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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Sign(e, Sing(e, Sine, n. Also: sygn(e, signne, syng, sying, singne, syngne, syn(e, syen, synd, seigne, seagn(e, saign. [ME and e.m.E. signe (a1225), sine (Cursor M.), syngne (14th c.), synge (Caxton), F. signe, sine (obs.), med. L. si(n)gnum (Latham), L. signum.]There is some overlap with Senȝe n.1Freq. in collocation with takin (= token).

I. 1. a. A gesture or movement of the hand, head, etc. serving to communicate information, etc. b. A signal of any sort for a similar purpose.a., b. 1494 Loutfut MS 111b.
That na man be sa hardy to mak noyes nor truble signe no taking be toung heid hand or fut in hendering of the ta part or furthering of the tothir
1533 Bell. Livy I 248/13.
Throw ane signe that Quintius made on dreich, the Romanis ischit fra thare tentis
a1585 Maitl. Q. 110/72.
Be sum signe let this be to me kend
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 197.
The signe and taikin was that the said Agnes Roy suld vring and greip thair handis or stamp vndir feit
1596 Dalr. I 291/21.
At … a sygne gyuen, the men of weir … lap furth
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1751) 120.
In the end these furious cryers Stood silent … like to dumbies making signs [: strings]
1681 Stair Inst. i x § 11.
Consent may be adhibited by signs, as the borrowing of a watch by a sign made by the borrower's hand, was found to oblige him to restore
1681 Stair Inst. i xii §3.
Consent may be either expressed by word or deed … or by any other sign, as by pointing with the hand, or beckoning with the head
a1689 Cleland 22.
He coaghed near to expiration, … He made signs for his ligure coat, And balsome to anoint his throat
(b) a1500 Seven S. 1059.
That he mycht cum quhen euer he wald Befor ewyn mak till hir a syne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 466.
I have ane secrete servand … That me supportis … quhen I a syne mak
a1568 Scott iii 17.
With synis Be sicht or smyle
(c) a1538 Abell 42b.
Quhen he maid ane sing or takin to thame ilk ane suld [etc.]
1542 Treas. Acc. VIII 139.
All man … to be reddy … this nixt mone be skry, bale, or uther sing to pas forwart [etc.]
1558 Melrose Reg. Rec. III 164.
Nor had [he] ony airt or pairt … thairof be word or deid, sing or takin
1565 Edinb. Univ. MS La.iii.388a fol. 4a.
That the lordis … keip the samyn secrete but revelatioun be word or singe
c1590 Fowler I 279/131.
Assuire my soule with suired sings, be wittnes in this cace That [etc.]
1609 Crim. Trials III 46.
That he gif thame ane sing to cum fordwart, quhilk was be haldin vp of his nepkyn vpoun his wand end
(d) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1191.
He wald not speik, bot with ane synd [: mynde] he wald forsaik hir

c. specif. A trumpet-call serving as a signal (to join battle). Cf. Senȝe n.1 1 b. 1513 Doug. xii iii 38.
The trumpet blew a syng [L. signo]
1531 Bell. Boece I 127.
The Albianis … be sound of trumpet gaif signe to june
1533 Bell. Livy I 13/18
The trumpettis gaif signe to jone

d. A gesture forming part of a ritual. 1456 Hay II 3/3.
Of the signis and seremouns custumable tobe maid in geving of the said ordre
1622 Crim. Trials III 511.
With some croces and signes maid vpone hir, and be vttering of dyuerse woirdis
1622 Crim. Trials III 514, 556, etc.
Witchcraft can nocht be accomplischet as witchcraft bot be characteris, signes, croces [etc.]
1638 Nat. Covenant in Facs. Nat. MSS III xcvii.
Wee detest all his vaine allegories rites signes and traditions
1696 Knoop & Jones Sc. Mason 83.
After … you have answered them … and mad the signes, they will acknowledge you
1696 Knoop & Jones Sc. Mason 84.
Then make the sign of fellowship and shake hand and you will be acknowledged a true mason

2. A mark, device or symbol put upon something to distinguish or identify it, also, once, upon a person's clothing to identify the person. b. A distinguishing token or emblem more generally, or perhaps, a further example of 1 above. 1489 Acts II 221/1.
That ilke goldsmyth haue ane speciale merk syng and takyn to be put one his said werk
1525 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 78.
That metlum[es] suld beir the sing and taikin that the balyeis ordines for the tyme
1559 Knox VI 59.
Those heades that be noted with this sing X, and requyr ansuer with diligence
1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II 325.
Ane merche stane … to be markit with the said signe of the sauser
1644 Spalding II 409.
Ilk one had in his cap or bonet ane rip of oatis quhilk wes his sing [marg. A signe ilk man to know his nichtbour in the fight
b. c1475 Wall. ix 171 (see Senȝe n.1 2).

c. specif. ? The roman numeral accompanying the rubric in the margin of the MS. Reg. Maj. in a1500 Adv. MS 25.4.15 fol. 5.
And it is to wyt that gif ony rubrikis be fundyn vnder the singnes amang quhilkis thai ar nocht put because of augmentacione or diminucione of the saide rubrikis bot allanerly for the declaracone of the mater of this somme forsaide

d. ? A bookmark.Cf. e.m.E. a syne of a buke registrum (Cath. Angl.). 1551 Treas. Acc. X 23.
For ane paper buke to be ane register for my lord governouris evidentes … for signis to the samin

e. A conventional mark or symbol bearing a particular meaning and used technically in grammar or music. 1531 Vaus (1531) 3.
H is nocht ane propir litter bot ane sing of aspiratione of litteris
16.. Rudiments fol. 11a.
The optatiue, potentiall and subjunctiue moods ar discerned not by word or terminatione, but by significatione or signes and marks
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 29.
Bot in this ways and sing subsequent … the valour of the noit is les be dowbling of it nor the singe precedent
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 30.
Ane canone … is an institutione of noittis or wordis … schawand be diuers signis the augmentation and diminucion of figuris
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 30b.
Thir signis dois augment … Thir singis dois conserwe … Thir singis dois minorat … the essenciall valor of all pausis and noittis
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 18b (see Perfit(e adj. 7).

3. The sing of the (haly) croce, in senses 1 and 2 above; also, as a decoration or emblem.(1) 1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 178/12.
We ar instructit … to vse the signe of the croce
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 180 (G).
Sum makis the sing off the croys … one thair mowtht
(2) 1490 Irland Mir. I 123/35.
This charter … selit with the sing of the haly croce
1531 Bell. Boece II 89.
To … graif the signe of the croce on ony pament of kirkis
1596 Dalr. I 123/31.
Al thy graues … with the sygne of the croce decore
1596 Dalr. I 134/12.
King Achaie … eiket to the circle of the croune four lillies of golde with four goldne signes of the croce
1596 Dalr. II 183/12.
Scotis market with the sygne of the crose to ken thame fra Inglismen

4. A device borne on a banner, etc., serving to identify its possessor; a banner, chiefly or only, with a device upon it; also applied to the Cross displayed as an emblem or banner. Cf. Senȝe n.1 2, 3. c1450-2 Howlat 375 (A).
Of gowlis sygnet & set … Our souerane of Scotland his armes to knawe, Quhilk sall be lord … all quhar, … And the signe schawe
c1450-2 Howlat 378 (A).
Next the souerane signe was sekerly sene, … The armes of the Dowglas
c1450-2 Howlat 596 (A).
Thire armes … Bure the Erll of Murray As sad signe of assay His fell fais till affray
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxviii 4.
The signe trivmphall rasit is of the croce
1523–4 Mill Mediæv. Plays 122.
To pas in the Candilmes processioun with his taikin & sing of his craft
a1568 Bann. MS 34a/9.
The sing triumphale of the croce Schew to confound the feindis feid
1596 Dalr. II 300/2.
Monie standarts and syngis … left be the Inglismen, be the Scotis ar tane

b. A banner, flag, etc. displayed as a signal. 1535 Stewart 12775.
The Romanis … set ane sing vpoun the wall
c1650 Spalding II 358.
The Laird … haistellie hingis out ane signe of parlee

5. An effigy or representation (of a person).In Nisbet, after Purvey, appar. a misunderstanding of the Latin. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1438.
Quick imagerie with mony lustie singis Thair micht be sene
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts xxviii 11.
We schippit in a schip of Alexandrie, … to quhilk was ane excellent signe of Castoris [marg. Syng of castor: This is certenn sternne. Bot the hethenn tuk it for ane god ande helppers of thaim that occupyit the see] [L. insigne Castorum]
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 514.
Buikis … For quhilk scho askit twelf scoir of Phillippis sine He thocht the price was ouir substanciall

6. A beggar's token. 1502–3 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 97.
Leidin taiknis to be gevin to the pure failyeit folks … and quhat vther persoun that beis fundin beggand but thair signe or taikin … to be … banist the towne
1512 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 137.
Als mony pure folks that ar impotent and aigeit … to haif ane of the signes and taikins
1601 Elgin Rec. II 90.
Walter Hay to mak a stamp to mak signes for marking the puir

7. A characteristic device or emblem hung outside an inn, shop, etc., distinguishing it from others and indicating the nature of the business carried on there. Also in the phr. at the sing (of) identifying the particular establishment or its location.(1) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 73 (B).
Ilk broustare sal put asigne [Acts I 33/2, alewande; L. signum cervisie] vtouth the hows
1561 Q. Kennedy Oratioune 18.
Goande by ane taverne behalding the sying of the samyne
1608 Irvine Mun. II 47.
Evere … burcht to prepare inns and have singis at thame
1612 Glasgow B. Rec. I 327.
Twa post maisteris, quha salhaif befoir thair durris singis
1614 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 110.
Convenit … for setting out off ane paterne off gluiffes upon his signe befoir his buith
1616 Irvine Mun. II 48.
That … thair may be singes hung at everrie [lodging] hous
1671 Edinb. Surgeon's Rec. in Gairdner Hist. Coll. Surg. 30.
The saidis deacon … suspends the said William Wood from the exercise of his calling, and ordains his signe to be taken down
(2) c1420 Wynt. ix 2904.
In Paris he held a ryale state At the syngne knawyn the Tynnyn Plate
1631 Justiciary Cases I 177.
At the signe of the Beare neere the bridge foote

b. ? A sign indicating the price of a commodity, or, perhaps, merely further examples of a. 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 150.
Apprysers of flesh sould be challenged … That they are not reddie … to appryse the flesh after that the signe is put out
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 150b.
Fleshers sall be challenged … that … they sell flesh without ane signe or before the signe is put forth

8. ? A landmark. c1515 Asl. MS I 303/29.
In Asya is the hie hill Mont Caspius the sing

9. A signature.Chiefly on a legal document, as a witness of the contents. Also, specif. the exemplary signature of a notary public.Freq. in collocation with Manuale adj. and Subscriptioun n.(1) 1416 James I in Douglas Corr. 234.
Writtyn … at Stratforde Awe, the penultyma day of Janueir, vndyr our propir signe manuele and signet
1456 Wemyss Chart. 79.
In the witnes of the quhilk thing to thir present letteris we haf hungin to our propir selis … togiddir witht … the sing and subscripcioun of Maister Johne of Dundee, public notar
1478 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 340.
The said parteis has causit Sir Robert Leis to subscriwe thir present indentouris with his sing manuall for thaim batht
1492 Acta Conc. I 249/1.
Ain instrument vnder the signe & subscriptioun manuale of schir Robert Schort public noter
1495 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 308.
In forme of instrument vndir thre notaris signis schewin … before the lordis
1509 Reg. Episc. Glasg. II 523.
The varraye coppye … to the quhilkis I haif pwt to mye litill syng and subscription manuall to warefye samyn
1552–3 Rec. Earld. Orkney 249.
In witnes … becavs I … haid na propir seill of my avin … I haue procurit the sing manvell and subscriptione of Master Alexander Waus notar public
1556 Stirling B. Rec. I 69.
Ane wryttin of the Quenis grace, undir the sing and subscriptioun anent the chesing of the … provest
1570 Prot. Bk. A. Lawson 1.
The first leif ewerie tent leif and the last leif ar markit with the signe and subscriptioun of Robert Scott
1572 Crail B. Ct. 8 July.
Vnder the note signe and subscriptioun of me scribe of cowrte
1632 Cullen B. Ct. 14 Sept.(b) 1596 Cal. Sc. P. XII 308.
[My request for your] seigne [to this passport]
(2) 1540 Acts II 359/2.
[Persons admitted as notaries to] writt thair subscriptioun and signis manuale in the said buk siclik as thai subscriue all instrumentis
1563 Glasgow Prot. I Pref. xviii.
The lordis exeminatouris … hes cawsit him [sc. a notary] ingros his signe and subscriptioune quhilk he hes and sall use in all tyme cummynge in this buk
1570 Prot. Bk. A. Lawson 1 (see Ingros v.1). 1588 Glasgow Prot. X Pref. xi.

II. 10. An indication or mark of a fact or situation; a characteristic of a quality or state.Also absol.: this quot. may, however, be an example of sense 18.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2854.
This is signe of disiunctioun … ws two betwene
1513 Doug. xi iii 64.
Thy gret gentryce and sa iust equyte … Thir sa gret sygnys of humanyte
1533 Boece 408b.
Without ony signne of flewme
1533 Boece 408b.
His coloure was hail & quyk, he failȝeit na thing in sicht … thir signis of heil [etc.]
1554 Knox III 104.
Strange maladies … the present signis of Godis wraith
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8162.
It … was a man … be all signes of memberis
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 146.
As signe of all that I outher hope or desyris
1596 Dalr. I 92/29.
Excepte thay gaue a … sygne and takne of peace … thay persekuted … the hail … familie
1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 47a (21 Feb.).
That scho compeiris befoir the presbetrie for schawing the signis of hir repentance
(b) ?1438 Alex. ii 3729.
The Bauderane said, ‘I refuse nocht Na ȝit the amorous thocht. The sing of lufe will I nocht tyne, For all is hirris, here and hyne'
1460 Hay Alex. 4764.
The ball he send to me ane singe is Of all this that he to me resignis
1559–60 M. Napier Mem. J. Napier 66.
The fatherle cheisteisment and maist speciall singis … of Goddis onedouttet favour
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. 22/28.
Constante in gude of wisdome is ane sing
1633 Johnston Diary I 2.
Blesse me in the use of ane lauful remedie, to wit in my mariage, quhilk wil ever be to me the greatest outward singe of thy favor
absol. 1505 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 102.
That he knaw anotamell, nature and complexion of euery member humanis bodie … and als thatt he knaw in quhilk member the signe hes domination for the tyme

b. Applied to a person. 1567 G. Ball. 82.
Ȝe present ane peirles sing Of lyfe serene, the warld vntill
1569–70 Bann. Memor. 21.
The floure of Scotland, the crowne of nobilitie … sing of Godis favour, hes taken his leave
c1590 Fowler I 136/13.
Speake this to her agayne: ‘O of this stayles thought the stayed sing’

11. A symbol or representation of something; a thing taken, conventionally or otherwise, to stand for another thing.Cf. also sense 12. 1513 Doug. vi xiv 3.
With olyve branch on sik gudly wys Arrayit and eik berys mony a syng Of sacrifyce and ritis of offeryng
1533 Gau 109/4.
Abrahamis circumcisione wesz ane sing (or ane takine) of … richtusnes
c1590 J. Stewart 170/1.
The colour reed of hardiment is sing

12. Used without of phrase in the above two senses.(1) 1456 Hay II 78/27.
Thai geve … thair documentis in secre wordis be ensamplis synis and figuris
1456 Hay II 119/26.
To knawe a gude stark stomak I sall declare the certayne documentis and signes evidentis
1513 Doug. x ix 91.
Hys armour … To hyng as trophe or syng victoriall
1533 Bell. Livy I 45/33.
This divinoure … assignit the gude & happy signis to the south and the evil signis to the north, and than tuke ane signne or meith in his mynde als fer as his ene mycht suffice to behald
1562-3 Winȝet I 21/19.
King Ozias quha … ingerit him self to offer the brynt sacrifice … And ȝit his falt wes a smal thing … sen … he intendit to offer the signe onelie
c1568 Lauder Minor P. iii 121.
Reioyse, that hes thir sings! Ȝe may be sure that God hes ȝow elect!
a1578 Pitsc. I 129/8.
Mans nature can nocht … wnderstand farther … nor he may sie be wtward signnes and taikins
c1590 Fowler I 31/138.
Mark Aurelius … Whose golden toung … was for the luif of Faustine maid a sing and mark to be
c1590 J. Stewart 209 § 39.
Be singis suir I did perfytlie knaw That this vas he quho [etc.]
1603 Philotus 699.
In quhat streit dois Alberto dwell, Or be quhat singe Ile knaw my sell … For thocht I be his sone … I knaw him not
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxvii 5.
Lyk as my heu, by deidly signis, furthsheu
1661 Dalyell Darker Superst. 37.
Giff be bleeding as ane infallible signe and taikin, the said murthour myght be cognosced
(2) a1578 Pitsc. II 239/23.
Beand ane godlie man be his outward singnes
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 424 (W).
Thou seemes vnconstant be thy sings
1590 Burel Pilgr. ii 76.
Thou wanderst wyde, I se weill be your synd [: mynd]
(3) c1475 Wall. ix 112.
Thir ar the syngnys that ye sall knaw him by
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3926.
This flowing well of ȝour sone is the sing The seuin springs ar his maisters
1567 Sat. P. iii 72.
Sho hard the crak, Quhilk was ane signe that hir gude Lord was slane
a1585 Maitl. Q. 142/22.
Think it not baill bot blissing … And singe maist suir that ȝe ar not forsakin
1687 Dunlop P. III 39.
It is my invisible syen that the Lord may gif yow strenth and corag
(4) 1535 Stewart 28962.
He had so litill tyme … by ony sing to schaw, Quhairby [etc.]
1591 Burntisland B. Ct. 16 July.
The quantitie off the said contributione … to be the singe for settinge the saminge
1604-31 Craig ii 36.
Birth … [and] cold disdaine, which serue as certaine sings, To warne … my fancie to refraine
(5) 1602 Decreet in Adamson Muses Thr. II 50.
For placing of the tuns in the water mouth of Tay, as marks, meiths & signs, for demonstrating the … dangers there

13. specif. Of a sacrament. a. A representation or symbol in senses 10-12 above. b. The characteristic element in or of the sacrament concerned. Also absol. c. A characteristic more generally, passing into the separable parts or elements into which a sacrament may be analysed.a. a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 113/22.
That in the sacrament of the altare is bot ane syng and takin only of the body and bluid of our saluiour
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 136/10.
Nor to resaue the Lordes body spiritually allanerlye or be ane figure and sygne
1562-3 Winȝet I 81/8.
Qvhy make thir twa sacramentis signis only of saluatioun
1562-3 Winȝet I 90/18.
A sacrament … consistis nocht only of a signe, bot of the word of God iunit thairto
1567 G. Ball. 16.
This sacrament [sc. baptism] and sing, Quhais greit vertew [etc.]
1588 King Cat. 62b.
Thay [sc. sacraments] ar callit signes becaus by a certan outuart form and similitude thay represent … that thing quhilk God works be tham … and thay ar callit … effectuall signes becaus … thay contein … that grace quhilk thay signifie
c1600 Cath. Tr. 250/1.
We confes sewin sacramentes … not as naiked and feckles singes but as instrumental causes of the graces … of God
b. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 17.
Is not the signe in the sacrament appointed to lead me to Christ? Is not the signe appointed to point out Christ to me?
1602 Davidson in Three Reformers 150.
What is the signe in baptisme and what are the signes of the Lord's Supper? … Water in baptisme and bread and wine in the Lord's Supper
c. a1630 S. Leith Rec. 2 Ser. 283/1.
Of how many thingis consistis ane sacrament … Twa … Ane outward sing and inward sing signified … How many sortis of singes be thair in it … Twa, elementall and ceremoniall

14. In sing of, in sing that, betokening, indicating, symbolising.Const. of an action or thing, that something is the case.(1) 1513 Doug. vii xiii 91.
Turnus … hys baner … In syng of batale dyd … display
1531 Bell. Boece I 54. 1546 Reg. Privy C. I 30. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1610.
In signe of that conditioun, His rane bow sett in to the air
1570 Sat. P. xv 19.
In signe of dule lat na grene blaid On lawraine grow
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 1.
The greit Secretare wold not pas by the castle of Edinburgh without strycking of saile in sing of obedience
1576 Orkney Oppress. 34.
In sing of the … wrang that was done … he brak his cuttellis
1581 Glasgow Prot. VIII Pref. x.
In signne and taikin of his admissioun [he] hes causit ingros his signne and subscriptioun manuell
1587 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 11 June.
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 144.
In singne and taikin quhairof I gaife thrie blastis with my horne as use is
1649 Strathbogie Presb. xiii.(2) 1535 Stewart 40715.
Ane taikin and sing of his honour … that did sic thing
1580 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 249.
Ane stampit testen in sing and taikyne of the said assingnation
1593 Prot. Bk. T. Auchinlek 29.
Ane wand in signe of the said office of bailȝerie to be haldin be the said Mr. James
1596 Dalr. I 131/9.(3) a1500 Henr. III 103/33.
Hir schone suld be of sickernes, In syne that scho nocht slyd
c1500 Rowll Cursing 198 (M). 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 331.
On ane eliphant, In signe that scho in chaistitie incressis, Raid Diane
1552 Breadalbane Doc. No. 89.
Gif to the said Collin … ane kalp … in syng and takin that the said Collin … is perpetuall chweyf
1561–2 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 44b.
Quhilk evident presentit … in signe & takin that x ss lawchtfully redempt

b. In signe of paper, under the form of paper, represented by the paper referred to. a1568 Bann. MS 243b/60.
My faithfull hairt I send it heir In signe of paper I presenttit

c. As an imprecation. a1605 Montg. Flyt. 446 (T).
In signe of Stikis, that stinking strand … Resave this harlot

15. A trace or vestige of something. 1472 Lennox Mun. 91.
Sene he hais be way of deide and nocht of law maid hym to taik possessioun of the said landys … it may nocht be callit possessioun, syng na vmber of possessioun, bot ane … febyll intrusioun failȝeing in forme and ordour and law
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 5.
Kythyng no syng of heyt be hys vissage, So neir approchit he his wyntir stage
1589–90 Edinb. Surgeons 12.
The said Mark not to haif na signe of chirurgie in his bueth … sic as pigis buistis [etc.]

16. An indication of a coming event; specif. a foreshadowing of or prophetic allusion to a future event, an omen or portent. a1400 Leg. S. vii 827.
& ilke man one his clethynge A takine fand of new, fresche blud, In al thinge lyk to Cristis rud. … Fore thire sygneis ȝet left tha nocht
1460 Hay Alex. 159.
The sey wox red … The erd trimblit … Als mony ane takin and signe that day was sene
c1475 Wall. vi 4.
Apperyd than the last month off wer, The syng off somir
a1500 K. Hart 804.
That [sc. the mist] is ane sing befoir ane hevie trist
1513 Doug. vi iii 79.
I ȝou beseik … Quhat syngnys thai [sc. doves] schaw
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 131.
Mony merwellis & straynge signis wer sene in Albion the ȝere afoir the last batell that Caratak faucht
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 131.
Thai began to interprete thir signis
1533 Boece 271.
He knew be new signis, how [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy II 177/14. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5320.
He hes red … Off fyftene signis in speciall, Affore that Jugement Generall
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 13.
Sic vater is maist manifest sing of deth
1570 Leslie 39. 1625 Fugitive Poetry II v 7/145.
These elementall sygnes foretold [etc.]
1625 Garden Kings 36.
Ill presageing signs
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 58.
Drumming was very frequent … , The sign of it just before it came was … an hurling in the air over the house
(b) 1651 Nicoll Diary 76.
There hes bene sene … ominus seagnes to … foirrun the same

17. An action or event displaying, or perceived as displaying supernatural or divine power or authority; a miracle; a marvel. Also personified.There is some overlap with prec. c1400 Troy-bk. i 574.
Quhen that he saw … The sonne eclyps … ane alter maid he thare in the honour of ‘god wnkend’ That couth syk signez schaw
c1520-c1535 Nisbet John xii 18. 1562-3 Winȝet I 18/17.
To be … callit of God to be ane lauchfull pastour, quhilk is … to haue … power to wyrk signis and wounderis
1562-3 Winȝet I 19/12.
Ane sufficient signe to the peple wes, that al thing quhilk he forespak come to pas
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 197.
For his suretie He giveth him a signe
1592 Warrender P. (SHS) II 171.
Giwe thankis and prayse … for this gud sing and takin towardis us all
personified c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 5/23.
Haile, moder and maide … Bricht syng, gladyng our languissing Be micht of thi mirakle

18. One of the divisions of the Zodiac. 1456 Hay II 113/16.
1456 Hay II 127/31.
The first of thir four tymes begynnis quhen the sonne enteris in a signe callit the Ram
c1475 Wall. ix 17.
The hot syng coloryk
1528 Lynd. Dreme 391.
The twelf singnis scho [sc. the moon] passis rounde aboute In aucht and twenty dayis
1528 Lynd. Dreme 486. 1533 Bell. Livy I 47/19.
Ilk xxiiij ȝeris anys, that the son come to the samyn dayis, houris, mynutis, greis, and signis [etc.]
15.. King Berdok 2.
Quhen Phebus rang in sing of Capricorn
1549 Compl. 50/13.
Cancer and Capricorn quhilk ar tua solstice singnis
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Pisces, ane of the signes
1580 Hume Promine 11.
That north signe [sc. Cancer]
1639 Sc. Ant. III 132.
When the sunne enters in the syne of Cancer for the space of 20 dayes ther appeares no night at all

b. transf. A heavenly body other than those associated with the divisions of the Zodiac. 1513 Doug. iii ii 150.
Syryvs, the frawart star, Quhilk clepit is the syng canicular
c1600 Medical Recipes 87.
This signe [sc. the moon] is … of femenine kynd and malancolik complexcioun

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"Sign n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 May 2024 <>



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