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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Defalt, Default, n. Also: defalte. [ME. defalt(e, defaulte (15th c.), AF. defalte, defaulte (13–14th c.), variants of defaut Defaut n.]

1. Lack or want (of something). Freq. in defalt of, in the absence or lack of.(a) 14.. Reg. Paisley 375.
In defalte I haif na seyl of myn awyn, I haif procuryt … the seylis of worschipful men
14.. Acts I. 22/2.
He sall nocht mote ututh the burgh bot gif it be in defalt of court [L. ex defectu curie]
1470 Lennox Mun. 80.
In defalt of persute and entre of the said … airis
1482 Acta Aud. 101/2.
Thomas sal restore and geif again to the sade Johne the sade sovme … in defalt of productioune of his prufe
1522 Doug. Wks. (1874) I. p. cxi.
It is planely spokin … the Kingis brothir deyt for defalt of … necessar thingis
c 1542 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 27.
Baith the realmis will brek … and all in defalt of iustice for the part of Ingland
a1578 Pitsc. I. 242/9.
He tint the heill realme of Naples for defalt of guid gowernement
(b) 1456 Hay II. 39/37.
In default of horse, harnais, and othir necessiteis
c1420 Ratis R. 1683.
It cheuerys as it war for cheill, And plenȝeys, for default of heill

2. Failure to act as one ought; fault or neglect; offence or wrongdoing.(a) 1455 Edinb. Chart. 87.
To … persew the defalt made to ony man of the toune of Edynburgh
c1420 Ratis R. 954.
Treit thi wyf rycht tendyrly; … Sa that defalt be nocht in thee
a1500 Henr. Abbay Walk 27.
Sa it cum nocht throw thy defalt, Na man sowld thé repreif
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 197/8.
Ane cronikle in the quhilk ȝhe mak ȝow to schaw the defaltis of our Scottis nacoun
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 16.
The spredin tharof [sc. the pestilence] was … in defalt that the personis that war infekkit wald nocht releif the samyn
c1550 Rolland C. Venus ii. 446.
Quhy sufferis thow ane creature mortall, For none defalt to incur sic vnrufe
1579 Conv. Burghs I. 100.
Thair is greit hurt … sustenit … throuch defalt of the said salmon pakkeris
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Varda.
This Court counselles … that N. is in ane defalt for his absence this day
Id. Reg. Maj. 25.
Gif … the defender is absent, and makes ane defalt at the day and place of compeirance
(b) 1456 Hay II. 24/33.
All the charge of the misgovernaunce … is be his default
Ib. II. 30/10.
Thou that … , will correk otheris defaultis, correk thine awin faultis fyrst
c1550 Rolland C. Venus ii. 667.
For his default help thair nane get wald he
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 205.
The default of the whole standis in this, that the policie of the kirke of Scotland is not perfyte
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 77.
Gif the persewer makes ane default, the defender may craue proces anent his default
1622-6 Bisset I. 303/26.
That it be awarded … the said H. of I. to be in ane default of the courte for default of the comperance

b. In his (etc.) defalt, through or by reason of (one's) fault, failure, or negligence.(a) 1456 Hay I. 117/15.
He … suld tyne his hede, gif it be in his defalt fundyn
c1460 Consail Wys Man 124.
Be nocht yrus in cumpany, In thi defalt disples na wy
1477 Stewart Mem. 74.
Gif it happinis … the said mariage to faleȝe in the said Neillis defalt
1488 Acts II. 211/1.
Ilk man … declaris that the slauchteris … done in the field of Striuilin … wes aluterly in thar defalt
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 163.
The costis & scathis sustenit be the said Iohnne in the defalt of the said dame Katrine
1531 Bell. Boece I. 20.
Lat nevir oure aith and band be brokin in oure defalt
1541 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 175.
I was skaythit … in hir defalt and sleutht
1562-3 Winȝet I. 58/2.
It … is nocht in my defalt, bot in defalt of my small freind Dame Cunȝey
1573–4 Bk. Old Edinb. Club VI. 62.
Gif onye prenteis rynnis away, … the maister sall … schaw at his away rynnyng that … it is nocht in defalt of the maister
1591 Crim. Trials I. 250.
The said Patrik … wes compellit … to pas to France in youre defalt
(b) 1456 Hay I. 144/21.
Sen the principale caus … is faillit in nouthir of thair defaultis
Ib. 269/4.
And his suerd … , nocht in his default, war brokin
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 175.
To refound to the said James al costis … sustenit be him … in our said schireffis default
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8933.
Wonder laith war me In my default that ony man suld die
a1578 Pitsc. I. 276/29.
They war all crwllie … slaine, in his default and nocht in thairis
Ib. II. 94/28.
In thair defaultis
1673 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 286.
They … [to be] made lyable for macking vp any prejudice sustenit in any of the forsaids particulars in ther defaults

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"Defalt n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Mar 2023 <>



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