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.

Natural(l, a. (adv.) Also: naturale, -alle, -ail(l, -aille, natwrall, natirall, natrall; and Naturel(l. [ME. (14th c.) and e.m.E. natural(l, -ale, OF. natural, L. nātūrālis.]

1. That is in accordance with the natural or normal order of things; caused by the operation of natural principles; normal.Also as adv. c1450 Cr. Deyng (S.T.S.) 112.
Gyf thai be cumyne to the natural cours of eilde, the quhilk few cumys to
a1500 Henr. III. 126/22.
Sen blindnes wes infirmitie And povertie was naturall
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 671.
Fra we be deid … We torne till erd be natural ordinans
1490 Irland Mir. I. 67/1.
Bot that is nocht naturale
1513 Doug. iii. viii. 12.
The naturale rest of sleip
Ib. iv. xii. 106.
Norȝit by natural ded peryschit sche
1531 Bell. Boece I. xxv.
Quhair throw thay sal appeir erar misfassonit monstouris than ony naturall peple
1549 Compl. 46/3. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 111. a1578 Pitsc. I. 144/24.
Ony misfortun … quihilk is naturaille and cacewallie
c1580-90 Rules of Health.
To haif a naturale and kyndly appetite thairto
1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 253.
In the birth of your last sone, … your naturall and kindlie payne [was] vnnaturallie cassin of yow
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 23.
Moyses rod … was no doubt turned in a natural serpent [whereas the magicians' rods only seemed to be serpents]
1607 Crim. Trials II. 524.
To bereif him of his naturall lyffe
1630 Soc. Ant. LVI. 51.adv. 1579 Reg. Privy S. VII. 322/2.
As gif he war naturall deid

2. Existing in, deriving from, or formed or constituted by, nature.Also, having the existence or characteristics from nature alone and not by human artifice or intervention. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 519.
Scho feill syse Gert fall eclyps one wondre wyse, Notht be coniunctioune naturale, Bot by hyr science collaterale
1456 Hay I. 282/27.
The sonne … beris … confourt till all naturale creaturis
Ib. II. 123/32.
The vertu of naturale fude of the mete
Ib. 128/15.
Treis than schawis … thair naturale flouris and fairnes
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2654 (Bann.).
My lippis … Twichit no thing that was contagius Bot sowkit mylk fra pawpis of my dame, Rycht naturall, sueit and delicious
1531 Bell. Boece I. lvi.
Of sic naturall herbis as grew in thair awin yardis
Ib. II. 206.
At the spring of the yeir, quhen every thing, be natural influence, convalescis
1533 Boece ii. xii. 82 b.
He beildit ane castell in ane place be naturall situacion inexpugnabill
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 132.
Quhov I ressauit confort naturall … Smelling the holsum herbis medicinall
1555 Coll. Aberd. & B. 383.
[They] hes remouit the principall merche stanis out of the auld and naturall laires
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 104 (L).
The cryis Of naturall chappell clerkis
c1590 J. Stewart 51/126.
Scho valks … As naturall nymphe or Lucine lamp of lycht
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 46. 1618 Crim. Trials III. 451.
Ane liear … of your countrie and natioun nocht worthie to haif injoyit the naturall air thairof
1628 Insh Colonial Schemes 219.
Being placet in a pairt of the countrie quhilk is a natirall strenthe
1629 Justiciary Cases I. 134.
Quhair naturall causses maybe allegit, witchcraft is nevir to be presuppoiset

b. Of vegetation: Self-sown. — 1533 Boece i. viii. 53.
That regioun … full of gude pasture and naturale gers
Ib. iv. 39. Ib. iv. xii. 143 b.

3. Concerned with, or relating to, nature or natural phenomena as a subject of study, as natural science, philosophy, history. c1420 Wynt. viii. 410.
In morale Phylosophi and naturale He wes grwndyt
1456 Hay I. 67/21, 22.
And alssua the gretest clerkis philosophouris naturale that ever was sais in thair natural science of phisik
Ib. II. 108/12.
Be the quhilkis scho knew … of thingis that was tocum be naturale course of the said conjunctionis and mony othir thingis that naturale philosophy schew hir clerely
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 409.
Alexander haid lerit alhale The sevin science of clergie naturall
Ib. 556. 1492 Myll Spect. 272/16. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxv. 11.
The naturall science philosophicall; The dirk apperance of astronomie
1549 Compl. 46/8.
Phisic, astronomye and natural philosophie var fyrst prettikit and doctrinet be vs that ar scheiphirdis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1912.
Baith naturall science and devyne
Ib. 567. 1596 Dalr. II. 125/2.
This abbot … persuadet the king of his gret cunning in al thing natural, cheiflie in that politik arte, quhilk quha knawis tha cal him an alcumist
1677 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 291.
The historie of plants is a pairt of the naturall historie

b. Natural history, story, a work or a part of one dealing with natural objects, plants and animals. 1533 Boece v. iii. 169.
Plinius the secund, quhilk wrate the naturale historyis
1568 Lyndesay Pref.
With scripture and with storyis naturall, Richelie replenischit from end to end

4. Of a temperament, trait, instinct etc., of a person or animal: Implanted by nature or heredity; inborn, innate, inherent, constitutional. Also transf. 1456 Hay I. 78/9.
We se that the wylde bestis takis naturale fede and haterent ilkane to othir
Ib. 139/21.
Bot ȝit … be naturale kyndenes he is behaldin till him
Ib. II. 151/14.
Syk was his inclinacioun naturale bot alluterly sett his … study tobe a forgeare
Ib. I. 149/2. a1500 Henr. Fab. 399 (Banin.).
Brutale bestis … in thair kyndis naturale Hes monye diuers inclinatioun
Ib. 824 (H).
Throw naturall pietie The carioun vpoun his bak he tais
c1500 Fyve Bestes 22.
With him furth the samyn way I ȝud Bot for affectiouin naturale of his blud
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 56/29.
For mercy is mare naturall to Him na pvnicioun
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 34.
Is none of Scotland borne … Bot he of naturall inclinacioune Dois favour thé
? c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxviii. 14.
With craftis naturall
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 36. Ib. 97.
Innatyve … inborn or that quhilk cumis till ony person be thar natural inclinatioun of kynd throw thar forbearis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 191.
Comm. The lustye lark … Numerand hir naturall notis craftelie
c1550 Id. Test. Meldrum 65. c 1565 Lennox Mun . 448.
What ȝelouse naturall care your maiesti hath of owr swete and peerles juell
1572 Sempill Sat. P. xxx. 98. 1580 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxx.
Our naturall inabilitie and rebellion to godlines
1660 Red Bk. Menteith II. 161.
My sone, whose singular naturall indewments merits love and respects
transf. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) i 7.
Accompanyit with the Hammiltounis and uther the Kingis naturall enemeis

b. In impersonal construction: Inherently or constitutionally consonant, normal, for or to a person, to do something. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 509.
Naturall is to king … and quene To spend their time in sum jucunditie
1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi Sig. B i b.
It was als natural for thame to rebell aganis God as to be thair fathers sonnis

c. Of a person: Constitutionally prone or inclined to (some practice or habit). a1568 Bann. MS. 76 b/2.
O wrechit man full of iniquite Of prowdence voyd to vycis naturall

5. a. Of wisdom, intelligence or folly: Existing in a person by innate propensity; inborn, as opposed to acquired; constitutional, native. = prec. sense. a1570-86 Kennedy Maitl. F. lxxi. 11.
That than wes wit is naturale foly now
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1145.
Be scho had in manus tuas said, Extinctit wer hir naturall wyttis fyue
c1550 Id. Meldrum 1445.
Be his naturall ingyne
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2642.
Arestotill, quhilk was the A per sie Of naturall wit and greit philosophie
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 104.
I had ane douchter … Dotit with vertewis and wit naturall

b. Natural fule, idiot, one constitutionally deficient in intelligence, an idiot.For further examples, see Fule n. 2 (1) and Idiot n. 1. 1497 Acta Conc. II. 74.
Thai deliverit nocht that the sade Alexander Setone, elder, was ane naturale ydeot
1529 Lynd. Complaynt 165.
We thynk thame verray naturail fulis, That lernis ouir mekle at the sculis
1549 Compl. 136/15.
In actis of folye lyke ane natural fule
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcix. 31.
Sum may be grit fulis naturall
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 37b. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 7.

c. absol. ? Not in full possession of one's wits, idiot. 1698 Kingarth Par. Rec. 193.
The session knowing that he is not throw natural think fitt to take his promise

6. a. Of physical characteristics or attributes: Existing as part of one's hereditary physical constitution, physical, constitutional, bodily. 1456 Hay II. 158/12.
So drawis the naturale hete of mannis body the humouris fra the stomak to the hede
Ib. /21.
The hete naturale
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 665.
Of thar bodyis be naturale condicoun … All tornes in powder and corrupcoun
1490 Irland Mir. I. 69/5.
The generacioune of the spiritis and naturale huimidite
1513 Doug. iii. v. 51, ix. viii. 34. 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1090.
Depart myne naturall guddis equalye That ever I had or hes of Dame Nature
Ib. 1098.
The bak … Off naturall sycht scho had bene so impotent
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 4.
The naturall humiditie of the hart
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 47.
[Frenzy and mania] are but naturall sicknesses

b. Pertaining to the physical or bodily as distinct from the spiritual part of one's being. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1633 (H).
Oure mirk and deidle corps naturall Blindis the spirituall operatioun
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 231 a.
The spirituale lif is conforme to the bodely and naturale lif
1560 Acts II. 532/2.
Not that we imagine ony transubstantiatioun of breid in Christis naturall body
1562-3 Winȝet I. 87/3.
Ȝour argument contrare the real præsence of Christis body in the sacrament vseis to ressoun of the natural propirteis of a manis werray body
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 376.
For gaze with thy eie as thou will, lay to thy lug as thou will … gif thou have bot ane naturall ear and ane naturall eie, thou sall not see nor heir

c. Of or pertaining to the body or the physical functions of digestion, excretion and the like. 1456 Hay II. 118/23.
Quhen a persone is of small and ligny quantitee … than ar the wayis of the naturalle conduytis smaller
Ib. 121/5.
[Vapours and humours descending] in thy body to the naturale ventis and issues quhare it appertenis
Ib. 122/29, 132/27. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 210/14.
As becummis all to do his naturall deid … he past … Into the wod to do sic besines
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 13.
The haill venome … leauand the naturall partis occupeis the hart and nobillest interioure partis of the body
c1650 Spalding II. 188.
He also tirred the laterans in the colledge whereby the studentis had not sic naturall eisment as befoir

7. a. Having the normal attributes of ordinary human beings. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4341.
For Christ wes God and naturall man; Gif He be nother, quhat is He than?
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 74.
How their was a King and Queene of Phairie … how they … eate and drank and did all other actiones like naturall men and women

b. In a state of nature, without spiritual enlightenment; unregenerate. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3132.
Gyff naturall beistis thay had bene
1567 Conf. Faith in 14.. Acts III. 17/2.
Naturall man … lustis for thingis plesing and delectabill vnto the self
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 45.
The sensuall and naturall man indurit be incredulitie
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 436.
The natural man, gif he have na mair bot nature, he is ane slave
1600 Misc. Bann. C. I. 142.
And men onlie, naturall men that had not ane spunk of grace, or of that spreit

8. Of reason and logic, and of law and equity.See also Law n.1 3 b.a. Based on, or in accordance with, principles derived from the general nature of things. b. According to principles implanted by nature in the human mind, instinctively or intuitively apprehended or formulated; according to common sense rather than formal or systematized principles. c1420 Wynt. viii. 662.
Gyve off a cas ware custwme nane, That cas wyth lauch suld be oure-tane Off canowne or imperiall, Or be gret resownys naturalle
1456 Hay I. 4/5.
Takis foundement of haly writt and of the decreis and lawis canoun and civile and philosophy naturale that is natural resoun
Ib. 66/31.
Naturale resoun and discrecioun schawis that [etc.]
Ib. 125/5.
Be all resoun naturale A pure man may [etc.]
Ib. 140/1.
Be all naturale equitee and kyndenes … he is naturaly oblist till him
Ib. /5.
Obligacioun naturale
Ib. 199/35.
Law naturale has grauntit that privilege till all creature naturale
Ib. 103/16, 139/13, 258/6. c1475 Wall. v. 847.
Fra Sotheron men be naturall resone knew, How with a straik a man euir he slew, Than merweld thai he was so mekill off mayne
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1647 (Bann.).
Non suld presume, be reasoun naturale, To serche the secretis of the Trinetie
Ib. 803 (Bann.). a1500 Colk. Sow iii. 103.
Folkis levit be naturall lawis than
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1503.
It is vnlyke be ressoun naturale Thar lyfe and ouris is sa contrarius
1490 Irland Mir. I. 16/20.
The ferd [book] … prufis be mony ressounis naturale the faithe of Jhesu and artikilis of jt
Ib. fol. 174.
That logic natural and probable ressouns ekis and defendis the faith in sempil persouns
Ib. fol. 314.
It is diuidit in justice original … in justice naturall, in justice devin
1522 Douglas Corr. 86.
I am dissauit … in contrare to all goode lyklyhod or naturall equite
c1520-c1535 Nisbet II. 86 marg.
Quhair faith is nocht, thair fallis naturall reasounn fra anne vanite to another till it be vterly blyndit in thair awyn ymagynatioun
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5241. a1578 Pitsc. I. 222/28.
Fervent lufe and naturall ressone constranis me to speik

9. Native. a. Of people: Belonging by birth or origin to a country or place. a1538 Abell 37 a.
Scottis kingrik wakit the naturall induellaris expellit
1560 Acts II. 526/2.
To their naturall cuntrey men and to all vtheris
1572 Reg. Privy C. II. 159.
Being of ane cuntry and naturall Scottismen

b. Of rulers or subjects, etc.: Native-born, trueborn, rightful.Also said of the duty owed to one's hereditary superior.(1) 1456 Hay I. 128/13.
Quhethir a man aw erar to help his fader or his lord naturale
Ib. 129/28.
Bot gif he commyttit the vice of ingratitude agaynis his naturale lord of the fee
Ib. II. 98/19.
In his awin propre court … suld the lord honour his naturale men … abone othir sa thai be gude men
Ib. 22/19. Ib. 30/21. 1565 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xlix.
Ȝour naturall princes
Faythfull and naturall subiectis
1641 Acts V. 571/2.
Making him and his saidis aires free denizanes and naturall Scottismen for evir
(2) 1638 Rothes Affairs Kirk 130.
Our band to the cause is farr to be preferred before any civile or naturall tye to any noblemen whatsomever

c. Of language or country: Pertaining to one by birth, of one's birth.Also applied to the original text of a translated work, and to native or domestic, as opposed to imported or foreign, coinage.(1) 1513 Doug. v. xiii. 82.
As thi kynd ground and cuntre natural
1543 Reg. Morton II. 289.
The said erle … levand his … naturale cuntre
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 575.
[They] Wrait nocht … in the naturall language of Hebrew
1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 123.
It to translait in our toung naturall
(2) 1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 162/12.
The Greik text, quhilk is the naturale text of the New Testament for the maist part
(3) 1632 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 34.
As if this kingdome were a conquest kingdome seing that who is the souerane is not knowne by his proper naturall and coynned money

d. Applied to the air of one's native district or country (perh. with some admixture of other senses). — 1584–5 Cal. Sc. P. VII. 533.
Coming home by advice of medecines to have his natural air

e. ? Sagacious, full of wisdom and experience; ? orig. and chiefly, having a knowledge and understanding of a particular country or its people, as a native or from long residence. 1513 Doug. i. ii. 3 Comm.
This Eolus kyng therof, as an naturall man, first be experiens persauyt this, and wald schaw the pepill therby … the wynd was to blaw from syk an art
1559 Knox II. 25.
Committing oure innocencie to God and unto the judgment of all godlie and naturall men
a1578 Pitsc. II. 4/5.
The earle of Angus and George Douglas his brother, quho was werie wyse and naturall men knawand the qualietieis and conditioun of Scottland
Ib. 120/22.
Quein regent beand ane vyse and naturall woman, consawand the myndis and natur of Scoittismen [etc.]
Ib. I. 284/11. 1581 Cath. Tr. 150/6.
Thair is na doubt bot ane man natural veil instructed in philosophie … quha hes studeit lang to the text of the scripturis … is abil to expone onie passage of scripture
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xxxi.
He was … colerique of nature and subiect to suddane anger, ane natural man, expert in the lawes of the countray, of gud langage [etc.]
1659 Blairs P. 161.
I could obtain his recept from Father Jon Jacque hier who is a uerie material and a naturel man who [etc.]

10. Of an offspring: That has been begotten by one (in contrast to adopted). Also absol.a. In many instances, including most or all of the following, said of legitimate offspring: 1490 Irland Mir. I. 27/7.
Quhare a riche man has nocht a naturall sone … he may cheis … a pure man or child to his sone be adopcioune
Ib. 134/4.
He sal be and js werray sone naturale of God omnipotent
Ib. 26/34. 1516 Acts II. 283/7.
Johne … anarlie naturaill & lauchfull sone of vmquhile Alexander
1533 Gau 34/20. 1535 Stewart 1438.
His naturall sonis and als his lauchfull air
1540 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 671/1.
To Elizabeth Stewart, my naturall dochter
1545 Reg. Cupar A. II. 227.
His sonnis naturalle
1571–2 Wemyss Chart. 202. 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 147 b.
Luther the eldest sone of Sathan … and his sone natural fatheruar Johne Caluine
1585 Acts III. 397/2.
Tuitching the disheredatioun of the posteritie alsweill lauchfull as naturall of the said James
1594 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. 307. 1596 Montgomery Mem. 236. 1597 Reg. St. A. 833.
Johne Diplein is decernit to intertiney his naturall dochter in God His feir
1604 Liber Dryburgh 318. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 279.
Act of rehabilitation of naturall bairns of James, somtyme Earle Morton
Ib. 232. 1636 Edinb. Test. LVII. 356.
Jeane & Grissell Johnstones my naturall dochteris … Jonet Johnstoun dochter naturall to Williame Johnstoun my brother
1643 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 22.

b. Also said of illegitimate offspring: 1393 Reg. Dunferm. 275.]
[Tenendam … eidem Willelmo & heredibus suis de corpore suo legittime procreatis … quibus forte quod absit deficientibus Michaeli Scot filio naturali eiusdem Willelmi & heredibus suis masculis de corpore suo legittime procreandis
1558 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 99/1.
Marioun Ogilvy, dochter naturale to umquhile Alexander Ogilvy … throw being of the said umquhile Marioun borne bastarde
1566–7 Ib. ii. 307/1. 1574 Inverness Rec. I. 236.
Johne Cuming … son naturall to William Cuming … producit ane legittimatioun of our souerane lordis
1615 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 259.
My Lord Sanquharis sone natrall
absol. 1565 St. A. Kirk S. 234.
Joanna Hepburn, dochter and naturall of Patrik, Byschop of Murray

c. Also applied to other blood relationships. 1536 Douglas Corr. 351.
Ws, the gentylwomans naturall modyr, and we ȝour naturall systyr
a1538 Abell 124 a.
The Erll of Moraif the Kingis naturall brodir [sc. his illegitimate half-brother]
1551 Hamilton Cat. 9.
Of … obediens dettit til our natural fatheris
Ib. 132. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 6/6. a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 343.
His brother naturall was apprehendit callit Hercules Stewart
1605 Paisley B. Rec. 281. 1600-1610 Melvill 28.
My deirest sistar … died … in whom I lossit my naturall mother the second tyme

d. Naturall birth, ? pleonastically or ? = legitimate. 1579–80 Reg. Privy S. VII. 364/2.
Succeeding be naturall birth … as only dochter and air

11. Portioun natural.An alternative term for the Barnis part or Legitim (see the latter for the more accurate definition): 1681 Stair Inst. iii. viii. 44.
The bairns' part is their legitima or portion natural, so called because it flows from that natural obligation of parents to provide for their children
1582 Edinb. Test. XI. 33.
Concerning my portioun naturall & barnis part of geir
1588 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 10 June.
All & haill thair portionis naturallis that thai sall or meycht ask … of the deid of thair said wmquhill fader
1591 Edinb. Test. XXII. 318 b. 1647 Maxwell Mem. I. 338.
In satisfactioune … of quhatsumevir portioune natwral, bairnes pairt of geir [etc.]
1661 Rothesay B. Rec. 60. 1672 Ib. 313. 1681 Echt-Forbes Chart. 155.
In full … satisfactione of all provisione, bairnes part of geir, deads third or portione naturall
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 124.
His naturall brother Hugh … is now settled at home … and … possesses his portion naturall left him by his father
1681 Stair Inst. iii. viii. ii.
[In Roman law] the power of testing was restrained in favour of lawful children, that the testator could not by legacy … abate from the children their portions natural, due to them by the law of nature, obliging parents to entertain their children
1696 Fountainhall Decis. I. 727.

12. Nautral possession.The occupancy of property by the proprietor himself as opposed to civil possession or occupancy by a tenant. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 239.
Actuall, reall and naturall possession by teilling, laboreing and soweing, ought to be preferred to civill possession be uplifting of maills
1681 Stair Inst. ii. i. 10. 1697-1707 D. Hume Accompt of Estate 32.
I entered to the natural possession of the land, and kept it for 5 years

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

"Natural adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: