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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Siker, Seker, adj. (adv.). Also: syker, sikir, -yr, -yer, sykir(e, -yr(e, sicir, sycyr, sicare, sikur, -ar, sikker, -ir, -yr, -ar, sykkir, -yr(e, -ar(e, sicker, sickker, sickir(e, -yr(e, syckyr, sickar, sekkyr, sekere, -ir(e, -yr(e, -yir, secre, seikere, sacer, sacre. [ME and late ME siker, -ere (c1200), sikerr (Orm), syker (c1275), seker (c1350), -ure (c1375), -ire (c1400), sicur (c1400), sekyr (1435), e.m.E. sicker (1567), OE sicor, L. sēcūrus free from care; Secure adj. (adv.).]The forms in e, ei no doubt result largely from the regular sound-change of ĭ to ē in open syllables: but cf. also MLG, MDu. seker.

I. adj. 1. Of a person: Secure from attack, pursuit or other danger; protected from injury; safe. Also said of circumstances in which persons are free from danger, and transf., of a person's life.Also safe from (of) a disease; safe (for) to do something (i.e. not endangered in so doing).(1) a1400 Leg. S. vii 480.
Josaphus … went In til a depe cawe & priue Wenand thar sikkyr to be
1531 Bell. Boece I 80.
Beleif ye, to be sicker in your said montanis, with your guddis?
a1568 Bann. MS I p. 26/77.
Thow art not sickar in no kin wyis
a1568 Bann. MS 159a/101.
Pykharnes to be sicker it becumis best
a1578 Pitsc. I 18/30.
I wnderstand that the wysest man is nocht all sickerrest nor ȝit the hardiest man maist happie
1659 A. Hay Diary 142.
The Lord disappoints enemyes when they think themselves most sikker
(b) c1490 Irland Asl. MS 58/19.
Appele fra the court of iustice rigorus to the court of mercy and thow wilbe seker and nocht tynt
1533 Boece 602.
Lendesay fleing on the nycht … and trasting he had bene seikere
transf. 1533 Boece 93b.
Thingis as to mortall men ar maist dere … off quhilkis men being distursit, thare life mycht nowthir be sikkir nor honest
(2) c1420 Wynt. vi 1318.
The child remowyd hym prewely, Quhill that he mycht here, or se, Gyff that all mycht sykkyre be
1498 Acta Conc. II 292.
That the sade Jonet sal haf sikkir and soure passage
1533 Boece 63.
In sikkir eis and stabill pece
1533 Bell. Livy I 14/21.
Na sikkir rest nor felicite mycht stand to thare nychtbouris
a1578 Pitsc. I 324/31.
He wont all had ben sickar anewch
(3) 1535 Stewart 48931.
Quhairby the Bruce than kend Moir sicker wes in gudlie haist to fle
1535 Stewart 7240.
(4) 1456 Hay II 136/7.
And lat him us that he salbe seker of all maladies, commounis feveres [etc.]
(5) 1375 Barb. v 238.
The king said, ‘Certis I can nocht se How that thow ȝeit may sekyr be In-to that countre for to far'
1456 Hay II 46/6.
Leg-harnais is gevin the knycht, that his leggis and fete war seker to passe in the wayes and stretis
1494 Loutfut MS 40a.
Fers till hors [= horseshoes] … signifies at he that first bure thaim … held him oft armyt quhen he ȝed be the gait to be the mair ferm & mair sekir til hald feit aganis his enemys

b. Possessed of a feeling of confidence, feeling safe or unthreatened; confident.(a) a1400 Leg. S. iii 957.
Be sikyr, douchtyr, and dred nocht!
1460 Hay Alex. 3959.
Allace, my God, in Thé I traist Now am I sikker
(b) 1375 Barb. ix 381.
Thai of hym herd no tithing … Tharfor sekir and trast thai war
1375 Barb. xvii 170. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 243 (C).
This is the hope certane Wher-thrught the Troyians euirilkane Inne thought ay sekyr ar lyffand
1456 Hay II 164/27.
Thou sall never be seker na seure a day in thy realme

c. Assured of freedom from injury to one's person or property. 1443 Highland P. II 178.
Quhil bathe the partyis be made sikir and pesabill
1544 Fraser P. 154.
Prouiding alwaus that the said James mak the said Archebald … sickir & skatles at all handis

d. In Douglas, rendering L. sēcūrus ‘that frees from care or anxiety’ (Lewis & Short). 1513 Doug. vi xi 72.
Quhilk drynkis ȝondir … At … the flude Lythee The sikkyr watir but curis [L. securos latices] … Quharby oblyvyus becum thai

2. Of a place: That offers protection from attack, intrusion or interference; that affords freedom from danger; safe. Also (once) in sicker stait. Also transf.(1) a1384 Fordun (1747) ii ii.
[The Cromarty Firth] quod propter suæ firmitatis excellentiam a nautis Sikirsownd nomen habet
1463 Lennox Mun. 77.
I proffir to hald a hundir speris [etc.] … dewly bodin for a ȝere … in quhat parte of the realme that ȝe [sc. King James III] will charge me … ȝe providand sikkir placis quhare I may be lugeit and my falowschip
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 285.
And sew bot at certane tymes and in sicir placis
1513 Doug. viii i 46.
Heir is thy sikkir [L. certa] duellyng place … Ane sovir ferm habitatioun for ay
1531 Bell. Boece I 2.
The Grekis began to rejos, seand thair capitane in sic familiarite with the prince [sc. Pharaoh]; traisting thairthrow sumtime to have ane sicker dwelling-place in Egypt
1533 Bell. Livy I 14/4.
To finis al thare errouris with ane stabill and sikkir duelling [L. stabili certaque sede]
1533 Bell. Livy II 90/25.
Beleif ȝe that ony speciall god will … transport ȝow … to mare sikkir halde?
transf. a1400 Leg. S. xliv 163.
My patrimone haf I Stablit in sa sekire place, Quhare foule corrupcion neuir ves
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 389.
Which sted may trust or sekyr be [L. tutus … aut securus]
1567 G. Ball. 124.
Thy mercy is set in sicker place
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxii 130.
Grace become gyd and governour, To keip the house in sicker stait

3. Of a fixed structure or part of one, a foundation, a tree with respect to its being fixed in the ground, and the like: Firmly fixed or established in position and strongly constructed; also ? reliable, dependable, offering secure protection. Also fig. or in fig. context. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1570.
Ane gret cite … With sikker [L. forcium] walles
1429 Ayr B. Ct.
A sufficient wal als gude & als sikker … as the wall was off befor maid
1458 Peebles B. Rec. I 132.
To mak thar ȝet sekyr
1460 Hay Alex. 2999.
[Thay] fillit thame ouir with erd and stanis sua That it [sc. the dam] was far mare sicker na befoire
1503 Reg. Cupar A. I 255.
Ane sufficiand orchard … with sykkir dykin, hedgin, and hanyng of the sammyn
?c1660 J. Livingstone in Sel. Biog. I 266.
Humility which … maketh the tree sickerest at the root when it standeth upon the top of the windie hill
1665 Old Ross-shire I 39.
We charge you … [etc.] … and … iff neid beis ye mak sicker and lockfast doors and use our keis therto
fig. c1450-2 Howlat 751 (A).
Thow seker trone of Salamon
1531 Bell. Boece I 219.
[He] laid the sickir foundement of the Cristin faith
a1651 Calderwood II 272.
I thinke not the ground so sicker as that I durst build my conscience therupon

b. That holds or fastens firmly and securely. Also fig., of an anchor.(1) ?14.. Ship Laws c. 23 (B).
Festnyt in foure festnys … wyth foure gude cablys and sykyr
c1475 Wall. viii 1204.
A clos byrny with mony sekyr clasp
(2) 1531 Bell. Boece I 244.
Thay ar cuming to thaim as to thair sicker anker, and last refuge
a1578 Pitsc. I 105/6.
Evin as it war to ane sicker anker in quhois handis lyis the powar of lyfe and death

c. In (gude and) sekir wise, in a firm and reliable manner (i.e. so as to achieve secure protection). 1472 Edinb. Chart. 135.
That thai strenth and fortify thair hede rovmys in gude and sekir wise

4. Of (chiefly, defensive) armour: Dependable, reliable, ‘trusty’. Also in fig. contexts. ?1438 Alex. i 1856.
Thocht that Betys helm of steill Was gude and sicker
?1438 Alex. i 2009.
Thair habersounis War sikker stark and held richt weill
?1438 Alex. ii 3375.
1429–30 Acts Jas. I in Ayr B. Ct. 6 March.
The ȝumen that is nan archar … sal hafe a gud sekyr [1429 Acts II 18/2, souer] hat for hys hede
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 484.
Ane helme set to ilk scheild, siker of assay
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 537.fig. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 758.
Ȝe sould be sickar speir and sheild, … Of lawit and leirit [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 66/11.
To theif and reiver he [sc. the Earl of Douglas] was ane sicker targe
a1578 Pitsc. I 112/19. 1622-6 Bisset I 50/18.
This new gyse of iudgement … to be the sicker targe of oure commoun weill

5. a. Of custody of a person: Whereby he is detained securely without possibility of escape. b. Of custody or charge of a piece of property: Whereby it is kept safely without danger of loss. c. Of the person or thing: Securely detained; safely kept. d. Of prison: Secured against escape; offering no possibility of escape.For further examples of seker firmance, see Firmance n. 1 b and 3.a. 1429–30 Acts Jas. I in Ayr B. Ct. 6 March.
Alexandyr of the Ile sal remane wnder sekyr kepynge
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2493.
And hes thé tane into the sicker snair
1567 Sat. P. vii 219.
In sicker gaird
b. 1465 Buccleuch Mun. 67.
The said some being put in sekir kepin
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 99.
We have put the said soum in siker keping
1543 Misc. Bann. C. III 285.
The said soume … under sicker keping to be put in the handis of the thesaure or dene of gyld
c. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2152 (Ch.).
Get ȝe that hering sicker in sum place
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3155.
Than art thow sicker in the snair
a1578 Pitsc. II 51/22.
He thinkand that he had his sone in keiping with vther lordis sonis bot ȝit he thocht he had him nocht sicker annewche
16… Pleugh-Song in Wode's Psalter (ed.) 241.
Mak me as so fast and sicker As I wer bound evin with ane wicker
d. a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 20.
And himself committit to siker preason, wherfra he was never fred to the death

6. Of a person, or an attribute of a person: a. That may be depended upon to fulfill an undertaking or keep a secret; reliable; trustworthy. Also const. with a person, of a thing, and to do something. b. Dependable in circumstances of danger or difficulty, steadfast in battle. c. Dependable with regard to consistency or resolution; resolute, determined, in or to do something.a. (1) 1424 Acts II 3/2.
To … put thame vnder sikkir borowis
1429–30 Acts Jas. I in Ayr B. Ct. 6 March (see 4 above). 14.. Acts I 38/2.
The thyng that is challangyt sal be geyffin to the challangear undyr sykkyr borch
1438 Diplomatarium Norvegicum XX 102.
Fra theyne it is that we … testifeis sekyir witnessis
c1475 Wall. iv 161.
The lord was traist, the men sekyr and trew
c1475 Wall. vii 744.
Dunkan off Lorn was thair trew sekyr gid
c1500 Barounis Lawis 16.
It is to witt quha sa euir hes actioune till ony mane of thift or of slauchtir of ony frende of his … it behuvis him knyt him in the hand of ane officiar be a secre borgh for to mak soyte to him in forme of law
c1500 Barounis Lawis 16.
And it is to witt that the party defendand of law in sic mute sall haif to ansueir xl days becaus that all mute followit be secreborgh tuichis lif and lyme
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 468.
Thoght he be sympill to the sicht he has a tong sickir
1519–20 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 194.
That … thair be maid ane vther provest … and that he be ane man of gude and sekyr
1533 Bell. Livy I 142/33.
It is nocht facill to be declarit, nor ȝit is it writtin be sekire authoris [L. nec traditur certum] gif [etc.]
1535 Stewart 26359.
Be no way the Saxonis … Wald sicker be, for signet or ȝit for seill
1597 Skene Verb S. s.v. Sacreborgh.
Sacerborgh or rather Sickerborgh, securus plegius, ane sicker sure, sufficient cautioner … is ane manner of borgh or caution, quhilk ane findis to ane vther and speciallie in actiones, or pleyes
(2) 1533 Bell. Livy I 164/3.
He dred his colleig Virginius was nocht sikkir with [B. secker to; L. dubiæ fidei fuerit] him
(3) c1460 Consail Vys Man 71.
Of thi hand thow sykir bee
(4) ?1438 Alex. ii 7373.
Courtas fare and wyse he is … And sicker to do his deuore weill
b. 1375 Barb. xiv 26.
And gud schir Philip the Mowbray, That sekir wes in herd assay
1375 Barb. xi 249. ?1438 Alex. i 303.
Be we als sikker all As stane closit in castell wall
?1438 Alex. ii 2689.
He was … sikker of hart withouttin faill
?1438 Alex. ii 4250.
For he [sc. Gaudifeir] is sikker worthy and wicht
c1420 Wynt. v 3600 (W).
Thare chiftane wes … in efferis sicker and gud
c1420 Wynt. vi 2165 (W).
Bot to be sekere of hert and will
1456 Hay II 48/16, 17.
And rycht as he is ferme and seker in his sete, sa suld he be ferme and seker in his curage
c1475 Wall. ix 850.
The Scottis defens so sykkyr was and keyn
c1475 Wall. x 860.
At hand strakys thai war sekyr and sad
c. (1) 1375 Barb. x 284.
He wes … Curtas at poynt, and debonar, And of richt sekir contenyng
1456 Hay I 228/35.
A woodman … may nocht mak testament [etc.] … For that requeris obligacioun and trew consent, with wit seker and wele sett
1456 Hay I 229/1.
For he [sc. a madman] has na seker will
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) vi 45 (B).
My hairt that nevir wes sicker
c1662 Sel. Biog. I 208.
He is a sicker man: he thinks he will only preach against Poprie, and not make with other controversies
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xvi 605.
For-thi be sikker in that, I say, That scho thé taucht!
c1450 Cr. Deyng 225.
Than byd hyme be stark and sykir in that faith
c1450 Cr. Deyng 166. 1490 Irland Mir. I 15/12.
In this land ar mony … that are nocht sekyre in the faithe of Jhesus
1551 Hamilton Cat. 212. a1681 Cargill Lecture and Sermon 8.
Ye will slip evermore when ye have the opportunity, and ye will never be sicker in good
(3) 1375 Barb. xi 406.
Quha-sa-euer he war that fand Hys hart nocht sekyr for to stand To wyn all or dey

d. Of a tracking dog: Reliable, tenacious. c1475 Wall. v 26.
In Gyllisland thar was that brachell brede, Sekyr off sent
c1475 Wall. v 96.
This sloth brache, quhilk sekyr was and keyne

7. Of states of mind, undertakings, commitments or conditions of affairs: That may be counted upon to be steadfastly maintained, constant, unswerving, unshakeable, firm.(a) 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
For the mar sikir kepyng of the trewis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2282 (H).
His saw is ay als sickker as his seill
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2491 (H).
Thy counsall is baith sickker leill and trew
1497 Douglas Chart. 166.
Twa markis of sykyr anwell, wsuall mone of Scotland
c1520-c1535 Nisbet 2 Cor. i 7.
That our hope be sickir [W. sadd, P. sad; L. firma] for yow
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Heb. vi 19.
Sickire [L. tutam]
1525 St. P. Henry VIII IV 293.
Gif it [sc. a marriage] mycht be brocht to pas surlie it war the maist sickir point and perswatioune of tendre love [etc.] … betuix thir twa realmes
1531 Bell. Boece I 74 (see Firmance n. 3). 1531 Bell. Boece I 37.
The peace ratefyit in this maner, the Scottis began to burgeoun in sicker peace
1531 Bell. Boece I 175. 1549 Compl. 90/17.
1551 Hamilton Cat. 170.
He [sc. God] is thairfor a sickir pleage of our vocatioun
1551 Hamilton Cat. 185.
Quhat uthir thing is baptyme bot ane faithful cunnand and sickir band of amitie maid be God to man
?1661-5 M. Bruce Soul-Confirmation 12.
Let me see a sickerer bargan among you all than that
(b) 1375 Barb. v 515.
He maid sekir vndirtaking In tresone for to slay the king
14.. Acts I *89/2.
Off the kepyn of the generall gylde … a falouschip sekyr and a suthfast frendschip bot dyssayt
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 64/94 (Ch. & M.).
Thow [sc. Perseverance] oure cummis all thing be thy secure [Asl. sekere] constance that tiris neuer to suffre

b. Said of faith in God or Christ. a1568 Bell. in Bann. MS 3a/150.
How may thir tway haif creddence soveran With sicker faith in to our hairt obscure That [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I 128.
The haly apostolis Peter and Paule quhilkis gave thair hale attendans … to instruct thair flok in the sicker faith
1531 Bell. Boece II 65. 1533 Gau 29/5.
The sekir faith … quhilk is in Godis word and doctrine
a1658 Durham Blessedness (1713) 103.
[To] put themselves in over upon, and with in the compass of the Covenant, and make their Faith sickerer

c. In various legal and other formulæ.(1) 1436 Acts II 23/2.
The Scottis merchande … sal fynde sickar souerte to the custumaris of the portis … of v Hamburghe barellys als mekill as of a sek of wol
1492 Charter (Suppl.) (Reg. H.) 24 Oct.
Rasauand fyrst fra him sickyr souerte to do to ws at accordis of justice for his said land
1496 Acta Conc. II 40.
The sade Thomas … [is to find] sikkyr cautioun and souerte of landit men that [etc.]
1505 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 92.
Findand youe sikkar souertie to enter to our nixt justice air
1505 Lennox Mun. 171.
Takand sickir souerte and borrowis of the deweteis aucht
1513 Douglas Chart. (Reg. H.) VIII 17 (10 Nov.).
Takand syckyr souerte to pleys the kyng as efferis
1518 Peebles Chart. 48. 1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 148.
I Johnne … schiref of Fiffe … tuke Williame Scot of Baluery knycht sicker souerte for Schir Johnne Kilgour
1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 189. 1536 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 20 (see Securit(i)e n. 5 (6)). 1554 Reg. Privy S. IV 439/2. 1565–6 Treas. Acc. XI 463. 1579 Reg. Privy C. III 149.(2) 14.. Acts I 283/1.
Quoniam attachiamenta sunt principia et origo placitorum de wrang et vnlaw que prosecuta sunt per sacreborgh ideo de attachiamentis est inchoandum
14.. Quon. Attach. c. 1.
Attachmentis ar the begynnyng of mutis of wrang & vnlaw & of thaim that ar folowyt be a borgh sacre
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Sacreborgh.
It behuiffes the persewar to … find sure caution and sicker borgh that he sal persew in forme of law
(3) 1572 15th Rep. Hist. MSS App. ix 23.
The said Johnne Johnnestone … , his freindis and servandis to be under sicker assurans with the said Johnne Ellot and all his grane and branche
(4) 1443 Highland P. II 178.
With clause of warandise in als fast and sikir fourme as can be made be the avice of men of law as in cossyng
1447 Newbattle Coll. (Somerville) (Reg. H.).
With my charter of enfeftment in gud & sikyer furme
1463 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 375.
In the mast sikir & stratast forme of obligacion that cane be made
1474 Stewart Mem. 73.
I Johne oblis me … in mast seker forme and styill of obligacioun that can be maid
1477 Misc. Spald. C. II 253.
1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 330.
The said James sall make ane obligation in the … sykkyrast forme for him and his ayris of lyne and tailye
1482 Edinb. Chart. 155.
To bind in the sikkerest and best forme and stile of the sege of Rome
1489 Acta Conc. II 189.
1490–1 Liber Melros II 600.
1496–7 Acta Conc. II 64.
1498 Acta Conc. II 246.
In the sikkerest forme that ane curatour may gif
1508 Misc. Spald. C. II 264.
1509 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 266.
1510 Buccleuch Mun. II 120.
Lettres of tak … als sicker as can be diuisit
1521 Liber Melros II 632.
1539 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 144.
1542 Prot. Bk. J. Crawford 15.
In the sykyrest … forme of assingnacioun at can be devisyt
1545 Glasgow Chart. II App. 509.
Wyth all uther necessar and neidfull clausis, in the maist sickirast form
1552 Breadalbane Doc. No. 89.
The maist syckyr forme of obligation can be deuisyt
1554 Crim. Trials I i 373.
In the straitest forme and sicker stile of band of manrent
1561 Reg. Privy S. V i 195/2.
1567 Glasgow Chart. II App. 540.
1574 Reg. Privy C. II 403.
1575 Prot. Bk. D. Donaldson 14b.
1576 Reg. Privy C. II 545.(5) 1476 Acta Aud. 52/2.
In the sickirast wis but inconuenientis that can be devisit
1482 Bamff Chart. 32. 1487 Fraser P. 106. 1491 Fam. Rose 153.
In mast sickyrest wyse
1511–12 Wemyss Chart. 136.
(6) 1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 330.
The said James … sall infeft the forsaide Williame … in uder gude and sikkyr bandis for souerty of the said sowme
1522 Melville Chart. 62.
That the said Schir Jhone mak it [sc. the band] sycyrar
1540 Lynd. Sat. 986 (Ch.).
Wee mon be diligent And mak betwix vs sikker bands … That everie man help weill his fallow
(7) 1491–2 Acta Aud. 166/1.
In the sykkerast maner of coniunctfeftment [etc.]
1524 Ecclesia Antiqua 39.
[Their band] devisit in the maist syker mainer possible
1546 Reg. Privy C. I 51.
[He] oblissis him thairto in band of manrent in the sikrest maner
(8) 1574 Douglas Chart. 269.
To keip sicker, guid and trew freindschip to the said Archibald
1608 Grant Chart. 208.
To keip … sicker peace and kyndnes in all tymeis cuming inuiolabillie
(9) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 138*.
Bodely makand gude fayth that thai sulde halde sekir, ferme, and stabyl

8. Predic., of a person: Assured of (in) a possession or other (more or less concrete) benefit. Also without complement.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 28.
Mytht he be mad sekyr of hys lyve
1405 Maxwell Mem. 146.
Qwhill the said erle be sykir of the forsaidis landis
1456 Hay I 185/31.
And, to be sekir of this amendis, to geve gude hostage him thocht grete resoun
1498 Acta Conc. II 204.
The sade James … allegyit that he is nocht sikkir in the sadis landis
1528 Lynd. Dreme 1120.
[Thow] art nocht sicker of thy lyfe two houris
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1005 (B).
Or he cum to his perfyt aige We salbe sicker of our waige
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3385.
Fra that thay be sikker of thair bowis, Thay liue in huirdome and in harlotry
(2) 1388 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 295.
Whatkin euident chartre or resignacoun … whairthruch the forsaid Alexander and his ayres micht be maste sikir

b. In the (mainly legal) phrase to mak (someone) siker, to make another assured of (once, in) a possession or benefit. Also without complement.(1) 1399–1400 Melville Chart. 17.
Of the quhilk lands I sall mak the said Schir William … as sicker as I may mak him or them be reasoun
1400 Maxwell Mem. I 138. 1442 (1444) Reg. Great S. 64/1.
Gif it sall be sene spedefull to … Schyr Robert or ony of thar ayris to be maid sikker of the said landis
1446 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 105.
1450 Wemyss Chart. 267.
c1460 Regim. Princ. 229 (Marchm.).
Gude justice has … Eftir the dome the partyis to content, And thairof mak thame sikkir in continent, Efter the terme of law al vttirly
1497 Haddington Corr. 241.
Als sikkir as men of law can devis of al … the landis of Samelstoun
1497–8 Acta Conc. II 105, etc. 1501 Acta Conc. III 57. 1536–7 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 83.
James Bassentyne offeris for the north voultt of the Nether Bow to be his buyth … v merkis of yeirlie maill being maid sikker thairof
1541 Renfrew Arch. Coll. I 195.
1562 Prot. Bk. Gilbert Grote 53.
Anent the making of him sicker be hir charteris and infeftment and sesing of hir landis of the Ile off Gairsay
1566 Reg. Privy S. V ii 145/2.
To mak him sicker and suir of his said pensioun
1634 Oliphants 234.
And be maid perfytlie sicker and sure thairof
(b) 1490 Irland Mir. I 27/35.
The haly spreit … is the manere of a gage and wede, to mak ws sure and sekyre of oure heretage
(2) 1488 Stewart Mem. 78.
The said Duncain sall mak the said Neill sicker in the said kirk
(3) 1442 (1444) Reg. Great S. 64/1.
Als sikker as the said lorde or his ayris can be avisit to be made be us
(b) 1393 Reg. Morton II 193.
[They] sal make the saide Schir Jamys of Douglas & his ayris als sekir as thai … wil deuyse
1405 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 201. 1407 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 65.
We … willand that the said Thomas be made sekir be vs & oure successoures

c. Of something enjoyed by, or promised to, a person: Assured (to him). 1531 Bell. Boece I 202.
Nathalak, traisting to make the crown sicker to … his airis be slauchter and tyranny, maid it maist unsicker
1562 Reg. Privy S. V i 290/1.
We [sc. Queen Mary] … will and grantis the said nominatioun [etc.] … sal be … als sickir to him as ony provisioun maid to onye kirkman of oure realme

9. Fully assured or convinced (of something, as a present fact); certain that something is the case.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xvi 585.
To make hym sekyr, eke Sancte Petyr scho bad hym seke
c1420 Wynt. v 3874 (W).
The bischop than … mare sekere wes
c1420 Wynt. vi 1342 (W).
Forthy thocht he To byde quhill he mycht sicker be
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 21/35.
The secund frut it makis a persone sekere quhar he was before in dowt quhidder he had contricoun or nocht
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 114.
Josaph … had suspicioun of adultre for he wes nocht sicker
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 221.
Many a whole soul is in heaven which was sickerer than ye are
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii 2056.
Thairof thy hart sall sikker be
1460 Hay Alex. 655.
Now am I sicker thairof for thow art he To myne are succeid suld efter me
a1500 Henr. III 150/22.
On ȝour saule beid That ȝe be sicker of this sedull I send ȝow With the suthfast seggis
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 14/4. 1567 G. Ball. 130.(3) c1420 Wynt. vi 2096.
He suld in all thame sykkyre ma
(4) ?1438 Alex. ii 3773.
I am sa sikker I vnderta, That in the letter sho sekes ane stra
1490 Irland Mir. II 137/15.
We are sekyr at thai ar trew and that thai thingis sal cum
a1500 Seven S. 1958.
Quhill he be seker his fais ar gane
1515 in Doug. (Sm.) I p. lxi.
My lord, be ye richt sickir that na person in the warld desiris sa mekle the gude of my barnis as I do
1551 Hamilton Cat. 61.
Thou suld be sikkar that the cause or matter quhilk thow confermis with ane eith is trew … [and] thow suld be sykkar that the thing quhilk thow sais is just

10. Certain of some anticipated event or outcome. Variously const.(1) c1420 Wynt. v 1128.
Off thi gayne-come wytht thi lyff Art thow sekyre?
1484 Acta Aud. 148*/1.
Johne Stevinsoune … sall mak Johne of Hammiltoune … sikker of the mariage of William Stevinsoune soune & apperande aire to the saide Johne … to be mariit with the said Johnne of Hammiltouns dochter
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 62/8.
Gif thai leve evill … thai ar seker of perpetuale dampnacoun
a1500 Seven S. 2207.
And to be seker of this remeid Of the eldest strik of the hed
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 177.
And thei to quhom thei [sc. alledged witches] promisit ane ewill turne (as they did to mony), thei war sicker of it
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2421.
He was richt sikker that he Frome Troye suld cum home fro the se
1460 Hay Alex. 3120.
We ar sicker that succour sall be send
c1500 Harl. MS 4700 288a.
The clerk nocht deliuerand thame out of his hand till he be sickir thai sall be gevin him agane
1528 St. P. Henry VIII IV 495. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 133.
Thow suld be sickir that … God … will be to thé a luffand father
1622-6 Bisset I 309/32.
He sall hald his chartaris … in his awin handis, … till he be sicker that they be gevin to him agane
(3) c1420 Wynt. v 1141.
And gyff thi successoure wyll His awyn det, in his tyme, fulfill, On na wys can thowe sykyre be
(4) 1456 Hay I 121/6.
Bot gif it war sa that men war seker be him to have mare stark were nabut him

11. Assured as to the trustworthyness of another person. c1420 Wynt. i 1640.
Owyde sayis in to that quhyle … The gest yharnyed wele to fare Mycht nowcht be sykkyre off his hoslare
1456 Hay II 76/8.
For the quhilk caus that we can nocht fynd to be seker of thame [sc. the Persians]
1692 Pitcairne Assembly (1722) 54.
Truly I would have some of the excellent expectants hooked, if we could be sicker of them

12. To be siker, to make certain (of something) or ensure (that another does something). c1420 Ratis R. 1301.
Sen bewte may nocht duel alway Be sykire of bownte gyf thou may
1530 Edinb. B. Statutes 2 Aug.
And safer as possible is that the officiaris of the tovne be sekyr that thai handill thar said geir in this maner
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1409.
Se thow vse ay ane gude counsall Of that be sicker at thy syde
a1568 Bann. MS 80b/47.
Man for the mair securite Off ane be sicker and tyne nocht bath

13. Having sure mastery of, or competence in, some skill; fully skilled or competent. Also (once) transf., of the skill. Also in fig. context.(1) c1460 Consail Vys Man 224.
At lell men ask thi consall ay To sykir leich thi wound thou lay
c1475 Wall. iv 559.
Few off thaim was sekyr of archary
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 180/4 (Asl.).
The man be trawell cummis wys, sekere and expert
transf. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 10484.
Sicker cunning he had … In all planetis that mouit vnder heuin
(2) a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 460.
Thou schot, and was not sekir of thy tayle Beschate the stere, the compas, and the glas

14. Of a report, piece of evidence or mental impression of an event or state of affairs: Assuredly true or accurate; certainly known (to be true). c1475 Wall. viii 110.
Quhen Wallace hard the sekyr trew record Dunbar he tuk
1482 Acts II 143/1.
To get sikkir certificacioun … of the King of Inglandis mynde
1487 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I 42.
Geif ony vtheris will mak sikker certificacioun and prufe that [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I xviii.
Howbeit thay had na sicker cognosance and ful erudition of al thingis
1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 119.
And sa happin the forsaidis … may get heirefter cleir certification and siker understanding be just men of law, … that [etc.]

b. Of the truth: Indubitable, indisputable. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 516.
The sicker suth sall ye se, Quhat kin men that thai be

c. That is definitely what the noun states; definite, incontrovertible, indubitable. 1533 Bell. Livy I 163/30.
During thir thre ȝeris nouthir was sikkir peace nor sikkir were betuix the Romanis & Latynis
1533 Bell. Livy II 164/27.
Bot now, in this secund ȝere, the samyn apperis nocht as prodigies, bot erare as sikkir takingis to manifest the ire & wraith of goddis aganis ws
1634 Black Sc. Witches 16.
[The pannel was] a sicker witch

d. Of belief: Of the accuracy of which one is assured or certain. 1533 Boece 40b.
Thai had sickir beleif … that be industrie and vertewe, thai suld be like vthir nacions

15. a. Of a future event or state: Certain (to come about), inevitable. a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. 253/2.
Man sen thy lyf is ay in weir And deid is sicker drawand neir
1531 Bell. Boece I xi.
This fragill life … sall thé and every pepill bring To sickir blis
1531 Bell. Boece I 75.
‘Beleif na othir thing,’ said he, ‘bot sicker victory’
1531 Bell. Boece II 52. 1533 Bell. Livy I 133/9.
Brutus … thocht na thing apperit mare sikkir than haisty and maist dangerous weris approcheand be the Tarquinis
a1568 Bann. MS I p. 35/33. 1573 Edinb. Test. II 336b.
Sen na thing is sikerrer nor deid nor vnsickirrer nor the houre of deith
1574 Edinb. Test. III 139.
Thair is na thing mair sicker nor the deith

b. Const. infin. (here, passive): Certain (to be treated in some way). 1456 Hay I 185/30.
Be quhat resoune than suld he consent … till his awin scathe … unmaid sekir to be amendit?

16. Certain to achieve a desired effect or purpose; efficacious, effective. Also absol. as noun.(1) c1420 Wynt. iv 290.
Wytht sykyre syment sadly made
a1500 Henr. Fab. 677 (Bann.).
Ȝe ar the lanterne and the sicker way
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 334. (Arund.).
Bot vertu hes sa sicker solace cleir
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 19/19.
It is sure and sekere … anys in the ȝere to mak confessioun to him
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 2008. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 162.
Yit we counsell thé the sickirrar way, turne to God soine and hastely
a1568 Broun Bann. MS 52b/127.
Thair can no sickerer way be wrocht To help thame at iugement
a1585 Maitl. Q. 213/142.
Gif it pleis thy godlie providence To send remeid send it in sicker sort
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 363.
Damming & laving is sicker fishing
1638 Henderson Serm. 129.
When thou says, ‘Lord I believe’ … thou art never in a sickerer case than thou art then
1654-6 Gray Gospel-Call 31.
Faith is a sincerely, sicker grace
(b) c1475 Wall. vii 416.
With mony sekyr cast
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 10/2.
That euery man … may … pas surely … to sekere remeid … for his synnis
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 15/4.
Thire wordis … is the mast sekere and able way to cum thairto
(2) c1450 Cr. Deyng 93.
It is the sykirest to manis saluacione to be schrewyne
c1460 Consail Vys Man 356.
Quhen twa ways hapnis thé, Tak sykyr and lat wnsykir bee
a1568 Bann. MS 50b/62.
Thairfoir is best provyd afoir the end Cheisand the sicker lattand the vnseur be

b. transf., of experience (of something): Thorough, detailed; impossible to misunderstand or mistake. 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 146.
O Edmonnd quhilk has now sikkir experience of my maist aufull dynt

17. Of a stroke or blow, an affliction, etc.: Hard, severe.a. c1475 Wall. ii 408.
Our thourch his rybbis a seker straik drewe he
c1475 Wall. v 822. a1578 Pitsc. (1814) II 449.
And immediatelie Monseour Lorge took vp his hand and hatt the cardinall ane sicker blow befoir the queine
b. a1500 Bk. Chess 1475.
And of his pane he gat a seker feile
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxii 18.
His skorne and skaith, I baid them baith, And got it sikker that I socht
1638 Henderson Serm. 270.
For some will get a foul bitter shower in the morning … and some will have it fair all day, and get a sicker shower at night
1638 Henderson Serm. 272.

II. Passing into adv. in predic. uses of various above senses.

18. a. Without fear of attack or molestation; in safety, safely. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2872.
[He] gart cheis ane ganand sted Quhar he sicker his lyf mycht leid
1456 Hay I 240/21.
The varlet … suld … pas seurly and sekir amang men of armes
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 111/26.
How long shall harpies our displeasure breede And monstrous foules sitt sicker in our nest

b. Without fear of falling or sustaining injury, confidently; also, without danger of falling, etc. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) iv 13 (Ch. & M.).
No stait in erd heir standis sickir
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii 630.
To sit sicker, or ellis to fall richt sone
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 906 (Wr.).
That marke may leave you in the myre As sicker as yee sit
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 303.
He rides sicker that fell never
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. v 55.
Ȝour feet ar not so sicker sett Bot fortun ȝe may fall

19. a. Of locking or fastening (a door): Firmly, ‘securely’. b. Of binding, grasping, holding, etc. (a person or thing): Strongly, tightly; without possibility of escape, release or breach. Mainly fig. or in fig. context.a. 1527 Alloway Baron Ct. 29 Oct.
He gart steik the durris sickyr anewche
b. (1) 1535 Stewart 1813.
The lordis … Syne hes thame bund rycht sicker fit and hand
(2) 1460–88 Facs. Nat. MSS II 61.
The people … can nocht kepe pese in case trewis be neuir sa sikker bundyn
a1578 Pitsc. II 51/19.
Thairfoir the said cardinall cuist his ingyne to get the governour sicker bound to his counsall and effaires
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 48/7.
He … hath perswaded them to giue their willing consent thereunto, that he may thereby haue them feltred the sikarer [v.r. sikerer] in his snares
1613 Haddington Corr. 122.
My langsumnes … [and] your predomenant falt … be both ouer sikar seuit till vs
1661 Wodrow Hist. I (1828) 157.
Mr. Hutcheson said, ‘My lord, hold now your grip sicker’

20. Of anchoring a ship (in fig. context): ? Safely, in safety; ? firmly, ‘fast’.This quot. is ambiguous between senses 18 a and 19 b. a1570-86 Maitl. F. 434/24.
Off perrallis pans … And anker sicker [Maitl. Q. siker] quhair thow may be sure

21. In a legally binding manner; bindingly, decisively. 1492 Fam. Rose 155.
And that he sal mak Jhon Caldor … his verra lauchful and undoutit air … as souerly and sikyr as mennis wit can devise
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 79/15.
Giuing vnto them this contract were made to them neuer so sicker

22. Without veering or wavering; straight, true. a1568 Bann. MS 266b/29.
Quhen that the schip may sicker saill but steir
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 68/21.
That envenomed darte Which shotte me sicker in at ather eye
16… Wode's Psalter (ed.) 239.
I sall sing sicker

23. a. As a fact or certainty, for sure. b. For sickir, id.a. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xx 47.
Sicker I ȝow asseure, He rewlis weill, that sa weill him can gyd
b. 1531 Acta Conc. MS XLII 173.
He knew nocht for sickir that [etc.]

24. Hard, forcefully. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2161.
He laid his halfheid sicker hard and sad
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1121.
Thay agane richt manfullie … on thair colleris laid full sikker
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 35/2.
They are like the pest, which smites these sickarest, that flies it farthest
1643 Baillie II 93.
For who spoke against conclusions, got usuallie so sicker on the fingers, that they had better been silent

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"Siker adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jun 2023 <>



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