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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.

Gud(e)-, Guid-, Goodman, n. Also: -man(n)e, guyd-, gwydman. [ME. good-, gode-, godman (a 1300), north. gudman (a 1400), also ME. god(e) man, OE. gód(a) mon. In sense 1 properly two words, but occas. written as one.]

1. A man good in some respect. a1400 Leg. S. xl. 890.
His menstrale, Jak Trumpoure, That ves gud man & gud burdoure
?1438 Alex. ii. 123.
The gudeman hard and sichit deip
Ib. 4017.
Ane knaif … May slay ane gude man
1496 Rec. Earld. Orkney 74.
I, the said lawman, hes sene … with the secht of gudmen that the said mill is onlawchfull bigit
1502 Halyb. 269.
God kep all gud men fra sic callandis
1524 Carnwath Barony Ct. 23.
Jhon Haiste is folloit … for pykre; the inqueist findis him ane gud man & quhittis him
1533 Gau 3/20.
Mony guyd men and vemen
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 127.
Thomas Hog, cordiner, askit instrumentis that he wald do as the gudeman Dauid Kinloch dyd
1567 Sat. P. vii. 143.
Guid men sould not than to reforme refuse

b. Used in addressing a person. Also in pl. a1400 Leg. S. x. 263.
Gudmen, hald ȝow al in pese
?1438 Alex. ii. 126.
Gudeman, for Goddes buke, Comfort thé weill
1456 Hay I. 230/17.
Gif a Franche knycht … hapnit to mete … a sely alde burges man … , and sperit at him, Gude man, quhyne ar ȝe?
1526 Stirling B. Rec. 29.
Gudman, it is said that ye murmur me, sayand that I have doune yow gret wrangis
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4282 (B).
Gudman, ga play ȝow amang ȝour feiris
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1085.
Gudeman, gramercy for ȝour geck, Quod Hope
1643 Misc. Abbotsf. C. I. 183.
Ȝe said to him, Guidman, if ȝe will, I sall charme ȝow of the boneshaw

c. As a euphemism: The Devil. 1603 Elgin Rec. II. 114.
The said Robert delatis the tennentis of Glakmarres to haue left a peice land to the gudmane (deuill) for the noltis caus
1650 Cramond Rathven Ch. 20.
It was demandit if ther wer … heir … any plot of land unlabored, dedicat to the dewill, called the gudman's croft

2. (With hir, my, etc.) A woman's husband.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 233.
I wald ane tendir peronall … Had my gud man to hir gaist
Id. xliii. 5.
Thre dayis thair thai will do mair … Than thair gudmen will do in ten
1513 Doug. viii. vii. 7.
Venus … To Wlcanus hir husband aud gud man … began Thus forto spek
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1310.
Quhat dois the sowttar, my gudman
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. ii. 24.
I trow … That thair gudmen had caus to rew it That euer thair wyfis wair sic geir
1583 Edinb. Test. XII. 214.
Elizabeth Patersoun, hir gudmannis sister dochter
1593 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 62.
The said Sessioun to tak cognitioun … gif scho hes dung hir gudman
1624 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 138.
Elspeth … gaid to hir gudman, and tald him, quha came hame with hir
(b) 1513 Doug. viii. vii. 7 (Sm.).
Vulcanus, hir husband and gudeman
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 148.
Ȝe seyis, gif passage, and ȝe can, Till sum faithful to bring hame my gude-man
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV. 250 b.
I leif the deidis part dettis being payit to Johne Lauder my gudeman
(c) 1576 Digest Justiciary Proc. I. 24.
Scho mendit … hir guid manis sisteris kow thrie tymes
1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 253.
Ȝour guidmannis sark to be … laid woumplit vnder your bedfeit
1608 Kinghorn Kirk S. 14.
The tumult that was betwix hir and her guidman upon Thursday at ewin
1651 Dundee Ct. Martial Rec. 19.
Hee … finding a cloak of her guid man's, said ‘This is for mee’

3. The head of a household; the husband of the ‘goodwife’.(a) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 199/13.
The gud man of the hous held ay his bonet of, salang as the Dene was in with him
a1540 Freiris Berw. 59.
Freir Robert sperit eftir the gud man
Ib. 189, etc.
Evin with that thay hard the gudman cry
a1568 Bann. MS. 121 a/49.
The gudman … cavd the gaislingis furth to feid
1576 Orkney Oppress. 42.
Ofttymes the gudman of the houss, … behuvit to propyne the maister houshald … with sum gift
1599 Elgin Rec. II. 75.
The minister sall admoneisch all the inhabitantis … to keip the preaching and specalie the gudman and gudwyffe of ilk hous
1614 Rec. Earld. Orkney 381.
The gudman and gudwyf of Sabayis compt: … To the belman for ringing belis to the gudmanis buryell
(b) 1564 Inverness B. Rec. I. 113.
The gudeman and gudewyiff … sall resort … to the paroch kirk euerilk Sundaye
1580 Ib. I. 280.
The gudeman nor gudewyff will mys na thing
1582 Edinb. Test. XI. 27.
To do this scho sall continew gudeman & gudewyf during hir liftyme
transf. 1567 G. Ball. 198.
Keip faith and lufe till our gud man. For our gude man in heuin dois regne
(c) c 1542 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 23.
On the Sondaye … with the gwyd man viii d … owtpayit and done
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 192.
The guideman of the howse was trublit with ane lycht four-futet beast, … cuming aboue his bed-claithis
(d) a1578 Pitsc. I. 146/1.
[He] assotiatit in beding with the good mans dochter of the house
a1598 Ferg. Prov. 106.
Quhen the good man is fra hame, the boardcleaths tint
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. i. 64.
The good-man keeps it, as we think, Behind a dish, upon the bink

4. The owner or tenant of a property (esp. one of small extent) or farm, ranking below a ‘laird’.(a) 1552 Reg. Privy C. I. 132.
The Commissar for Carrick, the gudman of Ardmillane
c 1580 Liber Dryburgh 362.
Set to the Gudman of Theirlstane manes
1600 Elgin Rec. II. 78.
The bailleis and elderis hes promeist to speik the gudmane of Leucheouris to provyde materiallis to the communion
1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 70.
The gudmen of Achanis and Gabrigis declairit that … thair plevmen yokit nocht that day
1611-57 Mure II. 255.
The Ladie Collellan, … maried on the gudman of Dundonald
(b) 1563 Crim. Trials I. 432.
Thomas Cranstone, bruthir sone to the gudemanne of Thirstane-manis
1596 Coll. Aberd. & B. 386.
The laird of Mouquhallis wha then was gudemane of Inuernytie, and had the town therof, mainis and labouring
16.. Hist. Kennedy 12.
James Crafurd, broder to the gudemanne of Camler
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 148.
The gudeman of Erlistone
(c) 1564 Reg. Privy C. I. 283.
The guidman of Eidschaw, … the guidman of Galloschelis, … the lard of Tracquair
1568 Diurn. Occur. 131.
Dauid Hamiltoun, broder to the guidman of Bothuilehauch
1591 Reg. Morton I. 176.
I haiwe causit convein the tenneutis … and hes causit the gwidman of Kenneistoune deill with thame
1610 Logie Par. Hist. I. 66.
I lave to the rycht honorabill the guid man of Menstrie that buik callit Cornelius Agreppa
1624 Brechin Test. IV. 174.
To the guidman of Balnabothe … xxiij lib.
(d) 1615 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 254.
The Lardes of Pitcur … , and the Goodeman of Baigowne
1644 Edinb. Test. LXI. 44.
1 m. marks … auchtand to me be the good man of Gallowscheillis
1676 Row in Blair Autobiogr. 112.
Alexander Blair, the good-man of Windyedge

b. The occupier of a mill; the keeper of the tolbooth, the jailer. 1663 Forbes Baron Ct. 243.
The bailȝie ordaines the guidmans of saidis millis … that they sall not bink thair shilling nor brok thair stuff
1672 Greyfriars Interments 480.
[The] goodman of the Tolbooth
1685 Bk. Old Edinb. Club XI. 56.
J. Richardsone ffor the goodman of the Tolbuith
1698 Aberdeen B. Rec. IV. 324.
Ane sufficient and trustie man to be keeper of the prison, as other burghs have, who are designed Goodman of the Tolbouth

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"Goodman n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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