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

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

Swerd, Sword, n. Also: swerde, suerd(e, sweird, sweyrd, sueird, sweard(e, sward, swaird, sword(e, suord(e, swoird, swoorde, suoorde, swourd(e, sord, sourd(e, sowrd, soword, sur(r)d, swrd, suird, swird, schowrd, shourd, syourd. [ME and e.m.E. sweord, swerd (both c1200), suerd (1297), suord (Cursor M.), sword (c1400), swirde (1451), swearde (1539), swoorde (1546), OE sweord. Cf. ON sverð.]

1. A sword. Also proverb. Also as the type of sharpness, etc.(1) 1375 Barb. ii 139.
He … Fellyt hym with a suerdys dynt
1375 Barb. viii 88.
The belt brist of the brand, That swerd and belt left in his hand
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 305.
& George thane, … His swerde drew & slew that dragon
14.. Burgh Laws c. 70 (A).
That ony man wonnis in burgh that thru resone may walk the man sal haf in his hande a suerd or an other wapyn sufficiant
c1450-2 Howlat 575 (A).
The forest of Ettrik, and vtheir ynewe, … With dynt of his derf swerd, the Dowglas … Wan wichtly of weir
1456 Hay I 163/30.
He traistit nouthir that bow, na suerd suld save him, bot God and his gude querele
1474 Treas. Acc. I 25.
Item gevin to Androu Balfoure, a ferding of ane noble to gilt a chaip to the kingis swerd
1475 Prestwick B. Rec. 25.
The heltir of a suerd, arestit to the said curt witht Jok Cristole as the first warand
c1475 Wall. i 407.
And with the swerd awkwart he him gawe Wndyr the hat
a1500 Seven S. 491.
Sa gret he for his gud grewhound And bannit the tyme that he drew swerd
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xlii 10.
Hir … fresche bewte, Hes wondit me but swerd or lance
1513 Doug. ii x 198.
Abowt me than my swerd I belt agane
1529 Treas. Acc. V 360.
Blak velvot to be scawbertis to the kingis suerdis
1538 Treas. Acc. VII 13.
Gevin for ane gluff of plait to fecht witht the suerd
1549 Lamb Resonyng 87/10.
Scottis kingis … that sufferit thameselffis be sa oft deponit without straik or schak of swerd
1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 189.
(b) 1538 Lynd. Justing 44, 46.
James drew ane sweird … And ran til Johne, til haif raucht him ane rout. Johnis swerd was roustit, & wald no way cum out
(c) 1558-66 Knox II 357.
Yf ever we have injustlie sought his … destructioun and bloode, lett us fall in the edge of the sweard
(d) 1635 Ritchie Ch. S. Baldred 240.
Alexr. Skugall, … accusit of prophaning the Sabbothe … answeirit he cam furthe with ane swaird, bot drew it not
(e) 1375 Barb. vi 231.
& syne his suord he swapyt owt
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 190.
Schaikand his sword befoir Cupide he come
1505 Treas. Acc. III 154.
To the provest of Edinburgh he laid doun for ane sword to the king
1505–6 Treas. Acc. III 183.
Far tua suordis for buklar play
1513 Doug. ii viii 98.
Swordis [Sm. swerdis, Ruddim. swerdes]
c1515 Prestwick B. Rec. 47.
The said George haid j suord of hir husbandis, the quhilk suld be arschip till hir sone
1533 Wigtown B. Ct. 280b.
That euerie man indolare vithin the bruch haif iak steylbonnet ax or sovrd or halbert or speyr
1596 Dalr. II 297/21.
Cuming with suord and speir to Mussilburghe weil armet
1609 Stirling Presb. in Hume xxxiv.
To answer for prophanation of the Sabboth be … singing of superstitious and prophane sangis with thair swordis about thame
1621 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 191.
A bill upon Patrick Mitchell, cutler, for taking in of swordes and dageris to dress which is not his calling to do
1622-6 Bisset I 42/27.
He that makis ane lesing in dammaige of his nychtbour, sall tyne his sworde
1639 Acts V 611/1.
That the merchantis may import the blaidis and hiltis of swordis vnmounted quhilk shall be mounted by the craftismen at home
1661 Acts VII 253/2.
Swords mounted ilk tuentie [= 2 oz. bullion]
1670 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 63.
[Mungo Cleland … presented his essay … of] ane sword munted with ane hieland hilt
(f) a1538 Abell 57 (bis) a.
At the last sche slippit hir self on ane swerd hid ondir hir clathis and sa sche endit
(g) 1576 Orkney Oppress. 76.
With pistollatis, swourdis, daggis, and vther waponnis invasive
1672 Alford Rec. 182.
He should be alyke with the said … Stewarts, either with swourd, durk, or whinger
(h) a1500 Colk. Sow i 170.
The suddill sow and the sord
1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 294.
Ye sall prepare iiic men in jakis and knapsigis; with ane c with sordis and bowkleris, and ane c with Gewart stavis
(i) 1548 Perth Hammermen 65.
Slyparis grethand sowrds with hilt and plummets of uthir mennis
1549 Compl. 10/10.
The Romans var mair renforsit in curageus enterprisis … be the persuasions of oratours, nor … be the sourdis of men of veyr
1563–4 Inverness Rec. I 112.
My sourd beiris witnes … for it is hackit be him
c1590 J. Stewart 13/48.
Doune skelps the sourd, And dois thair lyf deuoir
1595 St. A. Kirk S. 811.
That nane cum to the stuill of repentans armit with sowrd nor gun
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 20.
He kepit the straik of the stalfe be casting wp the gairdis of the sourd
1617 Mar & Kellie MSS Suppl. 77.
The gard said quha soever drew the feirst sourd [supra shourd] the should toume ane disone of hagboutes into hime
(j) 1457 Peebles B. Rec. I 119.
A surd, a grap, a fader bed
c1554 Makeson Genesis 2a.
The cherubyns wyth suird lemand as fire Are in that place the tre of lif to keip
1559 Rentale Dunkeld. (SHS) 362.
1594 Cal. Sc. P. XI 326.
They left ther toome bulgetis and surdis behind them
c1680 Bk. Dunvegan I 196.
Surrd [£6] … for dressing the scabbard [£2 3 s. 4 d.]
(k) 1620 Grant Chart. 325.
For ane scabert to the lairdis swoorde … ane lang crampet to the vther swoorde
(l) 1524 Stirling B. Rec. I 21.
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 638.
He is als good a man as handles suord or knyf
(2) c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 46.
Goddis word, Quhilk scharper is than ony sword
1549 Compl. 182/13.
Of this sort [sc. hypocritical] he vas lyik to the sourd vitht the tua edgis
c1600 Montg. Suppl. X 29.
My bird, your word, as suord, is sair

b. As used on solemn occasions as a symbol of honour or authority, or in the swearing of an oath.The sword of honour, the ceremonial sword which, together with the crown and sceptre, were the symbols of royal authority.(1) 1460 Hay Alex. 2473.
The sworde and sceptour thai set into his hand
a1500 Henr. Fab. 879 (Bann.).
In that trone thair sat a wild lyoun, In rob riale, with ceptur, suerd, and croun
a1500 Bk. Chess 593.
Apon that swerd and on hir blud thai swer
1540 Lynd. Sat. 22.
Ane nobill and richt redowttit roy … With croun, and swerd, and sceptour in his hand
1558-66 Knox II 126.
[Some people] hes whispered that it was but a pretended parliament … [because] the king and quene war in France; thair was neather sceptour, sweard nor croune borne [etc.] … To the sweard and sceptour … we ansuere nothing; for … [this] is rather a pompe and gloriouse vane ceremonye than a substantiall point of necessitie requyred to a lauchfull parliament
1573 Inv. Q. Mary cliii.
Offer to the regent all that was lefte of the juelles unlayde in wed, with the crowne, septure and swerde
a1578 Pitsc. II 187/1.
The quenis grace passit to the tollbuithe of Edinburgh with crowne, cepture and sword borne be the Erle of Huntlie [etc.]
1582 Reg. Privy C. III 525.
Preissing him to sweir apoun the croce of ane swerd
1621 Acts IV 669/1.
The gift … to the provest … [etc.] of Edinburgh of beiring ane sworde before the provest … within the liberties of the said burgh
(2) 1456 Hay II 43/5.
And thare suld the prince have the suerd redy of honour, gylt with gold, … and cheritee
1491 Treas. Acc. I 189.
For ane elne of crammyse veluus to couer the suord of honour
1501–2 Treas. Acc. II 33.
Payit … for the gret sword of honour, vij li.
1503 Treas. Acc. II 205.
For grathing of ane ald suord of honour with new hilt and plomet, scheith and chaip
a1538 Abell 14b.
He tuik first kinglie insignatis that is for to say the swerd of honour cepture and crowne
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 409.
To Malcom Gourlay quha past to Edinburght with the sweird of honour, croun, and septour to the parliament

c. With preceding adjective describing the appearance, state, type, function, properties or provenance of the sword, or investing it with certain qualities.See Arming n. 3, Bering vbl. n. 4, ? a sword of state, processional or dress sword, Brad(e) sword, Buklar(e n. 2, Half-lang adj. 1 ‘A sword coming in length between the normally short sword and the long or two-hand (twa-handit) sword; in other words the equivalent of the English bastard sword‘ C.R. Beard Dictionary of Costume and Armour, s.v. Half-lang sword, Harnes n. 4, Heding vbl. n.1, Montit ppl. adj. b, Tournay n. b, Tournaying vbl. n. and Twa num. C 1 b (twa-handit) for further examples.(1) 1375 Barb. xii 576.
With speris and suerdis brycht
1456 Hay I 228/7.
And I had hecht a man a noble suerd
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 922.
Thai … Syne laught out suerdis, lang and lufly
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 188.
Mars … in his hand … had ane roustie sword
c1475 Wall. i 193.
Wapynnys he bur, outhir gud suerd or knyff
1490 Irland Mir. I 79/25.
The schynand and fyry suerd, that stoppis oure gait to paradice, is the just sentens of the diuinite agane the man
1513 Doug. xii ix 67.
Now lasch thai at with bludy swerdis brycht
1560 Strathendrick 290.
Ane litill auld sourd gauin to Gillescmvir be the king
c1590 J. Stewart 11/10.
Mychtie Mars, … Vith clincking sourd, cled in thyn armeur cleir
(2) 1375 Barb. x 242.
Thai … Lap out, and com with swerdis bar
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1129.
Pyrrus with naked swerd in hand
a1500 Bk. Chess 1916.
A nakit swerd abone his hed thair hang Bot with a threid
1500 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 86.
Invadand him with cruell wawpouns and drawin swordis
1514 Wigtown B. Ct. 32b.
That euerie nechbour … be bodin wyth jak & compleit sword
1530–1 Maxwell Mem. I 261.
1612–13 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 31.
For persewing of Robert Bagster armerer with ane drawing sword
(3) c1475 Wall. i 279.
Hymselff disgysyt … with hir ȝeid A schort swerd wndyr his weid priuale
14.. Maner of Battale 231.
All … the wappinis … for batall that is to say … ane lang suerde, ane schort swerde [etc.]
1496 Treas. Acc. I 302.
For a harnas sword to the king
1503 Treas. Acc. II 202.
For … ridding suord and armyng suord
1505–6 Treas. Acc. III 182.
Item, to Robert, cultellar, for vj lang swordis and sex schort suordis for justing and tournaying and for the bar; ilk pece x s.; summa vj li.
1507 Treas. Acc. III 396.
For tua battale axes gilt and ane armyng sword with hilt and plomet gilt
1558 Inverness Rec. I 26.
The sayd Johne withaldys fra me ane buklar sword
1588 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 65.
[Hector Davidson] Prenteis to George Heislope armorar admittit to his assay, to wit ane graithit sworde
1591 Thanes of Cawdor 204.
For ane new skabart to your heland sowrd
1616 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 182.
Ane mountet sworde to be made
1642 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 182.
Ane mounted braide sworde
1498 Acta Conc. II 236.
Wilyeam Jarding, utherwayis callit Braid Sword
(4) 1474 Treas. Acc. I 26.
j quarter of rede crammasy vellus for the couering of the litil bering swerd
1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I 286.
For grathing of the heding swerd thre syndry tymes, vj s.
1564–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I 477.
For ane heiding sweird … v li.
1650 Cuningham Journal 231.
The King, who was pleased … to lay the knighting sword upon me
1690 Foulis Acc. Bk. 122.
To G. Henryes man for a mourning sword [£6 6 s.]
(5) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1020.
The tothir hyt hym agane with ane hard swerd
a1500 Lanc. 237.
In to his hed a brokin suerd had he
c1475 Wall. i 414.
The scherand suerd glaid to the colar bane
a1500 Bk. Chess 1929.
I am in sic a dreid Off ȝone scharpe swerd that hingis be ȝone threid
1535 Stewart 8542.
With swordis scharpe … Vpone the Romanis dourlie thar thai dang
(6) 1493 Halyb. 10.
A Spanis swerd
1505 Treas. Acc. III 175.
For … binding of Wallas sword with cordis of silk, new hilt and plomet [etc.]

d. Const. of various defining words (cf. c above).Suerd of armes, ? = armyng swerd in c, ? a sword intended to be worn with a suit of armour.(1) ?1438 Alex. i 129.
The hirdis, with swordis of steill
a1500 Rauf C. 827.
Swordis of mettaill
c1475 Wall. v 190.
His suerd he drew of nobill mettall keyne
1513 Doug. vii x 83.
The lust of all sik wark lomys was adew: Thai dyd thame forge in swerdis of mettel brycht
(2) c1420 Ratis R. 1135.
To mak … of a seg a swerd of were
c1475 Wall. ii 105.
Wallace bauldlye drew a suerd of wer
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 110/69.
The sueird of conquis and of knyghtheid keyn, Be borne suld highe before thé
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxvii 29.
Quhow the angill with sword of violence Furth of the joy of paradice putt … Adame and Ev
(3) 1538 Treas. Acc. VII 8.
Gevin to the said Henre for ane suerd of armes garnist witht quhit welvot

e. attrib. and comb.Sword-bearer, one who carried a ceremonial sword in procession; Sword-buklar, ? = Buklar(e n. 1 a small shield designed principally for warding off sword blows; Sword-dance, a ritual dance in which the dancers carried or otherwise employed swords, conjectured by Anna Mill to be ‘identical with the morris dance’ (Mill Mediæv. Plays 12); Sword-gaird, = Gard n. 3; Sword-hand, the handle of a sword (Hand n. 15 a); the hand that wields a sword; Sword-hanger, ? a strap or thong from which a sword is hung, [L. strophus seems to be erron. for G. strophos, L. stroppus, struppus a strap, band]; Swerd-man, one who is skilled in fighting with a sword; Sword-skail(l, an unground sword-blade; Sword-staff, see Staf(f n. 2 c; Sword-strype, a thin plate of metal designed as defensive armour.(1) 1600-1610 Melvill 70.
Declyning my bodie a litle, I eschewed, and … gripped his sword arm
(2) 1478 Acta Aud. 67/2.
A siluerit suerd belt
1496 Treas. Acc. I 302.
For tua sword beltis to the king
1507 Treas. Acc. III 396.
Tua blak suord beltis
1533–4 Treas. Acc. VI 184.
Ane swerd belt of fresit ledder
1549 Treas. Acc. IX 351.
To the said Gilbert for pasmenting of ane sweird belt of his graces with sylver
1564 Crim. Trials I i 455.
Stryking of thair seruandis, being nakit, with brydillis and swerdbeltis
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI 126b.
Ane suerde belt of blak weluet for the carhand; price xl s.
1639 St. A. Baxter Bks. 105.
[That] thrie muskettis, tua pickis, thrie bandeliers, tua swordis, and tua sworde beltis, be keipit in custodie be the deacone of the … craft
1672 Acts VIII 71/2.
That none … shall … have any imbroidering of gold or silver vpon their apparell, sword belts [etc.]
1680 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. 4 Feb.
Decernes Johne McKnacht called lytle John … for ane sword wrongouselie intromettit with But absolves the said John fra the sword belt
1694 Foulis Acc. Bk. 165.
For a new black marikin suord belt to myselfe [£1, 10 s.]
1696 Foulis Acc. Bk. 193.
For a … waistsword belt [£1, 16 s.]
(3) 1628 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 48.
Ordanis the sword bearer to be apperrillit in the same forme that umquhill Robert Stewart, maisser, was
(4) 1564 Perth B. Ct. 56 (11 April).
Sex tua handit suerd bladis
1576 Inverness Rec. I 252.
Ane pair of heland hiltis wyth the plwmet thairof quhilk I deliuerit to him to be put on ane sourd bled
1661 Acts VII 253/2.
Sword blaids ilk three score
(5) 1563–4 Inverness Rec. I 112.
The said Sande com maisterfulle on me wyth ane sourd buklar and dang it on my face
(6) 1590 Edinb. B. Treas. Acc. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 200.
The expensis debursit vpone the suord dance and Hieland dansis
1608 Misc. Maitl. C. I 411.
Confessit thair offence in dancing the suoorde dance in Govan vpon ane Sabaoth daye
1623 Mill Mediæv. Plays 242.
Theas past in ane sword dance … in the kirkyeard with maskis and wissoris on ther faces
1625 Mill Mediæv. Plays 269.
Fourtie pundis … to the skynneris … for danceing of the suorde dance befoir his maiestie
1633 Perth Glovers in Mill Mediæv. Plays 271 n.
Threttein of our brethereine … with greine cappis silwer strings rid ribbens whyte schoes and bellis about thair leggis scheiring raperis in thair handis and all wther abulȝement dauncit our sword daunce with mony difficill knottis
(7) 1590 Edinb. B. Treas. Acc. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 200.
To Johne Dauidsoneis wyfe for bellis furneisit to the sword dansaris
(8) 1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) ii 31.
That thou would let alone this sword-fight, And graple with me in a word-fight
(9) 1580 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 214.
For the pryce of sewin pair of sword gairdis
1589 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 270.
Tuo pair ane handit soword gairdis the ane of thame varnesit blak and the uther tynnit
1601 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 176.
[His essay] ane pair of small waird lynnit and burneissit sword gairdis
1607 Reg. Privy C. VII 332.
With his neiveis and sword guairdis [he] dang the … complenair
1608 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 164.
Ane pair of ribbit sword gairdis
(10) 1503 Treas. Acc. II 205.
For half ane quartar wellus to the kingis suord hand
1506–7 Treas. Acc. III 367.
To Alane Coquheran, armorar, for binding of xvj sword handis with silk cordis
1531 Treas. Acc. VI 21.
To be scalbartis and to bynd swerd handis to the king, ane elne and half quartar velvuett
1550 Treas. Acc. IX 417.
Half ane quartar gray welwote to my lorde governoures sweird hande
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 253.
Thei thocht that the said Mr. Johne Craig, wha befoir was ane of thair ministeris, sweyed over meikle to the sword-hand
(11) a1646 Wedderburn Voc. (1709) 15.
Strophus, the sword hangers
(12) a1538 Abell 82a.
He callit him Scrynstour that is ane gude swerdman
1696 Acts X 13/2.
An overture for erecting a royall Society of Swordmen
(13) 1533 Boece 71b.
Thai slew the first man occurring be aventure and with his het blude … anoyntit thare swerd poyntis
1658 Tayler Hist. Fam. Urquhart 56.
Ye vold have weyed the sharpnes of your sourd poynt with myne
(14) 1616 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 5.
For auld suord skabertis to the cairter
1626 Edinb. Test. LIII 237b.
Tua suerd skabertis ane of velwot & ane vther of lether
(15) 1598 Conv. Burghs II 39.
The gros wairis sic as … irne pottis, stray warde, schuellis, and suord skaillis
(16) 1590 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 26.
My corsbow and swird staf
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 357.
A long durk … A sword staffe
(17) 1571 Bann. Memor. 152.
Provyde thy self … with … a pair gantilotis, tuo sword strypes, or plettis, for the theise and legis [etc.]

2. fig. a. A means of spiritual defence. b. Something which wounds or causes pain. c. A means of spiritual attack, specif. holy writ, scripture.a. a1500 Quare Jel. 486.
Hir innocence That hath no suerd bot suffrance and pacience
b. a1450 Fifteen Ois 147.
For the bitter suerd of sit That Thou in hert can smyt
a1500 Lanc. 29.
My carful hart carwing can in two the derdful suerd of lowis hot dissire
a1500 Quare Jel. 548.
Thy wrechit cursit life Y fret rycht by the suerd of cruell syte a tuo
c1500 Makc. MS iv 41.
Throw Mareis saul the swerd of sorow thrist
1514 Aberd. B. Rec. I 90.
This violent and contageous suord of pestilence
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke ii 35.
And a swerde sal passe throuche thin awn saule, that the thouchtis be schawit of mony hartis
a1568 Bann. MS 33a/75.
The sowrd of sorrow at my hairt cowth incres
c. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xxii 38 marg.
The suerd is … tayne in scripture for the worde of God … quha sa will follow Crist monn vterly joperde him self and tak hald only to the suerd of the spret
1533 Gau 28/26.
The halie vrit is ane swrd to fecht witht aganis the dewil

3. transf. With reference to the use of the sword in warfare, hence: Armed aggression; slaughter; force of arms. Also, be (with) (the) sword, and in various collocations with fire.(1) c1420 Ratis R. 168.
Sonar slais ill air na suord
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. x 34.
I com nocht to send pece, bot swerd
(2) 1513 Doug. x vi 67.
Lychas, … was sa chancy in hys ȝong estait That he the swerd eschapit [L. evadere ferri] by hys hap
1549 Compl. 24/12.
The lord sal sende pestilens on theé, the heyt feueir, droutht, the sourde, tempest, [etc.]
1549 Compl. 26/20.
I sal sende pace amang ȝou, the sourde of vengeance sal nocht pas throucht ȝour cuntre
1551 Hamilton Cat. 32.
And ye will nocht [heir me] … the suerd sall devore yow
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 29.
He offerit thame and thair friendis to the swerd of the ennemy
(3) a1400 Leg. S. vii 742.
A-lewyne thowsand were Be swerde & hungyre ded rycht thare
c1420 Wynt. v 847.
Wyth suerd thare mony Jowys ware Slayne
a1500 Henr. Prayer 63 (BD).
Bot all ar pvnist for inobediens, Be suerd or deid, withouttin remissioun
a1538 Abell 90a.
Bot part be swerd part be pestinence thai deit all
(4) a1500 Bernardus 122.
And to thi fayis gud chepe, prente this worde, For he is nocht ay wencuste with the sworde
1533 Bell. Livy I 154/22.
Thai tuke audacite to decerne the chance of batall be the swerde
(5) 1533 Bell. Livy II 165/15.
Na thing wes left hale that mycht ressaue ony dammage be fire and swerde
1545 Douglas Corr. 155.
And thay … sal be persecutit with faire and sworde to the moste extremite
1549 Compl. 87/2.
Makand cruel veir contrar ȝour predecessours be fyir and suerd
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 65.
Declare to thame this mortall miserie, Be sweird and fyre, derth, pest, and pouertie
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2548.
Conuertit … Be Goddis worde, withouttin sweird or fyre
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4379.
Nocht be the fyre, nor be the swourde, Bot be the vertew of his wourde
1572 Buch. Detect. Sig. E iib.
That all men micht understand quhat it was that thay socht be sword, fyre and poysoun
1570 Leslie 193.
God did punische that realme with pleague, weare, suord and fyre
1578 Reg. Privy C. III 12.
In wearlyke maner … be fyre, swird [etc.]
15… Black Bk. Taymouth 159.
Sevin and tuentie we slew into that place Be fyre and suorde
pl. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4328.
Quho doith ganestand his Maiestie … Ar put to deith, be fyre or swourdis

b. To put to the sword, to put to death, slaughter. 1549 Compl. 33/14.
Scipio sal put Cartage to sac ande to the sourde

4. transf. and fig. As the instrument of justice, (the symbol of) the authority of the spiritual or temporal power or (a means of) punishment.(1) c1490 Irland Asl. MS 61/19.
And you vse sic dilacon the swerd of pvnicioun and straik of God will cum apone thé
c1500 Rowll Cursing 90 (M).
Nocht dreidand God … Nor ȝit of haly kirk the [ed. ȝe] swerde
1560 Conf. Faith in Acts II 534/1.
Sic personis as ar placit in authoritie … ar the lieutennentis of God, … to quhome be God is geuin the sworde to the praise and defence of gude men and to … punische all oppin malefactouris
1561 Cal. Sc. P. I 593.
For the magistrat caryeth not the swerd in vayne [but for terror of offenders]
1564 St. A. Kirk S. 196.
To draw the fearfull swerd of excommunicacion aganis hym
1567 G. Ball. 80.
Of vengeance the abbominabill sword
a1568 Scott i 172.
Sen so thow sittis in saitt superlatywe Caus … maiestratis to vse the swerd also
1558-66 Knox II 163.
We haif nott occasioun to tak agane the swerd of just defence into oure handis
1560 Bk. Disc. 227.
These faltis, which the civill sweard doeth eather neglect, eather may not punische
1558-66 Knox II 316.
The prince … is the Minister of God, bearing his sweard for vengeance to be tackyn on evill doaris
1578 Dalyell Sc. Poems 16th Cent. 210.
Princes and kings … With extreme justice trespassours punish … Syne with your sword let furth God's word
(2) 1525 St. A. Formulare I 268.
Diverse utheris partis within his … dioces of Glasgw, quhilkis has bene diverse uays persewit and punyst be the temporale suorde … and dredis nocht the sammyn and tharefore my said lord archbischop of Glasgw hais thocht expedient to stryke thame with the terrible suorde of halykirk
1562-3 Winȝet I 51/2.
I wes almaist astoneist … that sa obscuir men durst presume to medle thame aganis … the auctoritie of the spiritual and temporal suorde

5. fig. Quintessential symbol. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) vii 82.
[Bernard Stewart] Sweyrd of knightheid, and choise of cheualry, This tyme I lefe, … To tell quhat feildis thou wan

6. A mechanical device resembling a sword; a wooden blade, bar or rod connecting pieces of an apparatus.Also in the later dial. 1685 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 23 May.
For mending the swordis of the sway

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



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