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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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Quen(e, Quein, n.1 Also: qwen(e, quhen(e; queine, quhein, queyn(e, qweyn(e, quheyn(e; queen(e, qween, quean(e; quenn-; quin(e, qwin, quyn(e. [ME and e.m.E. quen, quene (1205), qwhene (north.), quyene, also whene (west midl.), OE cwén (str. fem.) woman, wife, queen (Gmc. *kwæ̂ni-z, ablaut-var. of *kwenōn- whence Quene n.2).].

1. A queen, in the usual applications and collocations.(1) c1420 Wynt. vi 1881.
And [Makbeth-Fynlayk] held hyr bathe hys wyff and qweyne
a1500 Henr. Orph. Title (Ch. & M.).
Orpheus king and how he yeid … to seik his quene
c1515 Asl. MS I 310/5.
King Priame and his qwene Hecuba
Ib. 208/25. 1531 Bell. 1531 Boece (M) I 117.
Plancius … repudiatt his lauchfull qweyn
1535 Stewart 51442.
He Intumulat in Drunfermling wes … sum thing inwith his quene
1560 Rolland Seven S. 540.
Than sall I … crowne hir to my quene
Ib. 10310.
King Alexanders quene
1570 Leslie 48. 1680 Lauder Observes 21.
Till first he [sc. the king] … quite his popish quean
(2) 1375 Barb. x 742 (E).
Sanct Margaret the gud haly quene
1399 Acts I 212/1.
The complayntis of owre lady the qwene anentis hyr pension
1450 Peebles Chart. 15.
A collec for the kyng and the qwene
1456 Hay I 251/10.
Before the quene sen scho is in his [sc. the king's] absence governand the realme
1462 Swintons App. p. xlv.
Oure souerain lady the quene
a1500 K. Hart 129. 1503 Treas. Acc. II 206.
Ane croune for the quene; … and thrid pairt leo
1513 Doug. I v 132. 1566 Misc. Maitl. C. III 185.
Unto the quen our gud sister
1567 Anderson Collect. Mary II 178.
The pulder mon be laid in the house under the kingis chalmer, quhaire the queene suld lye
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 14.
That murtherer and knawin adultres called the quene
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 224.
It wes injoynit to thame to pray for the quene
1603 Southesk MSS 722.
For our dearest bedfellow the quene
c1610 Melville Mem. 126.
What the quen my mestres thocht of him
(b) 1375 Barb. xx 85 (E).
And the queyn & the Mortymer On other part
c1420 Wynt. ii 1271. ?1438 Alex. ii 2991.
That Candas The quene had sent
1466 Acts II 85/2.
As to the dowry of the queyne it is ordanit that [etc.]
1527 Douglas Corr. 343.
Remuif Hary Steuart fra the queine
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V 8.
The schips appoyntet for hamebering of the queyne
1596 Dalr. II 348/8.
Quhill the ȝoung queine was now of age xij ȝeiris
c1650 Spalding II 233.
(c) 1506 Treas. Acc. III 48.
14.. Acts (1597) i 22a.
Our ladie the queene
(d) 1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 314.
The quyn yowr grace dochtyr
1568 Mary in Ellis Orig. Lett. 1 Ser. II (1824) 253.
Y send ȝou the double off them y vreit to the quin my gud sister
(3) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxvii 6.
Oure lustie quein
1555 Aberd. B. Rec. I 284.
In name of our maist gracious quene moderne
1566 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 89.
Our queine belyke is not well informit
1567 Sat. P. iii 160. a1578 Pitsc. II 124/21.
Our Scoittis quein
c1610 Melville Mem. 88.
Our Quen, then Douagiere of France
(4) 1439 Cop. St. A. 171.
Jehanne, be the grace of Gode Quene of Scotlande
1456 Hay I 74/22.
The Quene of Napplis
1502–3 Treas. Acc. II 362.
The Quene of Inglandis dirigee
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvii 1.
Gladethe thoue Queyne of Scottis regioun
1550 Banff Ann. I 28.
In our souerane ladyis nayme Mare, Queyne off Scotland
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 12.
Our quene, of Scotland heretour, Sche dwellith in France
1565 Facs. Nat. MSS III xlviii.
Marie … Quene of Scottis
a1568 Gyre-carling 25.
For scho is quene of Jowis
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 50.
In hoip of mariage of the Scottis quene
a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 65.
An, Quhene of Scotland
c1610 Melville Mem. 159.
That the Quen of Scotlandis [sic] was leichter of a faire sonne
1681 Lauder Observes 51.
The Quean of Brittain's birth-day
(b) a1578 Pitsc. II 213/17 (H).
His moder Margret, Quine of Scotland
(5) a1400 Leg. S. x 215.
The ewnuke of Quen Candas
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 35.
The Queyn Eleyn
1456 Hay I 253/34.
The said King Lowis and Quene Jounelle
1513 Doug. i x 51.
Queyn Dido of Cartage
a1538 Abell 11*a.
Quheyn Margarit
1553 Balcarres P. 314.
Quhell Quhen Mare be crownit
1592 Hist. Jas. VI 253.
Queyne Anne, oure noble Princess
(6) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 148.
Thu suld haf ben Of a gret realme a mychtty quen
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 63.
Honorabilly for to be ther Buryed as the bodye of a queyn
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 7395.
Ane wedow quene
1467 Acts II 90/1.
Ane ambassate … to haue full power to mary & bring hame a quene
a1500 Bernardus 324.
Litile doggis … To clerkis and qweynis cordis
1540 Lynd. Sat. 910.
I see ȝe will have fyiftene quenis and fyiftene scoir of concubenis
15.. Clar. i 670.
In clothing as effeirit to ane queine
1567 Sat. P. iii 60.
He mycht haue bene ane marrow to ane quene
(7) c1420 Wynt. vii 3413.
Off the mast byschape off that land Scho qwene was made
Ib. viii 96.
That madyn … apperyd till have bene Be the lawch off Norway quene
1490 Irland Mir. II 32/24.
He maid hir queyne and souuerane lady of all the realme
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) xlviii 71.
Sa lang as quein thow beiris croun
1513 Doug. xii i 64.
Worthy to be queyn [Sm., Ruddim. quene] of ony land
1558-66 Knox II 371.
That thei should nether complayne to quene nor counsall
(8) a1400 Leg. S. l 963.
Tak confurd to thé, quene!
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvii 1 (see (4) above).

b. = Quene-dowriar n., Quene-mother n. 1513 Reg. Privy S. I 388/2.
Ane lettre of tak made with avise of the queyn tutrice testamentare and governour to the king, and of the lordis of counsale
1545 Douglas Corr. 155. 1596 Dalr. II 348/2.
Gif the quene had the gouernment of the realme
16.. Cochran-Patrick Coinage I 97.
Quein Marie mother and regent to the queinis majestie

2. transf. A female whose rank, status or pre-eminence is analogous to that of a queen. c1475 Wall. vii 90.
Till him thar descendyt a qweyne Inlumyt lycht, schynand full brycht and scheyne
Ib. 129.
I can nocht witt quhat qweyn at it suld be Quhethir Fortoun or Our Lady so fre
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxiii 40.
To haue past aboue the zodiak As quein and goddes of the firmament

b. Applied, freq., to the Virgin, esp. in phrases as quene of hevin (also of grace and the like).For further examples see Blis n. 2, Emperice n., Hevin n. 2, etc. a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 92.
Hou that Crist … His modir cronyt & mad quene [: wene]
Ib. xxiv 26.
Of Mary, the quene of grace
a1500 Henr. Annunc. 72. c1475 Wall. i 261.
Scho thankit hewynnis queyn
1490 Irland Mir. I 71/10. c1515 Asl. MS II 245/1.
O hie emprys and quene celestiale
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1429.
This hevinly queyne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxv 52.
Sen thow art qwene of hevyne
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5642.
The Uirgine Marie, quene of quenis
Arundel MS 282/102.
Mary, … quen and mothir of all creatour

c. Applied, chiefly by poets, to goddesses of ancient religions or mythologies. a1500 Henr. Orph. 309.
Quhare Rodomantus and Proserpina Were king and quene
c1515 Asl. MS II 247/1.
In Maij quhen Flora the fresche lusty qwene The sule has cled
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 73.
Thair saw I nature and Venus, quene and quene
1513 Doug. xi xvi 28. 1528 Lynd. Dreme 406.
Uenus, … that lustie luffis quene
1549 Compl. 65/3.
O lusty Maye vitht Flora quene
a1568 Bann. MS 229b/1.

d. Applied to a woman accorded pre-eminence at a particular festivity.Quene of Bane, s.v. Bane n.3; Quene of May, s.v. May n.1 2.

e. Quene of (the) Canongait, ? the nickname of a local ‘character’, but perh. merely an instance of Quene n.2 (as is, appar., the quene of the Blakfurd, see Quene n.2 1). 1502 Treas. Acc. II 348.
To the quene of the Canongait
1506 Ib. III 113. 1507–8 Ib. IV 95.
To the daft queyn of the Canongait
1512 Ib. 398.
To the ald quene of Cannongait, callit the Quene of Maij

f. In quene of fary, quene of elfame, etc.For further examples, see Fary n. 1 b and c. c1500 Rowll Cursing 229.
The quene of fary
1591-2 Rob Stene 3.
Sche glansis, as scho war Queine of Fary
1662 Crim. Trials III 604. 1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World Suppl. xii. 1576 Crim. Trials I ii 57.
That was the Quene of Elfame his maistres
1588 Ib. 162. 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 124.
He grantis that he lay with the Quen of Elphen
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 274 (T).
The court of the elph quene

3. Applied, in personification, to a material or non-material thing regarded as supreme or pre-eminent in its class or kind. a1400 Leg. S. ix 179.
Quhen He oure-com the ded, the quene [etc.]
1490 Irland Mir. I 112/18.
Dame Misericord … was queyne and mastres of all wertuis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 252.
In mirthfull May, of eviry moneth quene
Ib. xlviii 160.
Thow richest ros … quene of flouris
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 137/3.
Make ane of thame [sc. the seven cardinal virtues] … quene of all the rest uithin you

4. The queen in chess. a1500 Bk. Chess 459.
In figour suld be maid in ches a quene A fair ladye
Ib. 2082.
A quheyne movand scho suld kepe colouris ay

5. In the possessive.Also, rarely, without inflection.

a. Belonging or pertaining to a queen, or the Queen, in a private or personal capacity. b. Possessed, enjoyed, occupied or employed by the Queen by virtue of her position or office.For further examples see Bonet n. 1 (a), Bukkil(l n., Chamer n. 1 (a) and (b), Curge n., Entré n. 1 (1), Fule n. 3, Galry n., Goun(e n. (a), Jam(m)a(y adj. 1, Kachepele n. b, Knicht n. 2 (1) and 3 b, Littar n. 1 a (1) and b, Lutar n.1 (a), Minister n. 1, Morwyngift n. (a), Palice n.1 1 b (1), etc.(1) c1420 Wynt. iv 511.
The qwenys swn
c1500-c1512 Dunb. liii 6.
Quod ane, Tak up the quenis knycht
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 265.
The quenis tailȝour
1539 Ib. VII 193.
Fra the quenys moder
1558 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. 3 Ser. XIV 110.
He beand ane lauit man and the quenis rebald
1564 Boyd Fam. P. No. 47 (13 Feb.).
Matho Mortoun queins servand
(2) 1455 Acts II 42/2.
That the annexacione of thir … castellis to the crovne mak na preiudice to … the quenys infeftment
1473 Treas. Acc. I 29.
To sex ladys of the quenis chalmire
1503 Ib. II 336.
To tua gromes Inglismen in the quenis wardrob
1504 Ib. 438.
Payit to James Dog … for girs … to the kingis and quenis chamires
1530 Montgomery Mem. 111.
In quhenis landis and barony of Rovallane
1553–4 Edinb. Old Acc. I 108.
For beireing of burds and trestis to the queenis luging on Corporischristeis day
1563 Reg. Cupar A. II 280.
For reparatioun of the queinis stabillis
1567 Acts Sederunt ii 9.
The declaratioun of the quein's libertie
c1575 Balfour Pract. 101 marg.
Of the quenis conjunct fie
Ib. 105 marg.(3) 1473 Treas. Acc. I 29.
Thingis tane for the quenis persone
1488 Ib. 89.
At the qwenis sawle mess
(4) 1473 Treas. Acc. I 33.
To a gowne of the qwenis
1474 Ib. 61.
To xiij ȝemen of the kingis and the queynis
16.. Cochran-Patrick Coinage I 97.
Peces of gold … havand ane schyfre of the quheinis one the ane syde

c. Pertaining to the Queen as sovereign, or as regent for the titular sovereign.For further examples see Auctorité n. 2 (a), (c), Lading vbl. n. 1, Letter n. 7 b (1), Name n. 4 b (a).(1) 1522 Acta Conc. MS XXXIII 28b.
The missiue bill producit … in the quenis name
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 39.
And that the quennis auttorite be nocht contemmyt
1547 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I App. p. lxxxv.
Ane boy send furth of Edinburgh with the quennis standart
1553 Treas. Acc. X 198.
For interlyning of the quenis lettres
1557–8 Acts Privy C. in Cochran-Patrick Coinage I 77.
Ane new penny of siluir … to be callit the kingis and quenis twelff penny grote
1564 Crim. Trials I i 444.
Fugitiue fra the quenis lawis
1565 Aberd. B. Rec. I 459.
To convene the quenis legis
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 20.
The queines commissione, which … was invaled from the beginning
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 53.
The quenis irnis of the cunȝehous
1594 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 532.
To ane painter for decoring the king and quenes airmes … with new ivy leiffis
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 277.
That he wes at the horne [in 1567] at the quein's instance
(2) 1559 Inverness Rec. I 35.
This bruche and the queyne legis is mistakit

d. In complimentary titles used in referring to, also addressing, a queen.As, chiefly, with Grace n. 5, also Majeste(e n. 2 b and Hienes n.(1) 1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV 323.
Deliverit be the kingis grace to the quenis grace
c 1522 Doug. (Sm.) I p. cxi.
Qweenis grace
1527–8 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 92.
That the qwenes graice sall be deulie plesit of hir maillis
1541 Treas. Acc. VII 448.
For bukelis [etc.] … to the quenis grace harnesingis
1546 Acts Sederunt i 46. 1553 Balcarres P. 314.
The quhenis grace and your … friendis are in gud heltht
1554–5 Corr. M. Lorraine 395.
That the quyneis grace hes ane ewyll opponȝeone of my serwice
1539 Treas. Acc. VII 52.
To the quenis grace of Scotland
1551 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet (S.R.S.) 14.
Officer to my souerand laydye the quennys grace of Scotland
1537–8 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 224.
The quenis grace our soverane moderis oretour
1538 Treas. Acc. VI 390.
Dettis awand … be the queinis grace the kingis moder
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 24.
To the qwinis grace, my mastres
(2) 1531–2 M. Works Acc. I (ed.) 76.
In the quenis grece chalmer
?1554 Corr. M. Lorraine 379.
The atechment of all ther gudis to the queynes grace uis
1561 Treas. Acc. XI 65.
To the quenis gracis ladeis
1558 Glasgow Cordiners 248.
Our souerane lorde and ladyis the king and quene graceis leigeis
(3) 1560 Old Ross-shire I 13.
Pais no dewets or burgage to queins grace
(4) 1562-3 Winȝet I 3 Title.
To the quenes maiestie
1564 Reg. Morton I 11.
That the quines majestie hes desyrit me to be into Edinbrhwite [etc.]
1586 Gray Lett. & P. 140.
Secretarie to the Qwins Maiestie of Inglande
(5) 1524 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 211.
The quenis hienes
1562 Reg. Privy C. I 211.
The quenis hienes lettres dowlie execute and indorsate

e. As a place name element.Chiefly in the Quenis-ferry.See also Hauch n.1 (b). c1420 Wynt. vi 534.
Thare he gert stryk off hys hede … Than bere it to the Qwenys-ferry
1480 Acta Conc. I 70/2.
Of ten pundis worth of land … beside the Quenis fery
?1491 Reg. Great S. 429/1.
Insulam … inter le Quenys Feryis situatam
1498 Treas. Acc. I 387.
To the freris of the Quenis fery be the kingis command in Edinburgh
1502 Ib. II 147, etc. 1629 Linlithgow B. Rec. 9 Oct.
The peipill in the Queanis-ferrie
1677 Cunningham Diary 91.
For a horse hire to the Queensferry, £1.3.8

f. In other, special, combinations. — 1556 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 9 Dec.
The provest baillies and consall hes decernit and ordanit the taxt of the deneris to be collectit … togidder with the quhenis-taxt
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI 214b.
Thrie greit peices of gold callit Quene Maries peices
a 1700 Anal. Scot. II 161.
Neither did she want bottles of the Queen of Hungaries water

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"Quen n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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