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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
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Ra, Ray, n.2 Also: raa; rae; rea; rey(e; ree. Pl. also raise. [ON rá, MDu. ra, raa, re, ree, a pole or stake. See also Ro n.3Appar. only Sc., but cf. the Eng. compounds roband Raband n., roline and rorope (Sandahl Middle English Sea Terms II, III).] A sail-yard.Common in the phr. to tak the salis fra the (thair, the schippis) rais, also the salis and rais fra their masts, to immobilize (a ship) by removing its sails.(1) 1494 Treas. Acc. I 253.
For ane gret mast, ane ra [etc.]
1512 Ib. IV 456.
For xlviij ryngis and xxiiij stapillis for the ra of the greit schip
1513 Doug. iii viii 83.
Onon the nokkis of our rays [Ruddim. rais] we writh; Down fallys the schetis of the salys swith
1513 Doug. v xiv 8.
Now the le schete, and now the luf, thai slak, Set in a fang, and threw the ra abak
1540 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 489.
[They boarded the ship,] cuttit the mane saill fra the ra
1549 Compl. 40/26.
The maistir … cryit, Tua men abufe to the foir ra, cut the raibandis and lat the foir sail fal
Ib. 40/30.
The mane ra
Ib. 41/19.
Hail the trosse to the ra
1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II 285.
For ane ra of ane schip to be ane wendes
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Antennae, lignum ex transverso mali navalis positum, unde pendant vela, the ra [1617 the rea]
(b) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 479.
Of the quhilk mastis the greit mast was made half raa, to the Margret
(c) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 456.
1553–4 Old Dundee II 317.
Masts, rayis, sails, and all other apparels
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 80/21.
No [wind] … Except a gaile … To stoppe the saile from rashing on the ray
1640 Brechin Test. V 287b.(d) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 495.
1616 Melrose P. 257.
One of the waughters … displayed hir coulours, and crossed hir raes
1638–9 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 239.
Ane main rae with the foir rae and ane blind rae. The missen mast with the rae theroff
1662 Orkney Antiq. Soc. V 15.
Ane great boat … with twa masts twa raes and sex oares [etc.]
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i xxvi 3 (1699) 131.
Some judges ordain officers to take raes from a mast, and arrest ships
1693 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 492.(e) 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 52a.
To Jhone Morell for the making of our tope mastes and reyes viii lib. x s.
1598 Ib. 11b.
For ane dwang to our reye
1602 Reg. Privy C. VI 758.
New saillis to the reyis of the schip callit the Meyflour of Pittinveme
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 19.(f) c1590 Fowler I 197/10.
The rudder is my reason … the reas my piteous plaint
(g) 1622-6 Bisset II 200/9.
The ree called the croce pece quhairunto the saillis ar festynned
(2) 1559 Admir. Ct. Bk. (St. S.) 110.
To arreist thair schip and tak the salis fra the rais
1558-66 Knox I 109.
1573 Reg. Privy C. II 223.
The saidis provest and baillies, to fense and arreist the schip or schippis, … tak the saillis fra thair raise, and na wayis suffer thame to depart
1577 Ib. 609. 1584 Ib. III 656.
And arreist all maner of schippis … and tak the saillis fra thair rayis
1586–7 Waus Corr. II 381.
1589 Irvine Mun. I 76.
To fens & arreist … veschellis and take the saillis fra the rais unto the tyme they find sufficient … souerteis
1606 Conv. Burghs II 227.
He sall not suffer the watter bailȝe of Myddilbrugh nor na straingeris … to poynd nor to tak the saills fra the rayis
1628 Aberd. Council Lett. I 280.
By warrand … we caused tak the sailles from the rayes of his maiesties schip
c1650 Spalding I 267.
The prouest … took the saillis fra the schipis rayes
1664 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 501.
Severall Dutchmen, skippers … refusing obedience to the saids orders, [the Lords of Privy Council] … give warrand and command … to take the saills and raes from their mastes

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



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