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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Warlo(c)k(e, Warlo, n. Also: warlak, warloch(e, -lach(e, vairloche, warlou, -low(e, -la(w, -lay, varlo(w, virlo. [ME and e.m.E. warlaw(e (c1275), warlau, warlagh (both Cursor M.), warlowe (c1440), warlow (c1460), OE wær-loᵹa.]For the phonological development cf. Elbo n., Elbok n. and Wyndo(w n.

1. The Devil. b. A devil or fiend. a1400 Leg. S. xviii 636.
A lady Mary, madyne chaste … That ws fra the warlo wane
a1400 Leg. S. xxxix 297.
a1568 Bann. MS 30a/65.
Betuix ws varlo and thy weris All Chrystis passioun we put compleit
b. a1568 Bann. MS 140a/5.
War nor ane warlo in thy wrytting Thow Sathanas seid ay sett to evill

2. As a term of abuse: A scoundrel, a reprobate, once, used by a man of his wife.Some examples may belong in sense 3. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 152/60.
Nixt … in dans come Cuvatyce, Rute of all evill … Catyvis, wrechis [etc.] … All with that warlo [M. virlo] went
1540 Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 33.
I haif ane quick divill to my wyfe … That warlo, and scho wist That I wald cum to this gud toun, Scho wald … ding me in the dust
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 634 (T).
He [sc. Montgomerie] was ane fals schismatik … Ane vairloche [H. warloche], ane woirwolf, ane wowbat … Ane devill and ane dragoun [etc.]
1679 Dingwall Kirk S. 320.
Their witnesses … declared by oath that every one of them being in—called the other a thief and a warlak
1683 Cramond Kirk S. II 5 Aug.
A petition … representing that … Jean Allan … had often abused themselves, thair wives and families, by opprobious speeches, in calling them warlocks and reprobates

3. A person (chiefly or only a man) in league with the Devil; one possessed of occult powers; a sorcerer or wizard. Freq. in collocation with Wi(t)ch n.Some examples may belong in sense 2.(1) a1515 BM Royal MS 17 D XX 307b.
That ȝere was mony weches & warlois brint … and Jhone the Erle of Mar … was slayne becaus thai said he faworyt the weches & warlois
1575 Cal. Sc. P. V 200.
I mene … sic as … trowis and belevis in wechis and warlayis—ane hie witche is ane warla
c1590 Fowler I 233/20.
Thair report Of wichthes, warlowes, who at night to buryed banis resort
c1590 J. Stewart 49/56.
His royall ring … All sorcerie it did extinguise plaine So that be it one harmles mycht repair Of varlow vitche or vickit visione vaine
1626 Wemyss Chart. 313.
[Bond by James Gray, burgess of Wemys, stating that] forsameikill as vmquhile Patrick Lawerok … delait me as suspect of ane witche or warlow
(b) a1585 Polwart Flyt. 678 (T).
Thy speich … That wreitis of wichis, warlochis [H. warloks] & of wratches
(c) 1627 Dunferm. Ann. 297.
The wast o' Fife … began to be infested be witches and warlocks
1698 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 260.
To pay … [£66 8 s.] Scotts, as expenssis in mantaineing witches and warlocks in the tolbuith
(2) 1597 S. Leith Rec. 2/1.
William Fourd … wes put aff the sessioun, for consulting with a warlow in New-castell in Ingland
1600-1610 Melvill 281.
We haid lurking within our awin bowelles a poisonable and vennemus Psyllus, a warlow … sa empoisoned be the vennome of that auld serpent … that [etc.] … This is Patrik Adamsone fals Bischope of St. Androis
1660 Cupar Presb. 185.
A warlaw condemned had delated him as being als guilty as himselfe
(b) 1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 234.
For cureing of … Robert Kerse … quha wes havelie tormentit with wichcraft and diseis, laid on him be ane Westlande warlach, quhene he wes in Dumfreis
1598 Misc. Maitl. C. I 91.
Calling Walter Aikein … ane warloche convert thairof summondit to this daye … and not compeirand, is ordenit to [etc.]
1642 Dundonald Par. Rec. 512.
James Esdaill … had sclandered him by saying that he was ane witch and ane warloch lowne
1643 Black Cal. Witchcraft 52/2.
(c) 1605 Crim. Trials II 479.
Dilaittit, accuset and persewit … off the crymes following … for ane cowmone and notorious sorcerer, warlock and abuser of the peopill, be all vnlawfull charmes and devillische incantationes, vset be him
1629 Justiciary Cases I 132.
The said Katharene declairit to the said Alexander Hammiltoun warlok that scho was to meit that nycht uith the devill hir maister … and … desyret Hammiltoun to be uith hir at that meitting
1643 Justiciary Cases III 602.
His bodie to be brunt in assis as ane sorcerer and warlock convict
1643 Dunbar Moray Doc. 39.
John Shand, reputed warlock, and now fugitive, to be taken notice of in everie parochine, and if he be found, to cause apprehend him
1646 St. A. Presb. 33.
1650 Elgin Rec. II 274.
William Grant, ane alleadged warlock
1655 Dumbarton B. Rec. 69.
Johne McWilliam persewed criminally as warloke
1657 Misc. Hist. Soc. VII 18.
1667 Duncan Glasg. Physic. & Surg. 68.
The said William Currie ane warlock and runniegait going fra door to door
a1670 Scot Staggering State 130.
He dealt with a warlock … to raise the devil
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 48.
She arose … and railled upon Hob Grieve, calling him warlock and slave to the devil
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 45.
An eminent warlock whose name was Robert Grieve

4. attrib.a. Malevolent, wicked. b. That is a wizard.a., b. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3995.
This bald bitter bitche, This reid reifar, and this rank warlo witche
1642 Dundonald Par. Rec. 512.
Ane bill of sclander against … Margaret Wallace … for saying that he was ane old haired warloch witch theif
1683 Sinclair Nat. Phil. 243.
The Devil answered … I and my father will come and fetch you to hell with warlock-theeves
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 123.
Saying, you warlock cairle, what have you to do here?

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"Warlok n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2024 <>



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