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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.

Defaut, Defawt, n. Also: defaute, -fawte. [ME. defaute (c 1290), defaut, defawt(e, OF. defaute f. and defaut m.]

1. Lack, want, failure. = Defalt n. 1.(a) 1375 Barb. iii. 471.
Thai had full gret defaut off mete
1398 Liber Melros 489.
In cas that defaute be of the paymentez
c 1400 Wemyss Chart. 37.
Gif it hapnis that ony of the said partis sustene … scathe in defaute of getting of ony lettris
14.. Acts I. 336/2.
Thai hunger thar lethir in defaut of graith, that is to say, alum, eggis, and othir thingis
1436 Coll. Aberd. & B. 394.
That thai landis … war wonnyn and recouerit be lauchfull processe for the defaute of schauyne of thar charteris
1450 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 147.
Sua that in defaute of ministratioun of ȝour office we here na rychtwys complaynt
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 928.
For sic defawt [of wine] oft wantonly I brynt as fyre
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1854.
On this wyis thai relevyd welle All thare defawte off yrne and stelle
Ib. v. 1546.
Hys weschale … He gave his knychtis in thare fe. For he defawte had off moné
1447 Newbattle Coll. (Reg. H.).
Al costis … the quhylkis he or thai sustenys … in the defawt of the said ten markis ȝerly nocht beand payt
c1475 Wall. x. 458.
‘Quhy wyrkis thow thus … ?’ Than Wallace said, ‘Bot in defawt off thé’
1494 Dunferm. B. Rec. 53.
He tuk wp erd and stane … , as ws of burghe is, in defawt of payment of annuel

2. Fault, neglect, etc. = Defalt n. 2.(a) 1398 Acts I. 210/2.
Gife it lykeis owre lorde the kynge til excuse his defautes
c1420 Wynt. ix. 3044.
Geff we falye in oure assaut, Releve ye than al oure defaut
1432 Highland P. II. 178.
The parti plenyheand sal … warn his party of the defautis [in the charter] and clausis doutfull
1456 Hay II. 41/13.
He suld schriue him clene of all synnys and defautis … that euer he maid aganis God
1456 Peebles B. Rec. 114.
John Wilson dempstar wardit Wil Geddes in a defaut for faut of perans
1468 Ayr Burgh Ct. Bk. MS. 28 Mch.
[He] sal for the first defaute vtterle tyne al maner of fredom within burgh
(b) c1420 Wynt. i. Prol. 84.
For I wyll nane bere the blame Off my defawte
Ib. viii. 3666.
Be opposytyownys agayne hym wroucht, And may defawtis, it gat he noucht
1432 Highland P. II. 178.
Quhen that ony fyndis thaim grefit … of tha clausis or defawtis
1445 Peebles B. Rec. 10.
Gif he … will nocht amend his defawt at thair ordinans, he sal be remufyt at thair wil

b. In his (etc.) defaut, Defalt n. 2 b. 1405 James of Douglas Letter to Henry IV in Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
In brekyng fully the saide trewis in my defaute
1445 Peebles B. Rec. 10.
Gif it hapynnis ony of the anowrnments to be analyit … in his defawt
1448 Buccleuch Mun. II. 40.
Gif the said mariage happynis to falyhe in the defaut of the saide Lorde of Halis
1470 Reg. Panmure II. 246.
Gif euer it sal happin … the said William … to be molestit … be me, … or be ony other in our defaute
1482 Peebles B. Rec. 192.
The said Jhon … was oblist … to defraud na personis in his defaut

c. A fine for neglect of duty. 1445 Peebles B. Rec. 11.
Thir defawtis sal be tane of his fee and raysyt be the balyheis and the vicar

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"Defaut n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jun 2023 <>



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