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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.

Over, Ouer, Ower, -ir, adv. (adj.) and prep. Also: ouuer, ouyr, owyr, -ere, and Ofowr. [e.m.E. over, ouer, ME. over(e, ouer(e, owur (Cursor M.), (north.) ouyr, -ire, (north.) ower, owver (Wyclif), offr (Orm), OE. ofer. Cf. Our.]Very rare before the third decade of the 16th century and common only after the middle of that century, when it may well be due at least in part to the influence of English. In view of this and of the ambiguity of spellings in -u- and -w(as well as -v-) and in the absence of rhymes indicating a pronunciation with intervocalic -v-, it is possible that the distinction from Our is chiefly orthographic.

Over.Also, in various following senses, as the first element of numerous compounds, for which see the separate entries below.

A. adv. 1. Indicating movement or passage across, from one side to another of something or above something and down.In some instances of (1) perh. more or less pleonastic, adding little or nothing to the force of the verb of motion.(1) 1535 Stewart 27380.
Tha dround ilkone for fercenes ouir to fle
1549 Compl. 41/17.
Heise the mysȝen and change it ouer to leuart
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 3.
At Kingorne ferrie passand ouir [: four]
1596 Dalr. I. 15/30.
An ornate brig … be quhilke … is past ouer till … a riche monaster
Ib. 210/13.
And sente him ouer til Orknay
Ib. 38/12. Ib. II. 248/4. 1600-1610 Melvill 121.
He … wrot ower … to me in his favour
Ib. 139.
A sow … swomes ower befor us
Ib. 259.
He cust me ower on the uther bank
c1650 Spalding II. 205.
He brocht over his wyf to his awin hous in Old Abirdein
1664 Wemyss Corr. III.
Send me ouer to-morou the len of my Lord Broghils romans calied Parthinsa
1687 Cromarty Corr. I. 53.
Let me know when yow come over, that I may come and hawck with yow
(2) 1654 Lamont Diary 73.
[They] stayed behind and wold not hazard ouer [sc. a wall]
(3) c1590 Fowler II. 185/29.
Great quantity of diuers especes of gold [were] cast ouer amongst the people
1622-6 Bisset II. 243/6.
The maister [of a distressed ship] suld cast over samekill as he sall see neid

b. As the second element of compound advs. of motion, freq. = and over, and across, -wards. Also analysed, in in … over.As atouir, Atour prep. and adv., bak owir, Bak adv. b, ben over, Ben adv. 1, Hame-over adv., Hyne-over adv., in ovir, In Oure adv., Out-over, north-, south-, west-over, etc., qq.v. for examples. 1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 222.
Under everie nayle there was thrust in two needels over even up to the heads
1604 Elgin Rec. II. 128.
The searcharis … ar these — east ouer, James Leslie … west ouer, George Sutherland

c. Across, without motion.Also in stating a linear measurement.(1) 1587 Acts III. 522/1.
Haveing a croce irne bar passing ovir fra the ane syd to the wther
1684 Thanes of Cawdor 367.
The said jamme is … to be jested over and made fitt to receave a roofe
(2) 1587 Acts III. 522/1.
The wydnes and braidnes of the quhilk firlot wnder & abone, ewin ovir within the burdis sall contene auchtene insches

2. a. Indicating a movement from the erect position, as (to throw etc. or fall) over or down. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1800.
The creddill ouir thay cast With boddum vp
a1568 Bann. MS. 210 b/12 (see Ly v. 14 c). 1600-1610 Melvill 169.
The stark eall … maid him atteanes to keave ower aslipe

b. To turn over, to overturn, invert, reverse. — 1599 Rollock Wks. I. 420.
The hurt … that the godlie sufferis … is turnit over to thair weil
Ib. 424.

3. With verbs of giving.Chiefly to gif (geve etc.), also to deliver, resign, etc., over. a. To hand over, commit; to surrender; to give up, abandon, renounce; also fig. b. reflex. To abandon oneself, and c. p.p. abandoned (to some evil practice).For further examples see Gif v. 3 (2), Geve v. 4 (2), etc., and Lay v. 43 a.a. 1491 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 65.
And wil nocht frely discharge and gef ouir the said charter [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3464.
Heir I gif ouir all mirth [etc.]
1561 Knox II. 163.
The swerd … we haif willinglie resignit ovir in your handis
1566 Inverness Rec. I. 145.
1596 Dalr. I. 306/9.
Quhairfor he gaue ouer all … that … haillie he mycht studie til heuinlie thingis
1615 Highland P. III. 223.
My lyfe as it war gevin be his majeste over in the hands of him wha [etc.]
1631 Linlithgow B. Rec. 5 Aug.
c1650 Spalding I. 84.
Then the people gave it over and becam hartles
b. 1596 Dalr. I. 170/26.
King Mogal gaue him selfe ower to vice and ydilnes
c. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 124/7.
As a man geuin ouer to his awin filthie affections
1610 Crim. Trials III. 100.
Being gevin ower to all soirtis of villaneis

4. So as to cover the surface of anything.With verbs of covering, clothing, painting and the like. Also all over.To lay over, see Lay v.1 43 b, c. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1845 (Ch.).
He … heillit it all ouer [Bann. at ower] with calf agane
1535 Stewart 7558. Ib. 50112.
Quhill all the bent wes broudit ouir with blude
1560 Rolland Seven S., Schort Schawing 30.
Ga cowme thé ouir all clene with coill Sone smeir thé ouir with smiddie smuik
1585 James VI Ess. 70.
I may Thy gloir and honour blaise Which cleithis Thé ouer
Id. Basil. Doron 44/7.
Lett not youre selfe be smoothed ouer with that flattering filautia

5. From beginning to end, to the end, throughout, through. a. With verbs of reading, study, recounting, reflection, etc.To luke over, see Luke v. 2 g. Also all over. c 1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 40.
At the whilk bathe the kynges may sende their messangers to see them owere entrechaungeably
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxix. 13.
This warld all ouir I cast about
1546 Knox I. 164.
I have oft … redd ower the bible
1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 72.
Ane lytill quair … reddelie red ouir [: four]
Id. Seven S. 840. 1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i. 262.
I sall seik out and turne over farder the determination of the goddis
1633 Johnston Diary I. 35. 1651 Ib. II. 123.
On Tuesday … did wryte over Mononday's notes

b. Immediately following an adv. phrase of time, usu. intensitively. 1433 Raine N. Durham App. 63.
Clamand to pastur all the yher owyr
1535 Stewart 17708.
Sewin ȝeir ouir at lenth
Ib. 19301.
The secund ȝeir all ouir fra end to end
Ib. 15780, 26926. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3341. ?1672 M. Bruce Sermon in Edinb. Tolbooth 3.
Ye may anchor there and bide all the storm over
1701 Brand Orkney & Shetl. 101.
All the night over

c. Immediately following a numeral adv., as (twice, thrice, etc.) over. d. Over agane, a second time, once more, anew.c. c1590 Fowler II. 182/36.
Lyon King of Armes … reportes these names thryse ouer
1632 Johnston Diary I. 54.d. 1558-66 Knox II. 121.
Oure confessioun was redd, everie article by itself, over agane
1583 Sempill Warning i. 2.
Ȝe ar assemblit heir … to varn ȝow ovir agane
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 6.
To caus mak thame ower agane
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 44.
He quha made the homage sall make it over againe

e. Over and over, ? in sense 1, ? time and again, repeatedly. 1607 Chron. Perth 12.
There wes … passage upone the yce over Tay all the tyme, and passage ower and ower at the mil of Errol

6. Idiomatically, with various verbs.To cum ower, to come to terms: see Cum v. 6 d. To drive over, see Drive v. 5 and 6 d. To ly over, see Ly v. 3 (3), also in sense of Ly v. 15. To pas, rin over, see these verbs. 1628 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II. 19 Mar.
Seing jt hade lyin lang ouer jt was thoicht meit [etc.]

7. Past, at an end, as in e.m.E. (1611–). 1686 Seafield Corr. 30.
I cannot gett all things … exped till this heat be ower

8. Modifying a following adj. or adv. a. Beyond what is proper or desirable: excessively, too, all too.(1) 1531 Vaus in Innes Sketches 272 n.
Thrawine effekkit eloquens apperand ouyr crafty
1535 Stewart 59784.
Quhilis ouir arch and quhilis ouir rigorus
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 515.
He thocht the price was ouir substanciall
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 143.
Burne this letter for it is ouir dangerous
c1590 Fowler I. 55/196.
My style [etc.] … ar owerbas and wake
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I. 92.
Quhilk thow persewand said scho hed ouer mony
1635 Dickson Wr. 59.
Be not over fleyed
(2) 1535 Stewart 36082.
Ouir langsum war the wordis to rehers
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 200.
Ȝe ar ouir ȝoung to saill the see
1629 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 78.
Sho was ower reddie to geve ane drink of her wort
(3) 1540 Lynd. Sat. 2912.
Ȝe are ovir peart with sik maters to mell
1549 Compl. 12/24.
I suld nocht be ouer temerair to set furtht ane verk [etc.]
1568 Q. Mary in Ellis Orig. Lett. 1 Ser. II. 253.
A pur strenger, hua nocht bien aquentet vth her, wil nocht bi ouuer bald to vreit bot for [etc.]
1586 Inverness Rec. I. 307.
(4) 1551 Hamilton Cat. 66.
Quhilk causis us to be owyr negligent in the trew service of God
1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive (W.S.) 97.
That questioun wes ovir curius for ane man of my knawlege
(5) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1488 (Harl.).
Ane ouyr curst cruelte
a1578 Pitsc. I. 47/26.
That our great riches and landis ower large war odious to be wnder ane king
c1590 Fowler II. 22/3.
Innumerabill touns in France may … serue for ouercertane proofe
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. vi. 38.
Quhill I become a prentise ouer expert
c1650 Spalding I. 172.
It wes over sore ane pledge
1685-8 Renwick Serm. 232.
He is over good company to lose
(6) 1535 Stewart 38044.
To thame that banquet had bene ouir deir coft
1567 Sat. P. vii. 210.
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 219.
1584 Reg. Privy C. III. 696.
Licencis to pas and repas … hes bene ower facillie grantit
a 1589 Maxwell in Paisley Mag. (1828) 382.
Owir rachlie to spend
1609 Hume 181/597.
Civill men haif your assembleis ower justlie in derisioun and contempt
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 119.
A gentil horse sould not be over sair spurred

b. Beyond what is strictly required, more than. — 1614 Highland P. III. 170.
Knowing … his heighnes forces ouer sufficient to dantoun all the pride of sic barbarous limmers

c. quasi-adj. (with nouns of state or condition): Excessive, too great. 1596 Dalr. I. 105/1.
Thair ouir haistines and ouer bent to reuenge

B. prep. 9. Above, higher up than, in situation or position. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Ep. Ald Test. xlii. 8.
And he salbe as a tre quhilk is planntit ouir watris quhilk sendis his rutis wacknes
1560 Knox II. 46.
The present danger hanging over our heades
1560 Bk. Disc. 250.
And all other prayeris over or for the dead
1570 Sempill Sat. P. xii. 65. c1590 Fowler II. 178/18.
A … chaire … ouer which was set the armes of the King of France
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1721.
Als gentill as Jardens bitch that lay over the fyre and beschit all the rost
1640 Strong Sc. Second. Educ. 112.
The mr. most … stand over their heid for thair directioun

b. Above, so as to rest upon and wholly or partly cover.(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1873 (Bann.).
The churll owir thame [the birds] his nettis drew
1558-66 Knox II. 362.
Pull down his bonet ower his eyis
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 148.
Sin … casts a slough over the eye of our faith
1633 Orkney Bp. Ct. 87.
Thair come a darknes ower the sun
1652 Lamont Diary 49.
By diping them in the water ouer head and eares
(2) a1605 Montg. Flyt. 414 (T).
Sum, in steid of ane staig, over ane stark munk straid
1620 Crim. Trials III. 485.
[He] violentlie flang hir over tua kyis bakis

c. Above, so as to span; across. 1610 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 299.
The bow brig … biggit ower the Den burne
1632 Lithgow Trav. 115.
A narrow channell over the which … there is a bridge
1661 Lamont Diary 140.
He buelt a timber bridge over the water of Leven
1665 Rothesay B. Rec. 98.
Threttie four fute in lenthe and tuentie fute in breid ower walls

10. In contexts stating the precedence, superior power, authority, victory, supervision or concern of one person or thing over another.In some contexts in ambiguity with sense 13.(1) 1533 Gau 28/21. Ib. 41/4.
He is heid ower al mirknes
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 118/1.
Be a daylie uatcheman ouir youre seruandis
1596 Dalr. I. 346/27.
Quhilkes tounes the Inglismen war maistiris ouer
(2) 1533 Gau 49/20.
Pouer and lordschip ower al thing
c 1556 Knox IV. 97.
Lat us not think … that He takith no cair over us
1563 Ferg. Answer 41 b.
Lyke hath no impyre … ouer his maik or lyke
c1590 Fowler II. 89/30.
And they to have more interest over him
1600-1610 Melvill 189.
Maist wakryff cear over thair flockes
1607 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxxxvi.
1631 Innes Sketches 514.
A freind ouer quhom ye haue gritar pouar than ouer me
(3) 1560 Bk. Disc. 194.
Gif … unable men be placed over the floke of Christ Jesus
1596 Dalr. I. 302/26. Ib. II. 187/13.
Baronies ouer quhilkes he settis lordis and lardis
(4) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4262.
Impyrand ouir all Christindome
1558-66 Knox I. 66.
Thei … constantlie triumphed owir death and Sathan
1567 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 559. 1584 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI. 119.
To watche ower the maners of tham selves and the rest
1596 Dalr. II. 262/8. 1611 Crim. Trials III. 160.
God … did so cairefullie watche over him
(5) 15.. Clar. ii. 620.
For ever … Hot jelusie ower love does dwell at all
1596 Dalr. I. 127/6.
Quha is ouir a syse … is called the Gret Justice
Ib. II. 271/7.
The castell of Dunbriton, ower quhilke was Streueling his freind
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 356.
Better teith over toung nor toung over teith
(6) 1560 Bk. Disc. 254.
Yf ye … declair your selfis cairles ower the treu religioun
1585 James VI Ess. 31.
The harmony … is so strong Ouer vs

b. Passing into verb: May over, has power over, has mastery or control of: see also Our prep. 11 b. 1531 Bell. Boece I. lxi.
The body is … sa opprest with superflew metis and drinkis that it may nothir weild nor yit ouir the self
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1683.
Wo is them that thow may over, and that is puir I

c. In other immaterial uses, as (suspicious) of, to insult over.(1) 1600-1610 Melvill 318.
The peiple war yit gealous over the King
(2) a1652 Dickson Psalms I. 19.
Then being comforted in God he insulteth over his enemies
Ib. 20, 32. 1690 A. Shields Grievances and Sufferings 10.
Faithful ministers … meeting in the houses … were easily intraped, interrupted and insulted over

11. Indicating motion above (something). a. Above and to the other side of; (above and) across; (above and) down from.See Lepe v.1 2 a and Lowp v. 2 a for further examples.(1) 1535 Stewart 54154.
The Scottismen … Sa mony arrow ouir the wall luit pas
15.. Dum Wyf 130.
The feind flew ouer ane hill
1652 Lamont Diary 38.
Because all limeitt comissions were cast ouer the barr
(2) 1535 Stewart 28752.
Passit ouir Esk richt lauch ouir Sulwa sand
1571 Sat. P. xxvi. 12.
To cum ouir Tweid vs to help
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 255.
The said Maister Forbes being cum owir the brig of Abirdene
a1578 Pitsc. II. 158/17.
Part of thame [were] drawand ower the watter to the congregatioun
1596 Dalr. I. 222/22.
Nathir soulde a vidue be compelled a thousand pace ouer her awne dores to ansuer to the lawes
Ib. II. 2/32.
How sune he with his oste cam ouer the Scotis bordour
1625 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II. 1 June.
[He] grantit … that scho led him ouer the fyre
1651 Johnston Diary II. 83.
I heard the Scots army was reteyred over Stirling
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 82 (14 July).
Ower the holloue of the hill to the heid of Pouemadie bourne
(3) 1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 121.
Bot Hume was first that ouir the walis wan
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 629.
Men goes over the dyke at the laichest
1662 Crim. Trials III. 606.
He and she will say, ‘Ower the dyk with it’
(4) 1573 Davidson Sat. P. xl. 131.
Ouir schipburd in the sey him for to cast
a1578 Pitsc. I. 174/6.
Immediatlie [to] hang thame ower the breig of Lawder
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xxviii. 44.
With that thay kest Dame Kyndnes over the stair
1585 James VI Ess. 62.
Hurland ouer heuch
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 79.
The … hunding of twa lambes … ovir the crage
1657 Balfour Ann. II. 170.
The Duck in a rage stepes ouer the coatch befor [etc.]
1670 Lamont Diary 218.
Whille he was abowt to throw hir ovir the leather
(5) 1596 Dalr. II. 288/27.
The watter of Tuede ran ouer the bankis and brayes
c1650 Spalding I. 81.
Wateris and burnes flowit wp over bank over bray

b. From place to place on the surface of; along or across the top of; over the whole surface of.Also over all. 1535 Stewart 2736.
Sum ouir cragis fle
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2495.
Thocht rattonis ouir thame ryn, thay tak no cure
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1172.
Quhil blude ran doun ouir all hir personage
Ib. 8523.
The mother flew ouir feilds
a1570-86 Balnaves Maitl. F. cxxix. 93.
Suppois yow raynge ouir all the grange
1652 Lamont Diary 51.
The cart wheele went ouer his breast

c. Throughout. (Also without the notion of movement.) Freq. over all.(1) 1535 Stewart 14636.
With scheildis schynand ouir the semelie schaw
Ib. 55440.
Ouir Albione aboundit so the mys
a1568 Scott i. 147.
Lairdis vpliftis mennis leifing ouir thy rewme
(2) 1528 Lynd. Dreme 70. 1530 Id. Test. Pap. 777.
The sound … Was hard ouer all the warld
1535 Stewart 34496, 42778, 44353. 1567 Sat. P. iii. 83.
Ȝe wilbe repuite lowreis ouer all landis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 309.
Ower all the pairtis of this realme
1582 Reg. Privy C. III. 500.

d. Through (the ear). a1568 Bell. Bann. MS. 2 b/110.
Ane sound is hard over the eir iocund

12. a. Indicating attitude or position: Across; down from, from. 1558-66 Knox I. 39.
To curse all that looke ower our dick
Ib. 178.
And so was he … schawen dead ower the wall to the faythles multitude
c1590 Fowler II. 47/13.
& it is a grit pitie Hammiltoun thou want a pulpet, hauing sa weil preachit ouer the pot
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 168.
Better wooe over midding nor over mosse
1649 Lamont Diary .
King Charles the 2 was proclaimed King of Scotlande … ouer the crosse of Edenbroughe
1651 Johnston Diary II. 96.
That I was proclaymed a rebell over the crosse of Air and Glascow

b. Indicating position: On the other side of, beyond. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1132.
The squyer … Plantit the baner ouir the wall
15.. Acts I. 84*/2.
At Jedwart ouerburne
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 364.
To Robert Holme for feching ane maissoun from ovir the watter

13. To a greater extent than, more than, above, beyond.Ower and abone, by and over, in addition to.(1) 15.. Clar. i. 247.
I have ȝow luifit ouer all eardlie thing
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4507.
For ȝour counsall I haue done far ouir micht
(2) 1666 Rothesay B. Rec. 110.
To pay … four dollers … ower and abone quhat he and his partners have agreit to give
1680 Cunningham Diary 120.
Vicarage by and over his rent

b. Ower natur, above or beyond what is natural, supernaturally. 1533 Gau 40/10.
Sua Christ bwit to be ane natural bairne and be borne ower natwr abwne al Adamis bairnis

14. In various phrases.Arse over heid, top over taill, head over tail, pell-mell, in confusion, topsy-turvy. Hand over heid, see Hand n. 9 c.  Over uther, one after the other, pell-mell. Over one's head, over, past, at an end. To take etc. over another's hede, to dispossess him of (land, customers, etc.) by offering a higher rent, undercutting his prices or otherwise unfairly; also to geve or set (property) over another's hede; and see Hede n.1 2 c.(1) a1605 Montg. Flyt. 138 (T).
With … mankit meitter Trottand and twmbland top over taill
1596 Dalr. I. 166/25.
Quha culde be formest in flicht, al throuch vther, and as we vse to speik, arse ouer heid
(2) 1535 Stewart 50203.
Ilkane ouir vther in the hoillis fell
1596 Dalr. II. 284/7.
The Inglismen ouer vther thay cast out
(3) 1634 Rutherford Lett. (1892) 119.
When all these strokes are over your head, what will ye say to see … Christ's … face
(4) 1566 Inverness Rec. I. 145.
Nor yit suld nocht haif tane the saidis landis agane owyr the said Thomas heid
1567 Reg. Privy C. I. 590.
[He] hes gevin and set in fewferme to his spouse … be ane myd persoun the saidis mylnis ower the heid of the said James
1668 Edinb. Surgeons II. 21.
R. Kennedy compleanes of Wm. Stevine for taking patientis over his head
1681 Glasgow Weavers 6.

15. transf., esp. in temporal applications. a. Through, throughout, during. b. Beyond, past; longer than; after. c. Remaining after.a. c1500-c1512 Dunb. li. 18 (M).
An mastive … To keip ȝour wardroippe ouer nycht
1535 Stewart 754.
[With]outin tarie ouir nycht ouir day [To] Spanȝe lande tha tuke the narrest way
1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 147.
Be drynking of vyne owyr nyght
b. 1484 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 50.
Quha at bydes ower the ceissing of the bell … sal pay vj d.
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8938.
At the thrid hour that past is ouir midnicht
1570 Sat. P. xix. 47.
Thai murdreist him … Schort ouer twa yeiris quhen he had rung in deid
c. 1581–2 Chron. Perth 54.
They had drunken out the ale that was left over Maiges fathers supper

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"Over adv., prep.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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