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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ois(e, Oys(e, n.1 Also: oysse, oyis(e, oice, os. [North. ME. oys(e, oise. (Rolle), var. of Use n.]As with the verb, this form is common in 15th c. texts, but appar. obsolescent in the 16th c.

1. The use of something for some purpose, the utilisation or application of a thing in some way. 1375 Barb. xvii. 252.
For in Scotland ȝeit than … The oys of thame [cannon] had nocht beyn sene
a1400 Leg. S. vi. 237.
& in sic oys quhen he [the apostle] had all Spendit the tresoure [etc.]

b. Freq., (to take, apply etc., something) to (til, in, etc.) one's own or another's use or service. c. To (= for) the use of (a certain purpose). d. In oyse (= enjoyment or occupation) ofa property. e. (To put something) in (= to) use.b. 1375 Barb. xix. 196.
Bot Ynglis men … distroyit the men ilkane And till thar oys thar gude has tane
a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 1046. 1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 34.
To na mannys profyte … bot anerly to the oyis & the profyte of the forsayde Jorge
1399 Ib. No. 41.
The qwilkis twenty punde I graunt … in to myne oyse conuertit
1400 Ib. No. 49.
To tvrne it [land] halely in hir oyise
1405 Lennox Mun. II. 57. c1420 Wynt. ii. 1080.
Golde [etc.] … He gert halow … Tyll Goddys oys
14.. Acts I. 9/2.
The Kyngis iustice sal tak of hym to the Kyngis oise viii ky … quhil he get hym a lord
Ib. 304/2.
And gyf thir bestis be of ony fre haldand man with charter tyl his awyn oyse
1427 Melville Chart. 245. 1428 Wemyss Chart. 55.
To wyn … and away hafe til his awne propire oyse turfe [etc.]
1442 Raine N. Durham App. 105.
14.. Burgh Laws c. 56 (A).
The propyr buchouris of the burgh sal by bestis till the oys of the toune
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 283.
To spend a penny of that gude in his awne oys
1513 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 5.
Sa that our lieges may by tharof and be furnist to thair ois and utilite
1529 St. P. Henry VIII IV. 548. 1564–75 Hamilton & Campsie Test. I. 16.
I leif my haill gudis … to the ois of fyve barnis that is vnstakit
c. 1428 Wemyss Chart. 56.
Treis … to the oyse of the bygynge of the induellaris
d. 1555 Prot. Bk. T. Dalrymple MS. 2.
That thir iniuris done be the said Alexander Seytoun bring hym nocht … in oyse of the properte
e. 1602 Treas. Acc. MS. 213 b.
For bigging vp of the bakkis of the chymnayis & putting in os the twa braces

2. A purpose or object served by something. c1420 Wynt. ii. 246.
He ordanyt als the jugis sete To be for that oys the markete
1460 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 56.
Meritabyll … thyng ys to bere wytnese to suthfastnese & namly in oise quhare [etc.]

3. The power, or the right, of using (something). a1400 Leg. S. xl. 704.
[He] recouerit wele oyse of lymmys ilke deile
1534 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 146.
With ois of the kyll ovin in the clois for feuyll

4. A person's habitual practice or accustomed or repeated employment; also, a person's habitual resort.(1) c1420 Wynt. iii. 721.
His oys wes mare wytht rok to spyne Than landys to the crowne to wyne
Ib. v. 881.
It wes his oys to say [etc.]
Ib. 538, 1171; etc. c1475 Wall. ix. 128.
Thow can sumpart off schipman fair. Thi oys has beyn oft in the toun of Ayr
1497 Perth Guildry 145 (8 Mar.).
The craftismen wythin the brucht vsand merchandice & thair labor … to decist & ces fra the oys of merchandice or fra thair hand labor & oys bot the tane thairof
(2) c1420 Wynt. iii. 979.
This a quhyle in oys thai hade And syne be statute thai it made
Ib. v. 3016 (C).
He had al tyme in common oysse Til disher the nobil men
Ib. vi. 1018. Ib. viii. 7048. c1475 Wall. vi. 138.
Sic pardoune as we haiff In oys to gyff thi part thow sall nocht craiff

b. Habitual or repeated dealings or association with a person. c1475 Wall. xi. 1045.
Sotheroun sic oys with Menteth lang had thai

5. One's manner of conduct or way of life. c1420 Wynt. vii. 1218.
His lawys till governale, His awyn oys till lyffe wertuale May myrrowre … be
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 69.
That euery man … spend it [his life] weill in gud oys
c1475 Wall. v. 610.
And how scho was in honest oys and gud
Ib. vii. 1279.
In wtlaw oys he lewit thar
Ib. ix. 809.

6. Customary or traditional practice or usage (of society as a whole or of a community).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. i.
For that oyse is generale … In worschipe of God … to say & syng [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. i. 1310.
As the makarys had daynte Off thai bestys … Be fret or oys [C. oysse, W. ois] or be profyt
Ib. ii. 719.
Wytht swylk oys and solempnyte As that tyme wes in that cuntre
Ib. iii. 986.
Fra thine all thare inherdans Held that oys
Ib. iv. 1921.
Quhat the oys is seldynyare It hapnys all the cruellare
Ib. iii. 994. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 106 (B).
That thai sal kepe the lawys and al the oyse of the burgh
c1475 Wall. x. 1006.
Salysbery oys our clerkis than has tan
Ib. vi. 126. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1164.
On Setterday that tyme the oise it wes Condampnit men of the croce to ta
1513 Doug. v. x. 99.(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 686.
The prestis … That mad … sacrifice Eftir thare oyse
c1475 Wall. ix. 102. 1494 Loutfut MS. 121 a.
1498 Perth Guildry 463 (29 May).
Pament thairof to be maid … efter the ald oys
1553 Carte Northberwic 67.
That thai suld serue hym conforme to the ois of gentyllmen
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xl. 756.
Of al landis this halfe Proyse Men cumis thare of commone oyse
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 126.
Syne, as oyse was, Thai entryt in thare oratore
1432 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. VIII. 44.
The saidis Jone and Elisabeth sall be handfast as the oys is in haly Kirk

b. The usual or normal manner of doing something or in which something takes place. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 162.
For of consawing in Mary The oyse wes schewit ferlely

7. Habituation by repeated exercise, ‘practice’. c1420 Ratis R. 222.
Fore nan may cum to his office But oys that makis thir masteris wys

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



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