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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.

Ledar(e, Leidar, n. Also: ledair, -er(e, -eir, -eyr, leddare, -er; leider, leiddar; leadar, lead(d)er; laidar. [ME. leder (a 1300), e.m.E. leader.] One who or that which leads, in senses of Lede v.

1. One who leads (a person by the hand, an animal by a cord etc.).Also aip-ledar, Ape n.1, Bere-ledair.(1) c1420 Wynt. vi. 2258.
Fyrst, till hys sete fra the awtare That he sulde be the Kyngis ledare [C. ledeyr], And in that set thare set hym downe Till tak his coronatyowne
(2) 1375 Barb. vii. 20.
Quha endlang a vattir … Wald vayd … he suld ger Bath the sleuthhund & the ledar tyne the sleuth
1596 Dalr. I. 20/18.
The sam men … he [a hound] vses to invade quhome he perceiuet to do ony skaith to his maistiris & leidaris

b. The person in charge of a pack- or draught-animal; a driver; a carrier or carter: see Lede v. 6.Also sand-, scailȝe-, stane-ledar, and Burne-ledar. 1456 Hay I. 235/8.
A Franche capitane … takis all the said gudis with the ledaris that ar with thame … and haldis … the personis prisouneris
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 177.
With ledyn of sand to al nedful thyngis of the abbai, the ledaris hafand thar met as tha war wnt in tym of the ledyng
1513 Treas. Acc. IV. 526 (see Scailȝe n. attrib. and comb. (1)).
Scailye laidar
1536 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 457.
Coke and baxtar with all vthir necessar servandis … that is to say, coke, ledar, portar, gardnar [etc.]
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 141.
That na maner of persouns ledares of burne tak the sam furth of the wellis
1564 Prot. Bk. J. Foulis 51.
Lady Seytoun … hir teindaris hir ledaris stakkaris writaris nor na seruand in hir name
1667 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 192.
[To pay for corn and straw furnished to them] as leiders for tua horse in Generall Major Drumonds troup

2. One who leads the way, guides or directs. a. lit. and b. fig.a. (1) c1420 Wynt. v. 5158.
The angell, that hys leddare was, Sayd, hym behowyd fra Rome to pas
?1438 Alex. ii. 409.
Thair leder was auld Cassamus, That led thame to Tempill Marcus
1513 Doug. i. xi. 5.
Now passys furth Cupyd … Blythly followyng hys ledar [Sm. ledair] Achates
(2) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xxiii. 16.
Wa to you, blind leidars, that sais, [etc.]
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1751) 76.
Some affirm no matter whether, They are blind leaders all together
b. a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 746.
Sa that thu myn mastres be, & ledar in wa of sawete
Ib. xl. 606.
Til men of al estate Ledar he wes of the richt gat
1448 Buccleuch Mun. II. 40.
Adam … sal haue to wyf, God ledare, Elyne
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 175/20.
Honour is the ledere of gud men to hie estait

c. The leader of a herd of animals. 1513 Doug. i. iv. 55.
First the ledaris thre … Smertly he slew, syne all the rangald persewis
1596 Dalr. I. 19/35.
The hartes of nature ar giuen to this, that gif thair leidar fal amang the midis of his ennimies … thay al … followe

3. Leder of the dans, of the ring, ring-leader: see Lede v. 2 b, and Ring-ledar. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1597 (B).
Fals fortoun, quhilk of all varians Is haill maistres, and leder of the dans
1596 Dalr. II. 213/6.
[He] was seueirlier iustifiet nor the rest, because for his brotheris caus he was cheif leider of the ring

4. The commander of an army or body of soldiers. 1375 Barb. xi. 161.
He set ledaris till ilk battale, Knawyn war of gud gouernale
Ib. 522.
Thre banrentis … War capitanys … The lord Clyffurd … Wes of thame all souerane ledeir [: weir]
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 818.
Anthenore And Eneas, … That of the Gregeois lederes wer
?1438 Alex. i. 29.
[He] for his hie worship was made Baith constabill and ledere Of all the Kingis oist in were
Ib. 1073, 1127, ii. 7107, etc. 1456 Hay I 112/9.
The duk of the bataill that is callit the ledare of the bataill, that men callis now constable
c1475 Wall. iv. 352.
Stewyn of Irland … Maister leiddar I mak thé of the laiff
1535 Stewart 56449.
Ane baith wys and wycht, Thair leidar wes, hecht Robert of Doresdeir
a1578 Pitsc. I. 206/25.
Syne in the reirgaird wther ten m. men … witht … Lord Erskin and Lord Ghrame leaderis of them
1615 Highland P. III. 293.
The rebels … puting to flight so scattered … as ȝour Lo. hardlie knew quhair to fallow the leadars
1641 Acts V. (1817) 412/1.
Not granting that any thinge wes committed be him … as ledder or commander
1650 Lamont Diary 24.
Accusing many … of … speaking against the chiffe leaders of the armie

5. A leader, ruler, governor, chieftain, of a nation or group. Also transf. and fig.(1) 1375 Barb. iii. 660.
Angus … wes … lord and ledar off Kyntyr
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 461.
Josaphus prince wes & als ledare Of that towne
c1420 Wynt. viii. 2122.
This Willame [Wallace] thai made thare Oure thame chefftane and leddare
c1450-2 Howlat 372.
Our souerane of Scotland … sall be lord and ledar Our braid Brettane all quhar
c1475 Wall. iv. 143.
Our leidar is gayne Amang our fays
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2452.
Heir is Falset and Dissait weill I ken, Leiders of the merchants and sillie crafts-men
1596 Dalr. I. 81 m.
Thir heidis or leiders ar haldne in gret reputatione
1600 Crim. Trials II. 126.
The said Mr Thomas, … ane of the chief leidaris and conductouris of the saidis rebellis, committit … manifest treasoune
1688 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 348.
The commissioners of assesment of this shyre … did cast ane cast of the small heretors … and sent the said cast to the leaders and ordained them to be heir this day with ane sufficient horsman
(2) transf. a1400 Leg. S. i. 674.
[Paul,] Dere brothir, far wele ay, Prechour of God and mediatour, Ledar of heile and saweoure
1456 Hay II. 66/3.
Princis [should] folow at all thair gudely powere the futsteppis of thair ledare, lord and techour, Jhesus Crist
1551 Hamilton Cat. 47.
The haly spirit … quhame the father … hais gevin … to be ledar, techar & direckar of the same kirk
(3) 1456 Hay I. 120/10.
.fig. The vertues cardinalis … ar … ledaris and governouris … of all vertues

6. One who administers the law or laws: see Lede v. 17 and cf. also Law-ledar. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 138 (Asl.).
Quhar that kingis & ledaris [Arund. ledderis] of the law Brekis faith to God
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 536.
Sum tyme the realme was reulit be regentis, Sum tyme lufetenentis, ledaris [Pitsc. leadderis] of the law
a1605 Montg. Son. xxi. 1.
My lords, late lads, nou leidars of our lauis

7. In mining: ? ‘A small and insignificant vein which leads to or indicates the proximity of a larger and better’ (OED.). c 1604 Mining Rec. xxx.
[By our Englyshe leederes or metalline fumes pickeing betweene two rockes
Ib. xxxii.] 1645–6 J. Hope Diary (1958) 150.
I could conjecture … that the vaine … lyes flat in some kynd for I could see no appeirance of any leider
1683 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 200.
The whol lenth [of the mine] being nyntie sex fathoms and the breadth three fathoms and a half from the leaders on each syd of the vein

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"Ledar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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