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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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Ring, n.1 Also: ringe, ryng(e, rying, ringne, rign(n)e, ryn, ryne; reng, regn(e, regnne; reing, reingȝe, reign(n)e; Rang. [ME and e.m.E. ring, ringe (early 13th c.), OE hring, ON hringr.]In early attrib. use, as a place-name element. — 1165–1214 Liber Melros 139.
13.. Ib. 464.

1. A ring, chiefly for wearing on the finger, freq. set with a precious stone, etc.Also, with specification of the stone or stones set in the ring, variously constructed.Once, pl. without inflection.Also proverb.(1) a1400 Leg. S. v 621.
Tak this rynge On my be-halfe & gyf the king
c1420 Wynt. ii 429.
Ryngys fyrst he gert men were, Thaim he gert the myd fyngyre bere
1456 Hay I 51/26.
He gert gader togeder all the golde ryngis that was apon dede mennis handis
1522–3 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 66.
Tua silver ryngis for halff ane merk
1534 Ib. 144.
Gudis of ayrschip … ane ring, viz. ane voup of gould
a1540 Freiris Berw. 147 (B).
On every finȝer scho weiris ringis two
1548 Treas. Acc. IX 269.
To the goldsmythes to be maid in ringes, targettis and otherres toyes to be gevyn at the mariage of Ladye Barbara
1553 Ib. X 205.
For ane ryng propynit be my lorde governour at the crystynning
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Hawbert.
Haubert signifies ane kind of armour maid of mailȝies, or circles like ringes
1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI 74b.
Ane littill lignet of gold with tua heidis for ringis
Ib. 166b.
Tua littel gould ringis callit penseis at iiij li. the peis
(b) 1540 Maxwell Mem. I 281.
Ane goldine rying, extending to ane levine crovnis … of wecht
(c) 1652 Johnston Diary II 177.
(d) c1420 Wynt. iv 1551.
1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 360.
The reng of gold
(e) 1488 Acta Conc. I 98/2.
iiij siluer regnis
1537 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS IX 157.
Ane regne of siluer ourgilt with gold
(f) 1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 403.
The reing of gold
1676 Argyll Justic. Rec. 73.
(g) c1578 Maxwell Mem. I 312.
Ane fine reignne of gold
(2) 1375 Barb. iii 209.
Off ryngis with rich [stane], That war off knychtis fyngeris tane
?1438 Alex. ii 1934.
Ane ryng of rych stane
a1500 Henr. Thre Deid Pollis 30.
Ladeis … Ȝour finȝearis small … Arrayit with ringis and mony rubeis reid
1488 Treas. Acc. I 82.
A ryng, a berial hingand at it
Ib. 85.
A ring with a face
1539 Ib. VII 163.
Ane ryng of gold annamalit witht blak witht ane dyamont
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 67.
Ane ring with ane cattis e
1661 Edinb. Test. LXX 17b (see Mort n. 1 d (1)). 1691 Soc. Ant. LIII 54.
Two stoned ringes
(b) 1489 Acta Aud. 130/1.
A golde rigne with a turcas
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 103.
1622 Edinb. Test. LI 250b.
Four peirlit rignis pryce of all xl merkis
Tua rignes with griscoleit and garnattis pryce of baith xxij li.
(c) 1500 Acta Conc. II 429.
A reng of gold with ane gret amerant
(d) 1692 in Wedderburn Bk. II 61.
Ane purse sett with pearles, quhairin is ane reigne with nyne diamond sparks
uninfl. pl. 1603 Montgomery Mem. II 248.
For two reing, the on vith ane rubbi
(3) proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 291.
Better have na ring, nor a ring of a rash
Ib. No. 848.

b. Freq., as a token of a contract, investiture, etc. a1400 Leg. S. vi 187.
The bryd the val can ta That halouyt ves & the gold rynge
?1438 Alex. ii 1968.
I sawe dame Ideas the ȝing Gif ȝow hir lufe with ane gould ring
c1420 Wynt. vii 720.
That the kyng Na na lawyd patrowne, be staff, na ryng, Suld mak fra thine collatyowne
a1500 Rauf C. 959.
The duches … He weddit with ane ring
1535 Stewart 20650.
He weddit hir at kirkdur with ane ring
1577 Misc. Spald. C. II xxv.
My Lord of Aberden geyf the said Walter Cullen collacioun, be ane ryng on his fynger
1607 Inverness Rec. II 51.
The gild reing quhilk vas put on his fingeris of his handis be the provest, with powar to him to by and sell all manner merchandrice
1611 Ib. 81.
Lyickas the … prouest, hes put on his fingeris the gild ringne [pr. ringue] in the nam of the Father [etc.]
1621 Perth Kirk S. MS 22 May.
Decernit to pay xl s. for melling befoir thair mariag and to be payit befoir thair ring be releisit

c. A signet ring; a signet. Also in fig. context.(1) a1500 Seven S. 147.
He selit tham [sc. letters] with his awne ryng
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 236.
I shall not believe that Christ will put His amen and ring upon an imagination
1638 Elphinstone Mun. 194/2.
The said … lordis gold signet and regnne witht his armes cutt and sett in stane within the same
(2) 1673 Edinb. Test. LXXIV 279.
My … signet reigne

2. A metal circlet or link in a coat of mail or a chain. Also attrib. in ring craig. = Crag-peice. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 691.
Ryngis of rank steill rattillit and rent
1513 Doug. v x 25.
The wryth of gold, or chane lowpyt in ryngis, About thar hals down to thar breistis hyngis
attrib. 1640 Black Bk. Taymouth 348.
Fyve corsletts with thair headpieces and ring craiges

3. A ring or circlet, freq. of metal, varying in size, and employed as a means of attaching, suspending, guiding, manipulating, etc. a. As a handle. b. For tethering a pig. c. For hanging tapestry or curtains. d. For use in harnessing or yoking animals. e. For mooring a ship. Also comb. with stone. f. In making a hinge, or bolt, for a door. g. For controlling the movement of running rigging. h. In various other uses.There is possible ambiguity between a and f, and also between g and Rung n.a. c1420 Wynt. v 3116.
In ilke nwke a ryng it had, And prestys foure oysyde to bere Wyth thai foure ryngys that awtere
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 376.
For ane lifting snek and ring, xxvj s. viij d.
1674 Cunningham Diary 45.
5 dozen of rings to my shottles
Ib. 46.
For 8 ells of great wire to join the rings to my shottles
b. 1442–3 Ayr B. Ct. 28 Jan.
That na swyne be haldin fra fassin ewin to do ony schatth & with a ring in his nose
1500 Alloway Baron Ct. 31 May.
That all swyn … at ar tedderit sall haif ane rigne in thar neis
1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I 436.
Gif thai [sc. swine] be fundin … without ring in thar wort [etc.]
c. 1488 Treas. Acc. I 100.
For cordis and hakkis and ryngis to hyng vp the claythis in Lythgow
1506–7 Ib. III 276.
For x dosan ringis and thre rodis of irn for courtingis in the princes chamer
1549–50 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 196.
Courthingis of Turky tafeteis … vith thair ryngis
1552–3 Treas. Acc. X 160.
For … ringis to hing the curtingis of my lorde governoures bed witht
d. 1497 Treas. Acc. I 372.
For the blak buklis and ringys to the harnasing
1503 Ib. II 218.
For ringis, bukkilles, and irne werk for the sadill
1538 Ib. VII 10.
Ane heidsteill witht the reingȝeis and buttonis thairof
c1500-50 Pleugh-Song in Tools & Tillage I iii 178.
All that belongs to the pleugh … The chock, the yoak, the ring, the sling
1663 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 103.
Ane ploughe … with twa sowmis twa yoks slings and rings therto
e. 1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 313.
The stane wark of the Bulwark … to the … twa greit lang stanis that ar sukkin to the greit ryngs
1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I 226.
For ane irne ring to the schoir of Leyth for halding of the schippis, the ring weyand xx pound wecht
1561 Treas. Acc. XI 116.
Towis, wandis, ringis, huikis, and ane stik to the anker
1582 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 239.
The ringis and makfastis on the schore of Leyth for seruing and halding of the schipis
1672 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 27 Aug.
The counsall hes ordaneit the thesaurar to provide ane ring and ane beacone for Aberladie shore
comb. 1651–2 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 350.
For festning of ane ringstone and casting some balest stones over the schore
f. 1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 103.
For ringis and rossis to the kingis grace chalmer wyndow
Ib. 107.
Gemma bandis to … the dure of the parpane wall witht ryngis roissis and sneikkis
1537–8 Ib. 226. 1558 Ib. 294.
For hengeng of tua duris with rengis and bandis … x s.
1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 122.
With sex ringis & vj rossis and v snaikis with naillis to the said bandis
1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 149.
For tua pair of bandis with ringis rossis and naillis thairto to my Lord Maris laidner windowis
g. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 456.
iiij dusan of ryngis and stapillis for the ray of the said schip
Ib. (see Ra n.2 (1)). 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) fol. 61a.
Of slotis and ryns … and wther smaw irne warke … For bak nall and stapellis and ryns
h. 1540 Treas. Acc. VII 352.
Spanȝe irne … to be slottis bandis ringis … for the artalȝery
1568 Edinb. Test. I 182.
Ane warpin fatt with the staikis and the ringis pertenand to thame
1603 Montgomery Mem. II 248.
For twellue vepin reings at fyue schillings the peis
1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I 190b.
Four ringis and ane great bowle or pend of irne to the fynning furnace
1610 Brechin Test. III 100.
xxxv dussone lattoun ringis
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 40.
For four iron boultis ringis and foirlockis to the engyne all weyand i stane 9 lib.

4. The rim or outer part of a circular object, or of a circular part of an object.Also comb. in ring-straik, ? in the same sense. c1550-c1580 Art of Music fol. 124.
Vpon t[h]e s[p]akis of the quheill … betwix the nawe and the ryne
1587 Acts III 522/1.
That the bottom thairof [sc. the firlot] be corssit with irne naillit to the same and to the ryng
1659 Glasgow B. Rec. II 426.
For renewing and casting of the tounes haill leid weights, … and mending the rings and stapills therof
1699 Foulis Acc. Bk. 259.
For saffer of the ring of the nave of on of the cart wheills
comb. 1618 Acts IV 586/2.
The mouth … haueing a croce iron barre passing ouer from the one syde to the other … and that the said cowpar cause the ring-straik of the said firlot passe from the one end of the said over iron barre to the other; and the same to bee brunt … with fyve impressions of the letter L vpon the lippes thereof
transf. 1685 Sc. Hist. Rev. XII 73.
[In the Register of Sasines the edge of the can[y]on behind the English is expressively described as] the rigne of the brea

b. Something having the form of a circle. 1513 Doug. ii iv 24.
Hys twa sonnys ȝyng First athir serpent lappit lyke a ryng

c. A circular growth of (differently coloured) hair. 1666 Kelso Baillie Ct. fol. 70b.
Ane stone dark gray naig … ane whyte ring about his far lug

d. A metal ring or band placed around something in order to strengthen it. 1651–2 Dumbarton Common Gd. Acc. 185.
New irone at 3 lib. the staen to be tua girthis and rings to the said straik firlot
1674 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 2 May.
For 1 ston 2 lib. 4 unc. irone for rings to the row

5. Only pl.: ‘The meal which, in the process of grinding corn, falls into the space between the millstone and the casing surrounding it, regarded as the miller's perquisite. Hence ring-bear, -corn, -malt, a proportion of such grain regarded as a perquisite’ (SND, s.v. Ring n.1 6).Also, as ring, in the later dial.See also Ring aittis, Ring bere, Ring-schilling and Ringing vbl. n.1 c. 1410 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 84.
Et solueret quilibet eorum unam firlotam ordei in anno pro ryngis
1539–40 Reg. Privy S. II 500/2. 1542 Reg. Great S. 669/2.
Quod tenentes dictarum terrarum molerent sua grana apud molendinum de Lesmahago, solvendo multuras consuetas et lie ringis debit
1565 Reg. Privy S. V i 608/1. 1596 Exch. R. XXIII 453. 1599 Reg. Great S. 324/1.
Cum molendino … , terrisque molendinariis, astrictis multuris et sequelis (lie dry fermes multuris alias ringis)

6. A ring (? of metal) suspended from a post as a target for a number of horsed spearmen, each of whom attempted to carry it off on the point of his spear. b. Applied to the sport of riding at the ring.For a detailed account of the laws of ‘running at the ring’, see Fowler II 176–7. a1578 Pitsc. II 125/13.
With gret justing and turnament running at the rigne and aircherie [etc.]
1579 Treas. Acc. XIII 292 (see Rin v.1 34 a). c1590 Fowler II 176–7, passim. 1672 Edinb. B. Rec. X 127.
The peice of grund in the Grayfreir yaird wher the nobellmen uses to run at the ring for … exerceise
b. 1580-92 James VI Lusus Reg. 6.
Quho are prepairid for gluife or ring or any sporte uith speir
Id. Basil. Doron 189/4.
Sicc ghames on horsebake … sicc as the tilte, the ring, & laiche ryding for handling of youre suorde

c. A ring spere, a (? wooden) spear used for tilting at the ring, ? also as an ornament. 1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 81.
For painting and gilting of sex ring speiris
1618 Ib. 89.
For sex caices to sex ring speiris
1622 Edinb. Test. LI 201.
Fywe brokit ring speiris
1635 Balfour Her. Tracts 121.
The frame of the pale and coffin, with 23 ringe-spears, and uthers timber workes

d. Also in Glaik ringis n. pl., q.v.

7. A group of people formed into a circle, as for a game, dance, etc. a. In (a) ring, in circular formation. c1450-2 Howlat 790 (A).
Fair ladyis in ryngis, Knychtis in caralyngis, Boith dansis and syngis
a1500 Colk. Sow i 355.
Than all arrayit in a ring Dansit ‘My Deir Derling’
1513 Doug. ii iv 70.
Tharabout ran childer and madis ȝyng, Syngand karrellis and dansand in a ryng
Ib. v x 56.
Thai … cirkillyt in a ryng On horsbak
1535 Stewart 12403.
The madynis come in mony courtlie ring, Sum for to dance and vther sum to sing
a1568 Scott v 9.
Now in May to madynis fawis With tymmer wechtis to trip in ringis
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. vi 657.
Per choreas dispositus, devydit in ringis, companies
1594–5 Mill Mediæv. Plays 243.
[They confess] thair going about in ringis and carrelling vpon … Ȝoull Day

b. A particular dance, game or the like, for which a circular formation was employed; ? a song sung while the dance, or game, was in progress. 1513 Doug. iv iv 31.
Quhen Apollo list … To vissy Delos … Renewand ryngis and dansys
Ib. vi viii 83.
[Helen] The Troiane matronys hedis [Ruddim. ledis] in a ryng Fenȝeand to Bachus feste and karellyng
1535 Stewart 46883.
Rycht mony lade led wes in that ring
a1568 Bann. MS 160b/58. 16.. Trip and Goe Hey in Wode's Psalter (ed.) 245.
The ring of the rash of the gowan

c. lit. and fig.To lede the ring, to be the leader in, or as in, a dance or game; to take the lead (see Lede v. 2 b, and cf. b above). 15.. Clar. iv 1563.
The king With ladies enterit in ane carroll dance, Meliades … leiding the ringe
1591 Crim. Trials I ii 246.
Gelie Duncan playit on ane trump, Johnne Fiene, missellit, led the ring
1596 Dalr. II 381/14.
Banket eftir banket, leiding of ringis [L. choreis], al triumphe, and al vtheris sygnes of blythnes
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 97.
In the quhilk Dewillis dans, thow the said Thomas was formest and led the ring
fig. 1554 Knox III 177.
I intend to prepair ane dische for such as than led the ring in the Gospell
1567 G. Ball. 204 (B, D).
Lyke prince and king he led the ring Of all iniquitie
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 25/132.
A verse prophane … Gainst him that leads of starrie heauens the ring
1636 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 134.
Alexander Gordon shall lead the ring in witnessing a good confession

d. fig. 1596 Dalr. II 213/6.
[He] was seueirlier iustifiet nor the rest because … he was cheif leider of the ring
c1630 Scot Narr. 64.
Since the ring of equality among pastors in our kirk was broken

e. comb. in ring dans [cf. e.m.E. ringe daunce (1600)]; and ring sang, a song sung by the dancers of a ring dance. 1513 Doug. i viii 11.
Lyke to the goddes Dian … Ledand ryng dansys, quham followis our alquhar A thousand nymphis
1513 Doug. vii vi 115.
To thé Bacchus … scho led ryng sangis in caralyng
Ib. xii Prol. 193.
Sum sang ryng sangis, dansys ledys, and rovndis With vocis schill

f. A riddle. c1515 Asl. MS I 208/7.
This Eduard Langschankis … was dissauit throw a mawment that spak till him in a ryng sayand that he suld nocht de till he come to the burgh of Jerusalem

8. A circular orbit or course. Also attrib. 1580 Hume Promine 16.
Flowand Phoebe, … reuoluing in hir ring, Beheld the west
1707 Stirling B. Rec. II 111.
The council recomends to the gildrie of this burgh to make a ring race that day

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"Ring n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Mar 2023 <>



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