fyght
1535 Stewart 17698.
All thai landis … to bruke … Without debait, bargane, boist or schoir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2147.
To saue his life … Bot mair debait vp in ane tre he lap
a1578 Pitsc. I. 56/20.
In quhois will he put himself and the castell but ony farder debaitt
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 31.
The Inglismen … wan the samin [town] with litill debait maid againes thame
c1650 Spalding II. 403.
He … takis in the brughe of Sanct Johnstoun, … with litill debait and small blood

d. Action in defence or aid of others. 1546 Inscr. St. Mary's, Hawick.
Heir lyis ane honest man … quha vas … slan in debait of his nichtbouris geir
1560 Peebles B. Rec. 260.
That all maner of man … compere … to concur and assist … for debait of the tovne
1581 Sat. P. xliii. 61.
How far may Darius bragge of her [sc. Fortune's] debait, Tane fra the stabill ouer Persia to ring

2. A case of dissension; a strife or quarrel.(a) 1375 Barb. ii. 40.
Sum men sayis At that debat fell othir wayis; But quhat sa euyr maid the debate, Thar-throuch he deyt
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 149.
Sene he has this debate begonnyn, … Als gret defoule may fall hym till
1456 Hay I. 3/23.
The mekle sorowe that the commouns sustenis for sik debatis
Ib. 115/11.
All debatis, noyses, and ryotis that in the ost is movit
1491 Acta Conc. 188/2.
All debatis committ or done be ony of the saidis partiis to vtheris be spuilȝe or ony vther wayis
1513 Doug. ii. vii. 63.
Mony debatis and vnsettis we haue done
a1568 Scott i. 43.
Be bissie now to banisch all debatis Betuix kirkmen and temporall men
a1578 Pitsc. I. 139/2.
Lat all debatis, stryf, and battellis be set asyde
1626 Garden Worthies 162.
Clifford … Began a braill, a bargane and debate
(b) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 202/24.
Thair rais ane gret debait betwix him and Lowis king of Fraunce
1531 Bell. Boece I. 7.
Eftir quhais deth rais ane odious debait, quha suld be governour
Ib. II. 133.
Als sone as thay ar pecifyit of civil debaitis, thay sall invade us
1558 Corr. M. Lorraine 414.
Ane swdane debait that happynit betuix ane of my tenendis and twa of his nychtbouris
a1568 Scott ii. 4.
The grit debait and turnament … Betuix twa freikis fell
a1578 Pitsc. I. 34/22.
All quarrellis and debaitis betuix the chancelour and him to be sett asyde
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Chaud-melle.
Ane hoat suddaine tuilȝie or debaite
1619 Garden Elphinston 574.
Lyk to bread … Great discords and debaits Betuixt these long confed'rat tuo … estates
(c) a1578 Pitsc. I. 191/8.
Thay wald ceis the lang debeit that has beine for the crowne of Ingland
1585 Acts III. 386/1.
All … offences … sufferrit in the saidis commoun causis and debettis at ony tyme
1587 Fam. Innes 148.
All elestis, debettis, bloid, and all uther actionis … betwix ws
1626 Garden Worthies 78.
His feer in fight … In everie battell, bargane, & debeat

3. A dispute as to legal rights or other claims; also, a matter of dispute.(a) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 138*.
The debate and the questyoun that wes betwene thaim for the landys of Logy
1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
Question and debate beand movit of before bytwene the burowys of Perth … and of Dunde
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1915.
Swa wes ameyssyd all debatys, And recownsalyd well all statys
Ib. viii. 785.
Thar debat than … Suld full declaryt, and endyt be
1456 Hay I. 262/9.
As gif twa men has a debate togeder, and the tane of thame producis his witnes [etc.]
c1475 Wall. i. 44.
Thre ȝer in pes the realm stude desolate; Quharfor thair rais a full grewous debate
1492 Dunferm. B. Rec. 40.
In al actionis mowit betuix thaim as anentis … al othir debatis clemyt be athir of the partis
1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. 14.
Thai sall abyd & abay the decret … & sentens of all the debatis betuix thaim
1553 Blackfriars Perth 231.
Anent the decisioun … of all debats movit betwixt the said parteis to this dait present
1570 Wemyss Chart. II. 200.
For dressing of certain debattis betuix … the said Schir Ihonnis syster and the said Schir Williamis syster
(b) 1483 Acta Conc. II. Introd. 131.
The partiis that has the claim and actioun debatable anent the landis that this debait is movit apone
1513 Doug. xii. xiv. 32.
A marche set … for to decern tharby The ald debait of pley or contrauersy
1529 Lennox Mun. 232.
Twchand the claym and debayt of tercis and dewysioun of the samyn
1548–51 Misc. Spald. C. V. 52.
For making of ane bill … for the debait of the taxt betuix the toun and Old Aberdeen
1556 Digest Justiciary Proc. B. 126.
The questionis of grund rycht and debait of landis is dependand betuix the said abbot of Dunfermling and the said Mitchell
1591 Edinb. Test. XXIII. 324 b.
All thingis … that mycht prouok ane contrarietie, debait, or questioun of law amangis his bairnes
1657 Balfour Ann. II. 16.
Then did thesse Lordes … submitt all ther debaitts and contrawersies to the Kings … decisione
(c) 1578 Montgomery Mem. 218.
To tak trew … partt … in all … contrauerseis and debettis
1587 Fam. Innes 148.
Settyng asyid debettis
1675 St. A. Baxter Bks. 139.
That all contraversies and debeatis mey be abeatit in tyme comeing

4. Discussion of a question; disputation. 1456 Hay I. 104/10.
Herefore mon men wele tak tent to this debate
Ib. 179/29.
And sa rysis noys and debatis apon that questioun
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4455.
Throuch Goddis wourde, without debait, Thay sall turne to thare first estait
c1550 Rolland C. Venus ii. 316.
I knaw the werst of all this haill debait
Id. Seven S. Prol. 134.
On this debait than we war condiscendit
1648 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 138.
The saids estaitis … efter full debeat and voyceing thairanent dischairges [etc.]
1665 Decis. Lords G. 110.
The former debeate being resumed, the Lords sustained the process against the heirs male

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"Debate n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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