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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lak, n.1 Also: lac, lack(e. [ME. lak, lakke, lac (c 1200): not recorded in OE., but cf. OFris. lek ‘Nachteil’ (Holthausen) and Fris. lek ‘fout, gebrek’ (Dijkstra), and MLG. lak, MDu. lac deficiency, lack, fault, blame, disgrace. Cf. Lake n.1 (and also the exclusively Sc. derivative Inlak). Sense 4 is chiefly, and 5 only, Sc. (and both are largely confined to this form: cf. the head-note to Lake n.1).]

1. Shortage, deficiency or deficit, in quantity or amount. = Inlaik n. 1.(1) 1265 Exch. R. I. 29.
[Inde decidunt per lacam [frumenti] iij celdre
1328 Ib. 120.]
Per lacam [farine] in cariagio per mare, iij bollas
1288 Ib. 41.
Per lak frumenti positi in granario, x bolle
(2) 1607 Rothiemay Kirk S. in J. Gordon's Hist. I. App. li.
George Smyth … sall have for his costis and in lack of his debursements ane fornicators penaltie

2. Lack, want (of something necessary or desirable). Common in prep. phrases, esp. for, in, throw lak of.(1) 1461 Liber Plusc. I. 396.
Justice makis riche bath revm and ceteis … Quhair lak of law bringis al this vpsadoun
a1500 Quare Jel. 301.
In lak of hert ay stant this maladye
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxi. 13.
Trewth gois on his fute abowt, And lak of spending dois him spur
1533 Boece ii. vii. 70.
Sic persouns as be fragill kynde and lak of age war febill
1611 Crim. Trials III. 166.
That the lak of verification in ane mater so clandestine and obscure … sould procure to him vndouted absoluitour
(2) c1475 Wall. v. 827.
For lak off blud he mycht no forthir gang
a1500 Colk. Sow i. 107.
Mony in a grit rout For lak of rowme stud about
1513 Doug. iv. ii. 63.
Within hir chalmyr alane scho … thocht al waist for lak of hir luffar
Ib. v. xii. 87.
All may nocht in thi navy Be tursyt now, for lak of schippis lost
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 67.
Derth, pest, and povertie, Procedis of sin, … For lack of faith, and for idolatrye
1576 Douglas Corr. 217.
For lacke of the delyverye of there bill
a1585 Maitl. Q. xlii. 150.
Proffeitis … dois ay proceid of persecution For lak of tyme quhilk I now let ourgo
a1578 Pitsc. I. 263/19.
Sieand the king so oft dispairit for lak of wictuallis
(3) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 151.
Lordschippes oft … Confiskit ar fra ald successioun In lak of justice & throw iniquitie
Ib. 2263.
In lak [H. lake] of lawbour we flowe in to folye
Ib. 337. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxi. 16.
In lak of justice this realme is schent allace!
(4) 1561 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 211/2.
That nane be spilt … throw lak of mending or lauboris to be takin thairupoun
1604-31 Craig i. 17/19.
What woonder I through lak of presence pine?

3. Fault or failing, such as to bring blame or disgrace. To fynd lak (to), to find fault (in). But lak, without fault or blame, blamelessly.Also Lake n.1 2.(1) 1456 Hay II. 93/8.
Dispisand men that … wald copy his maneris, and fynd lak to him in his communicacioun
Ib. 156/5.
That he be a gude rychtwis justicer, bot ony lak or favour or difference of personage
1490 Irland Mir. 70 b.
Tholand his moder to fall in sa gret lak and syn originale
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 84.
Thai anis montit on hir bak Thay think in thame thair is na lak
(2) 1456 Hay I. 277/31.
For it befallis ofttymes that syndry men ar callit be a name in the samyn toune, and may do it but lak
Ib. II. 9/36.
The grete grace that God hes gevin me in this erde to be sa happy till have governyt sa, but lak, the said ordre
Ib. 97/7.
Gyf thou will delyte thé in syk plesaunces but lak
a1500 Bk. Chess 532.
That vther women may ensampill tak Be hir hienes to lefe thaim heir but lak
1513 Doug. xi. vii. 172.
Lat be thy stowt mynd, go thy way but lak, With ane mair strang rebute and dryve abak
1528 Lynd. Dreme 484.
His qualite I can nocht loue, bot lack [: Zodiac]

b. A physical flaw or blemish: see Lake n.1 2 b.

4. Blame, censure, reproach, obloquy, as for a fault or delinquency, or an instance of this.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xlviii. 209.
Julyane kyste vpe the e, Quhat he that vas, for to se, That … set one hir sa mekil lak
1456 Hay I. 85/1.
For drede he has that folk speke a lak of him in his lattare dayes
Ib. II. 83/9.
Sa that the king mellit him nocht tharwith to haue na lak tharof
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 428.
Thai sper nocht quhat men sais of thaim, Quhether lak or honor, los or scham
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 198.
That euer the cumpany quhar thai tak Sal neuer chap without a lak [v.r. forouten lak]
c1475 Wall. ix. 820.
Off ws be found no lak eftir to reid
a1500 Bk. Chess 1524.
Women has gret acces to sic men Tharfor thai suld for to eschew a lak Thar presens … fra thaim abstrack
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xliv. 22.
In lak of thame [women] quha can say ony thing
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. ii. 22.
Quhat of his lak, … Na wretchis word may depair your hie name
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii. 329.
To ressoun that ȝour sermone resound, Or ellis the lak to ȝour self sall redound
1567 Sempill Sat. P. vii. 31.
Behalding than … The schame, the lack, the bruit abhominabill That saikles men with sorow did sustene
(2) c1475 Wall. viii. 1410.
Sic luff as that is nothing till awance, To tak a lak, and syne get no plesance
a1500 Bk. Chess 1283.
A man in yr suld no pvnicioun mak For dreid that he exceid and tak a lak
Ib. 1901.
Quhy suld his excellens Tak sic a lak to do sic reuerens … To salus so two beggaris

5. Discredit, disgrace, shame, or an instance of this. Freq. coupled with schame (also dishonour). Also to think lak.Cf. also Lake n.1 3.(1) 1444 Aberd. B. Rec. I. ii.
For and ye sulde nocht deliuer thame at the Kingis instance … , it war great [sic in pr.] lak and sclaundre to the King and the realme and lessing of yhour worship
1456 Hay I. 105/33.
Suppos a king … of lytill power wald with a few menȝe passe that voyage, it war bot a lak to the lave of the kingis
Ib. II. 5/18.
Sa that nane that had sene him … but lak or dishonestee of his cors suld se him in his failit elde
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 919.
Sa woundir rude wes the rak; Quhilk that happynnit the lak, Couth na leid say
1474 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 28.
Thair bill of complaynt … quharthrou the tone had a sclander and lak
1490 Irland Mir. 201 b.
The werkis of the man and thai be gud thai do him gret honour and lovage and gif thai be euill gret lac payne and tribulacioun
a1500 Bk. Chess 299.
For throw that word the lak of that virgyne Redemit was
Ib. 1219.
That scho but fude suld in to presoun be Quhill scho micht leif with les lak so till de
1492 Myll Spect. Luf (Asl.) 285/25.
Ane of thre thingis that is sudand deid a schame or a lak in his honour or de a beggar
1513 Doug. x. vii. 27.
Do nevir, for schame, onto ȝour self that lak To lyppyn in speid of fute and gyf the bak
1535 Stewart 23643.
Ȝe ar abill to tak Throw sic wnwisdome baith greit skayth and lak
Ib. 34146.
For that lak he had tone, That neuir Scot intill all Albione … be left levand
a1568 Peddar C. 29.
With thame thay tak Thay schamed schrewis, God gif thame lak
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3902.
Thay … gart hym, for the gretter lack, Beir his awin gallous
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 765 (T).
Woodelyk hudepyk, ay lyk to live in lak
c1590 J. Stewart 84/147.
Than Roland haid be thé susteind na lak, Bot euir hichlie borne the palmie croune
1603 Philotus 453.
To slay ane taine man, war bot lack allace
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xl. 644.
Thru it haldine wes thar name In gret lak and in schame
1456 Hay I. 248/24.
Than has he lak and dishonour
Ib. 279/29.
To geve lak and dishonour to cowartis
1513 Doug. xii. xi. 59.
That he suld not our lak and schame behald
1533 Boece xv. x. 593.
Be discomfitoure of Inglis he removit the lak and dishonoure contractit afore
1535 Stewart 1238.
Thocht ȝe haif gottin the skayth, The schame and lak redundis till ws bayth
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 387.
Pointand thair hand with mony skorne & knak Quhair euer I gang to my greit schame and lak
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 54.
The Frenchemen … chasit the congregatioun to the portis of Edinburgh, to thair greit schame and lak
1587-99 Hume 56/148.
Coschis traind with slander, shame, and lack
?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadfull Alarms 16.
Shame and lack come upon that prudence
a1689 Cleland 37.
I say the tender, lack and shame on't
(3) a1500 Seven S. 1391.
Becaus that ȝe Was in sic cald I thocht na lak To get thir treis ȝour fyre to mak
1513 Doug. ix. xiii. 22.
Think ȝhe na lak and schame … In hys absens thus catyfly to fle
1535 Stewart 192.
Quhairof his freindis thocht mekill lak
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 47.
We think greit lak to gang fra our native rowmes
c1568 Lauder Minor P. iii. 59.
The hypocreit will thinke no schame nor lak, Buds to receaue
(4) a1500 Sir Eger 1908.
Doubtless I may not be put back And in lawtie there is no lack
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8895.
Lufe quhome ȝe like, thay say lufe hes na lak
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 909.
In loue is no lack

b. Offence, injury; insult, slight.(1) 1456 Hay I. 99/13.
Folk that beris othir mennis armes … to do thame ony lak
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 274.
Quha will blaspheme the name Of his awin god, … To all goddis he dois baith lak and schame
1490 Irland fol. 268 b.
He dois gret lak and injure to God [etc.] … to hauld sacretlie in his hert for his mynȝeoun … thare mortale innemy
1535 Stewart 1242.
Quha lichlies ȝow, we think tha do ws lak
Ib. 22265.
How oure fatheris befoir … So mekill wrang, so grit injure and lak, Of Britane, Romane, wes maid on force to tak
1568 Sat. P. xlvii. 98.
Ȝe haif defamett Thir leill trew luvaris, and done thair freindis bot lack
(2) 1512 Rep. Elphinstone Mun. 18.
Gif he schawis me his counsale I sall consele it, and sall nothir wit nor here his lak, schame, harme nor skaith
1514 Bk. Carlaverock II. 456.
I sal nouder wit lak dishonour nor scaith to my said lord

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"Lak n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2024 <>



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