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

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

Wark, Werk, n. Also: warke, vark(e, vuark(e, uarke, varck, werke, werc, verk, uerk, (uerke), werck, (weryk), work(e, vork(e, uork(e, woorke, wirk, virk, vyrk. [ME and e.m.E. werche (a1200), weorrc (Orm), werc (c1200), w(e)orc (both Layamon), wurche (1297), werk, werck, warc (all Cursor M.), wark (c1400), worke (1450-1530), OE weorc, MLG, MDu. werk, ON verk.]

1. An action, deed, activity, achievement; behaviour; effort. Also pl.Also to set a or on wark, to set in motion, to put to use.(1) sing. c1450-2 Howlat 395 (A).
Off the douchty Dowglas to dyte I me dres … Reid the writ of thar werk
c1475 Wall. iii 277.
Schir Ranald may mak this band. Gyff he will nocht, racunnys all his land On to the tym that he this werk haiff wrocht
1535 Stewart 51781.
All man knew … That in his werk wes nother frutt nor foysoun, Tha wist rycht weill that he had gevin poysoun
a1568 Bann. MS 158b/86.
Ay to skart and to claw is his first wark
1572 Sat. P. xxxii 55.
Na work ado bot beg
1573 Davidson in Sat. P. xlii 234.
‘Quhair socht thay ony?’ quod the clerk. The vther said, ‘thay maid na werk To seek ony, becaus thay knew Thay wald be found bot nane or few’
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I 228.
For it wer a fruitles work to convene at sic metings if a common order be not observit for all burrowes
pl. 1460 Hay Alex. 2257.
The quhilk he thocht to put to sic mischeif That all his kin suld wounder on his warkis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3575.
Wald thow reid Titus Leuius Thow suld fynd warkis wounderus Quhose douchtye deidis ar weill kende
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 39.
Thy valiant warks but dout all sall redound To spred thy prais
(2) 1571 Bann. Memor. 156.
The practise which … hes bene devysed, and set a warke to betray me
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 105/7.
It is not aneuch that ye haue … goode qualities … except ye … sett thaime on uarke

2. An action, conduct or behaviour viewed specif. in a moral context as good or bad; the activity befitting a good, etc. person, passing into the task or labour appropriate to such a person. Also, once, the Lordis work. Also pl.sing. a1400 Leg. S. iii 159.
He … ful of gud wark ȝald the gaste
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 29.
Sa ennornyt that man was In monklyke vorke, vord, & dede … That [etc.]
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 132.
Noght onely in thy word; for word is noght Bot gif thy werk and all thy besy cure Accord thereto
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 24/22.
And that ony werk or sufferance of pane be sufficiently satisfactour ar fyve condiconis requyrit
a1500 K. Hart 672.
Is thair none that can forbeyr The work of vice withoutin ȝour [sc. Wisdom's] assent
1525 Aberd. B. Rec. I xli.
Quhilkis [sc. fines from singers who were absent] salbe … disponit … to the keperis of the said seruice or to what vther meritor wark thay think speidfull
a1538 Abell 1b.
I submit me to correctioune of halie kirk … sa that the werk and the wirkar may be acceptable to our saluiour
a1538 Abell 86b.
That is the werk of a bischep or prelait quhilk is to the wtilite of thare subditis at Christ spekis of … feid my scheip
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 429.
We bene all to syn inclynde In werk, in word, and in our mynde
1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 330.
Lat no ernist laubourar … faint in the Lordis work
1567 G. Ball. 8.
Wirk na euill wark on haly day
1567 Sat. P. iv 136.
The crewell work of wretheit womanheid
1581 Sat. P. xliv 15.
Maisters of ane euil steik of vark Sould ay detest the godlie, vpricht lyf
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 28/7.
The scriptures … instructe the man of God making him perfyte to euerie goode uarke
1616 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 74a (3 July).
It is no pairt of the sabbothis work ony way to creaw thair debt thairvpon
pl. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 878.
Fendis warkis & sorcery
c1420 Ratis R. 1342.
Men wyll luk to thi bounte … by thi werkis knaw Quhethir thow to wyce or vertew draw
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (STS) 123.
The wikitnes of wykitmen, and al vthere maner of wykit werkis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2437.
The hennis ar warkis that fra ferme faith proceidis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2668.
Off his awin deidis ilk man sall beir the pais, As pyne for sin, reward for werkis rycht
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rom. vi 14 marg.
As lang as a man puttis his traist in the mercy … of God his conscience is free [etc.] … bot gif he leaynn vnto his awin werkis [etc.]
1525 St. A. Formulare I 270.
The malysoun … that lychtit on the gygantis for thare oppressioun … biggand … mot confound thame [sc. Border reivers] and all thare uerkis for thare oppin reyffis
1567 G. Ball. 46.
Quhair I culd nocht the law fulfill, My warkis maid me na supplie
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 159.
First as it is ordained, it depends on God, according as He foresaw mans warkes and swa to depend on mans will

3. pl.a. In collocation with gude (godlie, verteous, worthie, etc.), part (along with faith(Faith n. 1)) of the fundamental duty of a Christian, religious practice, good deeds. b. The workis of mercy, also specif., the vii werkis of merci, in the religious practice of the pre-Reformation church. c. Without qualification, = sense a above, as found in the belief of the post-Reformation church. Also justification by workes, workes of supererogation, etc.a. 1456 Hay II 24/5.
A fals knycht … is lyke faith bot gude charitable werkis
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 351.
Quhen wysmen drawis thaim to gud verkis
1490 Irland Mir. I 21/14.
The sevint is confirmacioune in gud werkis and grace
a1500 MS Rawl. Q. b. 4 91b.
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 11.
Meditacion of the passion excedis vthir gud werkis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 202/51.
Ȝour proffeit daylie dois incres ȝour godlie workis les and les
1533 Gau 25/11.
We suld du … the guid varkis quhilk God hes commandit ws in his x commandis
1533 Gau 107/34.
Faith causis hime to virk throw lwiff godlie and Chrissine varkis
1549 Compl. 3/22.
Ȝour grace deseruis nocht to be callit ane nobil, alanerly throcht ȝour verteous verkis
1560 Acts II 530/1.
Gude warkis we affirme to be thir onlie that ar done in faith and at Goddis commandement
1587-99 Hume 35/40.
While thou art heare (my saull) see thou contend, This point of time in worthie warks to spend
1587-99 Hume 114/149.
Without faith … al thy gude warks cannot avail
1602 Three Reformers 162 (see 4 below).
Gude warkes
1622-6 Bisset I 49/23 (see Exercitioun n. 1).b. 1490 Irland Mir. I 47/16.
In the extreme jugement He sall argw the pepill of the werkis of mercy
1551 Hamilton Cat. 27.
The vii workis of merci … quhilk we aucht to our neychtbour
c. 1548 Knox III 20.
Who maked workes a part of their owne justification, spoile God of his glorie
1567 G. Ball. 173.
Puttand thair hope … In warkis, inuentit with the slycht Of Sathan, contrair to thy lycht
a1568 Scott i 109.
Wordis without werkis availȝeis nocht a cute
1580 King's Confession in Facs. Nat. MSS III lxx.
Justification by workes, … workes of supererogation, meritis, perdones [etc.]
1588 Edinb. Presb. 8 Oct.
William Schaw … declarit that he vas throwchlie resoluit in the maters of justificacioun, varkis, freevill
1690 Acts IX 125/1.
God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works by which he bound him … to … obedience … although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works to be thereby justified or condemned yet it is of great use to them … as a rule of life

4. A miraculous or redemptive action or deed performed by Christ or a follower of Christ. Also pl.sing. a1400 Leg. S. xiii Prol. 90.
In witnes To Cristis werke
1490 Irland Mir. I 122/31.
This mercifull werk, to tak mannis nature for mannis redempcioune
pl. a1400 Leg. S. ii 76.
Of his [sc. St. Paul's] wisdome ran sic renown Sa that all wonderit war but were His ferly warkis that mycht here
a1400 Leg. S. xiii Prol. 21.
The discipulis … vent with Jhesu, & of His werkis vitnes bare
1456 Hay II 19/6.
All his werkis and dedis here, he did for oure ensample
1602 Three Reformers 162.
We are perfitely saved by the warkes whilk Christ did for us in His awin person, and na wayes by the gude warkes whilk He works in vs with, and after faith

b. An action performed by God. c. The creative or miraculous outcome of such an action; a creature. Also pl.d. transf.A person, viewed as originating from the work of some agency other than the deity.b., c. sing. 1490 Irland Mir. I 129/14.
Therefor it was richt conuenient that the angell suld be messingere, for it was the maist and hiest werk of God
1533 Gau 32/31.
We ar al the vark of Thy handis
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 125/22.
That the godly vark and myracle and it mich be comprehendit [etc.]
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxi 54.
Thair restis an wark of thai merci ȝitt to behald Of James the sext, our nobill king, … thow did him for to bring of dangeris deip
1645 St. A. Presb. 32.
Such as have kythed themselves evill affected to the worke of God in thir kingdomes
pl. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1577.
God … Cesis nevir … Ferly werkis for to wirk
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1663.
God in all his werkis wittie is
1490 Irland Mir. I 26/10.
Sene He is fadere of all creature, … He lufis all His werkis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 16/31.
I schrif me, Lord, that I abusit have The sevin deidis of marcy … Thow that put marcy abone Thi werkis all
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 168/37 (M).
The bakstar sayis I forsak God And all His warkis ewin and od
1513 Doug. x Prol. 3.
Thou … that creat all Incomprehensibill Thy warkis ar to consave
c1616 Hume Orthog. 29.
God with His word His warkes began
1638 Henderson Serm. 379.
See how many works of providence will be every day
d. c1590 Fowler I 122/131.
All these humane worldlie workis [It. umani]
1609 Garden Garden 71.
Thou [sc. England] … Our verie soule and sark … The hight of honors wark [sc. James VI]

5. Sexual activity. Also pl.sing. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 166.
Elizabeth, tho scho wes thane Baren, bare John thru werk of man
1490 Irland Mir. II 26/11.
Jhesus … was … borne of the … Virgin Mary nocht be the werk or operacioun of man
14… Edinb. Univ. MS La.ii.318.
The werk of wedlaik
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 84.
Quhair I ane galland micht get … For to perfurneis furth the werk
pl. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 127.
He is waistit and worne fra Venus werkis
1549 Compl. 141/14.
The mail vitht the femmel committis nocht the verkis of natur, bot in the saison of generatione

6. a. (One's) (daily) labour, (one's) employment; a task, a job of work, esp. a particular task or piece of work. Also pl.Also proverb. and transf. Also (to fall, go, put, etc.) to wark, at woorke, in work and to mak schort work.For pece of wark, see Pece n. 11.(1) sing. a1400 Leg. S. vi 14.
A man, that sic palace can make, That he in grete thank vil take, … Gyfe he his varke dois parfytly
1511 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 106.
Tha ar fermouris … and thai haue samekill wark ado of thair avin about the labouring of that toune
1513 Doug. i vii 26.
Lyke to the beys … Gaderyng thar wark of mony diuers hew
1513 Doug. ii iv 63.
The barmkyn down we rent … wallis … maid patent … Onto that wark al sped thame bissely
1576 Inverness Rec. I 250.
He makis ewill and insufficient wark of schone
1587 Dundee B. Laws 476.
For extinguising off … debaittis amang the said brethers of craft … that nane of thame circumvein ane ane vther, nor tak his vark out of his hand … and that na brother … seik na vark at na manis hand … without the vark be brocht till him or thay be sent for to wirk the samin
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 319.
The Spreit of God … will be wirking the wark of regeneration
1601 Aberd. B. Rec. II 220.
All sort of handie labour, wark and vther serious occupatioun
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 84.
To Johnne Andersone sklaitter for 4 weikis wark
1628 Aberd. B. Rec. III 21.
The wark of repairing of the commoun calsies
1635–6 Glasgow B. Rec. I 482.
Hinging of the said bell and faiting all wark thairto
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 1140.
Sa lang havis child … To make a wicht hors of a wand … Be syk vantone vyrk … Thi dayly dawark is done
(c) 1394 Liber Aberbr. II 43.
Wyllam Plumer sal theke the mekil quer … wyth lede and guttir yt … and quhen he has endyt that werk he sal be payt of v marcis and a gown with a hude til his rauarde
1474 Edinb. B. Rec. I 29.
That the said penny be rasit … of al personis lauborand thair awin werk
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1890.
Quhen that he waikit from mair autentik werk, With vther ma, this foirsaid fabill wrate
a1500 Seven S. 90.
Till his teching than but let Thai did all cure … I reid we se gif all our werk Into this child effect has tane
1506–7 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 153.
Michell sall hafe fourty merkis, ay according to the werk
1529 Stirling B. Rec. I 35.
Till entyr to his werk at day lycht
1536 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II 318.
His daily werk and lawbour of masoun craft
(d) 1575 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 346 (see Correctorie n.).
1635 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 45.
It being … necessar … that the cunyiehous be sett a worke thairfor … to proceed in the working of the speces of gold [etc.]
1639 Hamilton P. (Camden Soc.) 82.
That your majestie intends … to make it your worke … to take the caere of the army
1664 Galloway P. 21 June.
He is to have the work or hyer of ane ox for this yeir … to … laboure the land
1680 Fawside Coal Compt 62.
For work at the Munthill £2 10 s.
1684 Fawside Coal Compt 132.
For my n[ew] mynd beir & uork £7 4 s.
pl. c1460 Wisd. Sol. (STS) 74.
I had in howsis women and men seruandis … to do my verkis of my possessions
a1500 Henr. Fab. 102 (Ch.).
That is nocht aneuch my wame to feid; For wyfis sayis lukand werkis ar licht … houngrie men may not leif on lukis
1513 Doug. viii v heading.
In lovyng of the douchty Hercules The pepill syngis hys warkis
1513 Doug. xi i 32.
O douchty men … worthy in weris The grettast part of our warkis … Beyn endit now
1536 Innes Sketches 445.
Thom Daueson … sall werk and lawbour his yardis, gardingis [etc.] … and all werkis pertening to ane gardner to do
1621 Acts IV 624/1.
The extraordinarie warkis whiche befall in that seasone … suche as casting … of peittis [etc.]
1621 Acts IV 624/1.
That it salbe lauchfull vnto all his Majesties liegis who have necessarlie ado with laboure to tak, apprehend and employe in thair warkis quhatsoeuir louse and maisterles menn and wemen quhome they sall find within thair awin boundis
proverb. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 90/11.
Many handis makis slichte uarke
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1.
A begun wark is half endit
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 394.
Changeing of warks is lichting of harts
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1529.
There sould na unhyred men half wark see
transf. 1692 Pitcairne Assembly v iii (1817) 100.
For here's a man that's true both to God and his king … he's clapt up in prison; there's a man treacherous to them both, he goes up and down the streets—That's bra' work indeed!
(2) 1513 Doug. iv vii 71.
Than byssely the Troianys fell to wark
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1311.
In the mene tyme fall thow to warke … and beild ane arke
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 14.
The maist commodious way as scho … thocht how it micht be brocht to pas, that is, to sue a divorce aganis the king … Heir, quhen ane had cast a dout, that gif scho suld ga that way to wark thair sone suld be maid a bastard [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 303/22.
Gart craftismen and maissouns fall to wark and build … ane great staine house
1597 Skene Verb. S. (1599) s.v. Iter.
Of dantoned horse, depute to warke, and not to the sadle
1601 Conv. Burghs II 108.
Putting the warkman presentle cumit hame to wark
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 218.
The manufacture … of the woll is a … meane … to hald nombris of people at woorke
1635 Boharm Kirk S. 27 Oct.
Nane of his father's familie was with him in work
(3) 1678 Lauder Observes 271.
Some ware for reading the haill report over and then by on vote have approven it which would have made schort work, and hudled up all but the Commissioner was content … to allow them to … debate every controverted election apart

b. Workmanship.See also Barbary n., Flanderis n., Millan(e n. c, Pece n. 11. a1400 Leg. S. xvi 783.
Scho … fand a derne sted, was wrocht In til a crage of angil wark
1399 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 6.
That the forsaid masonys sale hew … xii durris & xii wyndowys in fre tailly … and that werk sal be sufficiand gude
c1420 Wynt. viii 2887 (W).
Ane arche of full faire werk and fyne
1474 Treas. Acc. I 27.
For a bag, silk, gold and werk tharof
c1547 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 196.
Ane of the bruchis to my lordis caippis of siluer our gilt ingenuus verk
1590 Nat. Lib. MS 34. 2. 17 21.
Of auld werk ane gilt basing
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 148.
Ye sall alswa advertise all warkmen, that they sall present there all their measures, wechts, ballances, ellnes, and all and sundrie their instrumentes, … with the name of him quhais warke the instrument is distinctlie written
1630 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 22.
Importing of infinite sorts of dollours whairof the lieges nather knowes weight nor fynnesse nor the work thairof

7. Something made or done, the concrete result of workmanship. Also proverb.For pece of wark see Pece n. 11, for compounds or combinations with many other terms see 15 below. 1460 Hay Alex. 3022.
Thair was nane mycht mak ane peice of gere Speire … na wapin … For blude that of the burnand irn out brast—Thair was na wark that in thair hand wald laste
1483 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 48.
Thair sall [be] na … werk pertening to thame … bachlit nor schawn in handis for to sell
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 120.
I pray ȝow giue againe hir sark, And tak to ȝow all vther wark
1555 Acts II 499/1.
That na goldsmyth mak in wark nor set furth outher of his awin siluer or vther mennis siluer vnder the iust fynance of elleuin penny fyne
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 311.
To mak the wark to the Newhevin, to the cran, bulwark, and warklomes xxiij stanes … irne
15.. Clar. iii 960.
Scho bought hir pirnis baith of gold and silke. And scho hes maid hir fair workis of that ilke
15.. Clar. v 608.
1560 Sharpe Witchcraft 44.
I praye ȝow faill not to send me my samplar with the varkis … for I haif many warks begun bydand on it
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4975.
In Romes toun he maid ane vther wark Quhilk was ane fire continuallie burning
1570 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XIII 243.
He saw tham … tak the hous … and tak work and all other things in the hous
1587 Acts III 508/1.
Wabsteris walkaris and sic vtheris as may wirk and performe the said wark as alsua ane litstair … for litting … of thair saidis warkis
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 92/3.
1628 Misc. Maitl. C. III 373.
The hingingis round about the sylring to be fair wrocht with armes antikis and … conformit to the warkis of the sylring abone
1650 Brechin Presb. 27.
Shee refused to let him wirk, and did rive his worke before his eyes
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 872.
Wark bears witnesse wha weill does

8. A literary composition, an author's writings.sing. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 3117.
Of the deid of Quene Eccuba He gan no manere mencioun ma. Than in his werk at the ending
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1375.
Esope I hecht, my writing and my werk Is couth and kend to mony cunning clerk
1490 Irland Mir. I 164/13.
I haue maid this werk … in the commoune langage of this cuntre
1513 Doug. i Prol. 146.
Wilȝame Caxtoun of Inglis natioun … hes prent ane buke of Inglys gros Clepand it Virgill in Eneados … I red his wark with harmys at my hart That syk a buke but sentens or engyne Suldbe intitillit eftir the poet dyvyne
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 99.
We … will inseyr na thing in this oure werk, bot sa mekill as we maye preif be … attentik autouris
1533 Boece 74a.
This werk … is intitulit the Cosmographie of Ptholomee
1562-3 Winȝet II 16/13.
1622-6 Bisset I 76/28.
The sederunt buikis … beand sa wirthie, and remembrabill a wark
pl. a1400 Leg. S. v 524.
A[l]s tellis Elynandus Of Sancte Johnnis varkis, sayand thus, Quhene he suld the ewangel wryte [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 157/217.
I had mair of thair werkis writtin Had nocht the sowtar bene beschittin
1525 Aberd. B. Rec. I 111.
Ony bukys or verkys of the saide Lutheris
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 45.
Stewarte … Full ornate werkis daylie dois compyle
1557 Sources and Lit. Sc. Law 299.
All his bukis withtin his chalmer togiddir witht the warkis of Barthill contenit in v bukis [etc.]
1568 Lyndesay Pref. (STS) 403.
I will deteyne thé na langer … from the warkis thame selfis
1580 Cath. Tr. 70/1.

9. a. The (action of or activity concerned with) building, repairing, etc. (of an edifice, etc.). Also the commoun wark (Commoun adj. 1 b). Also pl.Also fig.b. The edifice, building(s) or construction so built. Also in the names of particular places. Also pl.There may be some ambiguity between the senses.For Kingis wark, see also King n. 5 a and Treas. Acc. I cclxviii-ix.a. sing. 1389 Wemyss Chart. 24.
Twa hundyr mark … to be … tane to the werk of the kyrk of Saynt Androus
1398–99 Liber Melros II 488.
The new werke of thaire kirke of Melros
1441 Aberd. B. Rec. I 7.
That … thair be … chosin twa men of gude cunnyng and knawlage, masteres of the commoune werk of the toune
1458 Peebles B. Rec. I 127.
Ony man [offending] sal pay x s. … to the common wark
1489 Treas. Acc. I 108.
To the massonis of Lythgow at the palis werk
1502 Treas. Acc. II 270.
Spanȝe irne to the werk in Halyrudhous
1507 Reg. Privy S. I 228/2.
That uther half of the said eschet we gif … to be appliit to Sanct Gelis werk and bigging
1550 St. A. Baxter Bks. 6.
The hawyn wark
1553 Edinb. Old Acc. II 15.
Firrin sparrs … to hald up the work
1569 Peebles B. Rec. I 316.
The … counsale hes set the walling of … Peblis to Sir John Allane and Thomas Lawder, masone … and the interprisaris of the said werk to pay [etc.]
1623 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 282.
The steane wark in the … window sould be teine out … and the haill worche of the buttressis to be mendit … the haill liberarie to be tirrit and the gestis thairof to be takine upe and sic as will serue for the work to be turnit and lead againe
1642 Alyth Par. Ch. 78.
To build an bridge of stone … to forder such ane necessarie vork [etc.]
c1650 Spalding I 259.
Hereotis wark
pl. 1516 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 163.
The vnlaw … to be applyit to the commoun werkis of the toun
1541 Treas. Acc. VIII 39.
For twa fidder of laid … to the warkis of Linlythqw
1581 Acc. Repair Doune in Moray Mun. MS Box No. 1, No. 300.
Gevin to Michell Ewing maister measoune … for the making of the grait tour of Down waltirticht and vther warkis
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 32.
Rentis to be debursit … upone warkis and provisionis of his majesties castell at Dumbartane and some warkis at Glasgo
fig. a1400 Leg. S. i 14.
Thu art Petir, at is, oure stane, To byg myn wark one haff I tane
b. (1) sing. a1400 Leg. S. x 150.
Knawlage … How men suld make a toure to wyn Hewyne … That is be treutht & baptysme … & nocht be warke of lyme & stane
1387 Edinb. Chart. 35.
Betwene the chapellis guteryt with hewyn stane … to save the werc for the watir
c1475 Wall. xi 19.
Fortrace, and werk that was with out the toun, Thai brak, and brynt
1522 Aberd. B. Rec. I 105.
The said sentrice [of the bridge] ar broking … in gret skayth … of that noble wark
1536 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 76.
All the woll hyd skinnis and claith be brocht to the new wark, and thair to be sauld, and intill nane vther place
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2862.
Except the towre of Babilone, So heych one wark, I reid of none
1572 Peebles B. Rec. I 343.
Ordanis the Eist Werk to be kepit and the artailyerie to be schot be Adam Hog
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 45.
The said lord biggit the new werk on the north syde of the seid foirentres, joynand with the samyn
1588 Exch. R. XXI 351.
The eist part of the castell vark of Stirviling
1596 Dalr. I 170/17.
He laid a woundirful wall, a woundirful wark, of aucht thousand pase lang
1601 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 16 Feb.
To … mak new ane calsay fra the auld wark fornent my Lord Home's place westwards
1694 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 315.
Ane petitione … desyreing ane contributione for leadeing the observatorie in the new work of the said colledge
pl. a1500 K. Hart 687.
Wit said, ‘Cum in, full welcum to thir wanis!’ ‘I compt nocht all ȝour werkis wirth ane wilk'
1588 Reg. Great S. 516/1 (see Kane n.1 2).
1638 Old Ross-shire II 37.
For leading the milstaneis and bigging the dammis and inholding the watter warkis
(2) 1489 Treas. Acc. I 107.
Gevin to Dave Leyche to Sanct Pawllis werk to the ospytal
1496 Treas. Acc. I 285.
Giffin for having of the artailȝerj furth of the kingis sellar in Leith to the kingis werk, iiij s.
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II 240.
To pas with the pece to the procuratioun to Sanct Gelis werk on Palm Sonday
1559 Inverness Rec. I 31.
The sayd Donald in thyftuus manyr kariet sex salmond fysche in the wark of Poltarff
a1651 Calderwood VII 458.
The weavers in St. Paul's worke

10. a. An organised or shared activity, an (industrial or commercial) enterprise, esp. a mine. b. The location of such an activity, a works. Also fig.There may be some ambiguity with senses 1, 2 and 6 abovea., b. sing. 1533 Bell. Livy II 173/9.
He drew all his said army fra all small batallis to ane richt ythand and besy werk
1565 Reg. Privy C. I 400.
Licence … to win … leid ure … out of ony ground … sauffand the werk and mynd of Glengonar and Wenlok
1567 Sat. P. v 78.
The wark is greit ye haue on hand
1575 Laing MSS 25.
Cum to sum speciall & reasounable conditionis anent this werk of the gold and silver myneis
1576 Dickson & Edmond Ann. Sc. Printing 285.
We sall wirk, end and perfyte the said werk of imprenting of the Bybill
c1590 Fowler II 108/4.
Considdering that contempt … on the one part and distrust in the other, it wer imposseble to mak a gud u[e]rke & busines together
1593 Conv. Burghs I 418.
Lord forgif ws oure slaknes and negligent handling of this wark
1605 Conv. Burghs II 202.
Ane act of the conventioun of the estaitis of this realm … be the quhilk ane offer is maid to the burrowis of the wark of the clotherie
1600-1610 Melvill 792.
Instrumentis of overthraw of the fridome … of the kirk [etc.] … no man … dreamit of sic effect as … in ane day to overthraw ane work seventie yeiris in building
1619 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 199.
With ane kettle for fulling … of the saidis stuffes ane pres for pressing of the saidis stuffes and furnitor … all uther necesseris … for upsetting of the said wark
1620 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 216.
Grantis in len to Verissimus Cockis, Inglishman, ane hous in the work to dwell in
1674 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 31 Jan.
For preserving the work from drowneing … carrying of faillis
1681 Fawside Coal Compt 87.
To the coallheuers for lokeing the uorke
pl. 1611 Inverness Rec. II 81.
The said Sir George leid mylne and irne varckis to be biggit on the saidis landis of Buicht
1614 Mining Rec. 166 (see Warklum(e n.).
1620 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 126.
Laurence Musgrave Inglisman servand at Sir George Bruce's warks
fig. 1581-1623 James VI Poems I 177/602 (see Warklum(e n.).

11. Maister (of) (the) … Werk(is, the person in overall charge of an enterprise, chiefly of works of building, architecture or engineering, also, of workshops or enterprises of other sorts. 1458 Perth Guildry 33.
Schir Simon Bane is chosin master of the werk for a ȝeire
1473 Treas. Acc. I 74.
For the expensis maid vpone the artilȝery and werkmen … as is contenit in the buke of the comptaris deliueransis to the masteris of werk
1477 Aberd. B. Rec. I 36.
That Alexander of Chavmyr alderman be continevit vpper and principale maister of wark of the biging of Sanct Nicholace qveyr
1513 Treas. Acc. IV 444 (see Maister n. 12 b (4)). 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 448.
To the boit that brocht it furth of Hadyngtoune, feit be the controllar and pait be the maister of werk
1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 1.
The expense upoune the new werk in Halirudhous maid be Maister Johnne Scrimgeour maister of the kingis graice werkis
15.. Wyf Awcht. 41.
Jok, will thow be maistir of wark, And thow sall had and I sall kall
1587 Carmichael Etym. 6.
Architecton, a maister of wark
1596 Dalr. I 18/7.
The pure gather the sand, quhilke … thay sell to him quha is maistir of warke
1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 140.
The maister of wark tuik jorney … for sichting lowis wark at Huntingtoure and did set doun ordour for building the same
pl. 1579 Soc. Ant. XXX 54.
Ane lettre … ordinand him maister off all … oure soverane lordis werkis and places, biggit and to be biggit within this realme

12. The mechanism of an artifact, esp. a clock. Also pl.sing. 1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. II 300.
For ane clois cart to cary down to Leyth the greit wark of hir [sc. a clock] … to ane man to beir down her small wark
1597 Reg. Privy C. V 415.
With the werk of ane pistollet gaif the said complenair ane … straik upoun the heid
1606 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 21.
To Harie Bull for mending the wark of the knock
1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 29.
Of gryitt cloakes … The going wark [etc.]
1649 Falkirk Baron Ct. 20 Nov.
Ane musket without the wark
pl. 1659 Anal. Scot. I 205.
To Henrie Rait for mending & makeing new warkes to our weich-hous
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 133.
A blind man … that could … take doune 2 watches … and … put them up … with their oune vorks

13. a. To be or put in wark, to be used or be put to use. b. The use or effect of something.a. 1625 Justiciary Cases I 31.
This raw claith can nocht be put in wark and it will serue for no use till first it be wett and how sone it is wett it draweth so far in [etc.]
1629 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 20.
That there be a restraint of exportation of all copper that hes beene in worke … to the intent the same may be sauld to his majesteis maister cunyier
Urquhart Rabelais i viii 41.
For his gloves were put in work sixteen otters skins
b. 16… Alchem. MSS V.
The note of workes. 1. The work of the Sprit. 2. The work of Sal Armoniaque to fixe him … 8. The work of Jupiter to the white. 9. The work of Jupiter to the red

14. Deid wark, refuse. 1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I 99 (see Dede adj. 3 (2)).
For casting and carying away of ane midding of deid wark

15. As the second element of a compound or combination in various of the above senses, esp. 7 and 9.See also Arras werk n., Aslar n. b, Blak wark n., Bosit ppl. adj., Brasin adj., Brig-werk n., Browdin ppl. adj.1 1, Browdry n., Carvit ppl. adj., Commoun adj. 1 b, Day n.1 8, Dawerk n., Daywerk n., Erisch(e adj. 1, Firewerk n., Fixit ppl. adj., For(e)-werk n., Fre adj. 10, Glasin adj. (2), Glassinwerk n., Goldin adj. 1, Goldsmyth n. b, Handywerk n., Hewin ppl. adj., Irne-werk n., Kirk-werk n., Laid ppl. adj., Lang adj.1 2 d, Made ppl. adj. 1, Maso(u)n-werk n., Naro(w adj. 1 b (1), (2), Nedil(l)-werk n., Plank n.1 1 c (1), Plet ppl. adj. 2, Raisit ppl. adj. 1, Roploch adj., Ruch adj. 13, Scarmis(c)h(e n., S(c)hort adj. 2 d, Silver wark n., Skin(n)ar n. b (3), Smith(e n. 1 c, Stane wark n., Tre n.1 13, Tuth-wark n. (cf., however, Hede-werk n.), Tymmer werk n., Tyn n. 3 a, Tynnit ppl. adj. and Ȝule n. 3 for further examples. 1371 Coldingham Priory App. lxiv.
j pannus de arasweryk pro summo altari
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Toreuma, ane grauin werk
1595 Misc. Spald. C. II xxii.
The waist gawill of the paris kyrk … the glais wark of the sayme
1595 Perth Guildry 549 (15 Oct.).
Warit on lyme quhilk firnit the tolbwith the bak vark & sum to the skole
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 57.
For thai had the ile well biggit in palace-wark according to thair auld fassoun
1633 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 369 (see Wirk v. 11 b p.p.).
To Johne Bining painter for paintrie work done be him
1637 Reg. Deeds DVIII 23 Aug.
Ane silver bassine and ewer Germane wark with the Queen of Bohemia her armes in the midle of the bassine
1693 Fraser in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 216.
Many curious knotts of mosaick vork

16. attrib.In various of the above senses. Also: Workband (Band n.1 2) ? a strap of metal that bears a load or carries out some function (rather than being purely decorative). Warkbeistis, cf. Wark hors n. Warkcoines, ? coins for use in payment for ongoing work (sense 9 a above). Wark carne, ? Wark ly day, ? a working day (Wark da(y n.) which is a ly day (Ly-day n. 1). Wark meir, naig, cf. Wark hors n. Wark pan (Pan n.1) a container or vessel. Wark silver, see Pittance-silver n. Work weather dayes, see Weddir dais n. 1552 Edinb. Old Acc. II 11.
For sawing of buirds and geists to the bak of workbands
1620 Edinb. Test. L 352b.
Ane net warkband price thairof vi lib.
1579 Edinb. Test. VII 11b.
Twa wark beistis ane hors & ane meir
1591 Edinb. B. Rec. V 46.
That na maister … sall hald ony ma oppin wark buithis bot ane
1626 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 296.
That … Robert sall not keip ane work buith within the toun of Leith
1570–1 Crail B. Ct. MS 5 March.
Helene … murtheryst the barne … and thairefter ȝeirdit the same within the smyddy howse vnder the said Patrickis work burde
1674 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 20 May.
Robert Dickson thrie pundis Scots for ane work boord
1623–4 Dumbarton Common Gd. Acc. 33.
For transporting the wark coines fra Edinburgh
1583 Hunter Fam. P. 31.
The … inventar of … dettis perteining to umquhile Robert Hunter … x peccis of wark corne price of the boll ij merk
1591–2 Black Bk. Taymouth 311.
Quorriaris, messons, glasin wrichtis, wark foilkis
1582 Dundee B. Laws 548.
Gif he … haif sufficient vark geir and vark lowmes
1663 Edinb. Test. LXXI 222a.
Sex work horsis & meirs with thrie cairts and vther work graith
1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I 140b.
Four boddomes to the wark koblis x s.
1663 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp in Misc. Maitl. C. II 499.
To Helen the work lasse [£2 18 s.]
1565 Edinb. B. Deeds 161 (see Ly-day n. 1).
Wark ly dayis
1590 Edinb. Test. XXI 296.
Ane virk meir
1595 Melville Chart. 137.
Ane meir … ane meir staig … ane uther wark meir
1673 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct.) 19 Dec.
Ane old work meire
1628 Edinb. Test. LIV 317.
Thrie dosone & four laid warke mutches
1579 Edinb. Test. VII 145b.
Ane wark naig by the airschip & harȝeild horsis
c1650 Spalding II 335.
Wark naiges to be baggage horss
c1650 Spalding II 365.
Ane ryding naig … or ane wark naig
1668 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 12 Dec.
Ane work naig and ane work meire both estimat to £10 Scots
1596 Edinb. Test. XXIX 320b.
Ane gray wark pan with annet seidis price of the pan with the annet seidis iiij li
1679 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 3a.
Eleven bolles … meall deliuered out to the work people
1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I 76.
Evere fyrhouse within this burghe sale furnis … ane sufficient work seruand
1645 Edinb. Test. LXI 134b.
Ellevine wark tubes … twa wasching tubes [etc.]

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



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