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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Harnes, -nas, -neis, n. Also: harnais, -nace, -nese, -nis. [ME. harnais (a 1300), -nays, -nes, -neis. -nis, OF. harneis (F. -nais). See also Hernais.]

1. The defensive armour worn by a man or war-horse.Also hors-, leg-, ail-, quhite harnes, q.v.(a) 1375 Barb. xi. 112.
Small rangale That ȝemyt harnas and vittale
Ib. 116.
All thai that bar harnas
1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 9.
The brethir of the gilde sall fynd the knyghtes in harnace
1456 Hay II. 32/6.
For knycht in weris but hors and harnais is lytill prisit
c1475 Wall. iv. 95.
Syne spoilȝeid thai the harnais or thai wend
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 73.
His harnas brakand maid ane brattil
a1578 Pitsc. II. 118/31.
Gret spuilȝie … bayth of … arteilȝerie waponis and harnas
(b) 1425 Acts II. 8/1.
That all merchandis passande oure the see … bring hame … harnes & armouris
1456 Hay I. 84/33.
A knycht is usit in harnes
Ib. 301/26.
The knychtis … lay hard, and mare in harnes na in fether beddis
1473 Treas. Acc. I. 65.
For mylne quhelis for the diching of the Kingis harnes
1513 Doug. xi. ii. 32.
The remanys of hys harnes and geir
1532 Treas. Acc. VI. 30.
To lyn the Kingis harnes, iij elnis dome grane
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2036.
Thare wes na harnes in the lande, For till defend nor till invaid
a1578 Pitsc. I. 174/22.
His humelt [= helmet] ower gilt with gould and so was all the rest of his harnes
1622-6 Bisset II. 225/7.
The spulȝe … of cleithing, harnes, and vapynnis … that beis fundin upoun … men of weir
(c) 1456 Hay I. 161/10.
A pure creature that … never bare harneis, na wappin
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 882.
Thai hynt of his harnese, to helyn his wound
15.. Clar. ii. 1078.
Palexis did his harneis on him brace
1570 Leslie 75.
The Lord Hamiltoun faucht with him in harneis vailyeantlie
c1590 J. Stewart 51/106.
His haberȝsone and harneis all … Quhilk as ane barrier held his bazon bak
(d) 1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 8.
At the waichman be sufficiently boddin with harnis and wappynnys
1501 Edinb. Hammermen 35.
To iiij men at bur the four standartis in harnis
1513 Doug. ii. ix. 65.
The auld … A dart did cast, quhilk … can stynt On his harnys
a1578 Pitsc. I. 208/15.
The king … was sa brucklit in his harnis witht the fall that he fell in deidlie swne

b. ellipt. The putting on of armour. Also fig., making ready for action. a1500 Bk. Chess 514.
Apone the morne thai [the women] all to harnes go
1531 Bell. Boece I. 199.
Incontinent, all his allia and freindis ruschit to harnes
1533 Boece xvi. xiii. 627 b.
The Scots incontinent went to harnes and met the duke of Clarence on ane plane

2. The harness of a draught- or pack-horse. c1475 Wall. iv. 39.
Thai cutt the brays & leyt the harnes faw
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 239.
Gevin for the making of ane harnes to turs the Kingis letacampbed
1695 Foulis Acc. Bk. 176.
For a pint of moriehead and feit for the coatch and harnis

3. In transferred uses. c1420 Wynt. i. 449.
Nakyde wes his [Noah's] harnays hare, Bak and buttoke bath wes bare
1513 Edinb. Hammermen 79.
To the harnis of the queir viij d.
1687 New Mills Cloth Manuf. 162.
A dozen of woollen harnesses for broad loomes

4. Attrib. with doublet, hose, nail, plate, spur, sword. 1495 Treas. Acc. I. 226.
vj quarteris of quhit treilȝe … to be the King a harnes doublet
1496 Ib. 302.
For a harnas sword to the King
1497 Ib. 341.
For ane par of gret harnas spuris to the king
1507 Ib. IV. 14.
For vij quartaris quhit to be ane pair of harnes hos to the King
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 47.
Ay betuix the harnes plaitis The vly birstit out
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 297.
Dowbles called harnes plaittis or irne dowbles
Ib. 322.
Nailles called ... harnes naillis the sowme contening ten thowsand vi li.

b. Harnes sadle, a pack-saddle. 1483 Acta Aud. *112/1.
A harnes sadle, price xlv s.
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 238.
Gevin to Gildow to by flolkis [sic] to the harnes sadillis
1498 Ib. 388.
For ane harnas sadill to the Kingis coffres
1503 Ib. II. 202.
For ane curpal and ane tee to the harines sadill, … mending and stopping ofsamyn
1505 Ib. III. 166.
For vi pund flokkis to the harnes sadill

c. Harnes mill, the work-shop of an armourer. 1496 Treas. Acc. I. 270.
For tymmer and diners odir expens maid apone the bigging of the harnes mill
1502 Ib. II. 143.
To the Frauch armorar to set up his harnas myln

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"Harnes n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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