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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
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Muster, Mouster, n. Also: mustar(e, -ir, -o(u)r, -ur, mwster, -ur(e; mustard; moster, -our; moustar, -ir, -our, -ur, mowster, -our; moist-, moyster. Plur. also (moustryrris). [ME. mustre (c 1380), mostre (c 1400), moustre (14–15th c.), late ME. and e.m.E. moster (1401), muster (15th c.), e.m.E. musture (1513), -er, moster (1578), mouster (1548), mowster, ‘show, display; pattern, specimen; muster’, OF. mostre, moustre.Conceivably some of the forms in mou- should be read as mon-, since u and n are freq. indistinguishable in the MSS.: for appar. ascertained instances of the latter type (after OF. monstre, later var. of mostre) see Monstour n.]

1. The action of parading or assembling for military service, inspection of arms, ascertainment of numbers etc.; a parade or rally of troops or of militia.For further examples, see Wapinschaw n ., -schawing n.Freq. plur. in sing. sense and sometimes construed as sing.plur. (a) 1456 Hay I. 150/8.
And quhen he cumys to the moustris he schawis thame all
1568–9 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI. 84.
Powder that was goten … to our mowsters
1574–5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 30.
1576 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 343.
For ane swasche to our moustiris
1597 Melrose P. II. 611.*
The triumphant visitationis of the kirkis … with thair moustouris and wapinschawings
15.. Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 206.
For newis ther is nane … quhilk hes mowit the Kingis M. to proclaime the generall moustaris
(b) 1565 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 665/1.
Fra all walking, wairding, mustouris and wapinschewingis within burgh or outwith
1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 236.
That he sall not amas his men in musteris nor utherwayis convene or hald thame togidder upoun the sowth syde of … Forth
1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 332. 1596 Bk. Univ. Kirk III. 860.
That ther be chosin in every paroch … captaines … to convein the haill paroch in armes monethlie in mustures
1598 Household Bks. Jas. VI 31 May.
Out off his majesties awin sellar … to the ȝoung men that com doun fra Edinburgh to mustaris ane punchioun Burdious wyne
1602 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 310.
That the musteris … be haldin … upoun Loganes Ley
1618 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 15 May.
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 50. 1644 Act of Estates for Putting Kingdome into a Posture of Defence 2.
The musters of these besouth Dee
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. II. 209.
Ther wer daylye musters; and young souldiours, who lately had been accustomd with the pleuch, wer now calld out
1576 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 50.
quasi-sing. That the samyn [ensigns] salbe in this present mustouris delyuerit … to twa merchantis [etc.]
1639 Ib. VII. 215.
Ane generall musters … in the Grayfrier kirkyard
sing. 1596 Dalr. II. 184/1.
That for the bordouris suld be a muster of chosen men of weir to defend the bordours
1632 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 10. 1644 Peebles B. Rec. I. 377.
Ordanes ane mustare and wapounschawing to be vpone Setterday nixt
1664 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 271.
1666 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 17.
That the nighbours be provydit with armes and a yearly mustard be keept

b. To mak or geve (one's) (the) muster(is, also, of a military commander, to mak (one's) muster(is of (one's troops), to present oneself or troops under one's command. In a parade or rally sing. and plur.(1) 1456 Hay I. 150/1.
Gif a capitane has maid his moustris of his men before a prince or chiftayne
1531 Bell. Boece II. 441.
The Erle of Ros come with mony folkis to Perth and maid his mowster to the King
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 231.(b) 1535 Stewart 32197.
Quhen tha had maid thair mustur on a mure
1535 Acts II. 345/2.
That euery man mak his musteris with the said artalȝerie at the nixt walpynschewing
1574 Ib. III. 91/7. 1570 Leslie 260.
Thay … past our the watter of Tueid … to make thair generall mustoris
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 231.
The auld provest and bailleis … past with ane greit nowmer … to Leith and thair maid thair mustouris
1587 Reg. Great S. 450/2. 1600 Conv. Burghs II. 83.
The rest of the smaller burrowis to mak thair mwsteris … monethle … that thair airmour may be … fund in ane reddynes quhen the occasioun sall requyre
1606 Brown Paisley I. 216. 1622-6 Bisset II. 218/10.
The admirall may cause mak musturis twyse in the ȝeir
1627 Linlithgow B. Rec. 9 Mar.
For making of thair wapinschawin and mustard
1633 Sc. Ant. XII. 20.
[That the King might see] a mustour mad of hielandmen in their cuntrie habite
c1650 Spalding II. 65.
Generall Lesly … made a brave muster in the lynkis of Leith
(c) 1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 135.
He saw … the makyng of thare mostrys
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3021.
Come fordwart with thair garnisoun … And maid thare mostouris to the Quene
(d) 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 41.
The Erles of Lennox, Giencairne and Semple maid moister of thair folkis in presence of the lievetennent of the Englis armie; and wer fund that passed vnder battell foure thowsand able men
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 117.
[They] past in feir of weir to the lynkis of Leith and maid thair moysteris thair
(2) 1513 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 23.
All nychtburis … to be abbulyeit for wer … to geiff thair moustaris and schawin … in the boig befor the balyeis
1548 Treas. Acc. IX. 181.
a1578 Pitsc. II. 119/12.
The airmie … raid fordward to the hill of Ancrame … and gave thair musturis
1587 Glasgow Chart. I. ii. 204.
As als sall gif mustaris at the wappinschawingis befoir thame
1625 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 2.

c. To tak or to resave (the) muster(is (of troops or militia), also to tak up ane muster (of troops), (said of a commanding officer etc.) to hold a military parade or rally, to cause troops to parade before one.(1) 1494 Loutfut MS. 5 b.
Thairfor quhen the prince is at the feld in warfair the marschall suld resaif the moustres & convoy & put in ordinans the men of were
1512 Reg. Privy S. I. 366/2.
For samekle as the Kingis hienes has ordanit him to resave the musteris and wapinschewingis of all his folkis, baith fre tennentis and malaris
1533 Boece x. vi. 360.
a1578 Pitsc. I. 262/2.
In to the place quhair the mustaris war ressawit … in the borrow mure besyde Edinburgh
(2) 1533 Boece viii. viii. 267 b.
Hengist … taking mwsture of his folkis fand abone iiijm of his men loist
Ib. ix. xviii. 335 b.
This Eugenye … quhen he was salust king, he tuke mwsturis of the armye
Ib. x. vi. 360.
Taking … the mwstur of his armye
1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 288.
Than my lord gart tak moustryrris [sic] to se quhat nwmyr we culd be off Scoittis men
1565 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 205.
That the prouest caus moustouris to be taikin … of the inhabitaris
1627 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 30.
(3) c1650 Spalding I. 280.
Thairefter, Monro tuke wp ane new muster of his awin soldiouris and of the tounes men also

Also d. To se the mousterres of (troops), as inspecting officer. — 1552 Treas. Acc. X. 149.
He wes commandit to remane and be ane commissionar witht the laird of Drumlangrig to se the mousterres of the said horsmen

e. False muster, fraudulent presentation at a muster, or fraudulent inclusion in a muster-roll, of men not available for service. — 1651 Gillespie in Testimony-bearing Exemplified (1791) 88.
What interverting of levies, what false musters

2. The action of assembling in battle order or of taking up one's position in line of battle; martial array.Also plur. in the same sense. c1475 Wall. vii. 1121.
Thar mustir than was awfull for to se
a1500 K. Hart 156.
We will go se quhat may this muster mene
1513 Doug. vii. xi. 39.
In his musteris … schew he in the feild Hys faderis takynnys merkit in his scheild

3. ? Display, show (as in ME. and e.m.E.), or ? fig. use of sense 2 above. a1568 Bann. MS. 227 a/16.
Ȝour fair visage apairt and gudly cheyir, Ȝour bewteis mustir and fyn continans

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"Muster n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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