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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.

Pais, Pas(e, Pace, n.2 Also: paise, paice, pays(e, paize; paese; peas(e; peis, peys, pece, pesse, peich; plur. also passes. [ME. and e.m.E. pays (14th c.), pais(e, peys (1303), peis(e, pees (1398), e.m.E. also peyce (c 1500), pease (1600), peize (1555), peyze, peaze (1582), early OF. peis (later pois, mod. poids), also fem. peise, ONF. and AF. peis.] Weight; a weight.(Also Aver-de-pais n.).

1. a. The weight prescribed by authority as standard for a particular article or commodity.(1) 1434 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 390.
That quhat fleschar that beis conuict for brekyng of pece or that sellis flesch or it be prisit [etc.]
(2) 1468 Acts (1566) (Jam.).
[Thai ordane it til haue cours, the Inglis noble of the Rose, and the auld Edward] keipand pace [xxviiij s.]
1558–9 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 27.
That thai [sc. jewels] wey and keip the pais vnder specifyit

b. Espec., the weight of different varieties and qualities of bread prescribed periodically by the magistrates of burghs and by other authorities in relation to the prices to be charged; also, the official list or table of these prescribed weights and the corresponding prices.(1) 1434 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 390.
That na baxtar brek the pais that is … giffin hym be the baillies
1442 Ib. 9.
That the balȝeis keipe the assise … And forthirmar to make a pais as the cause requiris
1492 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 62. 1497 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 77.
The balyeis … hayff charygyt thaym and to kep to the pays … and thay sall punt it witht thayr sell
1503 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 97.
Thir are the personis … convict … for … nocht kepand the pais vsit and wount, that is to say that the caikis for the penny sould wey vther half tymes alsmekill as the penny quhit breid … the quhit penny laif weyand xvj vnce, the vther to wey xxiiij vnce, and swa les or mair pais [as] accordis
1521 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 63.
We ordand ane pais to be gevin to ilk hun efferand as the quhet war boucht for ane merk
1523 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 189. 1530 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 15 Nov.
The sys ordains the breid to be at xiij sh. pais and the bailȝes to sers gyf it keipis the pais and sufficient stuff
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 134.
1556 Peebles B. Rec. 231. 1573 Dundee B. Laws 339.
Quhilk the said comonity … craiffand of ws ane pais of breyd not respectand the mercat
1588 Old Dundee I. 97. 1619 Conv. Burghs III. 81.
And to send … thair … best advyse for reforming of the present table of the said paice
1655 Ib. 403. 1655 Aberd. Council Lett. III. 248. 1666 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 10.
Considering that they doe keip ane ordinar custome to give out a pais of bread yeirlie once or oftner to the baxteris … to the effect they may make the weight of their bread according to the table therefoir statuts and ordaines that the pryce and pais at this time sall be as followis
1681 Ib. XI. 21.
The paise of the best wheat bread to be according to the rait of ten pounds Scots for the boll of wheat inde the twelve penny loafe 11 ozs. 3 drops weight
(b) 1443 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I. 7.
And the … baxteris sall nocht bake the said mayne forowtyn pase to be given to thame be the baillies
1458 Perth Guildry MS. i.
The pase of brede is giffin to the baxtaris a lafe to conten bakin and dry xxiiii vnce and xxvi paste
Quhay say falȝes and brekis pase sal pay [etc.]
1463 Peebles B. Rec. I. 150.
That quhat wyf brak the pas was gewyn efter the price of quheit [etc.]
1503 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 134.
John Blak, John Nesch and Kitte Merchall mynesaris of the pas
1541 Perth Guildry MS. 513 (31 Oct.).
[The] comite of this burght diuers tymes hes murmurit the sobir pas of breid of quhit bakin be the baxter craft of the said burght
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 164.
The … counsale findis that the breid apprehendit with Hercules Methven is fer les nor the pace
1573 Ib. IV. 2. 1596 Stirling Chart. 222.
Quhyte, auchtene merks, and the pace accordinglie
1611 Conv. Burghs II. 322.(c) 1592 Burntisland B. Ct. 20 Oct.
That na braid be sauld darrer … nor twentie aucht vncis be vnfremene for xii d. and twentie sex vncis be frie menis for xii d. and the rest effeiringe to the saidis prycis and peasis
1617 Conv. Burghs III. 39.
1655 Ib. 402.
The pais of wheat bread … to be conforme to the peas of Edinburgh
(d) 1616 Conv. Burghs III. 28.
To tak tryall anent the paese and sufficiencie of the breid
(2) 1525 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 78.
Siclyk weicht ane pais that beiris we ordand thaim to put that samen pais in every baikhous
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 17. 1568 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 314.
Thatt the four pennye laif be weill bakin and dryit guid and sufficient stuf and keip the mesour and pais of xxij unceis
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 121.
Insufficient stufe, wanting the just payse and wecht
1596 St. A. Baxter Bks. 57.
That na brother of craft presume … to baik twa kynd of braidis of syndre paises and veychtis [ed. veychtie] all of ane pryce heireftir
1600 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 280.
The mayneschottis [etc.] … keipis na pais or wecht quhairby the kingis leigis is dissavet
1638 Stirling B. Rec. I. 179.
To baik tap and sell ait brede caikes, baithe at ane heiche price and ane law wecht or paise
With aitt breid maid in … bapes of the wecht or paise and price sett doun in the table insert in this … buik
1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 101.
All quhytbread … to be of the paise and weicht underwrittin viz. ilk tua shilling loaff fyfteine vnce weicht
1653 Ib. 135. 1654 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII. 341.(b) 1540 Elgin Rec. I. 48.
That the leif baksteris obserwe and keip the peis and weych giffin to tham
1581 Ib. 162.
Quhill thai ressaue thair peys and weychtis fra the provest and bailȝeis

c. Of pais, in conformity with, or that conforms to, the prescribed or standard weight.(1) 1451 Acts II. 40/1.
The Inglis new noble callit of paise sal haif cours than for xxxiij s. iiij d.
1456 Ib. 46/1.
And at ther be mone of vther cuntreis … sik as the Henry Inglis noble of pais to be criyt to xxij s.
1459 Montrose Baillie Ct. 12 a.
ii nobill off pas
(2) 1550 Cupar B. Rec. 21 Oct.
Becaus thay offerit thame ay reddy to baik of pais efter the actis of parliament & efter the prices of the coirn

2. Weight, heaviness, more generally. a. Of pays, of weight, heavy, massive. 1513 Doug. x. x. 25.
The tother … Buyr at hym mychtyly with a lang speir Throw owt hys scheild of pays

b. fig. Charge, responsibility. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2667 (Bann.).
Off his awin deid ilk man salbeir the pais [: sais] As pyne for syn, reward for werkis rycht
c1475 Wall. viii. 1441.
All the haill pas apon him selff he sall tak Off pees or wer
1535 Stewart 26436.
In that beleif King Vter gart proclame … wnder the paice of blame That [etc.]
Ib. 49098.
Of baith thir feildis the haill pais and the wyte Alhaillelie vpoun the Bruce tha laid
Ib. 36178.

c. In fig. context. c1590 Fowler I. 383/172.
His cursinges weighe me downe to hell, I feile ther payse, allas!

3. concr. A heavy object used on account of its weight, chiefly one used as a weight or counter-weight of a mechanism.(1) 1506–7 Treas. Acc. III. 367.
For wellus to covir the kingis pais of lede he beris in his hand
1629 Boyd Last B. 24.
I finde the desires of this life like weightie paisses drawing me downe to the ground againe
(2) 1504–5 Treas. Acc. II. 294.
For thre pulleis of irne for it [sc. a large curtain] and ane pais for the samyn
1546 Ib. VIII. 473.
And send furth … of Dumbertane witht the pays and spyndill of the man mylne
1624 Old Dundee I. 418.
Ane sufficient cord or tow with ane pais of lead or stane at the end thereof

b. Espec., one of the weights of a clock. Also fig. Also attrib. and comb.(1) 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 140.
For xj faddome of … cord to beir the pais of the half-hour
1561–2 Ib. II. 158.
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 56.
To agree … with ane man to cast the paisis of the knox
1604 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 796.
For mending the aixtre thatt wyndes vp the paissis of the kirk xiij s. iiij d.
1614 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 118.
1616 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 341.
1625–6 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 332. 1658–9 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 540. 1659 Craven Ch. in Orkney II. 196.
Ane knok with leadin paises
1666 Glasgow B. Rec. III. 87. 1672 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 278.
A knock … which … sould haue on pais
1673 Hunter Fam. P. 83.
a 1690 Edgar Old Church Life 35.
[Getting cords for the] paizes
(b) 1574–5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 4.
To get up the passis was falling from the knok
1611–2 Misc. Spald. C. V. 87.
The hoill of the loft of the knok quhair the pases come downe
1679 Stirling Common Good 129.
For weightis to the streiking pace of the knock [12/-]
1681 Irvine Mun. II. 292.
1692 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 313.
The tyme that the paces are a drawing up
1705 Foulis Acc. Bk. 372.
[To] make a trap to winn to draw the paces of the knock in the stair
(c) 1586 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 263.
For boring of the pesses to the kirk and heissing of them to the stepill
15.. Aberd. B. Rec. MS. (Jam.).
To wend [= wind] the peassis thairof [of the clock]
1655 Glasgow Trades House 326.
For men[d]ing the peich of the bell
(2) fig. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 387.
That the wheels, paces and motions of this poor church are … ruled … according to our only wise Lord
1640 Ib. 588.(3) attrib. 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 139.
For ane cut of ane greit tre to tow the pais cords of the knok of the hour and half-hour
1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 29.
Of gryitt cloakes … the peas quheill that guydis the hand quheill
(4) comb. 1660 Peebles B. Rec. II. 200.
For fyve fadome towes to hing the paisstones on
1662–3 Ib. 203.
Caryed up the pais stons to the stipell

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"Pais n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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