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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.

Ledder, n.1 Also: leddir(e, -yr; leddre; leddar; leder, -ir, -yr, -ar; lyd(d)er; letter, lether, -ir, leather; laidder, laithir. [Early ME. leddre, OE. hlǽd(d)er. The usual Sc. form: cf. Lad(d)er n.] A ladder.Also, the ladder of a gallows, and attrib. in ledder-fute.(a) 1375 Barb. ix. 384 (E).
[He] his leddyr in hand gan ta
1425 Acts II. 12/2.
vj vij or viij ledderis efter the quantite of the burgh of xxtj fute the leddir
1523 Treas. Acc. V. 220.
For sawing of ane tre to be an leddir, and for rungging … of the samyn
a1540 Freiris Berw. 306.
Thai … doun the leddyr delyuerly ar gone
1682 Glasg. Merch. House 37.
To caus mak some short leddirs
(b) 1375 Barb. x. 360 (E).
Off hempyn rapis leddris ma, With irne steppis bundyn
Ib. 546.
A schort leddre … I trow off tuelf fute it may be
Ib. 744.
A leddre wp to the wall standand
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5960.
His men all Wyth leddris clame wp oure the wall
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 936.
Thai … set thare ledderis til the wal
1500 Acta Conc. II. 455.
For the wrangus … climing uppone ledderis and breking of the house of the sade place
1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 455.
For the makin of viij ledderis to the greit schip
1552–3 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 10.
For peonar fie of ane grete standart ledder … and lifting about to the woundokkis mending
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3437.
[He] persauit ane lytill ledder stand
1574 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 25.
Ane trie of xxxvj fute tobe ane ledder to the kirk
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 283.
Quhen … the hangman wes cumand to the jibbat with the ledder
1584 Glasg. B. Rec. I. 130.
Ane lang theiking ledder
1587 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 284.
Thre dowbill rwif sparris to be chekis to the ledderis
1600 Acts IV. 204/1.
They raschit at the dure with the ledder And the stoippis of the ledder brak
1609 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 69.
In preassing twyce … to cast the said James … off the ledder thairby hazarding the pure manis lyff
c1650 Spalding II. 216.
It fell … vpone the kirkis gryt ledder, brak it in thrie peices
1681 Meikle Old Session Bk. 186.
The lydders
1695 Banff Ann. I. 98.
For ane fir tree to help the gallowes ledder
attrib. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1086.
At the ledder fute his leif he tais
(d) 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 41.
Twa lang leddars, ane of the College and ane uther of the Abbay
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 276, 297. 1600-1610 Melvill 36.
About foure … he was put af the leddar
(e) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 939.
Hardy wes nane … A ledyr [to] set to the hicht
1554 Peebles B. Rec. 411.
For the [carrying] of the Croce Keirk lyder to the breig
a1578 Pitsc. II. 170/17.
The ledaris war schort
(f)1621 Perth Kirk S. MS. 24 Sept.
They cum wp wpone an letter within ane wther hous nixt the stabill all wnder ane ruiff to louk with ane candill ouer the parpan
(g) 1596 Dalr. II. 438/10.
The Inglismen preiueng the walis with letheris gat a repulse
1596 Misc. Maitl. C. IV. 44.
He went up upon a little leather into the same [ship]
1600-1610 Melvill 35.
Within few dayes the Captean is sean to rander, and com down the leathers ower the wall
1655 Glasg. B. Rec. II. 321.
The Hie Kirk, quhairin is fyve long lethirs and one schort
1670 Lamont Diary 218.
He was abowt to throw hir ovir the leather
She … put in hir head betwixt two of the steps of the leather
1675 Stirling Comm. Good 94.
To the men that helped vp the gallowes … Item for taking vp and doune the lether
1699 Banff Ann. I. 98.
For mending of the gibet and making of a new leather
(h) 1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 148.
For beiring the standart laidder … with ane schort laidder furth of the collaige to the new kirk
1655 Glasg. B. Rec. II. 321.
Thais persones fallowing to keep the keyes for the townes laithirs lyes

b. Allusively, as of the ladder of the gallows. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 240.
Clym ledder, fyle tedder, foule edder, I defy thé
1643 Bk. Pasquils 144.
Thou'lt mount its treu but upe the ledder

c. fig. or in fig. contexts. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2607.
It settis na seruand for to … clym so hie, quhill he fall of the ledder
1490 Irland Mir. 295 b.
I find in the cristianite ane assens passage and leddire of thre noble greis and stagis
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 552.
He clam … moste heych in this regioun: The ledder schuke, he lape, and gat one fall
1540 Id. Sat. 3522.
Cruikit men and blinde Sall neuer get vp vpon sa hich ane ledder
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 38.
Sho maid vertew hir ledder
c1590 Fowler II. 140/2.
That … he [a prince] might pretend to a mair higher estate be the leddars whairwith his enmeyes hes furneshed him
a1605 Montg. Devot. P. iii. 26.
To lyf that leddir sall thé leid Quhilk stude at godly Jacobs heid
1609 Garden Garden 53.
He … plainlie made them ledders vnto life

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"Ledder n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Feb 2024 <>



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