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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.

Lede, Leid, n.1 Also: led; leide, leyd; laid, ladd; leed(e; lead(e; lide. [ME. led, læd, leod, lede, leed(e, lead, ledde, OE. léad.]

1. The metal lead.To lay in leid, to bury (in a leaden coffin).For examples of the following, see the words indicated: bullets of lead (Bullet n. 1); a sheet of lead (Cake n. 2, Kake n. 2, Clath(e n. 4); a coffin of lead (Cape n. 2, Cope n.2, Kist n. 3); a ‘fadmel’ of lead (Fadmel n., Fotmell n.); a ‘futher’ of lead (Fidder n. 2, Fudder n. 1 b, Futher n. 2); gutters of lead (Guttar(e n., Gutter v.); powder and lead (Pouder n., etc.); a token of lead (Takin n., Tikket n.); to fix with lead (Bat v. 1, Bot v., Ȝet v.); to roof with lead (Theke v.).Also with qualifying words, see below and also, under the first elements, cake- (also kake-), chak-, claith-, plumb-, wablede.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 721.
The yrne … Scho one ȝed, that sa het wes, … as one cald lede
Ib. xxv. 126.
He closit the dure sekyrly, & selyt it with led
c1420 Wynt. i. 251.
To wyrk mettale Irne and stele, lede and tyn
1506–7 Treas. Acc. III. 367.
For wellus to covir the Kingis pais of lede he beris in his hand
1534–5 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 128.
To by glas and led to furnes the palice
1613 Soc. Ant. X. 222.
For plait led to naill on the schip
1618 Linlithgow Palace 339.
For 48 laid of led
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 577.
Quhen the leyd brynnand wes hat This George … He gert cast in the caldrone
Ib. xlii. 96.
Yrne to mak als nes As leide
c1515 Kennedy Asl. MS. II. 275/61.
Fair lady … Saifand our sawlis frome the playand leid Of hell
1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 376.
To pas to Wynlokheid with … finouris, to wyn mynd of leid
a1538 Abell 16.
In euirilk side of the leif thai ar twa lynis thortar rewlit with leid
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 164.
To caus mak certane stane wechtis of leid
1560 Rolland Seven S. 47.
Thai … wald gar ane pound of meltit leid Bring thame agane the wecht of golde sa reid
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 334.
Schir William Maitland … depairtit … and … was laid in leid in the bedhous of Leith
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 146.
The pictour … of ane man, ingravit in soft leid
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xvii. 37.
With the blunted bolt of leid, Ane hevy mettall cauld and deid
1614 Soc. Ant. LXXII. 226.
In mixtioun of thair pewder veschell with leid or utherwayis making the same altogedder of leid
1639 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I. lxi.
Thairefter he inrolled it in a little foyllied leid
1688 Banff Ann. I. 164.
There is in the new litle hous within the upper tolbuith fyftein misketts … , item ane hundreth pund weight of rough leid, item tuentie eight pund weight of ball
(c) 1540–1 Treas. Acc. VII. 421.
For twa fidder half fidder laid, deliverit to the Salamander to be ballast
1558 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 295.
For ane laid of colls to melt the layd, the price xii d.
1583 Ib. 314.
To the gwitteris … ane hundrethe stane wycht of laid
1653 Glasg. B. Rec. II. 265.
The towne … to mend the laid and glase windowis of the mylne
(d) 1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. ii. 10.
I think it powder was and leed To shoot the Bishop through the head
1710 Conv. Burghs IV. 500.
The French King hath raised impositiones upon coalls, … peuther, leed, … and other goods
1715 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 35.
For stoping Grisies teeth with leed
(e) 1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 254.
The saids pairties … offers … to bring in water … in a lead pyp of castine lead
(f) 1673 Old Ross-shire I. 193.
Old glass taken down and sett over with new lide

b. In fig. contexts, and allusively.(1) c1420 Wynt. vii. 3623.
Quhen Alysandyr oure Kyng wes dede … Oure gold wes changyd in to lede
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1300.
This warld ouerturnit is, As quha wald change gude gold in leid or tyn
1562-3 Winȝet I. 14/3.
Al thay that suld be tin, irne, and led, ar in the fyre becum drosse
a1585 Maitl. Q. xl. 74.
I think ȝow lyik the golde so bricht & all the rest bot leid
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxv. 530.
The poyttis … hewy ware as lede
c1475 Wall. ii. 309.
With hart hewy as leid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxi. 18.
Me thocht the drerie damiesall Distres … Sad as the leid, in baid lay me abone
1513 Doug. v. viii. 98.
Harland hys wery lymmys dolf as led
Ib. xi. vii. 102.
[He was] into batale sted Full cald of curage, dolf as ony led
(3) a1487 Gud Wife & D. 132.
Schaym is to-day be quhit and rede And vallowit on the morn as lede
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 257.
Lady Cynthia … Of colour blak, … Haw as the leid
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 13.
He bair a bow with dartis haw as leid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxi. 25.
Hir hew was wan and wallowed as the leid
1535 Stewart 666.
With visage pale and lippis haw as leid
1528 Lynd. Dreme 475.
Saturnus, … With heuy cheir, and cullour paill as leid
c1590 J. Stewart 39/328.
Vith panchie mouth als haw as onie leed
(4) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 155.
His lyre was lyke the leid
Id. Orph. 351 (Asl.).(5) a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS. 287 b/18.
Quhen thow in luve lyis lyk ane gryislie gaist, Heit as the fyre and calder nor the leid
1570 Sat. P. xvii. 114.
That shot hes cuillit owr curage as the leid
1603 Philotus § 36.
His lyre far caulder than the leid, His frostie flesch [etc.]
(6) 1611-57 Mure Misc. P. ii. 60.
Ȝit my wound did bleede; No spait of teires culd quench the boyling leede

c. Quhite-lede, ceruse, white lead; Rede-lede, lead oxide, red lead: see the entries under the first elements.

2. An article made of lead.a. In the phrase under the lede = the leaden seal of a Papal Bull. b. plur. Leaden bullets or ball. c. A plummet for a sounding-line; a sounding-lead: see also Lede-lyne n. and Line n.2 1 b. d. plur. A kind of game.a. 1487 Acts II. 183/2.
A speceale bull of priuilege vnder the lede
1493 Ib. 232/1.
As the bull vnder the leid tharupone proportis
1495 Acta Conc. I. 392/2.
The prior … has optenit a reuocacioune vnder the led of the pensioune [etc.]
1497 Ib. II. 71.
Ane charter of gift [of the fishing rights], … with ane confirmatioun thairapoun maid be our haly fader, the Pape, under the lede
1525 Ib. MS. XXXV. 23.
John Ballentyne presentit to him … ane summondis out of Rome undir the leid at the instance of the archibischop
b. 1523 Treas. Acc. V. 222.
Item send … to deliver the camstanis for casting of ledis for the gunnis and artailȝery
c. c1475 Wall. (1570) ix. 52.
The seymen … Ankeris wand in … Thair leidis kest, and waittit … the tyde
1567 G. Ball. 15.
Thair pylat, plycht and leid
a1605 Montg. Ch. & S. 1187 (L).
Their leid ay, at neid ay, Micht warn them if they wald … haif gude anchor hald
1613 Soc. Ant. X. 222 (see Lede-lyne n.).d. 1621 Chron. Perth 84.
Being accused for profaning of the Sabbath day, in playing at the leads with his sociates, [he] answered that … his master caused him bear his lead stones, and play with him

e. collect. The lead-sheeting covering a roof. f. plur. The sheets of lead used to cover a roof. g. ? A leaden gutter or conduit.e. 1510 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 103.
[To] theik … the undir prik of the said stepil witht latht for leid
1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 189.
For the calfalting of ane part of the plat forme ruiff under the leid
1577 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II. 385.
For ane hundre duvettis and laying on of the same quhair the laid is stollin
1684 Thanes of Cawdor 367.
The said jamme is to be jested over and made fitt to receave a roofe or cover of lead
f., g. 1517 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 85.
The lord kepar of the kingis graice for the tyme sall have all Davidis towr and of the ledis as thai sall be contentit wyth, and the posterum on the sowtht syde of Davidis towr, and sall have all the keyis of thyr plaices
1531 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 65.
The tua over durris of tua west roundis abone the battelling and ledis
1544 Treas. Acc. VIII. 336.
To Patrik Broun, plumber and glassinwrycht, for … the theiking of the ledis withtin the castell of Edinburght
1545 Ib. 427.
To Robert Ros, plumbar, for uphald of the leiddis of the fontane of Linlithqw
1669 Wemyss Sc. Diaries 130.
He is to bould me ane additione … & its battillment is to be als heie as the ould ones aff the leads ar now, ceaped with eassler

3. A large cauldron or vat of a type used espec. in brewing (cf. also Brew caldron(e, Brew leid and brewing lede, Brewing 3) and dyeing (see also litting leid, Litting vbl. n.). Also attrib.? Orig. one made of lead but, like ME. led, late OE. léad, used without reference to the material. 1264 Exch. R. I. 8.]
[Ad faciendum unum plumbum de novo infra coquinam
(a) 1456 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 12.
That na man … brew aile to sell derare than for … viij d. at the darrest … the vnlaw, the lede tane vp and the bodome strukkin owt
1508 Treas. Acc. IV. 116.
To ane man that brak ane lede of coppir to the gwn, iij s.
1622 Breadalbane Doc. No. 428.
Of brouis graith pertening to the laird. Item of brasen led, i. Item of gyll fattis, ij
attrib. 1442–3 Ayr B. Ct. 28 Jan.
[That] nane vnfre bak na brede vnder the payn of the lede bodum strikyn out
(b) 14.. Acts I. 44/2.
A leyd [L. melius plumbum; Balfour the best brewing leid] with a maskfat, a gylfat, a barell, a caldrone
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 177.
The breuhouss witht … ane schel of ane leid, … ane geilfat, … ij maskin fattis, … ij breuing caldrovnis
1543 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 187.
Deliuerit to the said Alexander [a litster], at his awin leid, ane hundreth Flemis lib. of alm
1547–8 Stirling B. Rec.I.52.
The said werk hous with furnis, leid and fattis
1548 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 259.
[A litster:]vj grit canvessis coueringis to fattis, price, xxiiij s.; item ane grit staik of vandis on the leid, x s.
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5603.
Deith tyll euery man resortis, … Sum brynt, sum soddin into leiddis
1599 Acts IV. 187/2.
Leidis and cadronis occupyit and vsit be browstaris and litstaris
1645 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 44.
A leid of bres for brewing, a brew fatt
1646 Edinb. Test. LXI. 240.
In the defuncts litting woorkhous ane coppir leid or caldrone
1666 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 8.
Ane old coppar leid pryce therof £26. 13. 4.
(c) 1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 233.
Ane litstaris litill lead estimat to xx li.
1653 Soc. Ant. XXIII. 302.
In the bruehouse … ane great kopper lead

4. a. Attrib. (in sense 1): Made or consisting of lead.With babie, bullet (billet, bollatt), guitter, heid, leg, mask fatt, money, pellok, pyp (pipe), ruif, shilling, shot, spout, stane (= a stone-weight, also a leaden sinker for a fishing handline (as also in later dial.)), thak, token, weight. See also Ledin a. 1605 Edinb. Test. XL. 227.
Nyne dosone leid babies for barnes at xv s. the dosone
1614 Melrose P. I. 144.
Their will not be pouder, leid billettis, nor matche
c1615 Chron. Kings 106.
He wes hurt … with ane lead bollatt on the heid
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Glans plumbea, ane leade bullet
1594 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 533.
For tua trouchis to kept the water that fallis from the leid guitteris
1622 M. Works Acc. MS. XVI. 8b.
To the Inglisman and his man that did dree lyme and hair … to the pointing of the great lead heidis at Edinburgh castell
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII. 357.
In the sadlehouse … 9 old sadles, a leid leg, a ligour chist
1546 Treas. Acc. VIII. 477.
For ane leid mask fatt witht uther brewing lumes
1568 Haddington Corr. 274.
Our cunȝie, ather of gold or siluer, leid or bris money
1513 Doug. vii. xi. 111.
To schut or cast … With leyd pellokis from engynys or staf slyng
1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 254.
To bring in water … in a lead pyp
1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 180.
The leid ruiffis
1663 Peebles B. Rec. II. 56.
Ane leid shilling
1673 Leith Customs 8.
800 pound lead shot 09: 12: 00
Ib. 49.
400 pound lead shoot
1614 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 346.
The dur that ganges out to the leid spouttis
1669 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 55.
That the said James … aught to put ane lead spout to the said jawholl for convoyeing the foull water … to the watergate
1534 Selkirk B. Ct. 8 Nov.
Ane leid stane
1554–5 Ayr B. Acc. 122.
[For fetching] ane just leyd stane out of Lanerk
1573-4 Crail B. Ct. 9 Mar.
Sewin kelyng handlynes aucht laidstanis
 — 1559 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II. 373.
Order to the master of kirk work to mend the windous and leid thak of the kirk
1675 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 8 Dec.
That … lead tokens be made and to be given to those of the poore [etc.]
1659 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 541.
For making ane stand of new bras troane weights and renewing of the haill tounes old lead weights

b. Attrib. and comb.: see Lede-cullorit, -hole, -hous, -myne, -naill etc.

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"Lede n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Mar 2023 <>



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