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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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S(c)hep(e)-skin, -skyn, S(c)heip(e)-skin, -skyn, Scheipis-skyn, n. Also: sheep(p)(e- and -skine, -skyne; sheips-, sheeps-skin; shipe-skine; schippis-skin. [ME and e.m.E. shepess skinn (Orm), shepskyn (1411), schepysskynne (c1440), shepe skyn(ne (1470–85), shipskin (1596).] The skin of a sheep chiefly viewed as a commodity.Also with ellipsis of sheep.The appar. possess. forms, scheipis skyn, etc. only occur in pl. (see (3) below), hence, may be interpreted as examples of pl. agreement between scheip and skin.(1) a1500 Prestis of Peblis 230.
That evir his fader sauld ane schepe skyn
1496 Treas. Acc. I 290.
For xij barkit schep skynnys, x s.
1531–2 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 56.
Jhonne Lawsoun fleschour … granttit that he sauld … the xj scheip skynnis
1570 Conv. Burghs I 21.
That statutis be maid … that the scheip skyn be flane to the horn
1572 Crim. Trials I ii 32.
Four pakkatis of scheip-skynnis … stollin be the commoune thevis
1573 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 5.
The haill scheip skynnis … did want, be the subtilitie and falset of the fleschouris, the quarter of ane skyn
1577 Edinb. Test. V 127.
Ane scheip skin price vij s.
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 134.
The maist pairtt of the merchantis … geving of arlis to the fleschour … for grene scheip skynnis and hydes
1596 Edinb. Test. XXIX 320.
Lyand in the skyn loft iiijc lxxij schepe skynnis
Ten scoir Flemeis scheip skynnis
1606 Dickson & Edmond Ann. Sc. Printing 354.
Certane scheipe skynnis, estimat to iiij li.
1630 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 84.
That nane alme nor grow or lyme anye scheip skynnis … or calff skynnis
1666 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 164.
[ 4 s. for] ane sheeppe skine
1680 Edinb. B. Rec. X 410.
That noe sheip skins be sold … that are tarlethered or that wants the blood holl or lugs
1682 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXVIII 165.
I sent out of our toun to the ness 30 score sheep skines
1696 Berw. Nat. C. XXXIII 5.
That non shall … buy … aney sheep skines from aney countrei butcher belonging to the land market untill they be brought to the mercat plaise
1706 Foulis Acc. Bk. 420.
For 8 sheepskins 3 s. 4 d.
(b) 1684 Fawside Coal Compt 124.
For tuo shipe skines, £1 10 s.
(2) 1656 Aberdeen Sheriff Ct. III 55.
[Convicted of stealing] sheep wooll and skins
(3) 1591 Burntisland B. Ct. 12 Nov.
Ane scoir off schippis skinis
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 91.
For tua scheipis skynnes xviii s.
1680 Edinb. B. Rec. X 410.
These burgesses … that buyes and transports sheips skins

b. Put to certain specified uses, i.e., in making or lining garments, as a mat to sleep on, as parchment, for cleaning (guns, etc.), etc.(1) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 215.
For lyning of the … goune with scheip skynnis
Ib. 217.
Put in the purfele and sclewez of it [sc. gown] xij scheip skynnis
1512–13 Ib. 465.
iiij scheip skynnys to mak moppatis for the tallowyng of the James
1513 Doug. vii i 142.
On scheip skynnys … He strekis him adovne
1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 145.
The scribe of court & notar publict … thair partts of four hundretht scheip skynnis price of the hundretht xviij lib.
1567 G. Ball. 176.
He had to sell … Remissioun of sinnis in auld scheip skinnis
1571 Treas. Acc. XII 288.
xij scheip skynnis to be moppettis to the said artailyerie
1631 Edinb. Test. LV 63b.
Ane gray auld furrit gowne lynned with scheip skynes all holled
1633 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 375.
Aught scheipe skines for demipeices
1638–9 Dumfries Treas. Acc. in Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. 3 Ser. III 338.
For ane scheip skyne to the forsaid cannan, 12 s.
1651 Stirling B. Rec. II 306.
For thrie sheep skins to dight the cannon
1701 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI 178.
For tuo almed shepeskins to lyne breatches
(2) 1675 Forfar Soutars in Aberd. Univ. Rev. XXXV 139.
Thomas Esplen, shoomakar, … fined … for putting sheeps skinnes in shoos

c. Allusively, after Matthew vii 15: An outer appearance of inoffensiveness assumed to conceal rapacity.(1) 1540 in Knox I 73.
Sayand that we [sc. friars] are … Devouring woulves into sheip skynnes
1573 Cath. Tr. 6/18.
Bewar with thame that cumis to you in scheip skinnis for thay ar inwartlie wolfes
(2) 1563 Ferg. Answer in 1563-72 Tracts 36.
Let a woulfe be neuer so well cled with a shepe's skin [etc.]

d. proverb. Also with ellipsis of skin.(1) 1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 139.
As the proverb is, As soon gaes the lamb-skin to the market as the old sheep-skin
(2) a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 65.
As soone comes the lambeskin to the market as the old sheeps

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"Shep-skin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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