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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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Ples-, Plais-, Pleasour, -ur(e, n. Also: pleis(s)-, plese-, pless-, pleys-, pleiz-, plas-, pleass-, and -oure, -or(e, -oir; -uir, -uyr, -wr, -iur, -eur; -ar. [Late ME. and e.m.E. plesur (c 1440), -ure, pleasure (c 1450), -our, playsur(e (Caxton), plaisur, f. as Pleseir n., but with shift of stress, as in ME., from final to initial syll., the final syll. then being conformed to the suffix -our, -ure (etymologically correct in, e.g., Mesur(e n.).] Pleasure, or a pleasure, in various senses and applications.After c 1500, becoming more common than the earlier Plesance n.1

1. The feeling of pleasure; enjoyment; (spiritual or physical) delight. = Plesance n.1 1.(1) 1513 Doug. vi. xii. 66.
That thai [sc. souls] myndles becum Baith of plesour and ald panys
1540 Lynd. Sat. 105.
Be glaid sa lang as ȝe ar heir And pas tyme with plesour
c1552 Id. Mon. 391. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 199.
Be … wisdome we ken God with delectatioun and pleisure
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6789.
To quhais talking ȝe sall giue sic plesour That [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I. 59/35.
All wane gloir or plesuir of man
1568–9 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 190.
And speciallie quhair the pleasor veill and contentment of the quenis majestie consisted
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 290. 1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. viii. 48.
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxi. ii.
Is nane of ws … Bot laubouris ay for vthiris distructioun Quhilk is grit plessour to our auld innamy
1545 Bk. Carlaverock II. 31.
One thing that mycht be pleswr to his grace
1555 Edinb. Hammermen 200 b.
The mercat croce all hungin about with fyne tapassyr quhilk wes rycht honour & plesor to all the craftmen
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 90/38.
I wald we sould bestow it [sc. time] into that Which were most pleasour to our heauenly king
(3) 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 34.
This vyce [highway robbery] … [proceeds] of lust and plessor in wickitnes
1596 Dalr. I. 105/6.
Vthiris ascriue vnto our people … plesure in the arguments of the arte of dialectik
(4) 1535 Stewart 60042.
All this warld hes bene … Vmquhill in plesure … Vmquhill in pane
a1578 Pitsc. I. 9/26.
Liveand in pleasour and gret felicitie
(5) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiii. 20 (M).
All warldlie plesour lestis bot ane cry
1513 Doug. v. Prol. 62.
Erdly plesour endis oft with sorow
1533 Gau 89/30.
Vardlie plesour
a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxx. 179.
Sen erthlie pleisour is bot bestiale
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 480.
Evill men taks paine to by hell and all for wardlie pleasour
(6) a1570-86 Kennedy Maitl. F. cxvii. 4.
Eschew lust and plesour turne in pennance
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1376.
Sall neuer man … Of my bodie haue mair plesour
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4162.
The dochter said … Quhat ill occurris to want plesure of men
c1590 J. Stewart 38/304.
This vitius vieillard now mycht tak Of hir his plesour
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 219.
Hee [the devil] woulde carnally use them albeit to their litle pleasure
(7) a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 87.
In hewin … Quhair thair is … gloir and all pleysour
a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 327.
Bot he seis befoir the hand ane hevinlie joy and pleasure

b. In various verb phrases. Cf. Plesance n.1 1 b.As: plesour is (in something); (it) is plesour (to do something). To do plesour to (const., double obj. or to, till, also for, vnto a person). To tak plesour (in, of) or have plesour (in, at) (a person, activity or thing). Also to have or tak plesour (to do something), also ellipt. without compl.(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 232 (Ch.).
Quhat plesure is in the feistis delicate The quhilkis ar geuin with ane glowmand brow?
1535 Stewart 9526.
Welcumand thame that plesour wes till heir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 603.
It was plesure for ony man to se
a1568 Bann. MS. 244 a/9.
Gif plesour be to pance [etc.]
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxviii. 69.(2) 1505 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 102.
Because we ar … of gude mynde till do this gude tovne all the steid plesour and seruice than [sic] we … may
1537 Acts Sederunt i. 34.
Quharintill ye sall do ws gret plessur
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 21.
1545 Douglas Corr. 159.
Quhat plesour I may do for ȝow sal be redde one the awld maner
1560 Rolland Seven S. 335.
Vnto ȝour grace I will do sic plesour
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxv. 6.
Thocht ȝe do plesar till gryt men Thairfoir thai will ȝowe skantlie ken
1572 Prot. Bk. A. Gibson 4.
And for steid plesour and gude deid done be hir
1576 Douglas Corr. 208.
Wherin I might do your honor anye lefull pleasure
1580 Anal. Scot. I. 231.
As ye will do us acceptable service and thankfull pleizour
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 236.
For that sche haifing done pleasour to the gudwyffe of Gallowschelis [etc.]
1594 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 58.(3) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 121.
He … tuke plesoure of nane bot … vicius … personis
1535 Stewart 46769.
The quhilk to hir of paramouris that spak Quhilk causit hir of him sic plesour tak And hamelines
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8445.
The duke him lude and tuik at him plesour
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 41.
[He] tuk grit plesour in halking
(4) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 6431.
Euerie man … Had greit plesure of hir dulce melodie
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 156/27.
I haif na plesour of ȝou, sayis the Lorde
1596 Dalr. II. 81/1.
King James haueng sik plesure in dischargeng gret gunis [etc.]
(b) 1685 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. viii. 21.
And I have no plaisore but in saving the countray so farr as possible
(c) 1686 Dunlop P. III. 29.
I sei not what plesiur ye can hef in it
(5) 1513 Doug. i. xii. 18.
Sen thou hast sic plesour and delyte To knaw our chancis
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xvi. 63.
That we tak plesour to mak politye
1558-66 Knox II. 16.
I have no plaisour with long wretting to trouble you
1604 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 245.
To tak ane suddon journay ye vill have na pleasour
1614 Crim. Trials III. 292.
I have no pleasour to byd heir
1588 King Cat. in Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 213/31.
To take pleissour and consent to filthie thochtes of the flesche

2. A service, ‘good turn’ or favour. Passing into: b. A payment (? made in good-will); a benefaction.Cf. Gratitude n., also Gud(e)-doar n.Cf. F. faire un plaisir à (1459 in Wartburg).plur. 1541 Douglas Bequest 13 May.
Certane vtheris gratitudis and plesouris done be him to me
1551 Reg. Privy C. I. 118.
The monyfald gratitudis and plesouris done be the said maist Cristin king to our soverane lady
1579 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II. 323.
1593–4 Douglas Bequest 23 Jan.
Certane sowmes of monie plesouris gratitudis and guid deidis done and payit to me
1611 Breadalbane Doc. No. 392.
1612 Ecclesia Antiqua 295.
1631 Highland P. I. 324.
With many other gratitudes plessouris and guid deidis thankfullie payit done and impendit to him … be the said … Lord Lorne
sing. 1566 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lii.
So ye uill do me a speciall gude turne and plesour
1589 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 135.
[Andrew Wilsoun made burgess gratis] be ressone of the vse and plasour he schew to the tounes hagbutteris in thair passage north
1595 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 61.
Thair is na plesure quhilk I can do yow lesumle bot I sall do it eftir my power

3. The wish or inclination to please; complaisance; courtesy. = Plesance n.1 2.(1) 1508 Misc. Spald. C. V. 36.
For wphaldin of diuine seruice … ande plesour of Gode
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 317/1.
He has for the proffit of the place and plesoir of the king aggreit … anent his … clame
1533 Gau 13/14.
Thay that … twrnis the halie writ to lichtlines and scorne for thair plesur
1535 Stewart 24425.
He wrocht ay for his plesour and prow
1562-3 Winȝet I. 52/18.
Forgeing thair sermonis for the plesuir of euery auditour
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 98.
Auld musicians has devysit it craftally for … plesur of auditouris [etc.]
1570 Crosraguel Chart. II. 6.
Wald ye … that I shuld mak a manifest leising for your pleasour?
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 259.
a1578 Pitsc. I. 171/16.
He wald put na ma out of his companie for thair plessouris
1622-6 Bisset I. 45/37.(2) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 559.
The … ambassadouris War than depeschit with plesure & honouris
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 139/26.
The reader sall nocht thynk that it is said of plesour and effeccione
1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 42.
And in schewing ȝou all the plessour and guid-will that we can

4. That which is agreeable to one's will or desire; (one's) wish, will or desire. = Plesance n.1 3.Appar. the earliest sense. Common in the phr. at (one's) plesour. Cf. OF. à (mon) plaisir (c 1170 in Wartburg).(1) 1482 Edinb. Chart. 147.
Providit allwais that the said Edward … sall gif knaulege of his plesur
1513 Doug. v. xii. 149.
Eneas … The wil and plesour of Iove schew thame cleir
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 271 (see Pastance n. (2)). 1541 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 105.
Gyf it war the kingis grace plesour
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 105.
On tyll your sad plesor be knawing
1545 Douglas Corr. 164.
Ȝe mycht hef douen ȝour pleseour to thame
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 418.
That thay wald Venus make content … and hir plesour fulfill
1558-66 Knox II. 35.
No significatioun of your mynd and plaisour was maid unto me
1563 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xlvi.
It is our will and plesour that [etc.]
1565 Ib. lvi. 1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 43.
1567 Ib. II. 227.
That scho on na wise was … compellit … to do ony thing contrare hir plesour
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 45.
Thinking him to be ane greit brydill … to leif at libertie of hir plessure
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxii. 11.
1596 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) II. 301.
1612 Denmylne MSS. (ed.) 123.
Vpon signification of your determined pleasour thay will most reddelie obey your royall commandementis
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 50.
(2) 1498–9 Acta Conc. II. 321.
To the quhilk he grantit at the plesore of the jugis arbitratouris
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 162.
The said landis to be josit … at hir plesour during hir lifetyme
1527 Liber Melros II. 633. 1527 Douglas Corr. 344. 1535 Stewart 44816.
He wald reforme all faltis maid befoir At his plesour but ony pleyd or pley
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1285.
All maner of beistis at thare plesour Did multyplie
1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 36.
And sum at Goddis pleseur preservit
1569 Edinb. Hammermen I. 8 b.
It salbe lesum to the dekyn … to dispone thair vpon at his plesour
1576 Orkney Oppress. 44.
a1578 Pitsc. II. 110 n.1
1592 Reg. Privy C. IV. 770.
Thay … dang and harlit hir up and doun at thair plesure
1593 Ayr Chart. 118.
To fische the said watter … at thair plessour
(b) 1570 Elgin Rec. I. 122.
At his grace vill and pleysour
1596 Dalr. I. 137/8.
1647 Misc. Bann. C. II. 272.
(c) 1521 Douglas Corr. 82.
To send ansuere tharof at your plasour
(d) 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 85/31.
The haly spreit quhome they schaik out of thair sleue at thair plaisure
(e) 1560 Bk. Disc. 248.
Marriage … may not be dissolved at manis pleasour
a1578 Pitsc. I. 13/9.
Sa lang as the king is ȝoung greit men ringis at thair awin pleasouris
1689 Galloway P. 20 Sept.
(3) 15.. Clar. iv. 2479.
Both kingis lordis and ladies … went to chalmeris fair at all pleasouris
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 44.
Quha ar passit twentie ȝeiris may vse at plesure al circumstancis or medicines
c1590 J. Stewart 24/338.
Hir close conclawe I sall at plesour vse
1666 Beale Fife Schools 144.
[An assistant schoolmaster appointed for one year and then] at pleasure
1665 Ib.
During pleasure
(4) 1492 Myll Spect. 289/17.
And lay with hire to his plessoure and payet the monye
1494 Acta Conc. I. 380/2.
William Lord of Sanct Johnes has to the plessore of our souerane grantit [etc.]
1524 St. P. Henry VIII IV. i. 157.
To the weil surte and plesur of the kingis grace
1533 Bell. Livy I. 103/6.
Promitting … to rewarde thame condingly to thare plesure
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 90.
That the remanent of the craftis … cum nocht … to the said entrie bot pas to thair plesure
1551 Hamilton Cat. 7.
How we suld observe the commandis to the plesour of God
1555–6 Reg. Privy S. IV. 555/2.
Florischeing of lettiris, knawlege and science is nocht allanerlie to the plesour of us … bot alsua [etc.]
1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 3.
Referrit the … prices thairof to the said Issobell will and plesour
a1578 Pitsc. I. 164/2.
Lord Home … beleiffit efterwart … to use the samin to his awin plesour
(5) 1533 Gau 21/20.
Lat hime … dw with thé efter his plesour
a1578 Pitsc. I. 42/6.
The maiestratis appoyntet be the plesour of God and consent of the nobilietie
1585 James VI Ess. 68.
New formes are daylie inuentit according to the poetes pleasour
1596 Anal. Scot. I. 298.
That he sal remane in ward during his majesties plessur
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 56.
Dureing the will and pleasour of the … counsall of this burghe

b. In pregnant use: (To do) (one's) plesour, what, or as, one desires. Cf. F. dire son plaisir (12–13th c. in Wartburg). — 1560 Rolland Seven S. 9814.
[He] drank his plesure and sine he put the rest In his bottall
1596 Dalr. II. 406/4.
Tha tuke thair pleisure quha tuik to thame the title … of reformeris of the religioune
c1610 Melville Mem. 67.
To speak ther plesour against the prelatis procedingis

5. That which gives pleasure or in which one takes delight; a source or object of pleasure or delight. = Plesance n.1 5.sing. also in coll. sense.sing. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxix. 18.
In burghis … Quhair was plesour and grit plentie
1535 Stewart 3631.
Thir lordis … at sic disport With thair ladyis at plesour and confort
1538 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 156.
The saydis Robert and Johnn hed strublit the lordis of Bonacord … in stoping of dansing and plesure
1542 Mill Mediæv. Plays 147.
[The following sum] to help to the decoratioun & plasour [Aberd. B. Rec. plesour] to be done … to this gud toune
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 172.
The induellaris … ar compellit … to seik thair plesour in wther tovnes
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 128.
That I suld have that plesure To devise with ȝow at leysure
a1578 Pitsc. I. 66/13.
Thinkand it was ane great plesour to … herie thame of thair geir
plur. 1528 Lynd. Dreme 582.
Thare is plentie of all plesouris perfyte
1529 Acta Conc. MS. XL. 121.
Halkis and hundis and uther frolik plesouris
1533 Boece ix. ix. 306.
Quhen Britouns be lang … ese grewe to insolence and plesuris
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6130.
In all thare wyttis fyue Thay sall haue sensuall plesouris delectabyll
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 172.
With ane penny of ilk hand bow [etc.] … and wther pastymes we sall big the said groundis for all sic necessaris and plesouris
Arundel MS. 195/47.
Grant me … to conteme all damnabill plesouris full of syn and mesery
1563 Peebles B. Rec. I. 293.
The scuillmaster to wait on the bairnis and nocht to gane to hunting nor vther plessaris in tyme cumin
a1568 Bann. MS. 97 a/10.
Or the pleasouris of hir toung be the meinis to do me wrong
a1578 Pitsc. I. 364/9.
Witht all wther kynd off all necessaris and plesouris and desyiris
1596 Dalr. II. 153/15.
Sik … continencie that in al pleisures [he was] a verie Tantalus
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. Pray. 3.
To intyse and allure me to follow the plaisurs of the flesche

6. The quality that gives pleasure; pleasantness; pleasurableness. Cf. Plesance n.1 4. 1497 Mill Mediæv. Plays 134.
For vphaldin of the ald … consuetud honor consalaciovn & plesour of this burghe
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4540.
Lyke paradyse ar those prelattis places Wantyng no plesoure of fair faces
1596 Dalr. I. 7/18.
The woddes … are verie jocund … and … in a maner peirles in pleisour
Ib. 43/16.
[Beauly] frome the pleisour of the situatione is named the fair place or place of pleisure
16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 193.
This part of the country of Dunbartoun … partakes somewhat both of the fertility and pleasure of these countrys

7. Other uses. a. In the adj. phr. of plesour(is), in senses 1, 5 or 6 above. Cf. Plesance n.1 6. b. For plesour of (something), ? to obtain the pleasure of, or ? to satisfy the requirements of.a. c1510 Prester John fol. 311 b.
Ane flud … quhilk cumis fra paradice of plesoure
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2952.
Beildand … towris, Parkis and gardyngis of plesouris
1596 Dalr. I. 43/16 (see 6 above).b. 1567 Sat. P. iv. 33.
Causand me [Darnley] … fra my trew God declyne Quhome I imbrasit for plesoure of hir mes

c. An ironic name for the plague. 1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 371.
At Heydelberghe quhilk wes all overgone with the plasure … thrie hundreth cam duly out to surrender the toune and being infected with the plague died

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"Pleasour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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