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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.

Lurdan(e, Lourdane, n. Also: lurdain, -en, -oun, -un, -on; lordane, -ain. [ME. and e.m.E. lurdan (Cursor M.), -ain, -en, lordan (Manning), -eyne, -en, lourdeine rascal, sponger, appar. f. OF. lourdin dullard.]

1. A miscreant, cut-throat, ruffian. b. An overbearing and parasitical ruffian, an oppressor or bully; a sponger.Also etymologized as ‘Lord Dane’: see also Lord n. 22 e. So also in e.m.E. (1529).(a) 1375 Barb. iv. 108 (E).
For thar with thaim wes a tratour, A fals lourdane [C. lurdane], a losyngeour, … maid the tresoun
a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 469.
& lourdanis mad thame al bowne With scharpe forkis & hald hym done
1456 Hay II. 46/22.
Quhen the king or his contree is oursett with lourdanis and revaris or traytouris or other wikkit misdoaris
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xii. 119.
[Judas] as a lurdane for inwy The Kyngis sone slew priwely
Ib. l. 976. c1420 Wynt. vi. 1094. 1456 Hay I. 150/35. Ib. II. 156/4.
For he takis away a lurdan and puttis in a gude man, the king is the better and all the company
1514 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 90.
At the quhilkis portis … salbe tua keparis … with vappinnis according to thame, … to resist the incummaris and lurdanis that wald mak ony demand
(c) 1526 H. Boece Scotorum Historia (ed. 1) ccxlviii.
Dictus est is explorator dominus Danus, vulgo Lordain. Quod nomen nostrates & populi nunc Angli dicti deinceps ita vsurpauerunt, vt quem viderint ociosum et inutilem nebulonem [etc.] … Lordain vel hac ætate appellitent
1533 Boece xi. xvii. 441 b.
Quhare thai saw ane idil vane harlot … liffand apoun the industrie of vthir men … thai call him ȝit in oure dayis ane lordane

c. As a term of reproach applied to men: Blackguard, villain, rogue, rascal. c1420 Wynt. vi. 2236.
Makbeth turnyd hym agayne, And sayd, ‘Lurdane, thow prykys in wayne, [etc.]’
a1500 K. Hart 524.
Now on my saule ȝe ar but lurdanis all And sum of ȝow be God sall haue ane fall
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vi. 87 (Ch. & M.).
Master Johne Clerk, … War I a dog and he a swyne … Bot I suld ger that lurdane [B. lurdoun] quhryne Scribendo dentes sine de
Id. l. 37.
Thairfoir Quhentyne was bot ane lurdane That callit him ane full plum jurdane
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2473 (B).
Ryis vp, Lowry, ȝe luik evin lyk a lurdane [Ch. lurden], Ȝour mowth war meit evin to drink owt a jurdane
a1578 Pitsc. I. 220/25, 28.
Ȝe ar all lurdanis, I say, ȝe, and fallis tratouris to ȝour prince … for ȝe fallis lurdanis and tratouris hes caussit the king … to come aganis his father
Ib. 222/13.
Thow art ower pairt, lurdane [1728, lown], and sad to strampt on my fute
1670–80 Dauney Anc. Sc. Melodies 58.
Care for thy wyndingsheet, false lurdan

d. Attrib. with -loun.Only in the Ch. text of Lynd. Sat.: cf. Ladron(e attrib. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 1014 (Ch.).
It was ane laidlie lurdan loun Cumde to break buithis into this toun
Ib. 2779.
Quhy do ȝe thoil that lurdun loun Of kirk-men to speik sic detractioun

2. Applied to a woman: A drab; a whore, a strumpet; a slattern, a slut. Also attrib. with -las. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 632.
Ȝet he [St. John Baptist] that of sic uertu wes Wes gefine til a lurdan las [L. incestuousæ, … adulteræ, … saltatrici]
1513 Doug. vi. viii. 82.
That strang lurdane [sc. Helen]
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4146.
A culroun quene, a laithly lurdane
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) No. 598.
Let alone makes mony lurdon
1603 Philotus cxi (see Hous n.1 4).
1608 Paisley B. Rec. 285.
Agnes Nesbit … slanderit … the said Elizabithe … utterand the words following, to wit, ‘Thou art ane tryet lurdane’ and ‘a blind lurdane,’ and ‘ane missel lurdane’
1683 Lauder Notices Affairs II. 473.
Bailȝie Fairholme had … ungentilely called his wife a lurdain and a truiker

3. adj. Wretched, mean, base. a1585 Maitl. Q. xl. 108.
Ane lurdane spreit can not attein To ȝour graces divyne

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



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