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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Twenty, Tuenty, num. Also: twenti(e, -e(i, -ye, tuenti(e, -ye, tuendy, tweintie, (ttweltie), twinte, -ie, -y, twynty(e, tuintie, -e(i, -y, tuyntie, twonty, -ie, tuonty, -ey, -ie, twantie, -y, tuantie, twaintie, tuaintie, townty, tounti, tuntie, tantie, thwenty, thwenti, thuenty, (thwen). [ME and e.m.E. twenti (Layamon), tuenty (1297), tuenti (Manning), twenty (1377), twentie (1535), OE twentiᵹ, MDu. twintich, MLG twentig, twintig.] The cardinal number twenty. Also denoted by xx or 20.

A. adj. 1. Qualifying a noun. In some instances used less precisely to indicate a large number. b. Twenty days, a period of warning or continuation.(a) c1379 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 1.
Twenty mark of sterlyngys
c1420 Wynt. i 347.
He come wyth geawyndys hale twenty, On Brwtus and hys cumpany
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 970.
His scheild he chopit hym fra In tuenty pecis and ma
1488 Treas. Acc. I 84.
Tuenti hingeris of gold set with rubeis
1493 Halyb. 31.
All costis paid in Scotland for his part 20 li.
1495 Halyb. 53.
Venykar 20 s. 8 grottis
1498 Acta Conc. II 290.
Twa sekkis contenand xxiiij stane and twenti stane of woll
1501 Treas. Acc. II 61.
For tuenti hank of gold bocht to the browdstare; ilk hank vj s.
1513 Doug. i Prol. 260 (Sm.).
A twenty devill mot fall his [sc. Caxton's] werk at anis, Quhilk is na mair lyke Virgill … Na the owle resemblis the papyngay
1532 Writers Signet xix.
Na clerk of the signet tak mair for the writtin of an bill bot aucht pennies, and for the writtin of an lettre … twentie pennies
a1568 Scott i 35.
Twentye ȝeir of aige
1666 Dumbarton B. Rec. 85.
Tuentie pund the yeir during their will and pleasure
(b) 1448 Buccleuch Mun. II 40.
Sal haue and joys al the saide landis … for thuenty poonde be yhere
1459 Peebles B. Rec. I 130.
Andro Melnnar twk the meln of Peblis for thwenti [pr. thwen] mark
(c) 1543 Carte Northberwic 64.
George Sempill byndis and oblisis … to pay … twyntye pundis
1558 Liber Coll. Glasg. 231.
Twynty schilling wsuall monye of this reaulme
1665 Irvine Mun. II 91.
Twintie ellis of small silk ribbens
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 148.
(d) 1587–8 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 26 Feb.
1612 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 327.
There is to be beigit of the dyks of the park twontie rouds or therbey
1715 Crail Squaremen 29.
(e) 1624 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 27 Oct.
To William Gilgour ane sword, quhilk was laid in pand for xx s. … in compleit payment off twantie schillingis restand to him
1648 Cramond Ch. Urquhart 16.
Thrittie foot off length and tuantie foot in breadth
1662 Crim. Trials III 617.
Efter that, we vold still meit [euerie] ten, twelve, or twantie dayes continwally
a1700 Mare of Colinton 50.
When … men of law wait on but cost, And usurers tack nae gains … Then I with twanty mae good wills Shall please him for his pains
b. 1615 Lanark B. Rec. 123.
Premonissioun and warning being maid to him to that effect tuontie dayis preceding the said terme
1623 Moray Synod 4.
Everie brother sall give them premonitioun twantie dayes befoir the tyme
1629 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II 25 April.
[He] desyrit contiowacione for twantie dayis or a monethe off the sessione … quhilk was grantit

c. As part of a higher cardinal or ordinal number.(a) 1375 Barb. xiv 51 (C).
Quhen thai all assemblit war, Thai war weill neir tuenty thousand
c1390 Reg. Morton I xl.
Thou come with otheris with thé … and … tuk away twenty-one beistis
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 759 (C).
Of men twenty thousand & mare They slew that nyght
1417 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 216.
The twenty sixt day of Juny
1423 (1426) Reg. Great S. 11/2.
In the yer off our Lord a thowsand four hwnderd twinte and thre yer
1423 (1430) Reg. Great S. 38/2.
A thousand fourhundreth thuenty [pr. thuerty] and thre yheir
1425 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 97.
1425 (1426) Reg. Great S. 11/1.
1456 Montrose Baillie Ct. 5a.
Thai sall hald but fowr & twintie off scheip on the saide grys
1460 Hay Alex. 19355.
Thus I begane in the lustie tyme off Maii And endit in August the tuentie-ane day
1474 Reg. Morton II 224.
a1500 Rauf C. 357.
1483 Acta Aud. *112/1.
Tuenti skore of Inglis grotis
1501 Thanes of Cawdor 112.
To ansuere to the libell to be proponit and maid within twenty a dais nixt hereftir folowand
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4560.
1574 Edinb. Test. III 91a.
Ane xxij s. pece
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 32.
1586 Reg. Morton I 147.
The sum of tuyntie foure pundis sterlin
?1615 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 265.
The tuentye-on of this month
1630 Acts V 226/2.
Twentie aucht myles frome the land coast
1649 Acts VI ii 442/1.
1681 Irvine Mun. II 103.
1687 Ayr Chart. 208.
16… Boyd Fam. P. No. 251c.
2 & tuinte penis for kell
(b) 1434 Buccleuch Mun. II 418.
The tua and tuendy day of … July
(c) 1539 Glasgow Prot. IV 119.
Townty four puyr howshalderis … to pray for the foirsaidis saulis
1603 Montgomery Mem. 247.
Tountifor yardes of brod rebanes
(d) 1639 Glasg. Univ. Mun. III 487.
Thrie double doores at tuaintie four shillings the piece
1639 Glasg. Univ. Mun. III 489.
(e) 1649 Old Ross-shire I 126.
Tuntie sex bollis eates

d. As part of a sum indicating the rental value or extent of a piece of land. 1494 Acta Conc. I 347/1.
Twenty merkis worth of land
1549 Coll. Aberd. & B. 114.
The landis that giffis now … of yeirlie maill and dewetie four pundis to twantie schillingis of auld extent
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI 2.
To remove the said Johnne and Robert furth of the twenty shillingland of Sned
1624 Black Bk. Taymouth 61.
The tuentie merk land of Stronmelocquhan
1636 Bk. Dunvegan 183.
The ttweltie pennie lands of Waternes

e. In the names of coins. 1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I 356.
In half mark, fourtie pennie and twentie pennie peices of silver
1656 Glasg. Univ. Mun. III 497.
A tuintie merk piece of gold

2. Put for the ordinal number Twentieth adj.; the twentieth in sequence; a twentieth part of something. a1400 Leg. S. xviii 208.
One the twenty day At the sexte oure
c1420 Wynt. ii 644.
This Newyle was fra this Noye … the twenty degre
c1420 Wynt. vii 1219 (W) (see Twentieth adj.).
Twenty part
1428 Liber Aberbr. II 58.
This endentur made at Edinburgh the twenty day … of Nouembir
1500 Buccleuch Mun. II 100.
1567 G. Ball. 2.
The ten commandementis … in Exodus the twentie chapter
1588 (1591) Reg. Great S. 656/2.
Molendinum granarium … cum … astrictis multuris omnium terrarum dicte baronie … extenden. ad lie threttene corne, ville et terrarum de Mosplattis Ovir et Nethir ad lie tuentie corne [etc.]
1627 Rep. Parishes 129.
The tuentie scheiff is presentlie led be the Erle of Mar
1639 Baillie I 240.
Ar we not all suorne to maintein … that tweintie article of the tweintie-thrid session
1640 Aberd. Council Lett. II 221.
Let your supplicatioun … requyre the tuantie penny of our burgh to be allowit in the first end of the soumes restand to us
1660 Aberd. Council Lett. IV 8.
That the cess of Scotland may be … mitigatt and brought to the tuantie pairtt [of the cess of England]

3. Twentie fauld, twenty times as much. Tuentie penie, costing or valued at twenty pennies. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4240.
Weill scho knew that tre I lufit best, Be twentie fauld nor I did all the rest
1683 Fawside Coal Compt 105.
To Jon Cuningham 12 loads of tuentie penie loads uncosts coall 18 s.

B. ellipt. and absol. Passing into noun. 1375 Barb. xx 469 (C).
The Sarasynys sa mony war That thai war tuenty neir for ane
1458 Peebles B. Rec. I 129.
That ilk day was mayd burges John Portus and sal pay for his fredom xl s., thwenti but fauyr to pay
1513 Doug. ix ii 36.
With hym a twenty chosyn men he has
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 268.
I haif lattin of the forsaidis prisonaris twonty fowr haim in Ingland

b. Put for the ordinal Twentieth adj.(a) 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 3.
Ane free man … sall gif for multure at the milne, the sextene veshell, or the tuentie or threttie, according to his infeftment
1681 Red Bk. Menteith II 195.
The twenty of Jwllay
(b) 1629 Fam. Innes 218.
The parliment goes one heir the tantie off this monthe

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"Twenty num.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2023 <>



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