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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).

Scandal(l, n. Also: -dale, -del(l, -dill, -dle, skandall, -dell. [ME scandle, scha(u)ndle (Ancr. R.), e.m.E. scandale (1581), scandal (1582), scandall (1590), OF scandale, escand(e)le (12th and 13th c. in Wartburg), MF escandale, F. scandalle (1360 and 16th c. in Larousse), eccles. L. scandalum (c1180 in Latham), f. the Gk.]

1. a. A cause or occasion of weakening religious belief, arising from the actions or omissions of believers. b. Disrepute brought upon religion by such actions or omissions.a. 1578 Second Bk. Disc. in Calderwood III 555.
Swa as we sall na mair be an skandall to uther nations, as we have hitherto bene for … causing the Word … to be evill spokin of
1639 Fugitive Poetry II xvi 4/9.
Gestures, rites, holy dayes, … liturgies … Mak glad the hearts of Romish brood, And thairby weak ones scandells find
1670 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 261.
Papists and quakers … have their frequent meetings … within this brughe, to the great … scandall of the gospell, and of all trew Christians within this brughe
c1680 McWard Serm. 58.
It is a scandal for presbyterians to give a bond that natively tends to the weakening and dividing of the presbyterian church of Scotland
b. 1670 Aberd. Council Lett. V 7.
Quakers … not any more to … disturbe the inhabitants … by ther eroneous principalls and preaches tending verie much to the scandall of the treuth
1670 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 261 (see above). 1700 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 47.
Acts made against drunkenness and persones staying in allhouses misspending ther tyme to the dishonour of God and scandle of religione

2. a. Damage to (a person's or, more freq., a group or community's) reputation; (suspicion of) discreditable or offensive behaviour, freq. in relation to religious persons or groups.Freq., to the scandall of (the party affected).(1) 1600-1610 Melvill 681.
Ane minister of Scotland Mr Andro Melvill … had confessit himselff to be the auctour of certaine verses … tending to the scandell and dischonour of the Kirk of England
1612 Dunferm. Ann. 272.
(The Lord Chancellor) employed a painter to paint on his seat in Dunfermline Church a cross or crucifix to the] great scandle of the communitie
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 209.
Give … pasturage ceas … they wilbe forceit for want of maintenance to leive thair kirks, to the heavie reproche and scandill of this estait
1653 Edinb. Surgeons p. 250.
For taking of Robert Robsone … of his clath and impignerating of the samin and drinking thareupon to the great offence of God and scandell of the incorporation
1683 Dundee B. Laws 554.
To the … great scandall and reproatch of the petitioners, who are stained … thereby [sc. bad craftsmanship] by straingers … who … imputs the blaime to the petitioners
1690 Paisley B. Rec. 120.
To the opprobrie of the said toune and common scandall of the kingdom
(2) 1612 Dunferm. Ann. 272.
The scandall of the crucifix payntit vpon my lord chancellor his dask … that the causer as also the paynter of that idolatrous monument and the minister foirsaid have highlie offendet
1652 Nullity of the Pretended Assembly 15.
They are nott admitted to sit as members of the Assembly though there be no scandal nor exception propounded therupon till their carriage be first tryed and approven: muchless they are to be admitted [as members of the Assembly] when there is scandal and exception propounded thereupon

b. An imputation of bad or evil conduct; an (unfounded or unproven) report of such behaviour.Cf. later Sc. legal use = ‘a report circulated prejudicial to the character or reputation of another on which a legal action may be founded’, as in ‘a process of scandal’ (1708) (SND, s.v. Scandal n.). 1639 Dumbarton B. Rec. 57.
Whether in respect of the scandall againe George Hall … for wrang done to his fayther he might yet sit in judgment, it is found he might till he be tryit and convictit
1664 Cramond Kirk S. II 6 Nov.
The session … thinkis fitt to lay him by as a scandalous impenitent person till both he clear himself of the said scandall in Edinburgh, and till some evidence of his repentance appear
1666 Alyth Par. Ch. 98.
Ther was a scandle delated upon David Donald of Shangie that he had miscaried in speaking against the doctrine taught be the minister in time of sermon
1667 Strathendrick 10.
Anent ane scandell verifyed upon him for going to Edinburgh to … ane sooth sayer
1668 Alyth Par. Ch. 97.
Ther was a scandall delated upon Janat Red … for recetting … ane slight woman … in her howse
1669 Alford Rec. 144.
After tryall and examination of parties and wittnesses in the said scandall of unwarrantably cureing of cattell [the brethren] did pass sentance
1670 Kingarth Par. Rec. 57.
That he has not cleird himself of the scandal that he fell with his wife befor mariage
1690 Cramond Kirk S. III 25 Oct.
Suspended … because of a scandall of being drunken at the west port
1695 Minnigaff Par. Rec. 5.
[They] were obsolved from the scandell of fornication

c. In the phr. under (the or ane) scandal (of a specified offence) in sense b above.(1) 1645 Edgar Old Church Life 250.
Mungo Campbell … this long tyme hes lyen under the scandall of murther
1664 Cramond Kirk S. II 6 Nov.
The session being informed that Alexander Wilson is … under another scandall … thinkis fitt to lay him by … till … he clear himself
1698 S. Ronaldshay 72.
Under the scandal of fornication
(2) 1647 Moray Synod 87.
Both being under scandall, and subject to kirk censure
1650 Glasgow Wrights Acts 9.
Nether any who ar wnder scandall quhill they have given sufficient satisfactioune
1666 Kingarth Par. Rec. 43.
Delated that Allekander M'Pherson … should ferry Elspa Frisel being under scandel to the Lowlands on the sabbath day

3. A cause or occasion of disgrace or shame; a shameful or disgraceful circumstance. 1609 Aboyne Rec. 233.
[The Lords of Council considered it] a foule reproche and scandell to this oure nation that suche a … byk of laules lymmaris shoulde be sa long sufferit [to have residence in … the kingdom]
1624 Elgin Rec. II 183.
[They] sall … creave God mercie and the congregatioun to quhom they ar an skandell
1628 Aberd. Council Lett. I 291.
The insolenceis of proffest … papistes … give ane publict scandal to the kirk

b. Moral offence given by an action. 1652 Cullen Kirk S. 12 Sept.
Ther cariage gave such ane scandall to them that he, his wiffe & servant left the house & they tuo stayed ther alone

4. Open or flagrant sin; a sin viewed as an offence to the community or congregation. 1653 Dunferm. Ann. 328.
With a paper on her browe, shewing her nortorious scandall
1655 Mouswald Kirk S. 9 Dec.
If any [elders] … shall be found culpable … by doing and acting any scandellis lykewayes mentioned in the same
1657 Dunkeld Presb. II 416.
Anent Mr. Thomas Irland, his scandell of Anabaptisme, he … did judiciallie declair before the Synod that he renuncit Anabaptisme
1664 Kingarth Par. Rec. 34.
Obeyed according as he was injoyned for his fornicatioun … and was received and absolved from his scandale by the minister
1672 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 11 May.
To … stand ane hour besyde the joggs for hir uncivill words and scandalles committed be hir wpon Jonnet Lidderdaill
1678 Edinb. B. Rec. X 359.
Since the elders … would … live verrie remote from these in the paroch comitted to there inspectione … wherby scandales might escape all notice
1696 Penninghame Par. Rec. I 3.
What penalty is taken for scandalls?
1700 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 256.
Flagrant reports of his miscarriage and off the scandalls in his family

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"Scandal n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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