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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ketharan, -ine, ketterine, n. [Med. L. ketheranus, a. EIr. cethern a troop or company of foot-soldiers, a mercenary soldier, kern, also cethernach (Kuno Meyer), mod. Sc. and Ir. Gael. ceatharn and ceatharnach. Cf. also Katherane and Catherane.It is only by assuming the intermediation of med. L. that the preservation of the th in Sc. can readily be explained, since in Gael. this had prob. ceased to be pronounced as a dental spirant at a much earlier date (perh. by the 12th or 13th cent.). (A more recent pronunciation of Ir. cethern, ceatharn is represented by ME. and mod. Eng. kern (1351– ), an Irish footsoldier.)]

A band of Highland marauders or one of such a band; a Highland reiver, a cateran. 1385 Acts I. 188/1.
[De defectu iusticie in partibus superioribus & borealibus … multi malefactores & ketherani vagantur … in illis qui tam clerum quam populum … deuastant
1415 Exch. R. IV. 239.]
Pro expensis suis factis cum exercitu … apud Rosse, pro pacificacione regni contra ketheranos
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 145 (M).
Ersche ketterine
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 49 b.
Of ketharines or sorneris
They quha travellis as ketharans, … consumand the gudes of the inhabitants, takand their gudes be force and violence

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"Ketharan n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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