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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
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Testimony(e, -(i)e, n. Also: testimané, testymony, -ie, testemonie, testamon(e)y, testa(i)moné. [ME and e.m.E. testymonye (Wyclif), testimony (1432-50), testimonie (1553), ONF testimonie, OF testi-, testemoine, L. testimōnium.]

1. (An) acknowledgement or attestation of (the truth (or falsity) of (against)) something, by public assertion or some other (non-personal) manifestation. Passing into sense 1 b below. 1562-3 Winȝet I 43/27.
Sen the princes in our dayis takis on thaim the haill power of electioun … wald God that thair presentation war void of all symonie … and with it wer adiunit alsua the testimonie and consent of the peple in euery diocesie
1596 Dalr. I 306 marg.
Vpon his graue in testimonie of his halynes, war seine innumerable lytes
1661 Wodrow Hist. (1828) I 165.
In offering a large testimony against the evil of the times
1668 Laing MSS 371.
To give a remarkable testamony of the service & respect I ow you
1682 Peden Serm. (1782) 1 Serm. 7.
The blood of the saints hath run inthro' and outthro' giving a testimony against all the usurpations

b. (An act of) religious witness, the public attestation of religious truth, (a) profession of faith. c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 12.
The testimonye of Johnne [sc. the Baptist]
1651 Johnston Diary II 79.
Thy inaibling me to give a testimony so full and free for Thy nayme
c1680 McWard Contendings 82.
For absolving from the just imputation of … unfaithfulness to Christ, our … betraying lyings-aside from testimonies
1687 Shields Hind Let Loose Title.
A Hind Let Loose: or an Historical Representation of the Testimonies of the Church of Scotland

2. Attestation of the validity of a document by signature or seal. 1548 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I lxxxix.
Till testimane of the samyn I haif subscrivit this my writing
1582–3 Perth B. Ct. 22 March.
Ane letter … of our souerane lordis vnder the testimonie of the greit seill
1664 St. A. Baxter Bks. 132.
In testimonie of thair consentis … the said decan and bretherin hes subscriuit thir presentis

3. Evidence or attestation in support of a case, point of view or argument; an instance of this. Freq. testimony(is of (the) scripture. 1559–60 Misc. Maitl. C. III 229.
The said petitioun with answereing therto reasones jures allegationes with testimonies and depositiones of witnes
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 120/24.
Diuerse men in thir dais … dois afferme the testymonyis of scriptour contenit in the saxt chaptour of S. Jhone, allegit be vs for confirmacione of our purpose, to be spokine allanerlye of [etc.]
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 127/26.
Quhy thinkis thow impossible that almychty God … may nocht chaunge bread and vyne in to his avin bodye and bloude, conforme to expresse testimony of His vorde
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 139/10.
Quhare … Ecolampadius or Calvyne alleges ane testimony for confirmacione of thair opinione, Arrius alleges thre
1562-3 Winȝet I 92/5.
a1578 Pitsc. II 65/8.
Of the confessioun to be maid to God thair ar money testaimoneis in scriptur, as quhene Dawid sayith ‘I thocht I wald haue knawit myne inniquitie aganis myself into the Lord and He forgaif … my sinns'
a1578 Pitsc. II 71/11.
Withtout expres witnes and testamone of the scriptour I dar affirme nothing
a1578 Pitsc. II 71/18.
Gif ȝe haue ony testamoney of the scriptour … schaw it now
c1646 Craufurd Edinb. Univ. 36.
The king … himself had pressed some arguments to the contrary … Mr. Yong who disputed next insisted upon … pressing many things be clear testimonies of Aristotles text

4. A statement in witness or attestation of a fact or state of affairs, esp. of a person's (good) character or behaviour, a testimonial; a document containing such information. 1558-66 Knox II 191.
The lyif of ministeris to be so irreprehensible that thai have a gude testimonye from those that be without
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 98/18.
I in the name of your Catholikis subiectis reiteratis … thir conclusions to your hienes as ane publik testemonie of our lauboris and lyuis offerit for the saluation of the haill realme
1598 Misc. Bann. C. II 228.
Thir thingis haue I writtin for the mair sure testimonie of my present estait and will
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 104.
Jonet Leyis desyrit to haff hir … marreage solemnizat … quhilk ye … refusit to grant … except ye had ane testimonie … for quhat caus scho wes baneist af this toun … I … hes bene vrgit … be … the man that suld marrie hir to gif my testimoniall [etc.]
1622-6 Bisset II 230/13.
Judges and notaris sall gif na testymonie of the merchandice coft in ony place … for that testymonie and knawlege belangis onlie to the admyrall
1652 Cullen Kirk S. 24 July.
That the Minister … should … take wp the names of the parishioners, & require testimonies from those who had laitlie come to the parish
1654 Banff Field C. (1908-9) 96.
Concerning his elderis … he gave a good testimonie to these of Kinor, that in ther life he could quarrel nothing
1670 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 265.
Ane sheet of paper, with such testimonies as ther present phisitianes sould, at ther desyre, from thair knowledge and experience annex
1672 Moray Synod 153.
John Gordon … produced a testimonie of his being maried … but the same is supposed to be infamous by reason it is without dait
1679 Boharm Kirk S. 24 Aug.
[They] had been slaves … to the Turke as his testimony did bear
1680 Soc. Ant. XLV 244.
My testimony against their sending doun the Hilland Host to pillage
1686 Boharm Kirk S. 19 Sept.
No masters of families should henceforth receive any servants without sufficient testimonies
1687 Dunkeld Presb. I 492.
Mr. Henrie Fife … produced ane testimony … of his attending on lections, on publick and private disputes [etc.]

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"Testimony n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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