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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Offence, Offens(e, n. [ME. (Chaucer, Gower, Wyclif) and e.m.E. offence, offense, F. offense (1295 in Hatz.-Darm.), L. offensa, and ME. (c 1400) and e.m.E. and OF. offens, L. offensus.]

1. Violence directed against another, aggression, assault; violence received from another, physical hurt or injury. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 526.
& a souerns gete That he mycht cum to his presence To spek with hyme withoute offence
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 56.
Hys folk he will gif mandement to To ryse in Ȝour offence
Ib. 108.
We come neuir in purpos her … to do the peple offence
c1450-2 Howlat 304.
[They] Enteris in Ewrope fre but offens
Ib. 602.
Rycht so did the ferd … ȝaipe … to faynd his offens
1456 Hay I. 128/7.
Gif ony wald sett to do him offence, injure na vilany
Ib. 192/32.
Than war it nocht defence, bot offens and alde fore thocht fede
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2715.
And nocht be dred for Dare nor his offence
a1500 Bk. Chess 331.
Thai stampe [etc.] … And aye complenit … And syne quhen thai saw all this gret offens Amovit nocht this clerkis paciens Thai stampit so [etc.]
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1790. Id. Æn. xi. vi. 63.
Euery ane of ws that dyd offens In Troys bundis with swerd and violens
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 99.
The said … abhominabill cryme of offence
1579 Atholl Mun. I. No. 90.
That he hard my lord say that he haid gottin offence and God foirgif thame that haid done it

b. The fact of being physically hurt. — a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 390.
As smyttand seiknes caussis corporall offens

2. The act or fact of harming, injuring or offending another, more generally; injury, harm, wrong. 1456 Hay I. 110/6.
To werrey agaynis his God … and namely in the … persecucioun of haly kirk to do offence till his God
1479 Acta Conc. I. 31/2.
For the lychtlines contempcion & offence done to the kingis hienes be Alexander Hume
a1500 Henr. III. 162/6.
O eterne God … That dois no wrang to pvnis our offens
a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 190.
This pig … That was fangit in the fulis offence
a1500 Bk. Chess 64.
And throw his vicious lyf inordinat That dois offens till vther mennis estait
a1500 K. Hart 246. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 49/18.
As to the syn and the culpe that is the offence of the hie maieste
Ib. 93/34. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 418.
I am the Kingis blude … That newir yit ymaginit hym offense
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxiv. 27. 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 405.
I say nocht this of Chauser for offens
Ib. iii. i. 4.
Down to bryng But offens Priamus pepil
Ib. i. Prol. 420, iii. ix. 32. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2528.
Feir ȝe nocht God to commit sic offence?
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1222.
O filthy flesche fosterit in fen with greit offence
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 167. 15.. Black Bk. Taymouth 153.
Slayand just men that neuir did offence
1600-1610 Melvill 498.
Sic greivous pean tormented me … That I could skarslie keip me but offence
1587-99 Hume 77/316.
As for offence of speach I nathing feare it

b. An instance of this; an injury or wrong, misdeed or transgression, crime or fault. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 960.
[They] changed the sentence Gevin to Helenys offence
1456 Hay I. 155/5.
For law levis all rychtwis defence quhen it passis nocht the termes of the offens
c1475 Wall. viii. 1223.
Wallace to sic [sc. women] did neuir gret owtrage Bot gyff till him thai maid a gret offens
a1500 Bk. Chess 1515. 1490 Paisley B. Rec. 40. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 119/20.
Necessare is Thou send Thi blist sone … to amend the offence of creature humane, to chace discord
1519 Douglas Corr. 76.
But ony caus or offence
1531 Bell. Boece II. 12.
Quhatsumever offence of lese majeste committit
1544 Reg. Privy S. III. 133/2.
Saufconduct … to the remanent that havis thame honestlie and committis na offens
1553 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 222.
Forgiffing all offensis … and speciell the last offens and brak maid be thaim … upon his gud freind the Lord Louett
1553–4 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II. 189. 1559 St. A. Kirk S. 6.
The wechtines of his offens delatate to him he is becumin penitent
1582 Douglas Corr. 179.
It is ane haynous offens towardis God … to desaif ony that giffis trust
1592 St. A. Baxter Bks. 48. 1598 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 166.
To sit twa houris in the joggis … for his offence
1675 St. A. Baxter Bks. 139.plur. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 49/12.
Jhesus bad Sanct Petir and us all forgeue fautis and offensis committit agane us
1496 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 304.
For the offences and violence … done by the said Alexander … one umquhile Schir Alexander Fraser
1546 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 229. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 107/5.
Hawy dolour for the foremer offenssis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 36 marg.
Ib. 37/1.
Ib. 82/14.
1596 Dalr. II. 364/19.
Quhen schoe knew publik offences scho [etc.]
1623 St. A. Baxter Bks. 85.

c. Quasi-adj. Doing injury or wrong. — 1602 Inverness Rec. II. 2.
Gif he beis fundin maisterles or offence to ony person

d. Appar., the extent of offence or wrong, the degree of wrongfulness (of a crime). — 1531 Bell. Boece I. 189.
And punist all crimes, effering to the offence thairof

3. The fact of being injured and one's awareness of this; the resentment or displeasure so occasioned; also an instance of this, an (occasion of) resentment.With possessives in both subjective and objective relation, as my offence = the injury or displeasure given respectively by, and to, me.To take offence, to take umbrage.(1) a1500 Henr. Orph. 503 (Asl.).
The inwart crabbing & offence That Juno tuke for his gret violence
a1500 K. Hart 619.
That ȝe ar caus verray of my offence
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 417. 1533 Bell. Livy II. 195/19.
Quhilk thing (as was belevit) made grete offence to the religioun of goddis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10220.
To ȝow I trowit it suld haue done offence That [etc.]
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 153/11.
That I may … tak apon me (without ȝour offense) the place [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I. 67/12. Ib. /24.
Quhilk … we dar naways attempt, fering … the offence of the Lord our God and thairthrow our iust damnatioun
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cix. 17.
That I will not for none offence Flyt lyke ane skakd
1593 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) II. 207.
To signifie to me … quherby I may conjectour the cause of my offence
1596 Dalr. I. 144/12. Ib. 112/3.
His wyfe … to the hauie offence of the hail natione he repudiat
1599 St. A. Kirk S. 892 n. 1604 Craig i. 12/4.
And let a hog teach Minerue but offence
1611 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 16.
Heichlie to his majesties offence
(2) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1051.
Howbeit he knew That it wald caus ane greit offence

4. In the official formula under all (heast) pain (etc.) and offens ȝe may commit and inryn (incur), appar. blending senses 2 and 3. — 1451 Maxwell Mem. I. 168.
Vndir all pain and offens ȝe may inrin and commyt again oure maieste
1471 Edinb. Chart. 134. 1507 Ib. 192. 1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 308/1. 1511 Dundee Chart. 26.
Vndir all the hieast pane, charge and offense that ȝe and ilkane of ȝow may commit and inrin agane our maieste
1546 Misc. Spald. C. II. 200.

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"Offence n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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