Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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

Scat(t, Scot(t, n. Also: skat(t, skait, skaytt; skath; schatt; skot(t; scoit, skoit; schoit. [North. ME and e.m.E. scat- in scathaver (Durham, 1344–5), skattegyld (15th c.), skaitgyld (York, 1483), ON skattr tribute, a tax, OE sceat, MLG, MDu. schat treasure. Also ME and e.m.E. scot (1297), scotte (c1430), skott (c1566), and esp. the phr. loth and scoth (1297), lote & scott (1320), scotte and lotte (1494), OE sc(e)ot, ON skot, OF escot (13th c. in Wartburg) a payment, contribution. Cf. S(c)hot n.1 14.The two words seem to have largely fallen together in Sc., senses 2 and 3 appar. having the closest phonological and semantic links with ‘skot’, although other instances, e.g. 1598 Aberd. B. Rec. II 172 in sense 1 seems to retain some of the notion of a share or contribution rather than a tax.]

1. A tax or levy, passing into b. A forced contribution; an exaction. 1501–2 Reg. Privy S. I 116/1.
To liegis within the boundis of Orknay and Schetland … that nane … stop … the rasing of al unlawis, eschetis, proffittis, skattis and dewiteis according to the said regalite
1506 Exch. R. XII 703.
Forsamekill as oure soverane lord has send ws his lieutenent … in thir partis of Ergile [etc.] … and all pairtis of the Ilis … heirefor we … chargis you … that ye nor nane utheris … intromett ony maner of way with ony teindis, landis or rentis pertenyng to ony person of halikirk … bot that the fredome and privelege of halikirk be observit … eftir the forme of the first foundation without ony scatt, stent, taxation or extortion to be maid in tyme cuming
1513 Doug. xi Prol. 24.
Wrangis to reddres suld wer be vndertane, For na conquest, reif, skat, nor pensioun
1535 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 447.
Howbeit the abbot of Halirudhous had gottin ane pretendit infeftment to tak a penny of ilk full cart [passand] throw the Canongait to Edinburgh … that it suld nocht turne the said toune of Edinburgh … to na prejudice anent thar rychtis and that thar suld be na scatt nor exactioun put of new to thame
1598 Aberd. B. Rec. II 172.
William Logan present ferriour of the ferry boitt of Torrye … to mak … guid and redye service to the inhabitantis of Futtie … and theirfoir ilk howsholder in Futtie paying to the ferriour viii s. at twa termes in the yeir … but payment of any wther dewtie to be payit be thame induring thair awin will … and siclyk to pay the skait vsit and wont
b. 1607 Crim. Trials II 528.
For … compelling of the tennentis of the landis of Strathardill to pay to thame ane skatt of foure hundreth merkis … committand thairby manifest oppressioune

2. A municipal tax levied on the burgesses for defraying communal expenses; one of the duties required of a burgess. b. Freq. in the phrase scat, or more commonly scot and lot. See also Lot n.1 2 b.This sense and sense 3 seem to derive from ON skot one's ‘shot’ or portion but to have fallen together to some extent with the more general sense of ‘tax’, ‘tribute’ (ON skattr). 1235 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 269.]
[Liberi sint ab omni scotto et gildo et omnibus auxilijs regum
1552 Conv. Burghs I 4.
To … hald stob and staik therein, and walk, ward, pay extentis and skattis within the burch, conforme to thair substance
1580 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 111.
And sindrie of thame … ver depauperit and becum vnvorthie to keip skat and stent
1588 Ib. 234.
Cautionar for him for skat stent vache vaird and vther portabill chairgis of burgh
b. 1486–7 Misc. New Spald. C. I 32.
[Ogiluy, Dauid, of Tolmade, services dispensed with at] scott lott waik and warde
1490–1 Ib. 35. 1521–2 Stirling B. Rec. in Dunferm. Hammermen 37.
[The] scheit makers to tak skott and lott with the hammermen
1522 Old Dundee II 32.
[John Leich] oblist him … that on getting the scot and lot of the merchants [he will] answer for three pounds gret to Sanct James' altar
1530 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 233b.
The said James hais fund Adam Ahannay pleg to keip scot & loit to the toun & to tak his skair of schippis & wthir necessaris
1530–1 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 110.
Admytit burges sa that he pay scot and lot, varde and vaik within our fredom
1534 Dumfries B. Ct. 146b.
Swa lang as the said Johne kepis scott & lott vach vard siklik as wtheris fre burgessis in the burgh
1535 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 304a.
1570 Inverness Rec. I 191.
The commond pastuyr beand manurit … be certan personis quhilkis aucht … be woyd and giffin to the sustentatioun of the puyr anes gudis and bestiall quhilkis payis scottis and lottis wyth the towneschip
1576–7 Lanark B. Rec. 72.
1579 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 94.
Plege and souerty for keiping of scot and lot and paying of his burges siluer
1579–80 Inverness Rec. I 274.
To concur wyth the … communitie forsaid in scot lott stent and taxt conforme to the tennour of his electioun
1666 Old Ross-shire II 83.
Such persones who lives nixt adjacent to the toune and who does not pey scot nor lott with the incorporatione and that does make their benefitt within the same
1671 Ure Rutherglen 58.
The remanent burgesses inhabitants within the said burgh and territorie therof beiring scott and lott within the samyn
1677 Rec. Old Aberd. I 128.
That the haill inhabitants within the colledge bounds … sall … be subject to the jurisdictione of Old Abd. … and shall contribute scott and lott proportionallie … with the inhabitants of the said citie
1678 Lauder Observes 278.
Their should be none choicen to represent borrows but merchands within that brugh, … bearing scott and lot with the rest of the citizens
(b) 1483 Seal of Cause Haddington Hammermen in E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 104.
That all persones admittit … thairto sall pay scat and lot taxt and stent to be gadderit and taxit be the deacon
1582 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 173.
[He] hes fund Alexander McClellane in Galtuay cautioun for keiping scat stent and loit conform to vse of burgh
1647 Seal of Cause Haddington Masons (etc.) in Douglas Bequest 25 Sept.
That personis admittit … fremen of the saidis craftis sall pay skat and lot taxt and stent
(c) 1515 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 43a.
[He] hais fundin Michell McConnill souerte to keyp schoit & loith

3. specif. A charge made on merchant ships to cover any shortfall in their cargo; esp. a charge made on merchants to ensure that losses due to storm, piracy, etc. are shared equally among those affected. 1551 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 103b (29 Oct.).
Grantit … ane barrell yrne & that he wes awand the fracht & skat thare of to Willem Kinloche
1563 Old Dundee I 194.
That the eight tuns desyrit be the queen's grace be deliverit furth of all the ships now within Tay … and that forty shillings mair be payit for the tun nor the common price … and that all clerks of the said ships … gadder the price of ane tun and ane half with the fraucht and the skaths to be taken of the haill wines according to their quality
1564 Ib.
That William Rysie, sempleir, be answerit of four tuns of wine of thir present four ships … and that the clerks of the ships gadder the scatt thereof with the fraucht
1568 Edinb. Test. I 173b.
The fraucht vncostis lekkage and skat of certane wynis tane furth of the same schip
1575 Conv. Burghs I 44, 45.
Incais ony schippis be pilleitt the gudes saiff sall contribute scatt and loitt for the relief of the personis dampnefeit, bayth schip and gudes according to thair wairing and gif neid beis ordainis the magistratis of the poirtis within this realme quhair the saidis schippis sall happin te aryve to sett ane scatt and extentt for releif of the personis dampnefeit … and to arreist poynd or comprise the schippis and gudes of thame that refusis for obeying of the said scatt, euery man according to his pairt as he sall be sett and the samyn ordour to be kepit anent the gudes casten for saiftie of lyfe and gudes vpoun commoun consent
1580 Reg. Privy C. III 308.
[Complaint that] the commissioners of burrowis … without ony pouer … hes … maid ane act … that all guidis … pilleit in tymes bygane [or] … in tymes cuming be pyrattis fra the subjectis of this realme … salbe recompansit be ane universall scatt and taxt to be tane alsweill of the schip and fraucht as of the remanent guidis … left unpilleit
1586–7 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 486.
Jhonn Robertsoun, bailyie, … to sett the scatt of the schip callit the Sie Catt … quhilk wes laitly pilleit in hir vayage frome Londoun and to tak the aythis of the merchants vpoun the quantities of thair … guids schippet
1590 Welwod 71.
Giff it happin the schip … to perisch and the lichter and gear put thairin onely to be saif na contributioun sall be set upon the gear in the boat … because it is a constant rule in thir caises of casting and lichtning that skatt suld onely be maid quhen schip and guds … come saife to the port
Ib. 75.
He quha man be recompansit be a skatt, man do against the maister to reteine all the guds on his schippe boddome
1591 Edinb. Test. XXIII 50b.
lxiiij stane wecht of gad irne … lij lib. xvj s. quhairof to be deducit for ane scatt and fraucht thairof iiij li. vj s.
1612 Conv. Burghs II 339.
The soum … quhilk was takin … for payment of ane scatt of the said George his monye … for contributing with certaine goods castin furth of ane schip of Bruntiland
Ib. 340.
The said monye … to be refoundit be … the persons to quhome they delyverit the samyne in name of scatt … becaus it was fund be the commissionars … in thair generall conventione haldin at Craill in the month of Iulie last that no monye sould scatt or contribute with onye goods castin or pilleyit
1622-6 Bisset II 243/18.
Gif ane schip … can nocht eschaip bot gif the guidis be cassin out … for recovering of the domages the maryneris aw to have ane tun frie, and the uthir aucht to be pairted with the skatt eftir as he [sc. the master] hes of quantitie

4. specif. In Orkney, Shetland and Caithness: A land tax levied on udal property (see the note to Outhall n.), the unit of valuation being the urisland, s.v. Ure n.4  (2) (see Penny-land n. 1).The right to collect this tax, under the Norse occupation enjoyed by the Norwegian crown or the jarls as its representatives, passed to the Scottish crown after 1472.Orig. paid in butter and malt, supplemented where necessary by a further payment or payments in kind (as barley, meat, oil, etc.) or money (see scat silver at 5 (8) below, also Forcop n.).In pl., sometimes referring collectively to these various modes of paying scat.For further information, and some discussion of the origin of this tax, see H. Marwick Orkney Farm-Names (Kirkwall, 1952) pp. 191 ff.For numerous further instances see Orkney Rentals i-iv passim.sing. (1) 1502 Orkney Rentals i 13.
The Holmes j d. terre quoyland but scat
Ib. 18.
ix d. terre but scat quia boirland ant therof in land male iij lastis iij s.
Ib. 89.
Becaus I found in the auld parchment rentall that notwithstanding the land is all the kingis to the male yit ilk iij d. terre is laid by to pay scat to the bischop
Ib. 91.
Johne of Cragie … payit scat to the king
1508 Ib. 80.
That … this said bordland makis the haill d. terre & payis na scat
c1536–7 Rec. Earld. Orkney 222.
The scatt, teind, and wtheres dewties dew to be payed out of the said lands
1545 Reg. Great S. 727/1. 1560 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. 134.
The skat … in use and wont to be paid to the king and his chamberlains from the said lands of Feauldquoy
Ib. 130. 1565–6 Reg. Privy S. V ii 24/1.
Dimidio barrelle butyri pro lie scat de Towat
1567 Peterkin Orkney & Zetl. App. 8.
For the uthel skat and duty thereof usit and wont
1584 Rec. Earld. Orkney 305.
Without ony … dewteis to be payit to us, our airis or chalmurlanes quhatsumevir, except scat and teind allanerlie
1592 (1610) Reg. Great S. 118/1.
The haill skatt of the uthail land within the said yle baith butter and wadmell
1595 Orkney Rentals ii 2.
Ane quoy land or outbrek is ane peece of land newly win without the dykis, and payis no scatt
1614 Ib. 127.
Crowall, na scatt, quia boirland [ed. bowland]
1627 Ib. iii 85.
Ewerie vrsland conteining auchtein pennie land possest in smallis by mein men, and labourit be tham, payand for ewerie pennie land, scatt and teind to the king
1633 Acts V 53/2.
It is creavit be the vddallers of Orknay and Zetland quha hes thir many ages conforme to the dens law … that they remaine his majesties … vassels for payment of scatt
c1642 Orkney Rentals v 18.
Tenstane eighteine d. land, inde the kirk tack the scatt of iiij d. ob. terrae
1701 Brand Orkney & Shetl. 65.
[The country is] called Schetland, because of a kind of custom or tribute called scat, which they payed to their Norvegian masters
Ib. 122.
Scat is a kind of rent or due, which is yearly payed to the king or his taxmen
(2) 1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 83.
Ane lysspone and ane halff lysspone buytter in skaytt, as the said erllis rentell and charttur … beris
1576 Orkney Oppress. 18.
Ane just can quhairwith thai mesourit thair vlie payit in scat to the king
1612 Orkney Test. and Inv. 43.
[½] setting beir in skat [3 s. 4 d.]
1631 Retours I Inq. Spec. Orkney et Shetland (16).
In lie scat 6 merkis butiri
pl. 1497 Rental in Hossack Kirkwall 63.
And the king and erle ever had the scattis of all the bischoppis land in this parrochin quhill of lait that bischop William stoppit the samen
1502 Orkney Rentals i 11.
All the land in Paplay … conqueist be umquhill Erle William except … j½ d. terre of the quoyland quhilk is onlie the kingis with the haill scattis of the laif
Ib. 18.
In ley scattis xlij s. vj d.
1503 Ib. 42.
Of all thir scattis bigane I Henrie Lord Sinclair hes gottin na payment theirfor. And quhy it is unpayit I knaw not bot becaus the husbandis alledgit that thai aucht nocht to pay the saids scattis
Ib. 59.
Schir Robert Sutherland hes haldin the kingis scattis … on knawin to my Lord Sinclair
Ib. 61.
The bischop withaldis the hale scattis of ij d. terre
1503 Craven Ch. in Orkney III 122.
William Tulloh, Bishop of Orknay, had and bruikit … be gift of umquhile our maist nobil grandsir, the King of Denmark and Norway … all the skattis, renband duties that pertained to our said grandsir of the said kirklands
1508 Orkney Rentals i 85.
xxv d. terre quhilk payit evir all the scattis to the king for all wes uthale mennis land
c1524 Rec. Earld. Orkney 423.
Ane lettir in Northin, of the King of Norwayis is [sic] of the skattis of Orknay umquhile givin to Bischop Williame Tulloch for his liftyme
1575–6 Reg. Privy S. VII 74/2.
Richtis, service and skattis usit and wont
1592 (1610) Reg. Great S. 90/1.
Withe the skattis of ane pennyland ane mark mair wthall land in the said towne
1592 Orkney Oppress. 101.
For payment of ther scattis, callit in our language the fewduties
1593 Prot. Bk. T. Auchinlek 26b.
The said Helein payand ȝeirlie the few melis scattis & vtheris dewteis of the saidis haill landis
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 70.
And that he payit scatis and dewiteis to my lord

b. Freq. in collocation with wattell and land male (Land-mal(e n. 1, q.v. for numerous further examples), payments being in money only.(1) 1572 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. 188.
Ane entire and free tenandry … with wrak, waith, half-wrak, wattill, cheitrie and scatts
1595 Exch. R. XXIII 441.
Pro lie scatt et wattill juxta ratam
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 74.
Bothwell Nicolsoun is decernit to pay his scat and wattill to my lord with the rest of his dewiteis of underfold
1610 Rec. Earld. Orkney 185.
As his awin proper land … haldin frielie of the king for payment of scat and wattell
1627 Rep. Parishes 232.
The cornteynd thairof is payit in butter and oylie diversly according to the divers portions of the same with the skatt and wattell to the king
(2) 1508 Orkney Rentals i 80.
The thrid part blawin [land] quhilk payis nother scat nor land male
1576 Orkney Oppress. 18.
Thair clayth, callit wadmell, … is ane dewitie thai pay to the kingis maiestie for thair scat and landmales ȝeirlie
Thair haill buttir, bayth of scat and landmales
1587 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. 212.
For the thrie pennyland of kinges land called Cursetter in scat, land meallis and teind ane barrell butter
1595 Orkney Rentals ii 7.
Pwle … payis in but. scat i lesp. xii mks. in scat silver xxi d. in scat land male and teynd
1612 Acts IV 481/2.
Scattis land maillis [etc.] … and vtheris rychtis and dewties quhatsomeuir pertening to … Orknay and … Zetland
1627 Orkney Rentals iii 41.
The whole scatt and land mealis is payit yeirlie to the Bishop of Orknay as ane pairt of the patrimonie thairof
(3) 1589 Reg. Great S. 565/2.
Cum … lie wattill, foircoip, landsettirtun, ansterscope, scattis, landmaillis, wrak, wair et waif et aliis juribus

c. Defined by a preceding noun in attrib. use, see the note on modes of payment above. 1492 H. Marwick Orkney Farm-names (1952) 197.
And the laif of the butter scatt of unblawn land to be payit in pennyworthis sic as growis upon the ground
1502 Orkney Rentals i 3.
Grymesetter iij farding terre uthall land ant in butter scat v d. j farding … et in malt scat j m. xviij merk
Ib. 6.
Becaus it payis nather malt scat nor butter scat we ken nocht quhy
Ib. 7.
The half of the malt scat wes gevin quyt be umquhile Erle William
Ib. 47.
Et in cost scat ant vj m. jam tantum & na forcop
Ib. 87.
Et in corne scat of the uris terre ant xxj m. beer
Ib. 88.
Beer scat
1503 Ib. 26 (see d below). Ib. 36 (see d below). Ib. 40 (see d below). 1595 Ib. ii 7 (see b (2) above). c1642 Ib. v 5.
Houbuster sex penny land vdall payis in butter scatt ij leis. in scat silver foircoipe viij s. in scat malt iiij m.

d. Richt scat, scat levied at what was seen as the normal rate as opposed to wrang scat; also doubill scat, when the tax was increased because of an improvement in the value of land. 1492 Rental in H. Marwick Orkney Farm-Names (1952) 197.
Richt scat
1502 Orkney Rentals i 8.
& na forcop quia double malt scat
1503 Ib. 26.
Kirkbustar ix d. terre ant in butter scat iij span viz. richt scat
Ib. 36.
In butter scat xv span quia the tane of thir uris terre payis wrang scat viz. x d. j½ d. on ilk pennie terre
Ib. 40.
Inde stent vj leisp. quhair it payis doubill buttir scat

5. attrib. and comb. In sense 4 above: Paid by way of scat.Scat butter, see also Lows adj. 7 b for further instances.Scat silver, money payments of scat, as Forcop n.attrib. (1) 1632 Reg. Great S. 644/1.
Pro Worsatter in lie scatt-bear
(2) 1592 (1610) Reg. Great S. 90/2.
For the skatt buttir of the wthall land of Clestrane
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX 54.
Ane merk scat butter
1613 Orkney Rentals App. 97.
Summa exonerationis of scatt and louse butter is 34 leispd.
(3) 1632 Reg. Great S. 644/1.
1 meill 3 settingis scatt-flesche
(4) 1539 (1542–3) Reg. Great S. 675/2.
27 bollas skat malt
1583 (1610) Ib. 150/2.
48 sol. lie skait-silver et 13 bollis 2 firlotis lie skait-malt
1613 Orkney Rentals App. 95.
Twa settinges malt for the scat malt of ane half pennie land … in Aichstoun
c1642 Ib. v 5 (see 4 c above). 1660–75 Ch. in Orkney 187. 1697 Old-lore Misc. IX 46.
A firlot scat malt
(5) 1502 Orkney Rentals i 6.
All that the bischop takis is … ilk yeir ane scat mairt for the pryce
1503 Ib. 63.
vij scat mairtis
(6) 1595 Orkney Rentals ii 42.
Scat oiel
Ib. 103 (see (8) below). 1627 Ib. iii 55.
The peopill wer not abil to beir it, payand scat silver, scat wylle and garsum, as said is
1662 Retours I Inq. Spec. Orkney et Shetland (96).(7) 1502 Orkney Rentals i 89.
Et in scat order [erron. for ordei (L. (h)ordeum = barley)] of the vj d. terre
Ib. 91.
In butter ix span. Et in scat ordei ant xxxj m. ½
(8) 1539 (1542–3) Reg. Great S. 675/2.
Skat silvir extenden. annuatim ad 4 libras 16 sol.
1577 Reg. Privy S. VII 144/2. 1583 (1610) Reg. Great S. 150/2 (see (4) above). 1587 Ib. 468/1.
Lie scattis-silver et land-maillis
1595 Orkney Rentals ii 103.
Reservand to my lord the flesche debt, scat silver, scat olie [etc.]
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX 53b.
Thrie pund fyve penneis of scat siluer
1613 Orkney Rentals App. 93.
Togither with 9 s. monie for the scatt siluer of the 18 d. land of the Skanabie
1614 Ib. ii 131.
Ness ob. terre, pro rege, quoyland, butt. scatt, payis in land-maill … 6 d. scatt silver, outcast teind and ane hak dog yeirlie
1627 Ib. iii 94.
Ane part [of the rowms] belongs to his majestie … and payis … in victuall, butter, flesche, schatt silver … according to the rentell
c1642 Ib. v 5 (see 4 c above). 1662 Retours I Inq. Spec. Orkney et Shetland (92).
E. 19 d. scat silver &c.
(9) c1627 Orkney Rentals iii 71.
To the king, in vittaill called skat vittaill
1697 Old-lore Misc. VIII 207.
2 firlots scat victtual
comb. 1613 Orkney Rentals App. 94.
And now sett to John Burvick for the skatt dewtye
c1627 Ib. iii 74.
The skat dutie is alwayes reckoned in the stocke secluding the teynde
1639 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXI 131.
The scatt dewtie contenit in the rentall ȝeirlie at the termes of payment wsitt
c1644 Orkney Rentals iii 17.
He … payis a skatdutie conteyned in the rentall

b. Pertaining to ‘scatland’ Scat(t)land n. 1519 Rec. Earld. Orkney 93.
The skatt dyk of Toep that passis fra the overmylne dame of Sabay
1583–4 Ib. 159.

6. As a place-name element. 1545–6 Rec. Earld. Orkney 229.
Scatnes in the parichin of Sanct Gregorii
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 71.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Scat n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: