Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).

Servito(u)r(e, Sarvitour, n. Also: serwito(u)r, servatour, -etour, (schervitour), shervitor, servitur(e, -ytur, -uir(e, serveture, (scherviture, sevitour), serwiture, -etwr, serviteur(e, -ieure, -er, servetter, servitir, syrvito(u)r, sirviture, sarwatour, sarvettour, sarvator. [ME and e.m.E. servitur, -oure (both Manning), servytoure (c1400), serveture (a1500-34), sarvytor (1562), OF servitor (c1050 in Larousse), late L. servītor.] = Servand(e n. in various senses.On forms in scher-, see the note to Service n.

1. A person in the service of another, in sense 1 of Servand(e n.(1) c1475 Wall. ix 1510.
Thai seruitouris the Scottis put to ded
a1500 K. Hart 33.
Grein lust, disport, jelousy … Thir war the inwarde, ythand seruitouris [: curis] Quhilk gouernouris war vnto this nobill king
1491–2 Acta Conc. I 220/1.
Twa bonatis … deliuerit to twa seruitouris of the said laidiis at hir command
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 399.
Payt to Monsure Lamote servitouris that dansit ane moris to the king
1516–17 Treas. Acc. V 111.
To the servitouris that kepit my lord governouris mulattis iij dais in Striveling
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 85.
This proper bird he gaue in gouernyng To me quhilk wes his simpyll seruetoure; [: cure]
1538–9 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 236.
Resavit … fra Maister George Cuik servitour to my Lord Cardinall … iiii lib. xvi s.
1566 Reg. Privy S. V ii 180/2.
Thair lovit servitoure Margaret Howstone … mawmy or midwyfe to hir majestie
1581 Treas. Acc. MS 782b.
Drink siluer to my lord duicke of Levinox seruitour
1643 Misc. Abbotsf. C. I 171.
Cristane Poock, lait servitour to Henrie Ingisgar … and now with Kowie Insgar
(b) 1479 Acta Conc. I 37/1.
The wrangwis eting of the gers & hering & manuring of the samyn be thaim ther men & seruituris
1498 Acta Conc. II 280.
[The hay and peats were his own and] lauborit be his servituris on his maling
1549 Compl. 118/24.
Pausanias beand aduertest of the presonyng of his seruand past … to the tempil to inquyre his seruituir [etc.]
(c) 1647 Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. XII 61.
Alex. Barnat … servitor to Capitan Lammie
(d) 1474 Treas. Acc. I 70.
To a seruiter of the Larde of Ettallis … that brocht lettres to the king [40 s.]
(e) 1604 Lanark B. Rec. 116.
That nain pas out of this toun of ony of the said induelleris or thair sarvettouris
(f) 1685 Old Tolbooth Rec. in Bk. Old Edinb. C. XI 49.
Permitt the beirer David Denholme, syrvitor to Schir Alexander Gibsone to have access to Mr. Alexander Scheill prisoner
(2) 1549 Compl. 117/28, 30.
He hed ane domestik seruitour … quhilk seruitur hed borne the last vrytingis that he hed vrytin to Artabasus
1589 Treas. Acc. MS 170.
For the furnessing of certane his domestique seruitouris to serue thame in cleithing

b. transf. One who serves another in the manner of a servant, one of the status of servant. Cf. Servand(e n. 3. 1456 Hay I 110/24.
Crist said till his Apostlis … Bot quha ever of ȝow be first, that he be lawest servitour to ȝow
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4622.
Bot, he [sc. the angel] refusit sic honoure, Sayand: I am bot seruitoure. Gyff glore to God

2. A person in the service of another, in sense 2 of Servand(e n.(1) 1496 Acta Conc. II 4.
To keip … Robert of Bonkle and his servitouris and subtennandis in the tak … of the landis [of] Ballerny
1497–8 Acta Conc. II 94.
Harmeles … of the sade Huchone his servitoris and anerdance
1508 Reg. Privy S. I 259/2.
Forsamekle as for certain chargis of labouris that the kingis hienes has commandit his servitour William Forbes of Tolleys to vaik on in tyme tocum
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 128/1.
Schir, ȝe have mony servitouris And officiaris of dyvers curis: Kirkmen, courtmen and craftismen … Doctouris [etc.]
1523 Reg. Privy S. I 490/1.
To oure lovitt servitour James Dog … the warde of all landis [etc.]
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 243.
I am subject to sum infermyte … quhar throw I ma nocht gudly awayt apon lawbouris and service and I ma nocht gudly be daly resedent in your grace service I think I man writ oft and hamille as your awn sobir servitour concernyng all sic materis and effeiris [etc.]
1561–2 Reg. Privy S. V i 241/2.
Grantit be hir graces derrest moder … to Alexander Hume, broder germane to hir weilbelovit servitoure George Hume
1565 (1583) Reg. Great S. 171/2.
Geving to oure servitoure Johnne Gray … apone the heretable … keiping of our castell … of Skebo
1565–6 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II 327.
Dauid Watt vicare … hes bene ane lang seruitour … to oure souerane ladyis derrest moder
1568 Reg. Privy S. VI 81.
Axell Wiffirtt, servitour to the kingis grace of Denmark
1575 Orkney Oppress. 3.
The manifest tyranny wrangis and oppression done by him his deputes and servitors … upon the poor inhabitants [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 90/1.
Schir Patrick Gray quha was … principall seruitour to the king
1594 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 314.
Trusty servitour, we greit you hartlie wele. [King to goldsmith] … To our trusty servitour Thomas Foulis our gold smyth presentlie at Londoun
1595 Paisley B. Rec. 164.
Johne Wilsoun [gap in text] being arrestit at the instance of Johne Hucheson, servitour to my Lord of Paislay, for non peyment making to him as servitour foirsaid of the dewties underwritten
1619 Aberdeen Guild Burgesses in Misc. New Spald. C. I 124.
Abircrombie, George, and Johne Gordoun, syruitures to my lord Gordoun
c1650 Spalding II 158.
Ane parliament … quhairintill the king … wes trampit doun; his freindis and faithfull seruitoris declairit rebellis, … and thair enemeis plantit … into thair roumes
(2) 1587 Red Bk. Menteith II 366.
Be oure weilbelouit cousing Michaell Elphingstoun, seruitoure domestik to oure souerane lord
1598 Crim. Trials II 67.
The said Sir James … being domestik seruitour and proper depender vpoun my Lord of Angus

b. = Servand(e n. 2 c.Const. man and seruitur, however, some examples in 2 above (e.g. 1496, 1497-8, Orkney Oppress.) may belong here. 1527 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. vi 34.
Robert Steuard … [binding himself to] becumin man and seruitur [to James, Earl of Arran]

c. ? A squire (cf. OED Servitor n. 1 f), or ? a further example of a above. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 109/7.
To king, queyne, lord, clerk, knight and servatour [: honour]

3. Familiar (daylie) seruitour (of houshald), = Servand(e n. 3 c. 1472 Exch. R. VIII 153 n.
To oure loveit familiare servitoure of houshald Adame of Sellare
1497–8 Reg. Morton II 247.
Oure louet and tendyr familiar servitor Robert of Douglas
1509–10 Edinb. B. Rec. I 125.
Til our familiar and daily seruitour Maister Stephane, ypothegar
1524 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 218.
To our familiar seruitour aduocat and justice clerk Mr. James Wischert concernyuyng the office of the said procuratorie and bailyereis
1536 Reg. Privy S. II 317/1.
We have causit oure familiar servitour James Coluile … knycht, oure comptrollar to be [etc.]
1544 Reg. Privy S. III 116/2.
To Johnne Layng familiar servitour and chalmer-chyld to Gawyne, archibischip of Glasqw
1567 Acts II 559/2.
Takand regard … to the lang … seruice not onlie done … to hir maiestie … be hir weil belouit cousing Williame Lord Levingstoun bot alssua be his sister germane Marie Leuingstoun hir hienes familiar seruitrice and … be hir daylie and familiar seruitour Johnne Semple sone to Robert Lord Semple … and beirand gud mynd & fauour … to hir said speceall seruitouris the said Johnne Semple & Marie Levingstoun to knytt thame togidder in lauchfull mariage
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II 244.
To our daylie seruitour Johne Litill

4. In deferential formulae. = Servand(e n. 7.(1) 1463 Lennox Mun. 76.
To ȝoure henes and to the thre estatis … humbli I … ȝoure sympill seruiteure menys me that [etc.]
a1500 Henr. Fab. 451 (Bann.).
Quhom suld ȝe trest bot me ȝour seruitour?
1509 Soc. Ant. LXXXIX 453.
It is humely menit, … be oure liegis and daily servitouris, the maisteris of the faculte of the cordinare craft within oure burgh of Edinburgh
1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II 22.
To yow my lordis provest [etc.] … humlie menis and schawis your dalie seruitouris the haill brethir of bonetmakaris within this burgh
1536–7 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 81.
Vnto your lordschipis humle menis … we your seruitouris the baillies and commwnitie of the burch of Innerkething
1538–9 Crim. Trials I i 217.
My lordis of counsale vnto ȝour lordschipis huimlie menis and schewis I ȝour seruitour, Patrik Duncansone, notar publict [etc.]
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 238.
As ferther my lord of Cowper your graice rycht trew servitour wil mayr largele inform your grace
1552 Reg. Privy C. I 132.
Your graces servitouris, Walter Ker … and Andro Ker … knychtis
1567 Crail B. Ct. MS 11 Nov.
Honorabill schiris and bailȝeis … ȝour seruituris and oratricis Alisoun Elyn and Margarit Cornualis
1649 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXV 132.
I your … shervitor John McGill underteacher
(2) 1524 Douglas Corr. 87.
Ȝoure gracis lauly servitoure
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 34.
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 88.
Be your graceis servytur George Lord Hom
1546 Corr. M. Lorraine 170.
1547–8 Corr. M. Lorraine 220.
1549 Balcarres P. 308.
Ȝour gracis humble and obediant sarvator John, Lord Erskin
1556 Melrose Reg. Rec. III 165.
Your sarvitour at his power, the Justice Clerk
1560 Bk. Disc. 183.
Your honouris humble servitouris and ministeris of Christ Jesus
1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 359.
1566 Rec. Earld. Orkney 375.
Ȝour humill subiettis and servatouris
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 161.
Your majesties maist humill and obedient serviteurs leiffullie to command
1580 Hay in Cath. Tr. 34/22.
1601 Warrender P. (SHS) II 386.
Your majestis maist humble subject and affectionat serviteur to my lyvis end, Huntlye
1618 Lithgow Poet. Remains 10.
Your Lo. most seruile seruitour
1625 Bk. Carlaverock II 68.
I am in all asseurance your lordships faithful frind and seruitore

5. An assistant to a workman, craftsman, etc. = Servand(e n. 4. b. specif. A clerk or secretary. Also comb. in servitor-clerk. 1486 Aberd. B. Rec. in Misc. Spald. C. V 30.
Thome Gray, tailȝour … and in likuis … ony seruitor of his
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 274.
To twa servitouris, send to Sebald, finour, to labour one the mind
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 275.
To James Carwour takand woklie for him self and tua servituris with him at the kingis organis, xxviij s.
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 380. 1633 Edinb. Surgeons p. 108.
James Suricht seruitor to the said Michaill Andro is buikit prenteis to him
1648 Edinb. Hammermen in Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 132.
Peter Johnstoune Dutchmane brasier and servitor to James Monteith peuderer
1646-54 J. Hope Diary (1919) 140.
Whereof tuo fitters with thair two serviteurs wil be able to make 1800 glasses a weeke either beare or wyne
b. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 437.
Schir Walter Stewart, servitour to the maister almesar for the tyme
1537–8 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 228. 1567 Reg. Privy C. (Acta 1559-67 160 MS Reg. H.) in Concilia Sc. I clxxi.
We directit towart the said Nunce oure weilbelouit clerk and seruitor Maister Stevin Wilsoun
1572 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 259.
Richard Bannatyne servitor to unquhill Mr. Knox
1595 Conv. Burghs I 460.
James Clapen, seruitour to my lord comptroller
1595 Aberd. B. Rec. II 121.
Ane hous … to be ane vreting buyth to … thair servitour and clerk
1588 Reg. Great S. 547/2.
Patrik Glesfurde and Geo. McCartnay schervitouris to the said Wil., Thomas Home schervitour to Mr. Jhone Prestoun advocat
1601 Edinb. Masons 3 Feb.
Writtin be Jon Ȝallowleyis seruitor to the generall wardan and clark generall of the said office
1602 Montgomery Mem. 244, 245.
Gilbert Garven, seruitour to Hew Garven, court clerk of Irwin, … witnesses, William Mur, and … my serwitouris
1645 Aberd. Council Lett. III 4.
Receavit be me Jon Munro syrvitor to John Denholme commissyr
c1650 Spalding I 301.
Alexr Lyndsay … and Robert Keith, … gryt gyderis of the Erll Marschall since the decourting of Robert Keith, writer, his reall servitour
comb. 1582–3 Exch. R. XXI 559.
James Bonar, servitour clerk of the schirefdome of Forfair

c. An assistant teacher; a scholastic tutor. 1602 Aberd. Acc. in Misc. Spald. C. V 129.
To Mr. George Mackie servitor of the grammer school for his panis in attending on the school, fra the deceis of the maister thairof
c1647 Jervise Epitaphs & Inscriptions II 137/1.
[Mr. Park … was] servitor or pedagogue to the laird of Innes's children

6. One who serves God, etc. = Servand(e n. 8. Also transf. 1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 295.
Schame ȝe nocht to be Christis seruaturis
Arundel MS 253/447.
I am Thy pure creatoure and seruitoure; vnwourthy thoucht I be, I am Thyne
1567 G. Ball. 163.
Go, hart, as leill and trew seruiture, To him that heill is for all seik
1567 G. Ball. 171.
I neuer wrocht sa gude againe Bot was vnthankfull seruiture [: creature]
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 18b.
Judas Machabeus the notable seruiteur of God
transf. 1490 Irland Mir. I 123/10.
The gret discensioune … betuix Me [sc. God] and My seruiture and wassale, humane linage

b. A priest, perhaps attached to a particular cure or altar. = Servand(e n. 8 c or d. 1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 120.
Of thir forsaidis vordis the saidis schir Jhone Brydin, servitour, tuk ane act
1538 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 194.
We … uphauldis that present service vith oblaciones and penny almus at the Paycht tyde, and geffis the servitour sustentation

7. One who professes service to a woman as a lover. = Servand(e n. 9. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxiv 16.
The lustiast ladie … Thocht scho have mony semelie scheruitour [: creatour; B. servitour]
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 915.
To be subject or seruiture Till ane quhilk takis of me na cure
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 980. 15.. Clar. iv 2828.
When ladies kneillis to thair serviture [: indure]
a1568 Bann. MS 219b/3.
My hummill seruice tak nocht in disdane Bot me accep to be ȝour seruiture
a1568 Scott viii 17.
Gif my hairt be ȝour hairtis serviture [ed. scheruiture]
a1585 Maitl. Q. 113/27.
Since I am be destanie Becum ȝour seruituire
a1585 Maitl. Q. 211/99.
Sall I ane lemmand tak, Ane servitour that will me service mak
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxvii 10.
Remember on ȝour ȝoldin siruiture

8. fig. = Servand(e n. 11. 1456 Hay II 53/3.
And be faith men has esperaunce cheritee and leautee and ar servitouris to veritee

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Servitor n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: