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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.

Force, n. Also: foirce. [ME. (a 1300) and OF. force. In Sc. also commonly Fors.]

1. Strength or vigour in persons or things. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 112.
Sen he ne force hath for to fyght
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 189.
He hes ane forme without force, and fassioun but virtew
Ib. lxxxiv. 31.
Sampsonis strength and force
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3447.
Nane of thame had force to flee
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxiii. 66.
Vnles thow … ws defend with force of thy richt hand

b. Validity (of an agreement, law, etc.). 1385 Rotuli Sc. II. 73/2.
Speciall trew and assurance … haveand the force and effecte … as the next trewe gangand before
1473 Acta Aud. 28/2.
That the said lettres … be cassit and adnullit and of na force nor strenthe
1534 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 489.
We … reuokis … and makkis of nane effect nor force chartaris … and all vthir documentis [etc.]
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 538.
I will this court … continewit be To the same force, forme, effect as effeiris, As of befoir
1633 Acts V. 42.
Quhat they sall decreit and determine … the same sall haue the force … of ane act of parliament

c. Consequence, importance. 1631 Bk. Carlaverock II. 46.
Some 45 other sufficient honest men … togidder with 200 gentilmen of force

2. Exercise of strength; use of violence. c1450-2 Howlat 383.
Of Scotland the wer-wall, … Our fais force to defend
1456 Hay I. 133/22.
All lawis levis men to defend force be force
Ib. 133/30.
That he may mak were on him, and put him out be force of armes
c1475 Wall. x. 356.
Bot byschop Beik com with sic force and slycht [etc.]
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 788.
With gret force the nalis throw thai dang
1535 Stewart 342.
He … fuir on thame with sic a felloun force
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 26.
To set up be craft this authoritie that thai seik now be violence, force and tressoun
1596 Dalr. II. 278/21.
Gif the Scotis wil delyuer her, he will ceise frome all force

b. Be, of, on, or with force, by violence, forcibly.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii. 9527.
Quhais battell was … sa distreinȝeit with force in fecht That [etc.]
c1450-2 Howlat 593.
He bure … The armes of the Dowglas … Quhilk oft fandit with force his fa till offend
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 255/27.
He subiect to his obedience all Irland … part with force & part with fauouris
(2) 1456 Hay I. 46/1.
The Romaynes tuke be force the citee of Ipernestre
c1475 Wall. iii. 153.
Than Inglismen … Be force etlyt throuch out thaim for to ryde
1494 Acta Aud. 202/1.
That the said convent … wes compellit … to mak the said assedatioun … be force and dred
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xvii. 8.
[The] Inglis natioun … never thocht be force it [sc. Calais] micht be tane
(3) 1456 Hay I. 24/1.
A fals traytour … held a grete part of the patrymonye of haly kirk on force
1480 Acta Conc. 64/2.
[He] wald nocht suffer … [the] fermour … to gader the said teindis, bot put his seruandis thairfra one force
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 217/13.
He tuke the portar & wan the ouyr balȝe clerlie on force
1535 Stewart 27869.
Full mony freik war fellit thair on force
1556 Peebles B. Rec. 233.
John Scot gat ane roung and held him furth on force
(4) 1456 Hay I. 44/26.
Tarquyn, the quhilk for love tuke a woman of force in Rome

3. a. With on, of, or without prep.: Of necessity, necessarily.(1) c1450-2 Howlat 706.
He send … confectionis on force that phisik furth furis
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 263.
One fors thus mone thai fulys bee
a1500 Henr. Fab. 586.
Quha fauoris thé on force man haif ane fall
1533 Boece ix. viii. 304 b.
On force all manly affaris ar mortall and caduc
1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 99.
Quhen tua arguis, in ane or thay conclude, On force thair talk mon be contrarious
1573 Sat. P. xlii. 500.
On force they man be comfortles
(2) 1567 Sat. P. vii. 142.
Of force subiectis man put to thair hand
c1590 Fowler I. 386/255.
Of force the court I left
(3) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4496.
My knife I haue forȝet, Force I mon rise, the same agane to get
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 208.
I … force man grant that God hes done refuse thame

b. A matter of necessity; necessary. 1535 Stewart 21436.
Force it was the Romanis for to fle
1562-3 Winȝet II. 58/28.
Force it is that other the hail body decay and perise, or [etc.]
1582 Waus Corr. I. 246.
Gif I do not obtene this, it is force to me to pas to Sanct Androis

4. To take force, to take account of. c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 147.
Of my freindis I tuke na force

5. a. Maist force, the greatest number. 1461 Liber Plusc. 397.
Of thi detturis maist force ar lukkin in clay

b. A body, troop, or company. 1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 23.
A certane ordinar force of futemen … to remane … in the partis and boundis ewest our said castell
1571 Sat. P. xxvii. 41.
Gif Inglis forcis in this realme repair
a1578 Pitsc. I. 17/26.
He come suddainlie furth of the castell … with all his forceis

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



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