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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.

Mony, a. Also: -ye, -ie, , -ey(e, -ei, monny, -ie. Compar. monyare, -er. Superl. monyast, -est, moniast, -est, moneast, -ist, monest. [North., west midl. and south-western ME. moni, mony, OE. maniᵹ, mǫniᵹ, with vowel as in ony (? and also donk and lone); in the mod. dial. Sc. and north. Eng.: cf. Many.]It seems likely that the first element of the surname Monypenny either was, or was treated as, this word: examples in the forms Monipen(n)ie, Moni-, Monypeny, etc., occur f. the 13th c. (Black Surnames s.v. Monypenny, p. 609, also c 1350 Liber Dryburgh 232 [Monypenny] and 1364 Rot. Sc. 886/1 [Monupeny]).


1. With a sing. noun. a. Without article.Very common in verse; uncommon in prose. 1375 Barb. i. 336.
And that may mony tyme awaill
Ib. ii. 549, iii. 663, etc.
On mony wis
Ib. xiv. 94.
Mony ysche wes … maid
a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 234.
Mony begare
Ib. xxx. 540.
Mony man sal one thé wondyr
?1438 Alex. ii. 13.
Walled with mony tour
c1420 Ratis R. 107.
As thow may se of mony thinge
Ib. 257.
Mony worthiar man
c1450 Cr. Deyng (S.T.S.) 149.
Thow has done mony gud deid
c1475 Wall. iii. 50.
a1500 Rauf C. 444.
I haue … oft fylit my feit in mony foull fen
1490 Irland Mir. I. 10/5.
And mony vthire walȝeand king [etc.]
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 307/30. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 28.
With mony mow and sport
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 196. 1513 Doug. xii. v. 76. 15.. Lichtoun Dreme 26 (B).
Me thocht I wes in monye diuers place
1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 57.
With mony hiddous rumbill
c1590 J. Stewart 136/7

b. With the indefin. article a (ane). 1375 Barb. xi. 127–9.
Men mycht se than … Mony ane vorthy man and vycht, And mony ane gayly armyt knycht, And mony ane sturdy sterand steid
Ib. xiii. 323.
He did mony a fair iourne
?1438 Alex. ii. 4329. c1420 Wynt. viii. 4238.
He … swore mony ane awful athe
1456 Hay I. 16/28. Ib. 111/27.
Wrang errouris … tynis mony a saule
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc. 63. Ib. xxxiii. 100, lxxii. 9.
Rycht mony a thing
1513 Doug. xi. xiii. 101. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 428. c1552 Id. Mon. 4146. a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 72.

c. In adv. phrases with nouns of time.(1) c1420 Wynt. iii. 532.
Quhare that he trawalyde mony day
Ib. v. 912.
Efftyr mony day
a1500 Seven S. 1020.
Mony ȝere
1535 Stewart 1674.
Richt lang and mony ȝeir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 316. 1562-3 Winȝet II. 55/24.
Quhilk … mony lyftyme of men afoir hes lyin hid
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxx. 32 (B).
The dait thairof is past full mony a ȝeir [M. full mony ȝeir]
1513 Doug. ii. ii. 94.
Syne mony a day
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxv. 12.
Thocht ȝe heff serwit mony ane ȝeir Ane lord
(3) c1420 Wynt. vi. 317.
Efftyre this mony day
?1438 Alex. i. 1467.
This mony ane day
1490 Irland Mir. MS. 354 b.
This haill realme that this mony ȝere has bene in gret deformite
a1500 Seven S. 1846.
Ȝour self wald leif this mony day
1567 G. Ball. 175.
This lang and mony ane day
Ib. 189.
This lang and mony day
c1590 J. Stewart II. 207/33.
This monie ȝeir

2. With a numeral or a collective noun.Also compar. and superl.: cf. Ma, Mare, Maste.At the monyest, at the most numerous, at the most. 1375 Barb. i. 523.
Then slayn wes mone thowsand Off thaim
a1400 Leg. S. iv. 57.
In sycht of hym and mony ma
1395–6 Menzies Charters 10 Feb.
Wytnes … Dauy Flemyng Adam Fostyr and mony othir
1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 33 a; 1438 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 49; 1439 Edinb. Chart. 65. c1475 Wall. i. 309.
Owr kyne ar slayne, … And othir worthi mony in that art
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 93.
Mony hundreth myle hyne
1531 Bell. Boece I. 84.
In presence of mony pepil
1535 Stewart 2942.
And mony vther mo
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1049.
As he hes had of mony mo
Ib. 3558.
Quhare mony ane thowsand loste thair lyfe
1566 Crim. Trials I. ii. 485.
I (as mony ma) chanceit to pas to the said palice
a1578 Pitsc. I. 76/1. 1596 Dalr. I. 6/7.
Mony mae things
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxiv. 55.
We haue ressonis money mo
compar. 1490 Irland Mir. MS. 297 b.
Powere abone monyare ore feware pepil
superl. (1) 1547 Cal. Sc. P. I. 6.
The starkest host and the monest … that was sen Flodwn
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI. 843.
Thir twa branches … being moniest of number and maist trubilsum
(2) 1578–9 Reg. Privy C. III. 78.
Thay past not twentie nor threttie at the monyest
Ib. 576. 1622-6 Bisset I. 200/18.
[The] witnese … to be summoned at ane terme at the monyest

3. With a plur. noun.Also compar. and superl.: cf. Ma, Mare, Maste. 1375 Barb. xviii. 194 (C).
Thai war mony tymes [E. tyme] that day Assalit with Erischry
a1400 Leg. S. xli. 41.
With bruchis ful mony
1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
As thair has ben mony and gret attemptatis done
c1420 Wynt. vii. 863.
Wyth thame lordys rycht mony
1424 Grey Friars II. 167.
Oft tymis and mony
1456 Hay I. 8/3.
All Egipt and mony othir contreis
Ib. II. 112/24.
Mony mennis lyfis
Ib. 122/30. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3338.
Thai had … money felloun fais
Ib. 3363.
Wther mony knichtis
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 339.
Gevin to Stobo, that tyme he wrait mony proclamationis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 244/21.
Mast subtell in mony diuers thingis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 36, lxiii. 1. 1513 Doug. xiii. ix. 108.
Mony gatis
1519 Dunferm. B. Rec. 298. 1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 173. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 139.
In it ar mony louchis
1536–9 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) No. 1.
My … vife & mony small barnis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 99/25.
With monye wthiris of thair aige
1596 Dalr. I. 62/18. Ib. 1/1, 93/25.
Mony thousandis of sik lytle foules
1599 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 35 b.
With moneye senderye wther thingis
1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 51.
For monny yuithes yet wanntis educatioune
c1650 Spalding I. 94.
Mony subscriptionis
compar. c1610 Melville Mem. 170.
[The more friends the Queen had] the ma practyses hir ennemys maid, and the monyer lyes they invented against hir
Ib. 378.
Never … ma parlementis halden, monyer lawes casten lowss [etc.]
superl. (a) 1531 Bell. Boece I. 122.
That man was reput maist nobill … , that micht defoule moniast wemen
1562-3 Winȝet II. 69/7.
In ane consent of the monyast and greteast doctouris
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI. 49.
That all, or at the least the moneast voittis sould serve for all the rest
(b) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 308/13.
The rialest realm of Fraunce … with monyest princhedis [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy I. 54/15.
I find monyest auctoriteis saying the Romane brethir war Horacianis
1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 188.
Quhar thai have moniest fawveraris of the quhilkis I dreid thai have our mony
1552 Conv. Burghs I. 3.
He that gettis monyest wottis
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 126. 1566 Canongate Kirk S. (ed.) 51. a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 40. 1633 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II. 103.
The saidis friemen … be thair moniest voittes to elect … ane deacon
1656 Rothesay B. Rec. 13.
Be moniest voyces

b. = 1 c above. — 1578 Anal. Scot. I. 269.
In monnie yeris afore
1562-3 Winȝet I. 3/10.
Ane schip … quhilk, gydit thir mony ȝeris be sleuthfull marinaris, … is euyl crasit on the schaldis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 222/24.
Thocht he and I hes not bene at ane thir money ȝeiris

c. Predicatively. c1420 Wynt. v. 3442.
Quhare men and woman war mony
Ib. viii. 3409.
Thai ware few, and thai mony
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3538. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 74. 1596 Dalr. I. 2/10.
The iles … quhilkes ar monie and plentiful

d. More than one, several. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 101 (A).
Gif ony man that has mony landis will gif thaim to mony childer till ilk childe a lande

4. Mony ane (one).a. In verse, used instead of the simple adj., placed after a plur. or coll. noun.b. Many an individual (of the class named). As pron., = many a person, many a one.a. 1375 Barb. xii. 507.
At thar metyng … Wer stedis stekit mony ane
a1400 Leg. S. iii. 295.
[They] mad kirkis mony ane
a1500 Rauf C. 3.
Empreouris and erlis and vther mony ane
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 430.
[To] heir the merle and mawis mony ane
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 371.
Latyne wordis mony ane That [etc.]
Ib. vii. viii. 91.
Thens mylis mony ane
a1568 Gyre-carling 14.
With elffis mony ane
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4302.
Off diuers ordouris mony one
Ib. 5195.
Antichristis in generall Hes bene, and now ar mony one
Ib. 5815.
With thare assistance, mony one
1567 G. Ball. 43.
With meruellis greit and mony one
a1568 Scott xxiii. 15.
Thir ȝeiris mony ane
b. (1) 1375 Barb. viii. 427.
He suld fynd off thaim mony ane
1596 Dalr. II. 9/31.
Thair mony ane of the cheif nobilitie … the Bruse gart hap heidles
(2) ?1438 Alex. i. 2464.
Mony ane to eard can gang
1460 Hay I. 30/35. Alex. (Taym.) 1737.
Thare is mony ane that trowis that Bartilmewe was verray pape
c1475 Wall. v. 496.
He slew full mony ayne
1492 Myll Spect. 281/15. 1535 Stewart 48636, 51676. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 40.
[He] did as monie douchtie deidis As monie ane that men of reidis
a1585 Maitl. Q. xxix. 26. 1596 Dalr. I. 61/31.
That mony ane sawe the balkes … cleine consumed

5. absol. a. Many individuals of a class. b. Many people. c. Amang mony, among many other matters.a. c1420 Wynt. ii. 1497.
Off knaw barnys thai walde sla mony
Ib. v. 299.
Mony off Jowys and Gentyl
Ib. ix. 135 (C).
Of thar hors brak lousse mony
1456 Hay I. 195/11.
Thare is few of sik men in Fraunce, bot in Lombardy … thare is mony
1549 Compl. 5.
Mony of his enemeis
1558-66 Knox I. 72.
Ane worth mony of the leave
a1578 Pitsc. I. 55/17.
Money of thame was slaine
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 67 b.
Quhom of … mony ar ȝit alyff
1596 Dalr. II. 334/23.
Verie monie of the nobilitie
1599 Murray Lyon Hist. Lodge Edinb. 12.
That the wardene … salbe … electit ȝeirlie be mony of the maisteris voites
1604 Elgin Rec. II. 125.
That monie of all the headis of his corne war knott togidder
b. 1375 Barb. xii. 581.
Swa that mony fell doune all ded
a1400 Leg. S. xiii. 44.
Richt mony in lytil quhyle He wane to God
1456 Hay I. 295/13.
Mony has done in Lumbardy
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1707.
Sa wounder mony invironit him about
1492 Myll Spect. 294/10.
God knawys gyf thar be mony in thire tymes that [etc.]
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 257/25.
He was … hatit with mony
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xvi. 49.
Ar mony sic now in thir dayis
1531 Bell. Boece I. 16.
Quhidder the empire of ane or of mony be mair proffitabill
1549 Compl. 14/27.
I fynd nocht mony that dar [etc.]
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. ci. 29.
Mony ar … That ar far contrair in thair deidis
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 114/14.
My bluid … quhilk salbe sched for ȝow and mony
1567 Acts III. 25/1. 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 211. 1596 Dalr. I. 246/30.
Mony of hid lerning
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 391.
Thair is monie amangis us that waitis not quhat thou speikis; thy gospel is hid to monie, monie takis thee not up
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 19 Aug. c1650 Spalding I. 68.c. 1600 Misc. Bann. C. I. 145.
Amang mony that occurrit

d. superl. The greatest number, most. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lviii. 2.
Off benefice … Quha monyast hes makis maist requeist
a1568 Scott iii. 40.
Maist witt hes hie that moniest owrsylis
1562-3 Winȝet II. 70/21. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 236.
Verry mony of hors and men on baith sydis [were] hurt, bot monyest on my lord regents syid
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcix. 49.
The grittest ar with monyast invyit
a1578 Pitsc. I. 98/6.
The said laird … quhome moneist of the abillist of the airmie followit
1583 Wemyss Corr. 81.
Gangand vpoun the Peill of Lynlythkow thay begane to gather kempis to se quhay mycht heid moneast
1589 S. Leith Rec. i.
Voitet by monyest, that twa onlie sall visit
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 5.
That doctrine man be maist effectual … that walkens and steirs up moniest of the outward senses
1599 Murray Lyon Hist. Lodge Edinb. 39.
Electit … be monyest of thair voitis
1615 Highland P. III. 278.
The monyest that came to me was ane hundreth men

6. Qualified by als, how (quhow), sa (swa) (so), see these words.

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



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