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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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Pupil(l, n.2 Also: puip-; pupp-; pub- and -ile, -el, -le. [ME pupille (once, in Wyclif, gl. L. pupillus) orphan, e.m.E. puple (1530), -ill(e, ‘an orphan who is a minor and hence a ward’ (OED), F. pupille masc. and fem. (14th c. in Godef.), L. pūpillus, pūpilla, an orphan, a ward.]

1. A person below the age of legal puberty (viz. a boy under 14 or a girl under 12).Chiefly applied to an orphan heritor of this age under tutory.(1) c1575 Balfour Pract. 114.
Tutoris are gevin to pupillis, viz. to ane pupill beand maill, untill he be fourtene ȝeir auld, and unto femellis untill thay be of twelf ȝeiris
(2) 1459–60 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXVI 148.
And sen it affeiris til us [sc. the king] of law to defend orphanis and pupillis beyng within age
1487 Acts II 177/2.
Acciouns & complaintis made be kirkmen wedowis orphanis & pupillis
1524 Arran in St. P. Henry VIII IV 158.
Not as ane pupile in juvente and lese aige, bot as ane maist noble excellent prince of perfit mature aige
1531 Bell. Boece I 30, II 262. 1543 Acts II 433/1.
The quenis grace is minor annis and ane pupill
1545 (1546) Inverness Stat. in Reg. Great S. 758/1.
That the said profit be putt to the utilite of the said pupill and barne
1545–6 Reg. Privy S. III 243/2. 1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 192.
Gif he wald na uther way bot to invaid ane pupill and hir realme
1557–8 Prot. Bk. G. Grote (S.R.S.) 26.
[He had] tua ȝoung barnis … being pupillis in thair minoritie and les age
?1559 Crawford Mun. Invent. II 137.
[Goodsir to the Earl of Crawford who last deceased] fader to this pupill persewar
1560 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 6. 1565 Facs. Nat. MSS III xlix.
And now quhen we ar at oure full maiorite, sall we be brocht bak to the stait of pupillis and minouris or be put vndir tutorie?
1566 Reg. Privy C. I 493.
As tutrix to the saidis Girsell and Besse, being pooer fadirles pupillis
1574–5 Reg. Privy S. VII 12/2.
His hienes and his said regent … ar oblist to mantene pupillis in thair rychtis, and specialie these quhome of thay haif the warde and mariage
c1575 Balfour Pract. 337.
Ane minor beand past sevin ȝeiris of age sould not be in the keiping of his mother thairefter, because his tutor, gif the pupil have allanerlie blanche landis, … sould have the keiping of his persoun. … Togidder with his tour [etc.] … until his age of xiiij ȝeiris compleit, except the tutor do dilapidat and waist the said pupil's gudis and geir
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 20/49.
Unto the pupill quho dois parentis lakke
1627 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II 15 April.
Preiudicial to pupillis that thair geir is not tean order withe befoir thair [mothers'] secund mariges
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 331. 1634 Edinb. Test. LVI 263.
I leawe hir [my bedfellow] tutrix testamentar to sic of our childrene as ar pupillis
1640 Brechin Test. V 299b.
My bairnes are but pupillis and thairby vnfitt to labour the saidis milnes
1659 Douglas Corr. 266.
1671 Rothesay B. Rec. 214.
Making mentioune quher he was laufullie enterit tutour to the saids pupills
1681 Stair Inst. i vi 1–45, passim. 1692 Acts Sederunt ii 196. 1695 Cramond Kirk S. IV 10 Sept.
A complaint given in by Sir John Foulis of Revelstoun Drylaw's tutor of ane incroachment made upon his pupill Drylaws seatt in the church
(b) 1564–5 Perth B. Ct. 224 (23 Jan.).
Johnne & Dauid Drummond … may nocht persew the samyn becaus thai ar puipillis of les age
(c) 1627 Dumfries Test. Ia 144.
The bairne baith puppill & minour can do nothing for himselffe
(d) 1681 Rothesay B. Rec. 381.
Quherupon Major David Ramsay … required instruments in name of the pubill
(3) 1522 Acta Conc. MS XXXIII 11.
Thomas Wardlaw ȝungar pupill son to vmquhile the said Thomas Wardlaw eldar
1567 Stewart Mem. 102. 1581 Douglas Bequest MS (Reg. H.) (91, 10 p. 64).
Gydar & governour to the said Alexander Wardlaw pupill our sone
1585 Perth B. Ct. 8 June.
Petir Quhithill pupill sone and air to vmquhile Alexander Quhithill
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI 149. 1589 St. A. B. Ct. 6 June.
Dauid Trumble puple sone to the said Dauid
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 93b. 1608 Inverurie B. Ct. 23 Dec.
George Leslie pupill bruther german to wmquhill Normond Leslie

2. A scholar under the instruction of a teacher. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 133/7.
& for youre behauioure to youre uyfe … cherishe her as youre helper, reule her as youre pupill, [etc.]

3. a. In renderings of Latin originals: An orphan. 1533 Bell. Livy I 245/4.
The Romane citeȝanis … come to [124,224] persouns except pupillis and wedois [L. præter orbos orbasque]
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 20/60.
Auenging the oprest & pupill [L. pupillo] eike

b. In other than legal context: A child. 1588–9 Reg. Privy C. IV 342.
Thay … brynt the same illis, with the haill men, wemen and childrene being thairintill, not spairing the pupillis and infantis

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"Pupil n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2023 <>



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