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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Mart, n.1 Also: marte, martt, mert(e, mertt, mairt(t, meart, meirt. [North. ME. mart (1307–8), Sc. and Ir. Gael. and Early Ir. mart a beef-cow. Also in the mod. Sc. and north. Eng. dial.]In some, at least of the earlier instances, the form mert is prob. merely an editorial representation of the abbreviated form mart.

1. An ox or cow fattened for slaughter, a beef-ox or -cow.Applied both to the animal on the hoof and to the carcase after slaughter. With numerous defining terms as mart of beif, of ky, fed or slaughter mart, quik (also leiffand) or deid mart, mart on the feit etc., fresch or salt mart, custom, gild or scat mart, etc., and see also, under the various attributive nouns, gers-, girs-mart, grassum- and kane-mart, lardenare-mart, ladinar-mart etc., and rinmart.(a) 1326 Exch. R. I. 57.
In custodia martorum et porcorum
1328 Ib. 121. 1342 Ib. 514. 1444 Ib. V. 168.
Pro lez martis … debitis de terris de Scoulogmore
1458 Ib. VI. 483. 1467 Lennox Mun. 79.
The tother fourty markis to be pait … in ber and martis
1479 Acta Conc. I. 33/2.
A salt mart
1482 Fam. Rose 149.
Fyffty gud martis … til oure lardner in Striueling
1494 Exch. R. in Elgin Rec. I. 21.
xij marte viii mutones
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 343.
For xvij martis of beif … ilk mart oure hede xvij s.
1500–1 Acta Conc. II. 477.
[Stolen:] xiij qwyk martis, iij deid martis
1508 Rentale Dunkeld. 65. 1509 Ib. 66. 1510 Ib. 114; etc. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 459. Ib. 462. 1513 Ib. 492.
Of fresche martis xx powderit in xij barrellis and ane puncion
1516–17 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 82.
Ane mart of salt beiff
1528 Stirling B. Rec. I. 33. 1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 102.
The seriandis to tak of every mutone bouk ane leg for thair travell and of ane mart the houch [etc.]
1529–30 Treas. Acc. V. 386. 1533 Ib. VI. 164.
For iiij martis on the feit
1537 Reg. Privy S. II. 369/1. 1538 Ib. 401/1. 1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 287.
Sa mony marttis mwtone quhytt and malt as the army thynkkis may staik tham
1549 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 434.
Payand … half ane quarter of ane mart
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 26. 1577 Inverness Rec. I. 258.
For presenting to the mercat croce … ane mart without heid, feit or hyde
1578 Ib. 265.
[Buying] quik martis leiffand on thair feit for four or fyff merkis the pece
1595 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 94.
iiij markis money restand of the blak mart thir tua ȝeiris bygane
1597 Paisley B. Rec. 206.
The saidis martis of ky
1626 Urie Baron Ct. 62.
The haill tennentis that payis martis or ordanit to pay thame befoir Halumes
1657 Bk. Dunvegan I. 83.
Six custome wedders and ane custome mart
16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 324.(b) 1504 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 216.
The landis of Strathde … with all proffittis, custumis, mertis, woddis [etc.]
1516 Fam. Rose 188.
v salt mertis … twa fresche martis
1525 Household Bks. Jas. V 3.
j merta herbalis xxxij s., xvij mutounes boukis [£4/7/10d.]
1558 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 491. 1571 Misc. Spald. C. II. 79. 1615 Highland P. III. 256.
In ane little yllan callit Collinsaye [he] … slew ane numir of merttis
1619 Argyll Rentals I. i.
3 mertis
(c) 1503 Orkney Rentals i. 63.
vii scat mairtis
? 1572 Sat. P. xxxvi. 117.
To sell the saikles as ane slauchter mairt
1591 Digest Justiciary Proc. O. 22.
The said Williame gaif to him ane ȝoung ox to be ane mairt
1596 Misc. Spald. C. I. 95.
Thow … saw ane fed mairt standand in the hous
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 156 b.
Of fleshers being burgesses and slaying mairts with their awin hands
1603 R. Brown Paisley I. 222. 1605 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 230.
That they [fleshers] pairt and deill thair mairtis quick
1619 Argyll Rentals I. 2.
Ane quarter mairt half ane wedder
1620 Stirling B. Rec. I. 152. 1622 Old Ross-shire I. 181.
Ane of the mairttis at Mertimes nixtocum
1638 Aboyne Rec. 283.(d) 1534 Rec. Earld. Orkney 218.
And ane gyld meart to complyt payment for the said three fardene land
(e) 1606 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 16.
To pay … xiiij l. as for the price of ane meirt in respect of his noncompeirance
b. fig. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 166.
As for the fed-marts of this world, the Lord … has appointed them for slaughter

2. As the type of a clumsy, inactive, over-weight body. 1531 Bell. Boece I. lxi.
The young pepill … quhen time occurris of weir … ar sa … soft, thay pas on hors as hevy martis

3. transf. The dead body, the carcase, of a (self-)slain person. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 842.
[He] … Slewit hym-self … And offerit to the fend that mart

4. Attrib. and comb. (in sense 1).a. Mart kow, ox, also mart-laidner-cow and (pl.) mart-cattellky. 1567 Edinb. Test. I. 57 b.
For twa fatt mart ky aucht punds xiij s.
1575 Ib. III. 355.
Sex mairt oxin price of the pece vj li.
1599 Paton Mackintosh Mun. 53.
[For] sex scoir peces of mart cattell ky
1599 Brechin Test. I. 180.
Ane mairt cow and ane stirk
1608 Edinb. Test. XLIV. 23.
Tua tedderit mairt oxin at xx li. the pece
1625 Brechin Test. IV. 207.
Ane fed mairt kow pryce xiij lib. 6s. 8d.
1669 Argyll Justic. Rec. I. 7. 1694 Fountainhall Decis. I. 638.
For payment of a mart laidner-cow out of each parish
1696 Galloway P. 24 Feb.
He can clame … for silver rent … mairtkyn or servise

b. transf. Mart muttoun, schepe, wedder, a sheep for slaughtering, a mutton-sheep. 1617 Montgomery Mem. 263.
The compter charges him with all the kane cheis … all the kane stirkis … all the mert scheip
1619 Argyll Rentals I. i.
1 kayne wedder scheip one mairt muttoun
Ib. 2.
2 mairts, 2 mart wedders, 1 wedder

c. Mart silver, a money payment in lieu of a payment in kind in marts. 1520 Red Bk. Menteith II. 370.
To be … pait … of all males, fermes, gressumys, mertis, mert siluer, irne and all vthir dieweteis … that pertenis … to hir hienes
1535 Reg. Great S. 332/2.
Terras … extendentes in firma et grassuma et le mart-silvire ad [£17. 4s. 4d.]
1561 Reg. Dunferm. 444.
Kayne mert silvir extendis be ȝeir to [£427]
1575 Exch. R. XX. 224. 1612 Brechin Test. II. 249 b.
To my lord marshell maister of the ground for the siluer maill v lib. Mair to him for mart siluer vj lib. xiij s. 9 d.
1684 Discharge for feu-duties in Atholl Mun. 9 July.
The soume off fyftie ane punds six shilling eight pennies Scots … for the Mertinmes few mailes and mertsilver 1683 and Witsundayes fewmailes 1684
1698 Ib. 24 Jan.

d. Mairtis puddein, a pudding made from the blood and offal of a slaughtered mart. 1590 Black Bk. Taymouth 301.
To the mairtis puddeinis ij lip[pie of meal]

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"Mart n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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