Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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

Mercat, Merkat, n.1 Also: -att, -ate, -et(t, -ete, -eat, -it(t, merccat, merkcat, merchat, merget. [Late ME. (1464) and e.m.E. mercat(e: cf. L. marcātus and Market n.]In the earlier instances freq., perh. chiefly or only, merely an editorial expansion of the abbreviated mar-, but latterly the regular Sc. form.

1. A market.Normally as held in a burgh or elsewhere at a fixed time and place. Applied both to general markets for a range of commodities and to those for specific commodities.Common mercat, see also Commoun a. 1c. (Of goods) to present, also to be presented to, the mercat, see Present v.(1) a1400 Leg. S. vi. 30.
In-to the merkete of the towne
1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
Fra thine upart to the treves the merket of all cottone claith [etc.]
1485 Acts II. 174/2.
Gudis … abstractit fra merkettis
1599 Conv. Burghs II. 52. 1659 Dunblane Sess. Rec. in Sc. Ant. V. 81.
That no mercet … at Whitsunday, Lawemice or Halloaday be any more keepit in the kirkyeard of Dunblaine
(b) 1449 Reg. Episc. Glasg. 370.
Tyll our leigis … that bryngis ony gudis to the mercat of Glasgw
1450 Ayr Chart. 28.
To stand in the merkate to tap bradeclaith
1503 Acts II. 245/2. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiv. 4.
Sayand as throw the mercat he past
1509–10 Peebles B. Rec. I. 43.
Before the hail mercat thair present
1517 Reg. Privy S. I. 457/1. 1520 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec.. I. 201. 1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 91.
The merkcat
1535 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. 31.
For spilling of the merkat
1558–9 Inverness Rec. I. 28. 1563 Acts II. 543/2.
All beif [etc.] presentit to fre burrowis or fre mercatis
1563 Inverness Rec. I. 106. 1564–5 Treas. Acc. XI. 343.
Halding mercattis in kirkis
a1578 Pitsc. II. 213/24. 1584 Acts III. 370/1. 1587 Ib. 505/2.
Ane grite … multitude of mercattis togidder in ane place about the croce
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 21. 1592 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 67. 1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. V. 123. 1598 Elgin Kirk S. 51.
To all the uphaland mercattis round about thame
1639 Baillie I. 171.
That frequent grievance of Edinburgh and Glasgow's mercatt on Mononday
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 55. 1663 Decis. Lords G. 64.
The defenders had bought the goods in a mercat
1665 Laing MSS. I. 346. 1670 Peebles B. Rec. II. 82.
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i. xxiii. § iv. 232. 1680 Fawside Coal Compt 58.
For custom of a kow to the mercat
1680 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 105.
The merccat
1683 Lauder Observes 115. 1685 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 112.
The saids three frie faires and weekly merkatts
1692 Misc. B. Rec. 72.
They haue one yearly fair of fyve or six dayes containwance and three yearly mercats, each of one dayes containwance
1697 Peebles B. Rec. II. 158.
The loss … through the mercat breaking up upon ilk fairevin
1698 Dunbar B. Rec. in E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II. 45.(c) 1550 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 12.
That no flescher … bring blawin flesh to this merkit
(2) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 19 (A).
Bocht lellily in the kingis merket of the burgh
Ib. c. 63 (A). 14.. Acts I. 336/2.
Off the chalance of skynnaris … Item that thai deir the kingis mercate and the cuntre of eggis bying
(3) 1578 Conv. Burghs I. 69.
Halding of oppin merkatis at landwart kirkis vpon the Sonday
1587 Acts III. 465/2.
Thevis … that dar not cum to publique mercattis in lawland
1604 Conv. Burghs II. 178.
Suffering ane nvmber of vnfremen to keip oppin merkettis … in the clachenis of Kylmacolm [etc.]
1650 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 616.
And sall haif thair frie and oppin mercattis for the same
1692 Acts Sederunt i. 8.
When there is no publick mercat
(4) 1517 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 41.
To punes all regratoris of our common merkat
1582 Prot. Bk. G. Fyiff 28 b.
The said Thomas Loky … sau ane commoune mercat haldine of fische, tymmer and chapmane standis
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 34.
Quhen thair was na mair … to plenishe the comon mercattis of the countrie
(5) (Cf. sense 4 below.) 1541 Peebles B. Rec. I. 60.
To mak ony privat mercate, foirstall [etc.] … vtouth our said burgh
1619 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 167.
[They] maks as it were a privat mercat to tham selffis befoir the mercat begins
1682 Old Ross-shire I. 207.
To desist … from … any privat mercats, fairs, stalling [etc.]

b. In fig. contexts. c1475 Wall. ii. 37.
Quhen Wallas herd spek of that mery saw, He likyt weill at that mercat to be
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 85.
The merkit is thrang and will nocht lest lang
1600-1610 Melvill 50.
Na place in Europe comparable to Glasgw for guid letters … and guid chepe mercat of all kynd of langages, artes and sciences
1630 Rutherford Christ & Doves (1709) 24.
When the devil comes through the mercat to buy … tell him … you have blocked with an honest merchant
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 561.
[The beast of antichrist puts] his mark on all, which he attaineth by censures lest they be shut out from … the advantages of his soul-merchandice and mercats

c. With defining terms specifying (1) the commodity, (2) the day, date or frequency, and (3) the locality.Also Bere-merket, Fisch mercat(e, Fleschmercat, Melemercatt, Land-mercatt, Land-fle(s)ch(e)-mercat(t, and Kirk-mercat.(1) For butter-, cale- (kale-), clathe-, corn-, hors-, lether-, nolt-, panche-, pudding-, salt-, schepehede-, scho-, skin-, stra-, timmer-, victuall- (also vittails-), wod-, woll-mercat, see the first elements. Also :— 1642 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII. 16.
The butter and cheis mercatts the wool mercatt and land flesh mercatt
1640 Dumbarton B. Rec. 61.
To settill the said ky mercat
(2) 1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
In the Friday merkett
1558–9 Inverness Rec. I. 28.
Ask Wedinsday merkat
1574 Conv. Burghs I. 35.
All Sondayis mercattis dischargit at kirkis in landwart
1646 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 65.
The … counsell … discharges any weiklie mercat to be keipit … vpon Monday or Saturday
1648 Moray Synod 93.
To get the Saterdayes mercats changed to ane othir day
1656 Ib. 120. 1670 Acts VIII. 26/1.
The toune of Fettercairne is ane fit & convenient place for a weekly mercat … for serveing the country about
1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 188.
The cloyster … of old was the great mercat-place of … the senȝie mercat held and kept for fifteen dayes and beginning the second week after Easter
(3) 1498 Halyb. 193.
At Ypir merkat in Lentryn
1582 St. A. Kirk S. 478.
For travelling to Craill mercat on the sabboth day

d. Attrib. and comb.Mercat-gude, -stuf, -ware, goods suitable for selling in a market, marketable goods.Also Mercat-cors, -day, -like, etc.(1) 1654 Peebles B. Rec. II. 24.
For ringing of the stepill, scoll and mercat belles
1674 Dunferm. Hammermen 90.
David Turnbull and John Adie hath delivered thretie schilling ten pennes for the merkat box pennie
1619 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 238.
Certan handleris of victuall that repaires to the mercat commone hallis of the burgh and puttis thair stuff to the said mercatt
a1500 Peblis to Play 87.
Sum said that thai wer merkat folk
1693 Acts IX. App. 94/1.
The said mercat house [sc. for Irvine]
1658 Aberd. Council Lett. III. 307.
It is notorlie knawin that this mercat malt is composit of aitts [etc.]
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 87.
The mercatt woll hyde clayth and skynnis repairand thairto
(2) 1599 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 168.
Becaus the Frydday is the mercat ewin within New Aberdein
1602 Stirling Merch. Guild 19.
All gild breither … that passis on the merkat ewin to landvart fleschers
1514 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 152.
All vtheris fre merkitt tymes sic as proclaimit fairis
1561 Inverness Rec. I. 60.
That nane by tymmyr forrow mercat tyme of day
1664 Peebles B. Rec. II. 61.
To stand in the joigges … in mercate tyme of day
(3) 1541 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 109.
viij bollis quheit and vj bollis beyr, mercat gude and mercat mett
1541 Reg. Cupar A. II. 15.
Thay payand … ȝerly … [£7. 2s. 2d.] 2 pairt pec of beir, merkat gude and sufficient stuf
1573 Prot. Bk. J. Harlaw 205 b.
Guid and sufficient merchandice merket guid and merket mett
1552 Reg. Cupar A. II. 109.
For thair teind … ȝerelie sall pay sex bollis of mele and thre bollis of beir, gud and sufficient merkat stuf
1564 Prot. Bk. D. Gray 23.
[To] pay … twa bollis ait meill … gud & sufficient mercat stuf and mett within … Dunde
1591 Grant Chart. 401. 1594 Liber Dryburgh 321.
Aucht bollis beir guid and sufficient mercat stuiff of the commoun mett of … Jedburt
1536 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 137.
To pay … sevin firlottis of aittis gud sufficient stuf mercat vayr and mercat met
1564 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 8 b.
[To] pay … sex bollis … bair gud and sufficient stuiff merkeat mett and merkeat wayir

2. As a generic term, in the sing. and chiefly without article or demonstrative: Market.As the authorised meeting for public buying and selling at some fixed time and place.(1) 1464 Peebles B. Rec. I. 150.
Gudis that com to be sald at cors and merkat
c1475 Wall. iii. 415.
He suld him kepe fra merket toune or fair
1518 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 48.
The custummaris to kep the meit weschell [= the measures] … and to tholl nane other to pas in mercat
1550 Elgin Rec. I. 104.
Vitualis quhilk suld be patent in mercat and mercat places and not in secret housis
1575–6 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 47.
That … thair be na kylling brokin in mercat or vtouth bot be fremen
1583 St. A. Kirk S. 502.
Thai haif kepit mercat in Craill Sonday last wes
1636 Dumbarton B. Rec. 50.
For trying the meill brocht to mercat
Ib. 51.
To be put in the stokkis … in tyme of mercat
1674 Dundee B. Laws 61.
For those that rides horses especially in time of mercat
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i. xx. § vii. 109.
The mediat sellers of goods belonging to thieves … who dare not come to mercat themselves
(2) 1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 53.
Jhone Davidsone said he boucht [the horse] in plane mercat fra Jhone Oliver
1581 Burne Cath. Tr. 167/11.
Casting of rottin eggis … at thame in oppin mercat
1667 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 28.
To be sold in open mercat
(3) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 29 (A).
Quhat sa merchand that has couerit his stal in the merket on the merkat day
1456 Hay I. 157/8.
Quhasa war tane in sik weris … mycht be sauld in the mercate … as cow or ox
1510 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 10.
Of gud stuff siclyk as it gais in the merkit
1525 Acta Conc. MS. XXXVI. ii.
That na man tak upoune hand to gyrnell ony salt … bot that the samin cum to the merkat
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 62.
Als soone cumes the lambis skine to the mercat as the old sheipis
(4) c1575 Balfour Pract. 78.
[Not to] sell thame [tanned hides] within ony house bot in the commoun merkat and on the merkat day allanerlie

b. In collocations with kirk (church), as in kirk and mercat, (to come, go, hant, resort, repair) to kirk and (or) mercat, = in or to public places, in public, abroad. Latterly also in legal contexts, as proving soundness of health. See Kirk n. 1 b (2) for some further examples. c1460 Consail Vys Man 308.
And syne of it hard na speringe In kirk na merket
1513 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 139.
That na infectit persoun … cum to kirk mercat priuelie or appertlie be day or nicht
1567 G. Ball. 189.
For than suld nocht … sa mony beggeris pure In kirk and mercat stand
1593 Wemyss Chart. 218.
Thay … may vse thair lesum busines, pas, repas, repair to kirk, mercat and vther places neidfull
1633 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 58.
A great many wemen … of gude qualitie, wha resortis both to kirk and mercat with thair plaidis about thair heidis
1650 Peebles B. Rec. I. 390. 1670 Boyd Fam. P. 9 June.
The said Thomas Boyd our rebell … hants … and oppinly repaires to kirk mercat and wther comon and publict places
Stair Inst. iv. xx. 42.] 1692 Acts Sederunt ii. 198.
[By going to the kirk … or to the market

3. The Forum of Rome. c1420 Wynt. iv. 2333.
In to the merket [W. merget]
Ib. 2342.
Quhen that it wes fyrst wp set Ewyn in to the myd merkete
1456 Hay I. 64/22.
In the fairest place of Rome in myddis of the mercate
1533 Bell. Livy I. 88/12.
Fra the hicht of the toun to the merkett
Ib. II. 3/17. 1549 Compl. 149/11.
The comont pepil … syne conuoyit them to the plane mercat before the capitol

b. Rendering L. forum, = a market-place. fig. a1400 Leg. S. xliii. 496.
[I] giffis bot a lytil wra A vyd merkat thare-for I ta

4. The action or business of buying and selling, chaffery.Chiefly to mak mercat, to engage in buying and selling, traffick, do business. To mak mercat of, to offer for sale, to sell.(1) 1482 Edinb. Chart. 169.
And that thai mak na merkate in Leith vndir the sammyn pane
1483 Edinb. Hammermen's Seal of Cause.
That thai war hevily hurte be the daily merket maid throu the hie streit
1517 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 169.
Quharthrow … the thesaurar in the tovnis name makis merkat … with all strangearis … bringand ony merchandice to the said port
1541 Elgin Rec. I. 60.
Wrangit in … making of merchat with Franchmen in bying of xx pottis of irone
1559 Inverness Rec. I. 39.
He … sendis his schone landwart to mac mercat in hurt of this bruch
1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 85. a1578 Pitsc. II. 200/31.
The thives beand thair makand thair mercatt
1596 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 180.
To discharge ony mercat to be maid at the Brwmelaw
1656 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 164.
To mack mercat vpone malt, meill [etc.] … brought to the mercat to be sold befor aucht hours in the morneing
1666 Glasgow Chart. II. 114.
That they [sc. ship's captains etc.] mack ther mercats with frie men
(2) 1474 Lennox Mun. 103.
All and syndry our landis … to be tane, pundit, distrenȝeit and away led, mercat and penny tharoff to be made quhil the sayde sovme be payt
1496 Edinb. Hammermen's Seal of Cause.
[That] thare be na opyn merket maid … of ony wark pertenyng to the saidis hammermen … in schewing thareof in handis vpone the hie streit
1506 Edinb. Chart. 189. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 300.
xl laidis of meill quhilk wes put in the tolbuyth to mak mercat of
1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 363. 1609 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 302. 1641 Stirling Chart. 122. 1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. 15.(3) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2095 (Ch.).
Do furth thy mercat; at me thow sall nocht wyn
1483 Edinb. Hammermen's Seal of Cause.
That thare sall [be] na oppin merket wsit of the saidis craftis vppon the he stretis
? 1570 Sat. P. xx. 22.
Besyde the throne I wait [pr. walt] vpone My mercat but delay
1630 Rutherford Christ & Doves (1709) 24.
And therefore bid that deceiving loun seek his mercat in another place
1631 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 37.
Thair salbe no kynd of fleshe or vivares … or any mercat or arles given thairwpon till aucht houris in the morning
1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 241.

b. A (good or bad) bargain. fig. — c1679 Kirkton Hist. 373.
She hade two daughters … and for these she thought she might make a better mercat in Scotland than in England

c. An instalment payment. 1682 Dunferm. Hammermen 109.
Adam Stevinson hath payd tuentie fyve shiling ten penyes scots mony as the first mercat of box peny
1683 Ib. 110.

5. a. An opportunity of making a purchase or a sale, a ‘deal’. b. The current rate of purchase and sale, the market-rate. c. comb. in mercat-pryce, -rate. 1592 Calderwood v. 204.
Muche better is it to have abiddin a cannie mercat, nor to have hazarded an old gloyd [etc.]
1651 Hossack Kirkwall 253.
Farder, ye will try quhair ther is apeirance of best mercat for our cornis this yeir
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. I. 20.
The effects of this proclamatione wer non other, as to the booke itself, but … to macke the mercatt the better for the stationer
1677 Stitchill Baron Ct. 80.
Halfe ane boll of oats yeirly conforme to the rate of the mercat
comb. 1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 74.
The exacting of mercatt pryce hath putten many to beggarie
1669 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. III. 94.
To sell them provisions at the ordinar mercat rates

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: