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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.

Grene, Grein, a. Also: gren, greyne, greine, griene, gryne, greene. [ME. greene, grene (gren, greyn, etc.), OE. gréne.] Green, in lit. and fig. senses.

1. Of plants, trees, foliage, or grass.(a) a1400 Leg. S. i. 563.
He … crounit hym-self with lauream gren [: bene]
Ib. xl. 396.
In the ȝarde is nane erbe grene
c1420 Wynt. iv. Prol. 5.
A garland … Grene suld lestand be lang quhile
Ib. vii. 546.
A grene tre fra the rwte wes sawyn
1456 Hay I. 30/21.
Thai suld nocht noy to the treis, na herbis, na grene thing
c1450-2 Howlat 399.
Ane grene tre … That bure branchis on breid
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1647.
Flouris, sum grene, sum blew
1535 Stewart 43893.
Withoutin fude bot grene herbis and frutt
Ib. 49260.
Robert the Bruce wnder the levis grene … oftymes all allane
1549 Compl. 63/26.
Cou thou me the raschis grene
1567 G. Ball. 98.
Lyke lawre tre, quhilk euer growis grene
1622-6 Bisset II. 51/30.
Greit woddis … of aikin grene growand tries
fig. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 124.
Treuth [micht] retorne with tryvmphe & wax grene, Quhilk fadit was
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxvii. 38.
The [nobill Stewarts] … Thow gart upspring, with branches new and greine
1535 Stewart 16764.
Thocht this tirrane … Be deid him self, his breanchis growis grene
(b) c1420 Wynt. i. 420.
A brawnche … of greyne olywe
Brus xi. 372 (C).
Thai pottis … [he] helit had Vith stikis and vith girs al greyne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 68.
In thi hand a branch of olyve greyn
1513 Doug. iii. i. 48.
Thidder I went greyn bewis doune to haill
Ib. v. 44.
Hectoris voyd tumbe, … Quhilk scho vpbeildit had of herbis greyn
1596 Misc. Spald. C. I. 86.
Steilling … greyn growand bear
1654 Nicoll Diary 131.
Greyne peyis … sauld full and ryp
(c) c1590 J. Stewart 167 § 4.
All thy feadit leifis grow sall greine
1596 Dalr. I. 32/15.
In greine and florishing pasture … it abundes
Ib. 94/22.
Thair heid thay laid vpon a greine turfe, or sum of the greiner bent or raschis
1653 Lamont Diary 64.
First on the griene grasse, and then on the cassey

b. Of ground: Covered with grass or verdure.Early examples (12–13th c.) occur in place-names, as Grenlaw, Grenegare, Greneham, Grenerig, Greneside. c1420 Wynt. iii. 239.
In thare flattis gret, Than growand grene off wyne and quheyt
1434 Liber. Aberbr. 67.
And sua furth eist … as the Greyne Laich gais
1458 Ib. 104.
And swa sowth … to the furd of Dersy vest the greyn rod
a1500 Henr. Robin & M. i.
Robene sat on gud grene hill, Kepand a flok of fe
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 176.
Than he merkit with myrth our ane grene meid
1501 Douglas Pal. Hon. Prol. vi.
The beriall stremis rynning men micht heir By bonkis grene
1549 Compl. 38/21.
The grene feildis … drank up the drops of the fresche deu
1563 Inchaffray Reg. 87.
With ane pece grene eirth liand be est the said Welcroft
1595 Bamff Chart. 144.
Thrie gryt stanes … standing in ane grene braid gait
Ib. 145.
Ane uther grene balk lyand … betuix the saidis landis
1636 Misc. Spald. C. V. 225.
Anent the gryt abus and skaith doune be fyr, burning firr stoks, and greine eird
1652 Lanark B. Rec. 148.
To cast any of the forbidden earth, grein earth, and moss turffes

c. Of woods, groves, or gardens. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 446.
Scho couth … ger the woddis grene … Flouris again
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 41.
Sittand on ȝule ewin in ane fresch grene schaw
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1013.
Quhair haue ȝe bene? Quod scho, Into my gardine grene
c1590 J. Stewart 18/133. Ib. 67/82.
Scho persawed ane bocage growand greine

2. Of cloth and garments or other articles made of cloth, esp. grene clathe for covering a table, a table-cover.(1) 1498 Halyb. 165.
A stek of gren say
1507 Treas. Acc. III. 260.
Taffeti grene, rede, blew
1538 Ib. VII. 89.
xxvij elnis of reid, ȝallow, and grene serge
15.. Clar. ii. 743.
Sex squyeris he heas gart cleath also In greine satine
1549 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 196.
ij fair courthingis of Turky tafeteis greyne and reid
1561 Inv. Wardrobe 141.
Ane cuscheoun of grene satine
Ib. 149.
Thre curtenis of grene damas
1604 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 102.
The cleyth … of grein stemmyne
1618 Edinb. Test. L. 163 b.
Ane steik chainging burret reid and greine
1633 Ib. LVI. 198 b.
Ane … sute of sad greine cloth
(2) c1450-2 Howlat 210.
With grene almous [= amice] on hed
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 12.
Thir birdis sang thair houris Within thair courtyns grene
Id. Tua Mar. W. 25.
Thair mantillis grein war as the gres
1535 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 150.
That all the ȝoung abil men … haue thair grene cottis
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 98.
Thre greyn cowartouris for comptaris
1580 Coll. Aberd. & B. 391.
Ane pair of drogatt courtingis grein and reid
1674 Fraser P. 258.
Four greine velvat cots … for footmen
(3) 1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 241.
To mak ane grene clayth to the burd
1569 Ib. III. 261.
Ane dornik buird clayth, ane dissone of seruetis, and ane grein clayth
1580 Coll. Aberd. & B. 392.
Ane lang grein cleith for ane hie burde … , Thre lytill grein burde cleithis for chalmeris
1600 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 276.
To by and furneis cuscheonis and grene claithes to the townis counsal hovs
1607 Ib. 334.
For ane greyne clayth to the lords of the Sessioun, … for allevin quarters Inglis greyne clayth
1634 Stirling's Royal Lett. II. 765.
To delyuer out of his said office … the grencloth, all such silver-plate, naprie [etc.] … as wer in his charge

3. Of various things of this colour. 1456 Hay I. 9/9.
The thrid part of the blude was grene
1494 Edinb. Hammermen 7.
For the flowring of the candill with gren walx
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvii. 37.
Moir gudely eik na is the emerant greyne
1513 Doug. i. ix. 9.
Wantand bot ane, amang the fludis greyn Quham we saw droun
Ib. iii. ii. 113.
Quhar growis the marbill greyn
15.. Clar. iii. 203.
Lang scho lay with deadlie visage greine
1567 G. Ball. 176.
With bullis of leid, quhyte wax and reid, And vther quhylis with grene
1578 Inv. Wardrobe 240.
Ane grene buist paintit on the lid
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 229.
The starnis … Sum reid, sum ȝellow, blew, and grein
1607 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 27.
The sowme of fourtene punds … to be putt in the greyne boxe
1651 Edinb. Test. LXV. 158.
Thrie dussane of greine spoones

4. Not yet seasoned, dried, or preserved in any way: a. Of wood or timber. 14.. Acts I. 337/2.
Thai mak the saidillis of grene tymmer quhair thai aw to be maid of widderit and dry
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxii. 44.
His saikles blude agane thay shed Persing his heid with pykis grene
a1568 Flemyng Bann. MS. 160 b/70.
Men … with ane grene sting hes gart thame bring The geir
a1578 Pitsc. I. 336/5.
Ane faire palice of greine tymmer
1622-6 Bisset II. 9/29.
He wes maist crowellie crucyfeid on ane croce of grene trie

b. Of skins or hides: Untanned. 1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 134.
Arlis to the fleschour … for grene scheip skynnis and hydes
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI. 42 b.
xxxiij grene hydis new laid in the bark hoill with bark to bark thame
1591 St. A. Test. II. 171.
Of barket and grene ledder in the pottis fyve dalkeris
1630 Edinb. B. Rec. VII. 85.
That na maisters nor servandis … pas to anye buith or fleschour hous to buye anye grein skynnis

c. Of fish, esp. herring: Fresh, unsalted. 1587 Reg. Privy C. IV. 216.
With thair schippis laidnit with grene fishe … gottin upoun the mayne sey
1598 Conv. Burghs. II. 34.
Ilk thousand grene hering loissit and sauld
1614 Melrose P. 130.
That no assise aucht to be craved of ony hering, bot of suche as ar broght freshe and greene to land
1624 Orkney & Zetl. Test. I. 109.
Ane barrell & ane half of grein hering
1664 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp 11.
For a dishe of greene fishe

d. Of various other things. 1474 Treas. Acc. I. 21.
For grene ginger tane at diuers tymes
1579 Edinb. Test. VII. 241 b.
Makand in the barne ten bollis … grene malt.; of maid malt in the loft nyne bollis
1607 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 170.
To the furnesching of the desertis, … twa pund of grein feges
1612 Bk. Rates 365.
Drugs … , Grene ginger the pound … xii s.
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 438.
Aganis putters of greene lint in running waters

5. In transf. and fig. uses.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 369.
His body … alswa fresche & gren, As it that day grawin had bene
(2) 1513 Doug. i. i. 67.
The etern wound hyd in her breist, ay grein
1522 Acta Conc. MS. XXXIII. 107.
Considering the greyn slauchtiris … that is done apon thaim
1533 Bell. Livy I. 167/23.
He schew mony grene [L. recentes] woundis on his bak
15.. Clar. i. 127.
For ȝaiking of his woundis newe and greine
1557 Digest Justiciary Proc. B. 142.
The wound then wes grene and resent
1596 Dalr. II. 188/18.
Perchance the rememberans of this grene wound … makes ȝow the feirter
(3) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 317.
I held ay grene in to his mynd that I of grace tuk him
1513 Doug. i. ix. 54.
Thi honour and thi fame sall euir be grene
1535 Stewart 17091.
The rancour wes … in thair mynd so recent and so grene
(4) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 24.
I traistit that Venus … My faidit hart of lufe scho wald mak grene
a1568 Kennedy Bann. MS. 52 b/9.
Grene ȝowth to aige thow mon obey
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc. 65.
With pith and strenth into thi ȝeris grene
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 321.
Greyn gentill ingynys and breistis curageus
Ib. x. 6.
So that the amorus queyn He mycht inflambe, within hir banys greyn
Id. K. Hart 550.
Vant and Vane-gloir with new grene appetyte
a1568 Bann. MS. 255 a/26.
Thocht luve be grene in gud curage, … The end of it is miserie
1596 Dalr. I. 61/14.
Wormes, of quhilkes sum war ȝit greine & ȝoung [L. rudia]

6. a. In various special uses, with broth, cheis, cot (coat), grave, guse, horn, kail, lime, serene, ȝarde. 1615 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS. App. III. 412/2.
At supper … twa dische of grein brothe
1549 Compl. 43/2.
Flot quhaye, grene cheis, kyrn mylk
1600–1 State P. No. 108/10 (Reg. Ho) 4.
Giff they hard ony crying of ‘Grene cottis, bludie botscheris [etc.]’
Johne Rentoull cryand ‘Grene cottis, ȝe haue committit murther’
15.. Aberd. B. Rec. (J).
New and grein graves
1601 Elgin Rec. II. 96.
Gryt perell through bureing of people in the kirkyaird … and within the kirk itself by raising of grene graivis and holking under the kirk vall
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 399.
To the woman that brocht grene geys to the King
Relation of the Fight at Leith (1650) 6.
The Scotch king being upon the castle hill, to see his men which he called his Green Hornes beaten
1682 C. Irvine Hist. Scot. Nomencl. 241.
Tyrones, fresh-water souldiers, or new-levyed; greenhorns: also it signifieth novices in any profession
1640 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. (1868) 10.
Whatsomever person that steillis any of their neighbours' peittis, green-kail, corn, etc.
1665 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 135.
The defenders came again and … destroyed his green kaill
1533 Boece vii. x. 242.
The new bigging parte of grene lyme, parte myxt with mortare, was nocht ȝit hard nor solid
1549 Compl. 39/25.
The grene serene sang sueit, quhen the gold spynk chantit
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 3.
The fewferme of Johne of Sollaris for the grene ȝardis besyde Striueline
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 235/7.
Dauid Levingstoun of the grene ȝardis
1595 Logie Par. Hist. I. 42.
Henri Levingstone of Waster Greinȝairds

b. Comb. with -hefted, -hewit, -hornit. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 11.
Vnder ane holyn hewinlie grein hewit
1563 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 30.
ix oxin, … ane grene-hornit
1625 Brechin Test. IV. 198.
Ane dusson grein hornit sponis
1664 Inventory in Decreets Dal. XI.
Fyve pair of greinhefted knyves

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"Grene adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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