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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Senȝe, Seinȝe, n.1 Also: senȝie, senȝhe, senyhe, senghȝe, segne, seigne, seinyie, seinge, seyngȝe, sainȝe, seyne. [ME and e.m.E. seine (Layamon), seigne, seyne (both Manning), senge (c1440), seny(e, ceny (all Prompt. Parv.), OE seᵹn, L. signum Sign(e n.; aphetic form of Ensenȝe n. (Ansenȝe n.)]

1. A war-cry; a rallying cry or signal. Also fig. with ironic intent. = Ensenȝe n. 1.(a) ?1438 Alex. i 1603.
Quhen thay the kingis senȝe [F. enseigne] hard cry
?1438 Alex. ii 8672.
His steid he straucht and cryit his senȝe [F. ensaigne], ‘Tortoun! I shrew him that will fenȝe'
?1438 Alex. ii 9809.
Senȝe [: fenȝe; F. ensengne]
1460 Hay Alex. 3817.
And lowde thai cryit the senghȝe of Macedone
c1475 Wall. vii 571.
(b) 1460 Hay Alex. 3225.
With that the segne of Macedone thai cryit
(c) 1460 Hay Alex. 3620.
His seyngȝe loude on hie he cryit
a1500 K. Hart 222.
Thay cryit on hicht thair seinȝe wounder lowde
1535 Stewart 22467.
(d) ?1438 Alex. ii 4341.
Marciane … the sainȝe [F. ensengne] of Olimpy With his voce richt hard can cry
fig. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 139.
Corruptit carioun, he sall I cry thy senȝie

b. A call to battle sounded by a trumpet. Cf. Sign(e n. 1 c. 1570 Leslie 216.
He gaif seinge by sound of trumpit

2. (Something functioning as) a distinguishing mark, emblem or symbol. = Ensenȝe n. 3. Cf. Sign(e n. 2. c1420 Wynt. v 433.
A Romane … gat on that senyhe [C. seyne, W. senȝe] That Bretownys bare; syn can he fenyhe Hym a Brettowne for to be
c1450-2 Howlat 432 (A).
In the takinnyng of treuth and constance kend The colour of asure … For thi to the Dowglas that senȝe was send As lelest
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2568.
Vpon my hoichis the senȝeis may be sene
c1475 Wall. ix 170.
The Rede Reiffar … Held out a gluff in takyn off the trew. His men beheld and weyll that senȝe knew, Left off thar schot that sygn quhen that thai saw
1494 Loutfut MS 133b.
And thair [sc. at Troy] wes this connysance first beginnyn and ay syn it is callit the seigne of honour [sc. a coat of arms]

3. A banner, pennant, or the like, bearing a martial device. = Ensenȝe n. 4. Cf. Sign(e n. 4. ?1438 Alex. i 888.
Thai … to thair speris fesnit senȝeis [F. enseignes]
c1475 Wall. x 139.
Quhar off suld thow thi senȝe schaw so he?

4. A sign outside a shop, advertising the goods sold within. Cf. Ensenȝe n. 5, and Sign(e n. 7. 1569 Reg. Privy C. II 33.
Certane of the baillies of the toun of Edinburgh come to the Cannogait, and … brak and kaist doun senyeis of wyne
1630 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 84.
That nane hing up any bachill or exempill of thair worke pertening to the skynner craft … or putt anye paterne of gluiffes upone seinyie before his buith in na tyme to cum

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"Senȝe n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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