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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
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Soverane, adj. Also: sovirane, soveran, -ain(e, -ayn(e, -aign(e, -aing(e, -eign(e, -ine, -yn, -en, -eine, -ing, soverand, soweran(e, sowirane, sowerain, -ayne, sovrane, sowran(e, -en, souveran(e, -ain(e, sowuerane, souvraign, sufferane, suffrane, swferane, sufferande, suffrant, (severane, severeign). Possess. also sovrance. [ME and e.m.E. souereyne (Manning), sovereyn, -ayne (Rolle), sovereigne (Trevisa), soveraine (1549), soveraigne (1576), etc., f. as Soverane n.]

1. Of a person: Having superior rank, authority or power; supreme.Most commonly used of a monarch; also of God or Christ, or a deity.(a) 1375 Barb. xi 522.
The lord Clyffurd … Wes of thame all souerane ledeir
?1438 Alex. ii 2355.
Thare souerane king
?1438 Alex. ii 8995.
The ladeis of the tour … said that na men war thay … Bot souerane Goddis … For nane vther may suffer lang Sik dushes
1456 Hay I 11/14.
[Christ] schewe him self to be pape and soverayne chaplane to God
1456 Hay I 207/33.
A citee that has na lord na soverane prince atour thame
1456 Hay II 77/5.
The soveraine precious God Almychti mot conferme thee
1456 Hay II 147/18.
That for the governaunce of thy contree that thou have fyve soveraine baillies governouris under thé
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 194.
Sayand in his hart that the gret God suld be the souerane juge abwne thaim
1513 Doug. viii viii 90. 1526 Acts II 315/1.
Sa that all causis criminale quhilkis ar to be decidit before oure souerane justice haue passage befor him
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 553. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 259.
Jesu, Quhilk wes consauit be the holy spreit
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4282.
This potent pope of Rome, The souerane kyng of Christindome
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 199/90.
Fader sone and halie gaist Souerain God in personis thre
a1578 Pitsc. I 18/19.
This nobill woman our souerane mother [sc. the Queen Mother]
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 9.
The makeing of nottars is inter regalia, and only proper to a soveraing prince
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xix 53.
Christofor … with this kinge stil abad As with the sowuerane mychty man [L. majorem principem] … in warld vare than
1490 Irland Mir. I 7/16.
That thai [sc. kings and princes] are nocht supreme in regiment and gouernyng, bot has a juge souuerane aboue thame … that … jugis be werray justice and equite
1490 Irland Mir. II 97/17.
Thar war nocht mony goddis souueran bot ane
1549 Compl. 134/13.
Quod sche, My souuerane prince [etc.]
fig. a1400 Leg. S. vi 155.
For chastite is souerane quene Of al vertuise euir bedene

b. Qualifying lord, lord and king, lady (the quene), etc.Usually preceded by possessive pronoun.Also inflected.(1) 1389 Liber Melros 449.
Be our mast souereigne & doubtit lorde & fadre our lorde the kyng of Scotland
c1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 51.
We beseke our soverayne lorde the kyng … that … he walde kepe us … unwrangyt
1424 Acts II 4/1.
The landis & rentis the quhilkis war of befor tyme our souerane lorde the kingis antecessouris
1439 Acts II 54/2.
1443 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 43.
1445 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 398.
1456 Hay I 273/4.
Sayand that he is traytour till his soverane lord his king
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1078 (Bann.).
‘A, souerane lord [sc. the lion] sauf ȝour mercy,' quod he
1482–3 Acta Conc. II ciii.
To our soverane lady the quene
1494 Loutfut MS 115a.
The venquesour sal pas of the feild … to the prince or juge thairto committit and say in this wis ‘Soueran lord or othir juge [etc.]’
1536–7 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 84.
At our souerane lordis and the quenis graces hame cumming
1542 Acts II 413/2.
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 155.
Bot Synthea the hornit nychtis quene … loste hir lycht … Frome tyme hir souerane lorde that scho had sene
1559 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 187.
Ane inqueist for serving of our souerane lord and ladiis brevis of thair chancellarie
1565 Irvine Mun. I 51.
Mathow … Lorde Dernelie luftennende generall in the west pairtis of Scotlande to our soverane lorde and lady
1558-66 Knox I 48.
1597 Old Ross-shire I 28.
1624 Misc. Maitl. C. III 492.
In the ane and tuentie yeir of the rigne of our Soveraigne Lord King James
1622-6 Bisset II 178/6.
Oure dred and sacreit soverane lord that now regnneth
1657 Balfour Ann. IV 303.
(b) 1551 Prot. Bk. Sir Wm. Corbet 14.
My souerand laydye
1676 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 226 (3 Oct.).
Our soverand lordis letters of horning and poynding
(c) 1531 Lynd. IV 255.
To … my lord the gret secretar to our sowerain lord of Scotland
c1530-40 Stewart Maitl. F. 355/78.
I ȝow exhoirt, My sowerane lord, vnto this tale attend
1568 Maxwell Mem. II 133.
That ȝe sould … be ane obedient soget to our sowirane lord
(d) 1471 Acta Aud. 12/2.
1483 Acts II 164/1.
Tressonable crimys … aganis our souueran lordis maieste & kinric
1490 Irland Mir. II 32/24.
He maid hir queyne and souuerane lady of all the realme
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 108 title.
To our maist souverane lord and victorius prince James the ferde
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 481.
Hye souverane lorde, lat nevir this synfull sot Do schame
1522 Maxwell Mem. I 250.
(e) 1542 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 63.
1545 Douglas Corr. 159.
The mariage of wr sowren lade and my lord prence
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 148.
(f) 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 73 heading.
To … my seuerane [sic in pr.] ladye Marie the Quenis maiestie of Scotland
inflected 1456 Hay I 30/5.
Romaynes … ar … unlele to thair soveraynis lordis
1566 St. A. Kirk S. 267.
[The] allegit minister, eldaris and diaconis of this citie … havand na commissione … gevyn to thaim be our soweranis lord and lady
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 132.
[He] past at comand of the seriands in our sourance ladeis name & [etc.]
(2) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1112 (Harl.).
With Christ our souerane lord
1490 Irland Mir. I 109/7.
King of angellis & souuerane lord of all wertu
1490 Irland Mir. III 50/29.
He fautis nocht anerly agane God his creator … bot als agane his souueran lord his creator makar and redemptour
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 9/3.
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxv 64.
Hie genetrice Of Jhesu, lord souerayne
a1568 Bell. in Bann. MS I p. 24/10.
O gratious God most souerane Lord and King
Arundel MS 238/9.
Of my souerane Lord and God

c. transf. Pertaining to royalty, royal, imperial. Also, ? divine.(1) c1450-2 Howlat 359 (A).
The emprioure of Almane the armes he weris As signifer souerane
1513 Doug. xii Prol. 47.
The aureat fanys of hys [sc. Phoebus'] trone souerane With glytrand glans ourspred the occiane
c1590 Fowler II 147/31.
That he [sc. the prince] debase not him self sa far … as he may forgett the consideration of his soverane degre
(2) 1461 Liber Plusc. I 387.
Deed, weird na fortoun ar nocht for to wyt, Thai do nocht bot throu soverayn ordinance

2. Of a council or court, or its powers: Possessing the highest authority; supreme. 1549 Compl. 19/5.
Ther ruuyne cummis be the sentence gyffin be the souerane consel of the diuyne sapiens
1610 Highland P. III 119.
The royall and souerane pouer of iusticeairis whilkis … ar … onlie proper to ȝour Maiesteis heich iustice
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii xv 2 (1678) 424.
The Justice-Court of old, was the only soveraign court of the nation
1681 Inverness Rec. II 300.
We doe uterlie renunce and forsake all souvraign jurisdictions
a1705 Forbes Tithes 379.
The Commission [of Teinds] is a sovereign court … with a parliamentary power, to determine in … matters such as the modifying and localling stipends to ministers

b. Of legal documents: Authoritative; legally-binding. 1515 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 35.
This inquest … findis Stewyne of Lawder, Johnne Chepman [etc.] … to tax the towne to 40 lib. be the tenor of our soverand letteris

3. Peerless, incomparable; excelling in respect of virtue or inherent worth: a. Of persons. Also with ironic intent. b. Of things, qualities, etc. Also, as a mere intensifier.a. 1490 Irland Mir. I 117/11.
Thai saw the souuerane lady, Dame Sapience
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 104.
Haill, soverane senȝeour! Thy bawis hingis throw thy breik
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 221.
My soverane sueit thing, quhy sleip ȝe no betir?
c1530-40 Stewart in Maitl. F. 353/27.
I salust hir [sc. Dame Verite] as lady sowerane
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 230.
Adew … Sterne of Stratherne, my ladie souerane
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 230.
[Hesiod] Off Grece the perfyte poet souerane
15… Edinb. Univ. MS La.iv.6.
That souerane lady is so sueit Scho is the solace of my spreit
b. (1) 1375 Barb. x 513.
The erle Thomas that hey empris Set ay on souerane he bounte
1375 Barb. xix 593.
Had nocht bene his mekill maucht & his rycht souerane manheid In-till that place he had bene dede
?1438 Alex. i 1398.
This gude Gaudefeir de Laris That was of sa hie souerane pris That [etc.]
?1438 Alex. ii 3588.
Ane fare maistre … That kend him with ane souerane slycht For to knaw the points all that [etc.]
?1438 Alex. ii 4660.
The Gretians witnes him … Of souerane worship [F. de proësce souvraine] our all that is
c1420 Wynt. ii 1039.
The barne Ganemede … for hys soverane bewte Lemman to that god wes he
1456 Hay I 33/31.
The everlestand lyf that is the soverane joye of paradis
1456 Hay I 290/4.
Thus be the gold is betakenit the noblesse soverayne of all metall, and the emperour nobilest of all erdly princis
c1460 Regim. Princ. 144 (Fairf.).
Oure all this erd thai war lordis & victouris & tuk tribut for soueran syngnyfy
c1460 Regim. Princ. 135. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 507.
Thai … said thai sald exampill tak of her soverane teching
1513 Doug. vi xiv 35.
To kepe frensches and souerane liberte
1513 Doug. vii x 5.
The gret master souerane cite dyng Of Rome
1513 Doug. x Prol. 36.
The Son the self thing with the Fader is, The self substans the Haly Gaist I wys … Quhilk souerane substans … Na cunnyng comprehend may
a1568 Bell. in Bann. MS I p. 25/37.
That in thi souerane joy withoutt in end Thow grant thy gratius visage we may se
1549 Compl. 32/1.
The vile corruptione … mammon, quhilk ve hald for ane souerane felicite
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 426/2.
Vp hart thow art the pairt Of man most souerane
1600-1610 Melvill 226.
Graithimlie rejoysing in the soveran guidnes … of … God
1626 Garden Worthies 168.
(b) c1420 Wynt. ii 164.
Melchesedek … hade The sowerayne ordyre off presthade
a1578 Pitsc. I 107/4.
Revairdit … for his good counsall and sowerane man heid in the ower thrawin … of the Picthis
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 451.
For thu thare suffrant ioy is now
a1400 Leg. S. xlii 34.
a1400 Leg. S. xlvi 218.
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xlii 111.
For it is swferane mast gentrise [L. summa ingenuitas] To Jhesu Crist to mak serwice
1533 Bell. Livy I 204/11.
Thocht he was dotate with maist souerane ingyne [L. excellentibus ingeniis]

c. Courageous, valiant; ‘noble’.Translating L. magnanimi, lit. ‘great of soul’. 1513 Doug. vi x 49.
Heir was … The maist dowchty lynage sprang be kynde Fra Kyng Tewcer, campyones souerane [L. magnanimi heroes]

4. Of a means of assistance, a remedy, etc.: Potent, highly efficacious.For further examples see Remed(e n. 1 d (1) and Remedy n. a (1). a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 260.
Thinkand ȝet he wald prowe The sufferande helpe for his be[h]owe … Satan cane he cal
1549 Compl. 154/32.
Thir vordis of Salomon … is ane souerane remeid ande salutair medycyn
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4926.
Of malideis it generis mony mo, Bot gyf men gett sum souerane preserue
1632 Lithgow Trav. iii 97.
The soueraigne minerall against infectionis, called Teera Lemnia, or Sigillata is digged here [sc. on Lemnos]
1641 Baillie I 388.
It was thought the heartie agreeance … would be a soveraigne help of the continuall harshe rancounters of the English Parliament
1667 Laing MSS 356.
The most sovereine remedie against the disorders

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"Soverane adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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