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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Present, adj. and adv. Also: -entt, -ente; -ant; -and; præsent; prisint, -ent; also preisent; persand; plur. presentis, also -es, -ez, -z. [ME and e.m.E. present (a 1300), -ente (c 1450), prissent (1566), adj., also adv. (c 1381), OF present (11th c. in Littré; mod. F. présent), L. præsens, præsent- present, prompt, pres. p. of præ-esse to be at hand. Cf. Present,n.2]In sense 3 (and, rarely, sense 1) also with plural inflection.

A. adj.

1. predic. (That is) in the place specified or appointed; (that is) here or there. b. (That is) with, beside or in the presence of the person in question.Present in jugement, present at the hearing in court.(1) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 138*.
Nane beand present bot we thre before nemnyt
1398–9 Acts I 210/2. 1443 Ayr Chart. 28. 1475 Peebles B. Rec. I 173. 1492 Reg. Episc. Morav. 249.
Or ane present and ane wthir absent of the parteis
1492 Acta Conc. I 249/2. 1525 Misc. Bann. C. III 110.
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 732.
Wald God thay war present!
1540 Edinb. Chart. 212.
All the saidis partyis being personaly present
1542 Acts II 424*/1. 1574 Edinb. Kirk S. 1 July.
The brethering of the last kirk to compeir … & gif thair jugement … to the particular kirk present gif [etc.]
1590 Black Bk. Taymouth 303.
The laird and ladie present … with sindrie uther cumeris and gangeris
1622-6 Bisset II 63/3.
That na contract … be ressaved … without the iudge be present
1632 Cullen B. Rec. MS 15 April.
The haill counsall & court present … in tak lattis [etc.]
(b) 1604 Dundee Shipping P. 79.
(c) 1563 Dumfries B. Ct. in Prot. Bk. M. Carruthers 9.
Jon Haliday … persand for the tyme, sworn in jugement, deponit [etc.]
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1460.
The bischape … That with the puple present was
c1420 Wynt. vii 33, etc.
This lord that tyme wes noucht present In to the court, bot wes absent [etc.]
c1475 Wall. xi 1316.
A blyst byschop sone, present in that place
1496 Acta Conc. II 5.
Because thai war nocht present to this actioune
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlviii 85.
All present wer in twynkling of ane e … befoir the quene
1513 Doug. xi ii 7. c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 373.
He euer is with ws present in the spreit
a1578 Pitsc. II 73/20.
c1590 J. Stewart 267 § 5.
This churle … Vas present than to hir mishap
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 25.(b) 1562-3 Winȝet I 84/9.
plur. 1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 1.
Presentis thairat … Johne Forgushill … and Symont Wallace … diacones
(3) 1490 Irland Mir. I 33/2.
The tyme that the blist body of Jhesu is present thar
1551 Hamilton Cat. 133. a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 128/9. 1562-3 Winȝet I 86/24.
Thai call the sensible signis of that sacrament a … signe of the thingis præsent inuisibile
Ib. 85/25.(4) c 1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
Till haue a suffysand man and ane abell present
1459 Liber Aberbr. II 111.
Becaus I had na sele off myn awn present I have procuryt … the signet of … magister Thomas Dekysoun
1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 178.
A man can sell nathing out of his pak Bot as he hes than present for the tyme
(5) 1581 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 145.
Andro McBrome clamit Andro Roane present in jugement fyve lastis of twme blawin treis

c. In present place, in that very place, on that spot. — 1456 Hay I 127/29.
That the vassall is behaldin to defend his lordis persone, and he be in present place quhare men wald do him suppris
Ib. II 42/8.
And thare in present place suld thare be maid a faire sermone
1545 Chart. Coupar A. II 197.
Our … bailȝe … to give saysing … as we war thair in present place our selffis

2. Being before or in (intyll, into) the mind or thought. c1420 Ratis R. 71.
Thai thre termes ar ay present Intyll his rychtwys jugment
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc 12.
With all thi synnes into thi mynde present

3. attrib. Applied, with the demonstr. this (sing. and pl.) or thir, to a document or other writing: (This) same; the (one) in hand.For further examples, see Letter n. 7.sing. (1) 1398 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 5/21.
Till this present letter I haf set my scyll
1400 Ib. No. 7/3.
Throu this my present charter
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 138.
As folowyng of thys storye Present declare sall sone clerly
1402 Reg. Panmure II 183.
This present chartir
1431 Buccleuch Mun. II 29.
Thys present letter off wetnes
1457 Reg. Dunferm. 344.
Be this present vryt
1526–7 Edinb. B. Rec. I 230.
Be this present acquittans
1533 Boece 596.
At writting of this present estorye
1539–40 Reg. Privy S. II 511/2.
This present tak and assedatioun of the kirkland
1559 Peebles B. Rec. I 254. 1561 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 344.
This present rentall
c1590 Fowler II 9/11.
I presume to dedicat this present treatise … vnto ȝour lordschip
1677 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 101.(2) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 139*.
Theis present lettrys
1393 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 27.
Be it knawyn … thrw this present lettres [etc.]
1395 Menzies Charters MS 10 Feb.
Thyr present letteris
1420 (1429–30) Reg. Great S. 30/1.
Be thir present indenturis
1454 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 335.
In witnes of the qwylkis I haf appensit my seill to thir my present lettrez of assedacion
1505 Misc. Spald. C. V 35.
Ande be this present actis, licencis and lewis thar … clerk [etc.]
(b) 1509 Douglas Chart. 192.
plur. 1400 Maxwell Mem. 139.
To thir presentis letters
1408 Mar & Kellie MSS.
Be it knawyn tyl al men be thir presentes lettres [etc.]
1412 Buccleuch Mun. II 22.
This presentis lettris
1428 Liber Melros II 519.
Ther presentz lettris
1429 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. ii 2. 1437 Stirlings of Keir 214.
Thir oure presentez lettres
1492 Breadalbane Doc. (Reg. H.) No. 26.
Thir presentis lettres

4. Of money: In hand, immediately available, ‘ready’. 1637 Edgar Old Church Life 1 Ser. 317.
[The Kirk Session of Galston were sorely in need of] present moneyie
1695 Cullen Kirk S. 13 Jan.
And that it be not given out without present money laid down

5. Existing, occurring, or fulfilling a particular function, at the time of speaking or writing; of this, also that, present time or moment; in existence; current; actual.Freq. applied to the current holder of a title, office, etc.attrib. (chiefly) and predic.attrib. (1) c 1400 Wemyss Chart. 37.
The s[ai]d Schir Jone sal gif … lettris to present suytouris
1481 Grey Friars II 129.
Tyll thair soyn, Erylle Wylyam present
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1308.
We think … Ȝour present sone war abill for to die
1572–3 Reg. Privy C. II 181.
The instructioun … of his majestie … under … his present pedagogis
1608 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III 112.
Him wha is present governour of hir [sc. the galley]
1612 Prot. Bk. W. Leslie 5/22.
Prisent patron of the said prebendrie
1627 Orkney Rentals App. 104.
Be the bischopes present and to cum
1630 Conv. Burghs III 323.
The present commissioneris
1638 Nat. Covenant in Facs. Nat. MSS. III xcvii.
The present and succeeding generations in this land
1642 Edinb. Test. LX 137 b.
Presente deacone of the hammermen
1645 St. A. Baxter Bks. 116.
William Lewingstone, present positour
1657 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 167. 1657 Peebles B. Rec. II 40.
The present magistrattes … to meit with the Laird of Prestoungrainge
(2) 1449 Acts II 35/2.
In this present parliament
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1865 (C).
Greit fule is he that hes na thyng in thocht Bot thing present
1525 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 141.
How lang I haiff ane penny in the wardll lous or fast, present or for to cum
1551 Hamilton Cat. 263.
Sa lang as we leif in this present warld [etc.]
1555 Glenartney Doc.
Be ressoun of this present greit storme
1557 Edinb. B. Rec. III 12. 1570 Leslie 87.
The present invasioun quhilk he [Henry VIII] maid upoun [etc.]
1576 Edinb. Test. V 13.
This my present infirmitie
a1578 Pitsc. I 31/9. 1588 King Cat. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 204/25.
The præsent reformation is … derect to seke ane end, quhilk all gowd Catholikis do imbrace
1607 Reg. Privy C. VII 423. 1615 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III 256.
That ȝour lo. hawe sume compation on my presentt affaire
1627 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 126.
The said judge … hes condamnit William Turner in 6/8 for his present absence
1639 Johnston Diary I a 68.(b) 1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 26.
Depureset at Bordex the same prisint veag [= voyage]
(3) 1513 Doug. v xi 107.
Thame haldis Forto abyd within that present land
1616 Aberd. B. Rec. II 339.
Lewell with the present flatt entering to the tolbuith doir
1633 Banff Ann. II 169.
The chamber wnder the present schoolhouse
(4) a1400 Leg. S. vi 457.
This present lyfe Is ay in vrechitnese & stryfe
1490 Irland Mir. I 44/7.
In this present mortale liffin
1511–2 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 14.
This present dayes
a1538 Abell 84 b.
In that present tyme
1567–8 Reg. Privy C. I 611.
During the tyme of this present Lenterne
1592 Acts III 619/1.
His [James VI's] said … grandschir deceissit frome this present lyff in the feild of Flowdoune
1610 Reg. Privy C. IX 572.
All of thameselffis [are] worthy to be imparted to the aige present and posteritie
(b) 1636 Kelso Glovers 5.
In this preisent year of God
(c) 1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 10.
Since our last closet acoump to thes prisint dey
predic. a1500 Henr. Fab. (O.U.P.) 1626.
For quhy to Him all thing is ay present Rycht as it is or ony tyme sall be
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 855.
Lady Cleo, quhilk craftelie dois set Historyis auld like as thay war present
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 78.
Of my ald lord and of my lord that ys presant this day
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5610.
That terrabyll trumpat … doith knell As instantlye it wer present
1567 G. Ball. 33.
The paine, that is now present, schort and licht … sall wirk eternall gloir

Passing into b. adv. At present; currently. Cf. B below. c1515 Asl. MS. I 193/23.
Our souerane lord that ryngis now present
1663 Old Ross-shire II 78.
The present imposit stent

6. attrib. Instant, immediate. 1589 Bk. Carlaverock I 283.
We have taken present purpose to passe to Norroway our selfe
1658 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 134.
[The schoolmaster] … cannot gett lived if some present course be not taken
1661 Black Sc. Witches 34.
James Clark his chyld … took present seiknes and raged to death befor twelfe a cloke

7. Applied to the tense of verbs. Also ellipt. c1505-8 Donatus 1 a.
Present tyme of participil
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 162/10.
Thir wordis ar spokkin in the present tyme
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 127.ellipt. 1531 Vaus (1531) 1.
Twa participilis … ane of the present & preterit imperfect tyme

B. adv. (Almost) immediately; shortly. Cf. 5 b above. c1590 J. Stewart 11/13.
That heauen, and erth, and hell, and all may heir This pert pelmell, quhilk present sall appeir

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"Present adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Jun 2023 <>



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