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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.

Lawland, n. and adj. Also: lau-, laland. [Law a. 2 b; Land n.1 2. Later also low-. Cf. also laich land, Laich adj. 2 b, lauch land, Lauch adj. (3).]

1. The low-lying part of a district as opposed to the hill country; low-lying land(s). sing. and plur.(1) 1488 Acts II. 208/2.
The lord Oliphant for the law land of the schirrefdome of Perth, Strathbravn and the bischoprik of Dunkelden. The lord Gray [etc.] … for Angus hie land and law land
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 18.
Quhilk Christell … micht nocht brouk the lawland of Lowthyane, quhair was his duelling place
(2) 1513 Doug. iii. viii. 33.
The dym hillis on far we dyd aspy, And saw the law landis of Italy

2. The Scottish Lowlands, as opposed to the Highlands and Isles and occas. also the Borders; the mainly low-lying southern and eastern part of Scotland. sing. and plur.sing. (1) 1492 Breadalbane Doc. (Reg. H.) No. 26.
Be it kend … ws Archibald Erle of Ergille … till haif maid … our derest cosing … our balȝe of all our landis in the lauland of Scotland
1528 Lynd. Dreme 967.
In to the hieland I could fynd no remeid, … In the law land I come to seik refuge
1540 Acts II. 362/2.
That all vtheris of lawer rent and degre in the lawland haif [etc.]
1574 Ib. III. 89/1.
That na Irische and hieland bairdis and beggaris be brocht … in the lawland
1587 Ib. 456/1.
That all warningis … to be maid aganis Ilismen hielandmen or borderaris in brokin cuntries … be maid at the mercate croces … of the nixt schyris in the lawland
1604 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 24 June.
Eftir my hame cuming out of the lawland
1609–10 Reg. Privy C. X. 672.
Everie gentilman or yeaman within the said Ilandis … sall put at the leist thair eldest sone … to the scuillis on the lawland
(b) 1570 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 22 July.
Ȝour purpos is to pas to the laland anentis my lordis bissenes
(2) 1549 Breadalbane Doc. No. 68.
The said Johne Campbell … hes promyst … to baytht ryd and gang in heland and lawland quhen he beis requirit
1587 Acts III. 465/2.
Inobedient personis … that dar not cum to publique mercattis in lawland thame selffis
plur. 1566-7 Reg. Privy S. in Thirds of Benefices xiv n.
The haill landis, teindis and fruictis pertening thairto lyis in the far hielandis and iles, and the victuallis and uthiris dewiteis thairof gevis na prices in thai pairtis and can nocht be transportit nor cariit to the lawlandis
1570 Leslie 183.
Exercing thame selffis in … oppressione of thair nyghbouris in all partis of the Hieland cuntreis, and in the law landis nixt adjacent unto thame
1593 Crim. Trials I. ii. 298.
To the common benefeit of the haill inhabitantis of the laulandis and incuntrey
1614 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 13 Oct.
For redemptioune of my lordis landis in the lawlandis
1641 Kingarth Session Bk. 2.
Upon his returne from the lawlands he sall satisfy [etc.]
1653 Nicoll Diary 113.
The heylanderis … began … to mak infallis upone the lawlandis

3. attrib. or adj. a. Belonging to, originating in, or characteristic of the Scottish Lowlands.Freq. in contrast with ‘Highland-’.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 56.
Thy trechour tung hes tane ane heland strynd; Ane lawland ers wald mak a bettir noyis
1580 Edinb. Test. VIII. 274 (see Irland n. 2 (3)).
Lawland ky hydis
1591 Thanes of Cawdor 204.
To the lawland harper vi s. viij d.
1596 Highland P. I. 182.
At Glasgow … quhen my lord came to the lawland country
1613 Crim. Trials III. 246.
Ȝe, with ȝour associattis, … enterit within the campment belanging to the said lawland gentilmen
1647 Acts VI. i. 672/2.
Tuo hieland regimentis … and the other fyve lawland regimentis
(2) 1605 Black Bk. Taymouth 344.
A heland spead, a lawland sped, a matok
1621 Ib. 353.
That no maner of personne … cast peitis … bot only with lawland peit spaudis under the pane of ten pundis money

b. Belonging to a low-lying area as opposed to the hill-country. 16.. Hist. Kennedy 2.
Ane fair castell, quhilk the scheiff of the Law-land Kennedyis tuik thair styill of

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"Lawland n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2024 <>



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