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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Plesance, -ans, n.1 Also: pless-, pleiss-, pleys(s)-; plas-; pleas-, plis- and -aunce, -awns, -aincce, -ence, -ens; Plesand(i)s. [ME. and e.m.E. plesaunce (Rolle), -ance, plezavns (c 1485), pleasauns (? 1461), also playsa(u)nce (Caxton), plaisance (1681), pleasure, etc., also applied to a gift of money (1568), OF. plaisance (a 1296 in Littré) pleasure, delight, (in 16th c.) place of pleasure or delight, an ornamental addition to feminine dress, f. plaisant pleasing, plaisir to please. Cf. med. L. placentia, whence ultimately Plesance n.2]

1. The feeling of pleasure; enjoyment, delight, joy.Also, spec., sometimes with defining adj.: Worldly pleasure, esp. carnal pleasure, or celestial bliss.(1) 1456 Hay I. 86/9.
For chos of desyre cummys of plesaunce and of delectacioun
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 274.
The mair thai sall haue plesance and lyking
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 42 (Harl.). a1500 Colk. Sow Prol. 18.
Quhat is the warld without plesance or play Bot passionale?
1494 Loutfut MS. 110 b.
This bataile nedis na borrois of thair entrais for quhy it is tane bot of plesance
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiv. 33.
Had I..fro my plesans bene opprest I had bene deid langsyne
1513 Doug. viii. v. 80.
Sa fair placis to se … This strange knycht caucht [E. culd] plesance and delyte
(b) 15.. Clar. v. 842.
That naine persave might be hir countinance When that scho felt of paine or of plisance
(2) 1456 Hay I. 291/12.
A disordinate lust or plesaunce warldly
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1912 (Ch.).
The feynd … vnder plesance [Bann. pleasaunce] preuilie dois hyde
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 54/30. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1297 (Harl.).
Off temporall plesance vnto perpetuall pane This said ressemblence merk in memoriall
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 173.
Inconstant warld … Thy transitorie plesance quhat auaillis?
c1500-c1512 Dunb. iv. 5 (M).
Our pleysance heir is all vayn glorie
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 83.
O fair Creisseid … So giglotlike takand thy foull plesance
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 74/22.
I haue desyrit … an nother woman to fleschly plesance out of spousage
Id. Mir. I. 103/25.
Carnale plesaunce
Ib. 128/17.
And men mare inclinit to volupte and plesaunce
1492 Myll Spect. 273/9.
In the … plesans that thow has in wemen
a1570-86 Kennedy Maitl. F. cxxxi. 11.
My preterit tyme I wald not spair Plesance to putt in to that mouthe
a1568 Balnavis Bann. MS. 138 b/35.
At that semlance is no plesance Quhen pithles is thy pen
(3) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 806 (Harl.).
For ȝour pane ȝe sall ressaif plesance In hewin with me
1513 Doug. x. Prol. 175.
Thy sweit realm … Quhais hie plesance Lord lat ws neuer mys
(4) c1420 Wynt. i. Prol. 12.
Gest or story … To rays hartis in plesance And the heraris tyll excyte
c1460 Consail Vys Man 99.
Na lak hyme nocht of his delyt Na-thing that he in plesans tais … Gyf euir thow thinkis to wyne his luf
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 64/5.
The synnare that … liffis in plesance and delytis of this warld … biggis him a hauie [ed. hame] place … in hell
a1500 Seven S. 557.
Quhen the herd persauit that he Tuke the frute in sic plesans [etc.]
a1568 Bann. MS. 263 b/3.
I haif bene so weill fortunat … in plesance be my self To leif … but sorrow of ane wyfe

b. In various verb phrases.As: plesans is (in something); (it) is (ane) plesans (const. infin. verb); to mak or do plesans to a person, or const. dat. pron.; to have or tak plesans (of or in a person or thing, also to do something or without const.).(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 232 (Asl.).
Quhat plesans is in festis delicate
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvii. 14.
To wryte Quhat plesans is in lufe perfyte
1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 162.
The brycht dawyng … That tobehald was plesans [B. plesand] and half wondir
(2) ?1438 Alex. i. 1414.
His vertew … Wald to ane gude man mak plesance
c1420 Wynt. ix. 264.
All made hym plesans [C. pleyssans]
1451 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II. 87.
That ȝe present our … chaplane … thar to as ȝe wile do ws singular plesans
1456 Hay II. 101/27. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 444.
I sall preif all my pane to do hym plesance
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 13/24.
It dois plesans … to the gud liffaris of the warld
a1500 Lanc. 2932. 1502 Perth Guildry 151 (26 July).
To do him als mekle honour and plesance as he hes done him displesance
15.. Clar. iv. 307.
Do me this plesance This pectrell to resave
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1140.
Into na sort he wald do hir plesance
(3) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1831.
Sum folk that has ony plesaunce Of vtheris … mischaunce
c1420 Wynt. v. 5532.
A[ne] ymage … That men gret plesans had to se
1456 Hay I. 160/26.
Sen thay in na way … has na joy, na plesaunce, na gevis na gude will thareto
a1500 Henr. III. 143/23.
Ane lord in flatterraris to haue plesance
c1475 Wall. iv. 404.
Wallace with hyr in secre maid him glaid. Sotheren wist nocht that he sic plesance haid
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 103 (A).
Quhen ȝe haf plesans Than I am glaide
1490 Irland Mir. I. 140/21.
In hire byrthe sche [Mary] had na payne … bot gret plesaunce
1456 Hay II. 63/33.
He that takis mare plesaunce in haukis [etc.]
Ib. 93/1.
For the grete plesaunce that thai suld tak tharof
c1460 Regim. Princ. 6 (Fairf.).
Thaire will na man tak plesance in that play [M. of thair play]
1490 Irland Mir. I. 131/18.
That haly lady that God tuk his plesaunce in
1513 Doug. v. Prol. 14. 1535 Stewart 26195.
His lady … Of quhome Vter sic plesance tuke … That he for lufe wes lampit in the lyme

c. Tak (one's) plesance, to enjoy oneself. — c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 61/29.
And tak thi plesance: thow wait nocht quhat thow gettis quhen thow passis of the warld

d. A specific instance of this feeling. 1456 Hay II. 121/17.
And gevis thé a plesaunce to behald thy persone quhen thou art in riche array
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 642.
The hors … vp his musell held … As with ane plesance snokand and lykand
c1475 Wall. xi. 299.
Till help his awn he had a mar plesance Than thar to byd
1513 Doug. iv. Prol. 6.
Begynnyng with a fenȝeit faynt plesance
15.. Clar. v. 1546.
That for to sie it was ane grit pleasance

2. The action of pleasing; the wish, or inclination, to please; complaisance; courtesy.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. Prol. 128.
That ros That … evyre spryngys In plesans of the Kyng of Kyngis
Ib. vii. 3555.
And specyally Thai ware tretyd wyth plesawns
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 328.
Thai ar … fair-calland with gret plesans
a1500 Rauf C. 907.
To tell him as I haue tauld thé Withoutin plesance
c1475 Wall. viii. 1687.
The harrold … Contende the tyme with worschip and plesance
1490 Irland Mir. II. 43/20.
The gret luf plesaunce and graciosite that was betuix Ihesu and his moder
1494 Loutfut MS. 43 b.
All gentill men ande leill luffaris … for the growing of honour amoure & plessance cummis to the hall to syng, dans [etc.]
a1500 Lanc. 1750.
And if thy giftis … be sen ay gifyne vith plesans [etc.]
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii. Prol. 9.
Sum mater walde furme for pleyssance
1434–5 Reg. St. A. 424.
The said Waltyr has grauntit for plesance lordschip and favoure of the said reverend fadyr priour [etc.]
1448 Buccleuch Mun. II. 40.
For the plesance of God
a1500 Rauf C. 358.
Mony wicht wyfis sone … With all kin principall plentie for his plesance
c1475 Wall. ix. 375.
As I am her at your charge for plesance
1490 Irland Mir. MS. fol. 340.
The gret noblis … had nocht thar coupis nor pesis for plesaunce
Ib. fol. 355 a.
He … is abill for plesans of him to condiscend to the sammyn
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 214.
I sall for thy plesance … Thy fault reforme

3. That which gives (a person) pleasure or satisfaction; (one's) will, wish, desire.Common in the phr. at (one's) plesans.(1) 1456 Hay II. 97/12.
Bot lat otheris do thair awin plesaunce
c1460 Dietary 24.
To say the best set alwayis thi plesans
1490 Irland Mir. II. 97/9.
Ilkane of thame had his proper [power and] will and plesaunce
a1500 Seven S. 1002.
And syne thairefter do may ȝe Ȝour awne plesans of him and me
a1500 Lanc. 940.
Madem, your plesance may ye wel fulfill Of me
a1568 Scott viii. 12.
Do with my hairt ȝour hairtis sweit plesance
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 93, etc.
Of all thyngis at thare plesance Thai hade large abowndance
1456 Hay I. 29/34.
Bot thai chesit at thair plesaunce
Ib. 274/16.
Bataill in felde clos of barrieris is … anerly tholit at the plesaunce of princis
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 6025.
The dedis … Quhilk wther buikis … recordis At thare plesance or appetite of lordis
1482 Liber Aberbr. II. 183.
It sall be lesum to the said venerabile fader … to dispone apone the saide fyschyng at his plesance
1484 Acta Conc. I. *89/1.
The samyn … to be biggyt at his avne plesance
a1500 Seven S. 1478. 1517 Acta Conc. MS. XXX. 5.
At the plesance of my said lord governour
(3) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 39/7.
And na thing done incontrare to the plesaunce of the gud Lord
a1500 Quare Jel. 127.
And euery thing according to plesaunce
a1500 Lanc. 1937.
Who that farest schewith hym I wys Most suffisith and best to his plesans
(4) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 7/14.
The powere is nocht gevin to thame [rulers] to gouerne the Cristin pepil eftir thar will and plesaunce

4. The quality of pleasing; the condition of being pleasant; pleasantness. 1375 Barb. i. 5.
Than suld storys that suthfast wer … Hawe doubill plesance in heryng
c1475 Wall. ix. 22.
Gentill [Jupiter] … Bath erb and tre reuertis in plesance
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 54/22.
He … dressis all his lyf for that thing and plesance of it
c1500 Crying of Play 132.
In Edinburgh quhar is meriast cheire Plesans disport & play
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxv. 37. Ib. xlviii. 39.
Quhair … is Pley, plesance and eik honesty
1535 Stewart 55394.
Margaret … Of plesance als without compair or peir
1562-3 Winȝet II. 57/11.
Graif owt the precious stanis of godlie doctrine … eik to thame … beutifulnes and plesance
c1590 J. Stewart 78/189.
Till depaint … thair full plesance My langage laiks all Ciceronian dyt

5. sing. and pl. A source of pleasure; something that gives or causes pleasure; a pleasure or delight.Also, coll. or pl. without infl.: ? Pleasures or delights, collectively.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 6.
The fyrst piesance is the carpyng
(2) 1456 Hay II. 23/15.
To hunt and hauk … and all sik honourable plesauncis
Ib. 96/24.
Thair plesauncis quhilkis ar leffull and but repruf
Ib. 125/11.(3) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 256.
Haf I nocht ryches gewine thé & warldis plesance in plente
c1450 Cr. Deyng (S.T.S.) 166.
To leif his gret riches … his wyf and barnis and sik othir plesans
1456 Hay I. 176/7.
A noble knycht … suld be haldin in free prisoun with plesaunce and disportis
Ib. II. 96/20.
Quhat kyn plesance deduytis and recreaciouns princis suld tak
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 77.
With al delytis and plesans of women sangstaris and othir delytis
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 66/28.
Throu [my eyes] … seand plesance and vanyteis of the warld men or women be concupiscence
(4) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 158/17.
That it suld be His plesaunce

b. Applied to a person. ? a 1510 Mod. Lang. Notes XXIV. 111/1.
Hayle! patryarkes pleye, hayle! potestates plesaunce
a1568 Scott xvii. 31.
Adew my pane & plesans most perfyte

6. Other uses, in senses 1 to 4 above. a. In the adj. phr. of plesans. b. personified.Courche of … plesance, a kerchief presented as a token of favour by a lady to a knight successful in a tournament (cf. late ME. kerchyef of plesaunce (c 1420, 1440), s.v. pleasance Plesance n.2). See also c below.a. c1475 Wall. iv. 8.
Quhen … lewys had lost thair colouris of plesence
1490 Irland Mir. I. 77/31.
Paradice is a richt nobile place of plesaunce
1494 Loutfut MS. 109 a.
Othir be slaw batall or batell of plesaunce
a1500 Lanc. 1739.
[Give] to the rich, iftis of plesans
Ib. 2462.
So gladith theme … his wordis of plesans
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 443.
That sic a perle of plesance suld ȝone pane dre
15.. Clar. i. 829.
Baith erle lord [etc.] … Disporting thame with ladyes of plesance
Ib. 891.
Unto hir … present … This courche of plesance saying … , Scho wan it at the tornament in Spaine
Ib. 903.
Madame, Clariodus … hes ȝow sent this courtch of hie plesance
Ib. ii. 564.
Of dilicat meits and wynis of plesance
(b) 1494 Loutfut MS. 114 b.
To fecht on fut with certane wapinnis talȝeit strakis or to the vterest for the price of a diamount or i c crownnys … this is callit the batell of pleissaunce
(c) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1689 (Bann.).
Bachchus … With wynis wicht and liccour of pleasaincce
b. a1500 K. Hart 410, etc.
Thus fair dame Plesance sweitlie can assent
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 150.
Wnto the pres … went Fyne Portrature, Plesance and Lusty Chere
Ib. lxxxi. 32.

c. ? A token of favour; a gift. — 15.. Clar. i. 811.
Scho … hes sent ȝow ane plesance, Off thair bewtie to have rememberance
Ib. 816.

7. Applied, as a place-name, to a district of or street in Edinburgh.Cf. e.m.E. plesaunce a pleasure-garden (once, 1585).See also Plesand(i)s and Plesant. 1509 Edinb. Hammermen 65.
At Plesance
a1578 Pitsc. II. 266/31.
Betuix the end of Sanct Marie Wynd and Plasens
1642 Lorimer St. Cuthbert's 19.
[One division of the parish] Plesence, on baith the syds

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"Plesance n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2023 <>



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