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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

(Scale,) Skale, Scail(l, Schale, n.1 Also: skail(l, schaill; shall. Pl. also skailse, skaillies. [ME and e.m.E. scale (Layamon), skale (Ancr. R.), skayll (c1460), ON skál, also ME and e.m.E. schale (Ancr. R.), schal (c1325), OE scealu, of the same ulterior origin as S(c)hell n.]

1. a. One of a pair of pans, or the like, in a balance or weighing-instrument. Also fig. b. Chiefly pl.: A weighing apparatus consisting of two such pans suspended from a finely balanced cross-beam. Also a pair of scales and (once) a skailse. = S(c)hell n. 7. 1403 Exch. R. III 569.
Et pro costagiis factis super tronam, videlicet, skalys, per tempus compoti, xiij s. iiij d.
Ib. 571.
Allocate skalis factis pro trona de novo, xiij s.
1417 Ib. IV 274.
Pro reparacione trone, videlicet, in cordis novis et ferro ad easdem, et pro tabulis ad unum skale de novo factum
a. 14.. Acts I 387/2.
The mesur off the weyis … The strengis off the balk sal be evyn elik lang with the balk and the skalis elik lang weyand hewy
fig. a1400 Leg. S. xxii 739.
Quhene we wald in skale put don His ewil consawit suspicione … & in-[to] the tothyre skale His gud dedis ware al hale
b. (1) sing. 1625 Brechin Test. IV 184.
Ane skaill for veyinge l s.
pl. 1583 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XV 14.
The thesaurer … to tak and keip the braysin schales and irne wark to the behuif of the guid toun
1682 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 185.
The weights and skails
1696 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 224.
John Aird caused make and provyde all weights and skaills necessarie for weighing all sorts of meall
1697 Ib. 239.
For reparation of balks, skaills and weights in the meall mercatt
1701 Foulis Acc. Bk. 300.
Skaills and weights for weighing monie
(2) 1609 Edinb. Test. XLV 347b.
Ane balk & ane pair of skaillis price vj li.
1640 Ruthven Corr. 68.
Small weihtis with ane pair of skaillies
1699 Edinb. Test. LXXX 356.
Ane pair of skaills for weighting of money
(3) 1658 Edinb. Test. LXIX 173.
Ane skailse

c. ? As a representation of Libra, the sign of the Zodiac. 1561 Inv. Q. Mary 45.
A half of the laich of a coit … figurit with scaillis

2. A shallow bowl or dish; ? some sort of cup; ? the bowl of a chalice. Cf. Scol(l n. and Scul(l n. 2.(1) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 186.
For lxiij treyne platis, alsmony treyne stopis, samony cogis, xxx skalis, tua tubbis
1513 Ib. 489.
For ijc scailis vj ladillis
Ib. 501.
To hir [sc. the ship the ‘Mary’] of scailis and platis, xxiiij pece
Ib. 492, 495, 498, 500. 1625 Orkney & Shetl. Test. I 138.
Thretene tue pleatis … ellevin skaillis pryce of the pice i s.
(b) 1680 Scots in Poland 126.
1 silver tasa or shall or cassa weighing 2M. 40 lod. f109⅓
(2) 1527 Aberd. B. Rec. in Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II 359.
To mak ane chaleis of xl vnce that is to say the futt and schaill contenene xxxviij and the patone of the same vj vnce

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"Scale n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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