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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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Rottin, -en, adj. Also: -ine, -yn; rotne, -yne; (Ruyn). [ME and e.m.E. rotin (Ancr. R.), rotten (1523), ON rotinn.] Rotten.

I. 1. Of a material thing, chiefly of vegetable matter: In a state of deterioration, as by decomposition, rust, etc.; decaying; wasting, or wasted, away. Also, comb. and fig. or in fig. context.(1) 1375 Barb. xix 178.
Swa that thar armyng sall worth auld And sall be rottyn stroyit and sauld
14.. Acts I 336/2.
Thai sow witht fals and rottin [L. putrido] threid throu the quhilk the schone ar tynt or thai be half worn
(2) a1500 K. Hart 327.
Ane pallioun … With teiris weit ar rottin, may nocht lest
1490 Irland Mir. I 86/21 (see Rot(t v. a). 1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 178.
Ane ald rottin standand bed withouit ane heid
1562-3 Winȝet I 114/23.
Sklate, thak and grof stanis, rottin tymmir and siclyke
1575 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XIV 11.
[West gable demolished, as it was] rotten and ruinous
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv Pref. 24.
In rottin bosses no balme liquor lyes
1596 Dalr. I 60/29.
The rotne stockes of vthiris tries
1587-99 Hume 38/136.
As kindly corne cummes of the rottin seid
1607 Crim. Trials II 525.
The said brewing of aill turnit, in sic soirt, that it becam altogidder rottin and blak
1622 Edinb. Test. LI 201.
Certane cuttis of rottine hissellis pryce thairof x s.
1638 Bk. Pasquils 40. 1687 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 7 Oct.
For old rotten malt
(3) fig. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2301.
Sanct Ringane, of ane rottin stoke
1567 G. Ball. 186.
O cankerit carionnis, and O ȝe rottin stakis
comb. 1645 Rutherford Tryal Faith (1743) 298.
The world and its sweet adjuncts are a measuring line to a rotten rooted faith

b. absol. as noun. Rotten branches, or the like. 1722 Stitchill Baron Ct. 184.
One shilling sterling for pulling and cutting of rottins and breaking down of dykes

2. Of animal substance: In a state of decomposition or putrefaction. Also in fig. context. a1500 K. Hart 910.
I leif … To gluttony … this rottin levir als
Ib. 915. 1496 Halyb. 8.
Gyffyn Bodin De Graf in forbettryn of rottyn woyll in that sek
Ib. 77.
A sek of rottin skynis
1533 Gau 81/27.
The same body quhilk ves grawit & rottine
1568 (c1650) Dundee B. Laws 34.
The great fisches being without and within rottin
1594 St. A. Kirk S. 793.
Ane grea[t] multitude of pepill … casting rottin eggis, filth and glar at him
1602 Shetl. Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 52.
Ane pellok drevin in at Lunay … with ane rottin selchie
1579, 1617 Despauter (1617) 75.
Tabes, rotten or putrified blood and worsome
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) 90.
As rotten flies to spoil a pig Of ointment
a1700 Law Memor. 228 n.
My Lady Stairs is dead and almost rotten
fig. 1607 Ellon Presb. 65.
[Elspet Garioch] contumax … papist [is declared] ane rotten member of the misticall body of Christ

3. a. Of water: Stagnant and rank; tainted. b. Of earth: ? Dried out and crumbly; unproductive. Cf. ME and e.m.E. rotten = ‘soft, yielding or friable by reason of decay’ (c1440 in OED).a. 1567 G. Ball. 185.
Stinkand pulis of euerie rottin synk
1690 Fraser P. 270.
The water of the loch comes to be rotten sometymes
b. 1638 Aboyne Rec. 287.
Power … to cast peats turfs feual feal and divvott in the moss … and rottin yeard on the north side of the Water of Tanner

4. a. Of a sheep: Suffering from liver-rot. b. Of a disease: That causes corruption or putrefaction (but perhaps properly belonging to Rotting vbl. n., in attrib. use in the same sense).a. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 484.
A rottyn crok
1536 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 176.
That he suld uphauld the sheip nocht rottine he sauld to Matho Vatsone
b. a1605 Montg. Flyt. 317 (T).
The panefull poplasie, the pest, The rottin roup
1586 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 14 Oct.
That na fleschours present … na maner of fule flesch, lik as lunsoch, lowandill, mure ill, rotten ill [etc.]

II. 5. In the formula used in the process of ‘falsing a dome’: Not in accordance with the truth; corrupt.See also Ruyn. 1429 Acts II 18/1.
Quha sa wil fals a dome … [ought] to say that the dome is fals stinkande & rottyn in the self
14.. Quon. Attach. c. 56.
That dome is fals rottyn & in the self corrupt throu resoune befor saide
c1450–60 Edinb. Univ. MS Borland No. 207 fol. 64.
1488 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 5.
I … sais to thé [pr. ye] … that the doym that thou [pr. ye] has gyffyn is ewyl fals and rottyn in the self

6. Of a non-material thing or person: That is corrupt, morally or socially. b. Of language: Obscene.(1) 1562-3 Winȝet II 70/6.
The rottin stink of a wickit erroure
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (S.T.S.) 49/36.
Which wyle the clergie inuentes for confirming of their rotten religion
(2) a1568 Scott xxxiv 94.
Swa ladeis will nocht sounȝe With waistit wowbattis rottin
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 118.
He selectes a certain number out of this rotten race
a1651 Calderwood I 228.
Deane John N., a rotten Papist
b. 1628 Pastor and Prelate 65.
Lesser offences, … as lying … rash and common swearing, rotten talking [etc.]

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"Rottin adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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