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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Royal(l, adj. and n. Also: roi- and -ale, -el(l; roye-, ro-, rowyall. [ME and e.m.E. royal, roial (Chaucer), royall (Lydgate), OF roial, royal (c1188 and early 13th c. in Larousse), L. rēgālis Regal(e adj. See also Reall adj.1 and Rial(l adj.]See the note to Rial(l adj.

A. adj. I. 1. Of a person: Having the rank of a king or queen. = Rial(l adj. 1. 1549 Compl. 126/32.
Dauid that roial prophet
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 182.
Glaid of the rysing of thare royall roye
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 49.
Let us bring furth ane royall witnes
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 75/17.
His royel predicessores

b. ? Created (knight) by the sovereign himself. = Rial(l adj. 1 c. 1460 Hay Alex. (S.T.S.) 858.
Quhat that was ane royall warldlie sycht To se new maid sa mony royall knycht

2. Of lineage: Connected with, or stemming from, a king or royal line. = Rial(l adj. 2.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 145/167.
Haill blosome breking out of the blud royall
1570 Sat. P. xxiv 19.
Thocht thow be cumin of ane royall stok
(b) 1540 Lynd. Sat. 4065 (B).
The grit clan Jamesoun The blude rowyall of Cowpar toun

3. Properly belonging to the office of a sovereign. b. Issued or approved by the king. = Rial(l adj. 3.(1) 1456 Hay I 253/1.
We mon se … quhethir the dignitee royal may cum be successioun to wommen
1574–5 Reg. Privy S. VII 11/1.
Oure soverane lord … off his kinglie power and auctoritie royall … apprevis the said electioun
c1650 Spalding I 124.
By all the royall auchtoritie and pouer quhairwith God had indewit him
(2) a1500 Henr. Deth & Man 5 (Bann.).
Thocht thay be in thair roall stait and hicht
1535 Stewart 32066. 1580 Reg. Privy C. III 308.
To the great hurt of his hienes croun and estate royall
b. ?a1537-1550 Scrimȝeour MS 1a.
Knawand the auld deidis and statutis royallis

c. Reserved for, or intended exclusively for, kings. 1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xiii.
They … long held their abbay burials royall and onely for kinges

4. Of the symbols or appurtenances of kingship. = Rial(l adj. 4.See also rob riall Rob n. 3. 1456 Hay I 43/14.
Tules … maid kynglyk habytis that ar called habytis royalis of purpur richely
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i 270.
Sede, the royall seatt
c1616 Hume Orthog. 3.
Your majestie's self … commanding, at your first entrie to your roial scepter

5. Lived in, or intended particularly for the use of, a king. = Rial(l adj. 5.In the quot. from Doug., perh. rather with reference to the fact that Ilium was built at the command of a king. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1456.
Nor he that beildit the royall Ylion
1567 Sat. P. vii 69.
The royall hous … Was maid ane bordell
a1578 Pitsc. I 218/5.
The deine of the said chapell royall

6. Pertaining to a sovereign as a private individual. = Rial(l adj. 7. 1492 Myll Spect. 287/29.
I haif … consederit ȝour royall & noble examplis
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 23.
Base lamentatiounis … unbeseming the royal name
1622 Melrose P. 464.
Your maiesties royall wisdome

7. A Royall Burgh (or Burgh Royall), a burgh which derived its charter directly from the king.See also burgh regal Regal(e adj. (2).(1) 1591 Edinb. B. Rec. V 42.
In ane frie burgh royall
1618 Aberd. Council Lett. I 161.
The burghs of baronie salbe distinguished and defyned from the liberties of burrowis royall
1628 Linlithgow B. Rec. 6 June.
Anent erectioun of ane frie burgh royell in the lawis purchest be my lord of Seyforth
1641 Stirling Chart. 120. 1648 Acts VI ii 83/2. 1672 Ib. VIII 77/2.
They wer never erected a burgh royall be his maiestie nor any his royall ancessors
1676 Lauder in M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. III 112.
This insignificates their privileges as a burgh royal
1681 Stair Inst. iv xlvii §19.
Bailies of regality, bailies of burghs-royal, or of burghs of regality
16.. R. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 393.
The third estate wes composed of commissioners from cities, touns, burrows royall who held of the king
(2) 1641 Peebles Chart. 102.
Togidder with the burrowmaill … as the kinges royall brughis hes
1664 Conv. Burghs III 572. 1671 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. III 288.
1677 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) App. 38.
The Burroughs of Scotland are of three sorts; either Royal Burghs, Burghs of Regality, or Burghs of Barony

II. 8. Noble; pre-eminent. Cf. Rial(l adj. 8. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 136/53.
Thair lady … was convoyed with ane royall routt Off gryt barrounes
Ib. (S.T.S.) lxxxviii 34.
Upon thy lusty brigge of pylers white Been merchauntis full royall to behold
1560 Rolland Seven S. 632.
The royall Kirk of Rome Quhilk was the heid of kirkis in christindome

9. Splendid, sumptuous. = Rial(l adj. 9. 1535 Stewart 48737.
King Edward … This royall ruif … Gart tak it doun than
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1558.
Ilk ȝeir … Ane banket royall wald he maik
c1552 Id. Mon. 4538.
Abbottis [etc.] … Hes plesand palyces royallis. Lyke Paradyse ar those prelattis places
15.. Clar. iv 779.
Ȝour ches … ane royall present was … To geive to ony queine
a1568 Scott i 191.
Riches raymentis and all royall thingis
1590 Burel Pilgr. ii 27.
This muldrie … Wes maist magnificall, Maist royall and ioyall, Trim and pontificall

10. Of the highest quality; flawless. = Rial(l adj. 10. a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 582.
This royall ring … Quhilk Troylus in drowrie to me send
15.. Clar. i 1044.
I geive ȝow heir ane ring of gold royall
a1605 Montg. Sonn. xlix 2.
Thoght … royall rubies [be] countit rich and rare

b. Paper royall. Cf. OProvençal papier real very white and very fine-quality paper (1346 in Wartburg), e.m.E. paper roiall ‘paper of a size measuring 24 by 19 inches as used for writing and 25 by 20 for printing’ (OED). Brus (1571) Pref.
All the copyis that I culd haue, auld and new, baith writtin in paper royall and alswa writtin in parchiament

11. Remarkable, exceptional; ? unaccustomed; of unusual force.1460 Hay Alex. (S.T.S.) 857 (see 1 b above). 1538 Lynd. Justing 63.
Be thay had endit that royall rink
c1552 Id. Mon. 660.
Thare wald nocht … men of law loup to sic royall rent
15.. Clar. iii 2211.
Nane sall ȝow ken … Into this royall habite that ȝe weir
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 703.
Ane porter … to the bischop his blissing gave Betuixt the schoulders a royall route

III. 12. In certain special collocations.The game called the Royall Oak, apparently the name given to some lottery. Yewel Royal, appar. the name given to Christmas when it fell on a Sunday. Beefe royell, ? some special way of preparing beef. See also Ballat royal, s.v. Ballat n. b. 1665 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VII 120.
The practiseing of the game called the Royall Oak
1674 Edinb. B. Rec. X 195. 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 471.
And it being Yewel Royall falling uppon Sunday, most of the gentlemen being at sermon convoyed my lord … home
1698 Marchmont 183.
[Bill of fare]: Beefe royell

B. noun. 13. A king. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 14.
Thus the royale can remove with his Round Tabill

14. = Royaltie n. 3.1686 Mackenzie Observ. (1687) 36 (see Royaltie n. 3 (1)).

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"Royal adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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