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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
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Laic, Laik, a. and n. Also: laick, layk, layi(c)k, laayk; laique. [F. laic, laique, eccl. L. lāicus, e.m.E. layick (1609), laic(k) (1626). The adj. agrees in sense with the older Lawit a. 1, which it appar. largely superseded. Cf. also Lawic and Layit (and Lai a.).]

1. adj. Belonging or pertaining to the laity; secular, lay. a. Of persons, in general use. b. Lay (elder, patron, patronage, vicar).a (a) 1562-3 Winȝet I. 35.
Put furth … at the desyre … of … the inferiour ordour of clergie and laic men
Ib. 64/3 (MS.).
Ib. 42/6.
Ȝe … findis na bischope [etc.] … institute and ordanit be the laic people
a1578 Pitsc. (1728) 133.
Heretick, knows thou not imagery is the books of the laick and common people
1596 Dalr. I. 105 marg.
Thrie ordouris of the realme, ecclesiastik, nobilitie and the laik sorte
1600 Hamilton Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 225/26.
To brydil this proud libertie of sik laik and temporal persounes as presumis to reid … the scriptures
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2053 (Ch.).
Sen layik men knew the veritie, Pardoners gets no charitie
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix.
The first are the patrons of the laick estate, the rest are but portioners … of a kirk-buriall place
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. To Reader A iij b.
Kirkmen … caused all the lawes … to be … published in the Latine tongue, to the end, that all kings … and almaist the laik men (as they call them) being ignorant of the Latine [etc.]
1600-1610 Melvill 149.
A presbyterie, consisting in the pastors and doctors, and sic uther laic persones, as be election may associat within the sam
1636 Moray Synod 38.
A pryvat laik man … had baptized a chyld
c1650 Spalding II. 364.
Ilk minister, … to declair … the malignant laick persones within his parochin
(b) c1575 Balfour Pract. 241.
The superiour … being ane fre man, male or female, major or minor, clerk or laique man
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 10.
The pley about debts of laique men perteins to the king's court
b (1) 1641 Soc. Ant. XXV. 58.
Quhair I the said Mr James being elected and nominat laick elder for the presbiterie and Ile of Yetland
c1650 Spalding II. 260.
As ane laick or reulling elder
Ib. 283.
Ilk minister with his laick elder cam in [to the Assembly]
1651 Nicoll Diary 71.
Thair wes a new meeting of the ministeris … , and of the laayk elderis
1651 Cramond Presb. Fordyce 25.
To labor to have things rightlie worded as … for laik elder, quhich is Popish, to say Ruling Elder
1661 Brodie Diary 233.
He that preached said, ther wer noe laik elders, but ther wer diuersities of dignities in the preaching presbyters
1685-8 Renwick Serm. (1776) 560.
They greatly err who call them laickelders, as if they were a part of the people only
(2) 1641 Acts V. (1817) 500/1.
The act of parliament maid … anent provestries [etc.] … pertaneing to laik patrones
c1650 Spalding I. 77.
The ministrie and … laitie, leiving yeirlie wnder the bondage of the lordis of erectionis or laick patronis
a1651 Calderwood III. 38.
A benefice which is disponed be a laick patron to an unqualified person
1663 Dunkeld Presb. I. 130.
All ministers … whoes patrons are laik
1666–71 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 351.
The abuses of laick patrons are great
(3) 1587 Acts III. 433/2.
Landis … quhilkis pertenit … to quhatsumeuer benefice … being of laic patronages
1592 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 78.
Thay being laik alterages and patronages
1597 Skene Acts ii. 10 b.
The presentation of laick patronages alwaies reserued to the … auncient patrones
1620 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 185.
The said toun of Turreff is kirkland and … perteins to ane layk patronage to wit the Erle of Erroll
1627 Rep. Parishes 6.
Chingilkirk … is nott ane laik patronage but one of the kirkis off the abacie of Dryburghe
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 35.
Dilapidation of benefices, dimitting of them for … money, that they become laick patronages
1663 Dunkeld Presb. I. 129.
All ministers whoes churches … are a laick presentatione
(b) a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 25.
All benefices wer disponed … efter the said yeir be the king only, except laique patronages
(4) c1650-1700 Descr. Zetland .
The Ministers are in number eleven, … Five of them are payed by laick vicars in money yearly, the other six … are paid by the people

c. Not professionally learned (appar., in the law), lay. 1565–6 St. A. Kirk S. 267.
That [the] allegit minister, eldaris and diaconis of this citie ar na juge competent … , becaus thai ar mer layik and ignorant personis for the maist pairt, havand na commissione … gevyn to thaim be our soweranis lord and lady

2. n. A layman, one not of the clergy. c1590 Fowler II. 57/36.
Ȝe esteme them [sc. images] as books of the laics & commoun pepill
1596 Dalr. II 297/18.
He sendis messingeris … with the fyre crose … [who] sulde shaw it out to al man baith laikis and kirkmen
1611-57 Mure I. 235.
Poor simple laikes (they in substance say), By searching of the Scriptures erre yee may
1649 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 586.
The Pope and his legats usurped the right of patronage belonging to layicks
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. I. 91.
What reason was ther to receave ane interpretatione from laicks, ignorante people, and children?
c1650 Spalding I. 94.
[They] gat mony subscriptionis of ministeris and laickis to thair covenant
1666–71 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 350.
There is nothing more unreasonable than to imagin these great dotations were intended for enriching … of laicks
a1691 Sir George Mackenzie in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 76.
The Lords of Council & Session … Of old it consisted of seven ecclesiasticks & seven laicks
1633 (1711) Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 15.
The present inhabitants consist of the clergie and the laity: the laicks of the gentry and the commons
1692 Presb. Eloq. (1694) 10.
That they [sc. Presbyterians] use no distinguishing garb must be acknowledged to be very congruous; for truly they are but laicks
1703 Cromartie Corr. I. 195.
Addresses may come from the laicks in the several shyres

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"Laic adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 31 Jan 2023 <>



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