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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.

Graith, n. Also: graitht, grayth(e, grayth(t, grathe, greth. [Northern ME. graith (a 1300), ON. and Icel. greiðe, greiði, only in abstract senses (arrangement, order, hospitality), but mod. Fær. greiði requisite articles, Norw. greida implements, tackle, greide harness.]Graith is also used with a large number of defining terms, as car, cart, chapell, coach, harrow, irne, kirk, knok, mill, miln, play, pleuch, schip, smiddy, timber, wain, work graith; clengeing, labouring, riding, rowing, sailing graith. See also sense 2 b below.

1. Materials or equipment (for a particular purpose); apparatus or tackle; tools or implements.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2360.
Of Pirrus … The story ȝit maid no memore, Bot now we dres our graith tharfore
Ib. 2821. 14.. Acts I. 336/2.
Thai [the tailors] sow with fals graith
Thai [the skinners] hunger thar lethir in defaut of graith, that is to say, alum, eggis and other thingis
1512 Dundee B. Laws 506.
That he sall haf gud and sufficient graith and werklomys to wirk with
1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 188.
Ther folkis proposis to bryng graitht and werkmen to sett up fortilis
a1568 Bann. MS. 138 a/67.
All graith that ganis to hobill schone
1585 Reg. Morton I. 145.
Cariage horsis and thair graithe for … beiring of cadgeattis
1594 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 59.
For lennyng of his currok and vther graith … to slay the reid fische
1622-6 Bisset II. 259/32.
The barbouris … haill wark lumes with droggis and all uthir graith pertening to him
1689 Melville Corr. 138.
I cannot find pen to wrett heare at present, yet would not neglect wretting to your grace with such graith as I could have at present
fig. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 4424 (B).
Ȝe wald nocht spair to preve my graith With hobbing of ȝour hippis
(b) 1387 Edinb. Chart. 35.
The commuuyte … fyndand al coste and al grayth tyl that werk
1517 Misc. Spald. C. II. 79.
Tua bellesis, with all vthyr grayth pertening to ane smyth
c 1564 Glasgow Test. II. 12 b.
Werk lwmis and all vthir grayth pertenyng to the smeddy, viz. studeis, hammeris, weyis, bellesis
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxxi. 30.
To tak ane maling that grit labour requyris, Syne wantis grayth for to manure the land
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 308.
Thane tuk thai ten oxine wicht, And [made] grath be to thame dicht
1394 Liber Aberbr. 43.
The abbot and the conuent sall fynd al maner of gratht that pertenys to that werk quhilk is wyrkande
1486 Reg. Cupar A. I. 239.
He sal leid with his grath xiiij fuder of petis
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 249.
Thre cellaris to kepe the burdis and the wrychtis grathe in
1508 Reg. Cupar A. I. 274.
Thai sal haf all thair gratht redy for our fischin
1633 M. Works Acc. XXVII. 15.
To Johne Gillaspie traveller for carying of the nyne meassounes haill grathe and warklumes to Glasgow
(d) 1562 Inverness B. Rec. I. 72.
That tha sall trawell alandwart and by thair greth

b. Means to do something. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7581.
Thair's ȝit sum graith to find Ane prick into ȝour nois

2. Accessory equipment, apparatus, tackle for pieces of mechanism of various kinds, as a mill, plough, clock, loom, etc.(a) 1478 Binns P. MS. (No. 17).
As to the brekin of the said myln … the said Henry to … mak hir als gud of all graith pertening to hir [etc.]
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 26.
The graith of hir pleuch that is to say somys, syderapis, culter, sok, schone, bridill, ȝokkis & bollis
1535 Stewart 51542.
Ane husband man … his awin pleuch irnis staw … That samin graith sone eftirwart he staw
1538 Prestwick B. Rec. 54.
Ane wovin luyme, wyth al graith at pertenis to the said lwym
1547 Stirling B. Rec. I. 45.
Mackand all maner of graitht thairof [i.e. of the clock] new forgit
1589 Glasg. B. Rec. I. 136.
The said myln with hir geir and graith belanging to hir
(b) 1488 Treas. Acc. I. 92.
To Jok of Stirling to mak grayth to the Kingis cors bowis
1565–6 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 495.
For the making of ane new key to the lok of the Grayfreir Portt, and mending of the irne grayth thairof
(c) 1486 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 170*.
The said myl irnys, and vther grath tharof

b. With the adjs. gangand or ganging, standand or standing (see these words), usually of mills.1485 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 51 (see Gangand ppl. a. 2). 1497 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 70.
[The fermorar] sall vphald the saidis mylnis in all maner of gangand grayth
1525 Ib. 221.
That thai had maid expensis vpoun the standand graith of the commoun mylnis
1554 Ib. II. 309.
The tyme thai stude in mending of thair standing graith
1593 Ib. V. 102.
The said mylnis is becum falteis in the ganging grayth
1609 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 308.
To rewll the Hie Kirk knok and keip the same in gangand grath
1656 Ib. II. 351.
The tovne vphalding all ganging greth [of the wells] quhen ather it weirs or breckis

c. A leaf of heddles for a loom. (Also wobsteris graith, q.v.). 1548 Aberd. B. Rec. (MS) XX (J).
To deliver to the vobster ane grayth of iiij c.
Ane nyne hundreth grayth and tua pilleis pertening to the vobsteris craft
1672 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 309.
[The weavers] having compaired the wob … with ane uther peace of it finds them agrie both in reid and graithes

3. The rigging or tackle of a ship. 1489 Treas. Acc. I. 129.
Eftir at the Kingis schip … tynt hir cabillis and odir grayth, sende with Johne of Haw to vittal hir and beyt hir grayth that wantit
1494 Ib. 250.
The expensis … for the macken of the erne grathe of the barge
1513 Doug. vi. v. 122.
Thi schip, quhom that I knew ful quyte Spulȝeit of hir graith
1527 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 229.
The graith of the schip quhilk thai coft fra the Duchemen, viz. mastis, ankeris, towis, takle, saill and all vther graith
1550 Glasgow Prot. I. 8.
Ane feiching boit with airis and graitht
1600-1610 Melvill 253.
Nather was thar handes to takle the sealle, nor was the grathe haill and freshe to byd the wound [= wind]

4. a. The accessory apparatus of a gun or cannon; ammunition generally. 1456 Acts II. 45/2.
It is thocht spedfull … to mak cartis of weire and in ilk cart twa gunnys and … twa chaumerys with the remanent of the graith that efferis tharto
1496 Treas. Acc. I. 292.
For irne grath to the brassin gun
1532 Ib. VI. 158.
iiij hors to turs the bulletis and uthir graith
1545 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. XIX (J).
Maister & cuir berar of the townis artailyere and graytht thairof

b. The priming materials of a fire-arm, powder and shot; small graith, small shot. 1567 Crim. Trials I. 495.
The powlder and graith was carryed inwart
1578 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 66.
Ewerie … man sall have ane hagbut, witht graitht, pulder and bullet effering thairto
1653 Lamont Diary 76.
They … tooke a goune from him, with some small grathe for shoot
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII. 355.
A litle barrell of pouder with a pock full of small graith
1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 180.
He acknowledges that he shoot his pistoll … at ane mark, but denyes that he had ball or graith in her

5. Furnishings, effects, for part of a building; houshald graythe, furniture. 1454–5 Edinb. Chart. 79.
Ane alter … with buke and chalice of siluer and al vthir grath belangand tharto
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 100.
For the carying of the Chapell graytht to Lythgow
1527 Misc. Spald. C. II. 79.
All grayth pertening to the altar for saying of mess
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxvi. 9.
Off houshald graythe sum rycht skant war, With vther menis geir now planeist ar

6. Personal equipment. a. Clothing, articles of dress, esp. of a minor or accessory nature; trimmings or accessories for articles of dress or drapery of any kind. 14.. Acts I. 336/2.
Of sowtaris … that thai mak schone, butis, and vther graith of the lethir or it be barkit
1454 Old Dundee II. 14.
A vestment of red colour, with the alb and the graith perteining thereto
Ib. 31. 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 13.
To by graith to the Kingis dowblat of blac velious
Ib. 15. 1474 Ib. 59.
To by lynyng and smale grathe to the Kingis litle lutare
c1500 Rowll Cursing 237 (M).
Nor ȝit na tailȝour that schapis with scheiris … Maist principillie to schaip thair grayth In hell for steiling heir of clayth
1559 Cart. S. Giles p. cviii.
The orpleis of blak welwote and graith pertenand thairto
1627 Edinb. Test. LIV. 117.
Tua boxis with sum small graithe as bairnes schuitting gloves and menis schuitting gloves
a1650 Row 462.
What meanes … this short skarlet cloake, and all this gay graith of yours?

b. Warlike accoutrements, arms, armour. a1500 Bk. Chess 832.
This knycht … suld be helmyt weile, … With vthir graith … As leg harnes and gluffis maid of plait
1513 Doug. ii. ix. 6.
The auld grayth, al for nocht, to him [he] tays, Hys hawbryk quhilk was lang furth of usage, [etc.]
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 414.
Go dres yow in your graith, And think weill … This day ye sall wyn vassalage

c. Accoutrements for a horse: fittings for the harness; trappings, caparisonings; also, the equipment worn by a falcon. 1456 Hay II. 48/26.
As the sadill, with the grathe that langis to it, haldis him ferme
a1500 Bk. Chess 1367.
A man to mak him … graith ganand for his hors
1503 Treas. Acc. II. 245.
Tua clathes of stait for the King and Quene, the caprison and othir graith
1530 Lindores Chart. 33.
Twa summeris with twa sadills & all wder graith ganand for tham
1547 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 253.
The laird of Drummis falconne with hir graith

7. Goods of any kind; supplies, provisions; personal articles, luggage; also, the goods carried in a ship, cargo. Also fig. 1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
All ald graith and geir to be vsit and sauld in the Friday merkett
1491 Treas. Acc. I. 184.
For certane graytht boycht be the King fra a cremar
1513 Doug. v. xii. 47.
Now … from distructioun deiyvir … Thir sobir trumpys, and meyn graith of Troianys
Ib. vi. Prol. 69.
Virgilis sawis … Full riche tresour thai bene and precius graith
1540 Acta Conc. MS. XIII. 183.
All … graith pertening to his said schip, … hering, hering nettis, salt, abilȝeamentis, barrellis and vtheris gudis
1557 Digest Justiciary Proc. B. 144.
Ane car with graith bund thairon with ane tedder
1566 Peebles B. Rec. 304.
That na howkstairis sell butter and cheis with trois weycht vnder the pane eschitting of thair graythe that thai sell
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 450.
Gevin to Cuthbert Herbertsoun to gett ane robour wyne and wther grayth
1597 Ib. 186.
Ane mett kettil, ane wly kettil, ane aill barrel, … being the grayth of ane boit restand ondelyverit
1613 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 359.
Killochs man to carye my grayth to Edinburgh
1621 Maxwell Mem. I. 334.
To the cadgear that brocht haime the saip, … and sum wthir graith
c1650 Spalding I. 27.
The Erll of Sutherland in the Querrell wod besyd Elgyne directit thairfra his led hors with his graith to the Bog

b. Possessions, goods, wealth, money. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxvi. 85.
Greit abbais grayth I nill to gather
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4753.
Bot thay have spred thair net with huik and lyne, On rentis ryche, on gold and uther graith
1567 G. Ball. 210.
Inuentit wayis to get thame graith, Lyke as the Mes
1571 Sat. P. xxviii. 83.
Be fenȝeit causis I confiscat graith
1584 Ib. xlv. Pref. 11.
Filling thair purses with the spirituall grathe
1603 Philotus xi.
Ane ground-riche man and full of graith
Ib. xiv.
Giue him ane geck, Aud tak another be the neck, Quhen ȝe the graith haue gottin

8. In graith, properly, in good order. c1420 Wynt. iv. Prol. 20 (W).
I faucht ay for the faith, And ay I kepit it in graith

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"Graith n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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