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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
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Pouder, Pulder, Poulder, n. Also: powd(d)-, poudd-, powud-; pulld-, powld-, poulld-; pold-; pud-, pwd-; pod-; pudd-; peud- and -ar, -ere, -ir, -yr, -re; pultre. [ME and e.m.E. poudre (c 1290), pudre (Cursor M.), pouder, -ir, powdyr, -er, -ur, -re also pouldre (1390), -er, F. poudre (c 1160 in Larousse), OF pudre (c 1155 in Larousse), earlier OF and AN poldre, puldre, polre (11–12th c.), L. pulvis, pulver- dust. In 16th c. F. usu. spelt pouldre (Palsgrave), with -l- restored after L. Cf. Pouther n. (and Pulver n.).] Powder.

1. The mass of small dry fragments resulting from the crumbling, crushing or consumption by fire of a solid body: rubble; dust; ash. b. Espec., pulverised earth, dust of the ground. c. As a countable noun: A quantity of dust. To cast a pouder in (a person's) ein, to blind temporarily, hoodwink.Freq., the mouldered remains of a dead body, or the ashes of one burnt.Freq. qualified by small (? chiefly or only in verse).With c, cf. MF jeter la poudre dans les yeux (à quelqu'un), to overcome, or to excel, jeter (mettre) la (de la) poudre dans les (aux) yeux (à quelqu'un), to dazzle someone, or to surprise him by an illusion (16–17th c. in Littré and Hatz.-Darm.).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 676.
That na thing suld remayn of it [the temple] … That na suld be in pudre [sm]al
1530 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 28.
To vi werkmen at the quarrell … wynnand fre tailye puder and wall stanis
1531 Bell. Boece II 161.
Of all this town … remanit nocht haistely bot the powder
1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 134.
The flaikit pulder of the ald wallis
Ib. 168.
To xl barrowmen … makand red and flakand polder
1539–41 Ib. 270.
vi hors ledand lyme riddillingis and pulder fra the palice to the brewhous and caichpule
1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. I 349.
For thre flaks to mak pulder small with
1575–6 Lanark B. Rec. 71.
For the warning the toun to beir stains and puder to the cassay iiij s.
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 793.
Quhare thare poudre sal lest ay … to the last day, Quhen thai … Sal ryse
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 509.
And the spreit of man sal turn agan in the powdyr
1513 Doug. iii v 40.
Andromache maid anniuersar sacrifyce … To Hectoris puldir or hys assis brynt
1531 Bell. Boece I 108.
Ane anciant sepulture in quhilk wer ii lame piggis … full of brint powder
Ib. 194.
To Rome berand with hir the powder of thair fader in ane goldin poke
1549 Compl. 152/20.
I am bot puldir ande asse
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5170.
Thy vyle corruptit carioun Sall … remane, in pulder small, On to the iugement generall
1591 Crim. Trials I ii 251.
Indytit … for laying of muldis and powder be wichcraft … in the said Jonett Cokburnis gait
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xlvi 141.
I sal thame brak in powdir smal
a1538 Abell xvi a.
The womanis hair … fell in poulder
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3747.
[They] dang all doun in poulder small
1557 in Knox IV 304.
And desyre nothing ellis but … to sie us in peces and in pouder
a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS. 241 a/109.
And brak his bonis in pulder small as sand
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 26.
Vsand at morne ane spunfull of the rute of Aristoloche in pulder with half vyne
a1582 Sir Colling 184.
Ding me in pouldar small
1584 Melvill 178.
He hes put in his hand a schepter of yron, to bruse in pouder these erthen veshalles
1596 Dalr. II 200/30.
He … quhom al man beleiuet to be dung in poulder with the waicht of the hous, is fund saif and sound
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 740.
& godis … thu gert fal & be brynt in powdre smal
c1475 Wall. vii 1058.
Thaim with in thai brynt in powdir cauld
1535 Stewart 36324.
Thair bowellis syne war brint all in ane fyre, In powlder small
1549 Compl. 21/11.
Vas it [Carthage] nocht brynt in puldir ande asse?
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3463.
Thare … peple all … brynt in poulder small
1562-3 Winȝet I 114/7.
To be tane … togiddir with thair sones, … cattell, and all thair insprayth, and to be burnt in puldre
a1568 W. Brown Bann. MS. I p. 36/26.
Thocht ȝe wer brynt in pulder all Befoir the iuge ȝe mon compeir
1558-66 Knox I 171.
And … he was … hanged, and there brynt to poulder
c1650 Spalding II 287. a1400 Leg. S. xxix 998.
The emperour com til assay In hou smal poudir thai ware mad
1513 Doug. vi iii 135.
Efter all was fallin in puldir and in as [etc.]
(5) a1400 Leg. S. xlv 234.
Til the fals ydol don can fal, & in poudre lousyt al smal
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 667 (Asl.).
Of thar bodyis be naturale condicoun … All tornes in powder and corrupcoun
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 303.
Deith is the dissolutioun of the body … quhilk it lousis into powder
(6) 1576 Crim. Trials I ii 53.
Thom gaif hir … ane thing lyke the rute of ane beit, and baid hir … dry it, and mak pulder of it
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII 191 b.
Ane irne morter to bray poulder with ane pestell of bras
1638 Adamson Muses Thr. (1638) 7.
Whose famous relicts are all flowr'd, And all with precious pouldar stowr'd
b. 1375 Barb. xi 616.
Sic ane stew rais … of hors and men, And of powdir
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 1346.
The body Of … Mary to erde thou ȝeld, … & povdir in-to powdir sete
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 4.
Thay war sa vext with pulder and with het
Ib. 1444.
The pulder and dust that draif vp in the gete
1490 Irland Mir. I 40/3.
Als cleire as the licht of the sone schawis the powdere and motis in the sone beyme
1494 Loutfut MS. 25 b.
That perdris … coveris thair eggis with powdre
1513 Doug. ii v 41.
He [Hector] … eftyr the cart was rent, With barknyt blude and powder
Ib. vii x 57.
The dusty pulder vpdryvand with a stour
Ib. ii x 88; x xiv 29; xi xvi 72; etc. 1533 Bell. Livy II 98/28.
The dust and powder, myngit with reik, tuke away the sicht baith fra men and hors
Ib. I 69/9. a1538 Abell 12 a (see Mow n.4). c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 79.
None may go neir thame … Without thay couer mouth and neis, Frome the powder
Ib. 45.
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 9.
Gif the air perseueris lang tyme dry as full of pulder [etc.]
a1586 Lindsay MS. 12 b.
Quhen thair innemeys hes the wind the powldre and the sone in thair ene
c. c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe (O.U.P.) 203.
Quhill Presence kest a pulder [B. powder, M. puldar] in his ene, And than as drunkyn man he all forvayit

2. Powdered or pulverised matter prepared for a particular purpose; (as a countable noun) a preparation in the form of a powder, for some special use, freq. medicinal. Also attrib. and comb.Latterly sometimes = face- or hair-powder.Also accompanied by an attrib. noun or an adj., specifying the purpose or some other attribute of the powder.Sweit (= sweat) pouder.See also Pouderlumbard n., Pouder-violet.(1) a1500 Henr. III 153/84.
And or pryme be past, my powder I pary, Thay sall blis ȝow
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 64.
For he had alsmeikle gold … as wald buy poulder aneughe to shorten his paine
1576 Digest Justiciary Proc. I 24.
Demandit to quhome scho applyit the pulder in drink declairit [etc.]
1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 147.
To stanch blud … The pudyr of Paches castin apon the place
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 253 (T).
With powder I drait verie fyne
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 99 (H) (see Potingar n.1 possess. (1)). 1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 237.
For putting of mwildis, or powder maid of menis joyntis … vnder Ewphame McCalȝanis bed
1591 Ib. 252.
Inchantit mwildis and powder put in ane peice paipar, to be vsit and rowit in your hair
1679 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. IV 121.
[Inscription on snuff-box] Sike me within Yeil powder fin
1694 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 257.
For paper, puder and jasamin, £1.4.0
1695 Moncreiffs 337.
Pouder for haire and jessamin £1.10
(2) 1511–2 Treas. Acc. IV 354.
For siklik powderis, confectionis, spiceri, ypothecary, and materialez, deliverit be him [the apothecary]
1562 Ib. XI 226.
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 244 (T).
Send for ane powder, and pay ford, Callit the vengence of the Lord, For thy muuge mowthe so meit
1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 239.
The devill commandit thame to keip the jountis vpoun thame, quhill thay wer dry, and thane to mak ane powder of thame
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 44.
To some hee giues such stones or poulders as will helpe to cure or cast on diseases
1692 Old Ross-shire I 152.
Oyls, poulders and perfumes
(3) a 1528 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXVIII 85.
Tuith pulder
15.. Lord Fergus' Gaist 30 (see Nese-powder). 1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 353.
A sugger pouder box of silver
(4) 1553–4 Ayr B. Acc. 120.
Culuring pulder
(5) c1580-90 Rules of Health 7.
With suckir or with pulder digestiue
1590 Edinb. Test. XXI 311 b.
Tuelf glasis with the powder cordiallis
1643 Ib. LX 235 b.
Thrie pund weycht of sweit poulder estimat all to xix lib. iiij s.
(6) attrib. 1538 Treas. Acc. VII 112.
For polder pokis of violat to lay amang the kingis claithis
1691 Hawick Arch. Soc. (1905) 13.
Half a p. of pudder suker … O 4 6

3. Gunpowder. = Gunpouder n.For further instances, see Bullet n., Culverin(g n. 3, Found n.1, Kinkin n., Lunt n., Morsing vbl. n., Munitio(u)n(e n., etc., also Clene adj. 1 c and Groff adj. 1 b.See also the index to the various volumes of Treas. Acc.Also, rarely, plur., in (the same) collect. sense.sing. (a) 1474 Treas. Acc. I 69.
To bring again certane thingis … according to artilȝery, powder, schot and sic thing
1497 Ib. 347.
Feit … to pas with the artailȝery … ane coupar for the powdir
1506 Ib. III 332.
Ane raik for the powdir
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe (O.U.P.) 238.
Thai fyrit gunnis wyth powder [B. polder, M. pulder] violent
1545 Stirlings of Keir 390.
1553 Old Ross-shire I 265.
Fine culvering poudyr
1562–3 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 79.
For powuder to the seige of Comernald
1567 Reg. Privy S. VI 1/2.
Tressonabilly raissand fyre … with ane greit quantitie of powder, throw force of the quhilk … his grace was murdreist
1570 Leslie 152.
1596 Dalr. II 158/24. 1600 Crim. Trials II 200.
Alexander Ruthvene lap in at the buyth-wyndo, and rypit all the buyth for powder
c1610 Melville Mem. 362.
A strategeme … of a schip full of poudre with a bournyng lont
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 366.
For carreing of the same haill poudder
1618 Edinb. Test. L 62 b.
Tuelff pundis … barrellit powdder at [£5. 6. 8]
1627 Linlithgow B. Rec. 17 Aug.
The inhabitanttis thairof not being sua weill prowydit in powder and leid and armes for defence
1629 Conv. Burghs III 280.(b) 1513 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 2.
As tuiching the gunnis, puldir, bullettis [etc.]
1513 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 262.
1514 Ib. 187.
1539 Treas. Acc. VII 172.
1547 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I App. lxxix.
Doubill baggis of ledder to put pulder in
1570 Sat. P. x 220.
Bothwell with pulder blew him in the air
a1578 Pitsc. I 292/25.
Ib. II 79/2. 1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I 38.
Thai delashit thair pulder quhilk wes in the hagbutts
1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V 18.
Foure barrell of Danskyne pulder
1598–9 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 99.
For the pulder coft to the muistour day
1639 Aberd. B. Rec. III 146. c1650 Spalding I 8, etc. 1675 Mylne Master Masons 208.(c) 1528 Lynd. Dreme 1025.
Thay sparit nocht the poulder, nor the stonis
1566 Inv. Q. Mary lxxxviii n.
Sum waik poulder meit for mixing of fyre work
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 127.
Be blawing of the lugeing … in the air be great vehemencie of powlder
a1578 Pitsc. II 218/5.
That my lord regent sould be slaine be the schot of poulder
Ib. I 194/31.
Ib. 262/11.
1581 Sat. P. xliv 143.
His heid [will serve to be] a bullat vith pouldre far to flie
c1590 Fowler I 210/7.
Yea, never lunt more lint nor poulders yre Inkendled soner then ȝow me, my dame
1638 Rudiments of Military Discipline.
Blow your pan and prime it, put of your louse powlder
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. II 271.
Muskett poulder
(d) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 460.
For … gun stanis and poldyr
1513 Ib. 511.
For … lynnyng claith to Wolf in the pouder myll for the fynyng of the polder
1538–9 Ib. VII 135.
1547 Cal. Sc. P. I 5.
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 529.
With the haill polder and ane great part of the mvnitioun of the realme of Scotland
(e) 1575–6 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 93.
Giffin for puder the twa mwstard dayis
1585 Elphinstone Mun. 193/1.
Ane barrell of morsing pwdir haill
1629–30 Misc. Spald. C. V 103.
1664 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 208.
1690 Hawick Arch. Soc. (1905) 12.
Puder and lid to shut
(f) 1573–4 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 91.
For tua pund of poder [etc.] … at the justefeing of the Laird Ormestoun xx s. iii d.
1625 Brechin Test. IV 183 b.
Four small barrall poder pryce xvj lib.
(g) 1609 Brechin Test. II 3.
Fyiftie pund pudder pryce xxv lib.
1639 Baillie I 239.
The pudder and leid they wer to spend for ther covenant at Dunce
1650 Rec. Old Aberd. I 81.
Threttie muscattis … pudder ball and metche conforme
(h) 1648 Glasgow B. Rec. II 142.
Ane half barrell and firikin of peuder
1661 Ib. 471.(i) 1628 Fam. Innes 216.
Ther is an Italian wardit … for transporting of artillarie and pultre and bullet
plur. 1479 Acts II 126/2.
The tresonable stuffing … of the castell … with … gunnis, apparalingis, pulderis & artilȝeary
1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 137.
Ane grit quantatie of poulderis [etc.]
1567 Treas. Acc. XII 78.
With the haill pulderis, munitioun and plennesing being thairin
c1575 Balfour Pract. 631.
He may alswa put pulderis, paveis, and speiris for sic quantitie as he [the admiral] sall be requirit, to wit, ane pund of pulder for the tun [etc.]

b. attrib. and comb.Poulder hous, a building for manufacturing or storing gun-powder: cf. 18th c. Eng. powder-house (1774).See also Pouder-horn(e and Pouder-mylne.(1) 1506 Treas. Acc. III 203.
Powdir baggis
1533 Ib. VI 160.
To cary the gunstanis, pulder baggis [etc.]
1540 Ib. VII 356.
1496 Treas. Acc. I 296.
For closing of the powdir barel hedis in the abbay
1501 Ib. II 115. 1505 Ib. III 142. 1572 Ib. XII 304.
For thre pulder barrellis nalit with ledder
1506 Treas. Acc. III 332.
For … cammes to be powdir clathis
1552 Reg. Privy C. I 131.
Men … furnischit with powldir flask [etc.]
1626 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 142.
As yit awin me ane merk with ane puder red horne flas
1629 M. Works Acc. II 300.
For … rigging staines quhilk wes put upon the poulder hous
1496 Treas. Acc. I 294.
For xij powdir pokis of leddir to the gunnaris
1532 Ib. VI 155. 1548 Ib. IX 271.
Pulder polkes
c1650 Spalding II 208.
The bullet lichted on ane pvlder pvnsheoun
1595 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 97.
Ressauit … for puder siluer
(2) 1511–2 Treas. Acc. IV 329.
To the … gunnaris, powdermen, and utheris werkmen of the castele
1545 Ruddiman Epist. II App. 337.
Archibald Wilsoun powdar-makar
1558 Reg. Privy S. V i 101/1.
Makand him ane of oure soverane ladeis gwnneris and powder makeris of hir castell of Edinburgh
1567 Treas. Acc. XII 90.
Umquhile Thomas Smyth, pulder maker
1579 Reg. Privy C. III 205.
To serve his hienes … as … powder makaris
Ib. 206.(3) 1617 Elgin Rec. II 152.
The fyft of November ane day apoynted to haly preitchings … for the kingis delyverie of the pudder blast
1619 Ib. 161. 1620 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 96.
For publict thanksgewing for his majesties delyverie from the pulder treasone at Londoun

4. transf. Applied to the semen. 1536 Lynd. Answ. Flyting 34.
Quharefor tak tent, and ȝour fyne powder spair, And waist it nocht, bot gyf ȝe wit weill quhair

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



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