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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Gate, Gait, n.1 Also: gat, gaite, gaitt, gayt. [ME. gat(t, gatte, gate (c 1200), ON. gata. See also Get n.2The earliest evidence for Scottish currency is to be found in the names of streets in various towns, as Horsmangate, Segate, Briggate, which occur freely in documents and records dating from c 1220 onwards.]

1. A way or road. (See also He gate.)(a) a1400 Leg. S. v. 617.
As he rad a-pon a day, He met a pilgrime in the gat
Ib. xix. 121.
The feynd … Lewit the gat and passit by
c1420 Wynt. iii. 291.
Sampsone … gat a chek bone off ane as, That in the gat thare lyand wes
1437 Reg. Dunfermline 285.
The gate liand be north the herber hill [to] be commoun to baith the partis
c1475 Wall. i. 259.
Scho … Forbure the gate for wachis that war thar
1519 Reg. Panmure II. 292.
[He] grantis … ane oppin gate and lone to his tenentis … throu his landis
1533 Boece ix. iii. 291 b.
In stretis and parting of gatis, quhare pepill resortit, … the lawis of the ewangell war preichit
1551 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 20.
The gate ascending fra Aquharies furd … that passit … to the Chapel of Dumbrech
1649 Cupar Presb. 149.
She wsed ordinarly to hurche downe in the gate lyk a hare
1660 Melrose R. Rec. I. 333.
To make ditches on both sydes of the rodd … schowing the breadth of the gate
1697 Foulis Acc. Bk. 212.
To a wife at Colingtoune for putting the stanes out of the gate
(b) c1475 Wall. v. 168.
At syndry furdis the gait thai vmbeset
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 219 b.
Thai sperit at the hirdis … that kennit the way and gaitis, quhare thai twa gaitis passit to
1497 Liber Aberbr. 311.
The lard of Innes landis exstendand fra the Kyngis gait to the stank of the Blak Frerys of Elgyn
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 241/1.
That nane of thame tak apon hand to … mak commone gaitis throw the sammyn [forests]
1531 Bell. Boece II. 34.
The kingis … commandit ilk man to win als mony scherettis on the ground as he micht beir, to mak ane gait throw the mos
1576 Reg. Great S. 753/2.
Passand north to ane commoun gait … and a litill benorth the said gait onto ane merche stane
1603 Lanark B. Rec. 113.
The gait that passis … direct southe to the bait stoup of the said watter
1669 Burnett Fam. P. MS.
To be halden all and haill the saids townes and landis … in housis, … mosis, gaits, roddis, wateris, stankis, riveres [etc.]
(c) 1515 Edgerston Writs MS. (Reg. H.).
The said half landis … to be iosit & bruikit … in boscis, planis, … gaittis, wayis, [etc.]
1578 Glenartney Doc.
That na persone … tak vpoun hand to … vse ony commowne gaittes or passages within our said forrest
1600 Banff Ann. I. 37.
Making of roidis, gaittis, and passageis throw the landis
1665 Peebles B. Rec. II. 65.
Reservatioun of passage to and fra the same [common] upon the wonted iroddes and gaittes
(d) 1489 Treas. Acc. I. 116.
To the men that kest the gayt at the Barwod to the gunnis
1527 Liber Aberbr. 479.
That he be nocht inquyet be hys nychbourys makand common gayt throw hys toft

b. In the phrases be, by, in, or on the gate. a1500 Seven S. 2148.
Ȝit by the gait thai met a man With gold
a1500 Bk. Chess 1903.
To salus so two beggaris on the gait
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 263/17.
This king John gart brek all the briggis be the gait
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 373.
To the laddis of the kechen be the gait rynnand
1511 Ib. IV. 314.
To ane brid of Leith that met the King in the gait
1513 Doug. xi. vi. 39.
We have … eschapyt all dangeris by the gait
1523 Treas. Acc. V. 214.
Quhilkis letteris war takin be the gait
1540 Lynd. Sat. 658.
Stand by the gait, that I may steir
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 107.
Thingis that I will nocht writ for daunger of tayking be the gait
fig. 1535 Stewart 55927.
Till ernist turnit all hir mowis, That scho forthocht that scho ȝeid by the gait
1596 Dalr. I. 192/2.
Vndirstandeng that … the tyran Romach was put by the gate [L. sublatum esse]

c. In figurative contexts. 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 164 b.
We haue mony strait and peralus gaitis to pas and we cum to the realme of paradice
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 131.
Ȝe ar the gaynest gait and gyde to God

2. A street in a town.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 5705.
Wate off Curry … conwoyit thame wpwart the gate, And went befor thame to the ȝate
1433 Liber Coll. Glasg. 166.
A rud of land lyand in the gat at strekis fra the Merkat Cors tyll the He Kyrk of Glasgu
1456 Peebles B. Rec. 116.
Thom Dekyson drauys his land liand in the North Gat
1596 Highland P. I. 179.
In Edinburg in cumming up the gate to Syme Nisbet his booth
(b) 1494 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 422.
That ane persone sall halde the haill common gaitis … clene
a1500 Seven S. 1101.
I had lever sla my sell Than now be fundyn on the gait
1513 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 143.
That all wemen, and specialie vagaboundis, … be nocht sene vpoun the gait clamorand and cryand
1536 Liber Coll. Glasg. 98.
Ane tenement liand in the gait that cumis fra the Croce to the Blak Freeris
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 323.
The fisches wes blawin athort the gait, and sklaittis in … abundance
1596 Dalr. I. 34/4.
Is [it] nocht honest, that euerie craft … occupie his awne gait asyd?
1607 Kinghorn Kirk S. 9.
Bessie Kirkcaldie … confessit that scho bad the pyper play in hir awin hows bot not upon the gait
1678 Douglas Bequest II. 15 March.
That litle merchand schop … upon the west syd of the gait or close
(c) 1514 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 151.
Swa that the dichteris of the gaitt cum … and ask thair four penneis
1527 Ib. 232.
The gaitt … to be dicht and clengeit
1558-66 Knox II. 320.
The word cam to the Erle Bothwell … that the Hammyltonis war upoun the gaitt
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxii. 8 (R).
May nane pas throw ȝour principall gaittis For stink of haddockis and of scaittis
(d) 1473 Lindores Abbey 168.
Rasygnation of iiij. rudes of land … lyand on the north part of the gayt of the Newburtht
1535 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 85 b.
Ane lytill bakhowse … in the Ciete of Glasqw … on the eyst syd of the gaeyt of the samyn

b. To gang to gait, to go on the street. 1603 Philotus xxvii.
Ye sall weir … Your myssell quhen ye gang to gait

3. A particular way, course, or direction.(a) 1375 Barb. vi. 577.
Ilk man a syndri gat is gane
Ib. vii. 39.
The sleuthbund … na certane gat couth ga
c 1440 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 247.
The quhilk rod strekis … the nerrast gate … to the kyrk of Ellon
1513 Doug. xiii. ii. 47.
Quham thru sa mony laubouris … I careit haue, catchit full mouy gatis
15.. Clar. iv. 2574.
At schorte thay maid them readie for the gate
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1347.
Cum thow this gate againe, Thy buttoks salbe beltit
c 1640 Prov. (S.T.S.) 10.
A man may speir the gate to Rome
1676 W. Row in Blair Autob. 458.
They called [= drove] them all one gate as cattle of one gang
(b) 1496 Treas. Acc. I. 300.
To xx gentil men that raid with the artailȝery, … all the gait
a1500 Seven S. 2436.
Scho … wp the nerrest gait can wyn And cled hir in hir awn clething
1531 Bell. Boece I. 44.
The Pichtis … come, be mony wilsome and difficil gaitis, to Orkney
1535 Stewart 10719.
Thai knew rycht weill … To waill the gait about the mirk midnycht
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 524.
Sen he is gane ane vther gait, I am content
a1568 Bann. MS. 155 b/1.
I ȝeid the gait wes nevir gane
a1568 Scott ii. 198.
They … pairtit at the Potter raw, And sindry gaitis ar gane To rest them
1600 Haddington Corr. 208.
They dissoluit and fled sundrie gaittis

b. In figurative uses or contexts. (Cf. 1 c.) a1500 Bernardus 174.
Off mesure ay he byddis thé halde the gate
1513 Doug. ix. Prol. 8.
Vertu doutles [is] the perfyte gait to blys
1535 Stewart 14092.
He changit sone in till ane vther man, And left the gait quhairin he first began
1567 G. Ball. 86.
Following thair awin hartis consait, Euerie man drawis a sindrie gait
1581 Sat. P. xliii. 61.
To warldly glore sho gydes them all the gait
1596 Dalr. II. 373/11.
That the Frenche men had in thair mynd to turne Scotland in a smal cuntrie, quhat gait that euir it ga
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 131.
It's onely best, ye set your self apart as a thing laid up and out of the gate for Christ alone

c. In the phr. to gang all a (= one) gate. 1456 Hay I. 224/7.
That the maister, his servandis, and his gudis suld gang all a gate, and jois all a privilege
1547 Misc. Spald. C. V. 308.
I ordain that thir persons and executoris foresaid gang all a gait

d. A length of way; a distance. 1513 Doug. xii. ix. 56.
Quhar the fomy ryveris, red on spait, Hurlys doun from the month a large gait
1531 Bell. Boece I. p. xlvi.
Schort gait fra thir ilis is Iona
1535 Stewart 28936.
Inchchennane, schort gait bewest Glasgw
1576 Reg. Privy C. II. 481.
The said James Schaw chaissit and followit him ane myle of gait
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 321.
Thair I espy The fruit betuix me and the sky Half gait almaist to hevin

4. With possessive pronouns or of: The way one goes or takes (on one or more occasions). 1375 Barb. vi. 8.
He agane to Lowdiane To Schir Amer his gate has tane
Ib. xiv. 551.
Thai fled halely thair gat
a1400 Leg. S. xxxi. 529.
Hyr seruandis … gert hyme fle away his gat
c1420 Wynt. iii. 274.
Sampsone … askyd quhethir thare gat lay
Ib. v. 4149.
The devyll … gert thame trowe … all thaire gate to mak thame dry
c1475 Wall. iii. 384.
Quhat Inglisman that baid in till his gait, Contrar Scotland maid neuir mair debait
1490 Irland Mir. I. 79/25.
The schynand and fyry suerd that stoppis our gait to Paradice
1535 Stewart 14684.
Thair wes nothing into thair gait tha fand Wes saiff that tyme
15.. Clar. iv. 2535.
With that thair gaitis they did depairt
1550 Crim. Trials I. 357.
To vnderly the law for umbesetting of the gait of Alexander Cummyng
1560 Stirling B. Rec. I. 72.
[The council] ordinis Sir William Myrton to foirbeir George Gardineris gait
1573 Sat. P. xlii. 982.
We … raid a lytill eist the bra, Quhair that our gaittis partit in twa
c 1640 Prov. (S.T.S.) 62.
It that lyes not in your gate, breaks not your shinnes
fig. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1132.
For Godis priue deme ma nocht, Na all his gattis ȝet be socht
1461 Liber Plusc. 386.
To graith thaire gait on to thaire langest hame

b. Freq. in ga, gang, or hald (one's) gate. 1375 Barb. vi. 549.
With that thair gat all ar thai gane
Ib. xiii. 646.
He … with sevintene in a bat Wes fayne for to hald hame his gat
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 116.
He thocht … he suld … byd thaim … That thai suld ga thar gat but mare
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4960.
Wyth a few folk … He held all prewaly his gate
?1438 Alex. ii. 3536.
With that thay turned and ȝeid thare gate
c1475 Wall. i. 250.
Thai left him swa, and furth thar gait can gang
1513 Doug. xi. xvii. 7.
The chiftanys brak array and went thair gait
a1500 Peblis to Play 151.
I reid ȝe lat him Gang hame his gaitis
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 436.
He turnit about bot scho was gone hir gait

c. Used without article. 1375 Barb. xiii. 202.
Quhar thai com, thai maid thaim gat
c1475 Wall. ii. 88.
Wallace on gaite ner by was walkand thar
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 40.
And thay hald gait, I trow frahand Sic murther salbe in all land

5. A way or means of doing or accomplishing something; manner or cause.See also na gate, sa or swa gate, this gate, thus gate and a-gatis. 1375 Barb. i. 150.
He thocht weile … That he suld slely fynd the gate, How that he [etc.]
Ib. 338.
Knawlage off mony statis May quhile awailȝe full mony gatis
1429 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 42.
Falȝeand thairof throw ony manar of way, were, pouirte, ore ony othir gate
1456 Hay II. 66/17.
He gais nocht the rycht gate to teche the order
1513 Doug. xii. iv. 100.
He thinkis thus and he ane other gait
Ib. xiii. ix. 8.
Dansys and rowndis traysyng mony gatis
1551 Hamilton Cat. 65.
That … blasphemaris cheapit neuir greit punitioun, othir a gate or uthir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3498.
A thousand sundrie gaitis thay haue To bring thair mater to
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcix. 10.
For to get land and geir thai seik all gatis
1573 Sat. P. xlii. 460.
Quhilk doutles were the reddy gait The Kirk of Christ for to debait
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 174.
A Lord, who can teach us all to be kind & hath the right gate of it
1660 Cramond Urquhart Ch. 19.
He would cast them over in the hands of the Divell, he had gotten the gate of it now

b. Going with, association. a1570-86 Maitl. F. xcv. 61.
Off sum grit men thai haue sic gait That reddie ar thame to debait

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"Gate n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2022 <>



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