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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Menȝe, n. Also: menȝhe, meny(h)e, menȝie, -yie, menȝee, meniȝe, -eȝe, mengȝ(i)e, -ye, mengne, meinȝ(i)e, -ye, meynȝe, -ye, meingȝie, meigne, minȝie, mainȝie, meangȝie, and Many. [ME. (? chiefly or only north.) menȝe(e (Cursor M.), -yhe, meneya(y, (midl. and south.) maine (c 1290), mayne, meyne(e, -y, menie (1297), meigne, meygne, e.m.E. meany(e, meyny, etc., OF. meyné, mesnie.]

1. Those dependent upon a person and residing in his house, collectively; a family, household, domestic establishment.Also hous menȝie (see Hous n.1 4). a1400 Leg. S. iii. 230.
The juge … howyn was And al his menȝe mar and les
Ib. xxvii. 226.
Of the menȝe in come ane Vnwitand the barne was thare
Ib. xxxi. 370. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 29 (B).
His hows and his meigne sal be in oure lorde the kyngys pese
c1420 Wynt. i. 380.
To sawffe hym and hys swnnys thre, Thair wywys foure but ma menyhe
Ib. ii. 170. Ib. vi. 1194. 14.. Quon. Att. c. 54.
Na nane of his propir menȝe na nane of his tennandis
1455 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 129.
The destructions of the castell of Spynie and Duffhouse, wranguise spoliation of the lords gudes of the samen and of the menȝies and freinds
a1487 Gud Wyf & D. 141. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2759 (Bann.). (a1570-86 Dunb.) Maitl. F. cxxxvi. 33.
And be I ornat in my speiche … I mwte not lyk to thair meynȝe
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1305. a1651 Calderwood II. 230.
Her Frenche meinȝie whom she had left in the palace of Halyrud hous
1599 Colville Lett. 207.
My wyf and distressit menȝe be forced to leve the countrey
1696 Proclam. 9 June.
More [victual] than will sustain them and their mainȝie

b. A tribe, race, nation. 1456 Hay I. 41/8.
Thai [sc. Romulus and Remus] began to mak the citee of Rome to keip thame and thair menȝe fra thair inymyes
1513 Doug. i. ix. 39.
All the laif of the Troian menȝe [L. gentis Dardaniæ]
Ib. ii. ii. 37. Ib. xii. xi. 85. Ib. xiii. ix. 94.
As the first nobill … ensenȝe Baith of the Troian ancistre and menȝe

2. A company or party (chiefly, of persons).Also construed as a plur.

a. A party of attendants, retainers, followers, etc.; a retinue or suite. 1375 Barb. iv. 389 (C).
Oftsis … He went to hunt with his menȝhe
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1024. Ib. xxix. 372. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 574.
The kyng Pryame of the cite Ysshed with a full gret menȝhe
Ib. i. 67. c1420 Wynt. ii. 546.
Quhen Jacob … In Egypt past wytht his menyhe
Ib. v. 3170.
He In Brettayne come wyth gret menyhe
Ib. ii. 1590. Ib. iii. 753. Ib. v. 5216. 1425 Acts II. 10/1.
Sua that thare hors ande thare menȝe be … lugit in the common hostelaris
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 893. 1513 Doug. i. viii. 6.
The queyn Dido … with a fair menȝe Of lusty ȝyngkeris walkyng hir about
Ib. iv. iv. 14.
And scho … With huge menȝe walking hir abowt
Ib. iii. i. 24.

b. A body of troops; a host, army, company, party, etc.Of all menȝe, of the whole company, in all.(1) 1375 Barb. x. 211 (E).
And this Bonnok fast gan him payne To dres his menye in his wayne
Ib. xvi. 375 (C).
Of archeris a gret menȝhe
?1438 Alex. i. 2226.
Alexander and his barnie, Him-self serryand his menȝe
Ib. 2927.
The king that hes him in menȝe Aucht wele to hald him in dainte
Ib. 3061.
The lord that hes him of menȝe [etc.]
Ib. ii. 1319. c1420 Wynt. vi. 406.
The Sarracenys wyth thaire menyhe
Ib. ii. 1665. Ib. iv. 1547. 1456 Hay I. 59/24.
He … vencust all thair menȝe
Ib. 154/23.
And thare he suld depart thai moble gudis to his menȝe
Ib. 49/29. Ib. 50/7. Ib. 115/8. Ib. II. 10/30. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3083.
[He] gart his fut menȝe About the toun cast stanis in the see
c1475 Wall. vii. 1070. Ib. viii. 455. a1568 Gyre-carling 7.
He gadderit ane menȝie of modwartis to warp doun the tour
1513 Doug. v. x. 28.
Thai war in nowmyr cumpaneys thre, On horssis rydand; and for ilk menȝe [R. meneȝe] A capitane walkis rewland al hys rowt
Ib. ix. i. 22. Ib. xi. iv. 74. Ib. x. 76.
Capitanys come … With all thar ordinance and hail menȝe
plur. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2404.
Bot nocht for thy … Off his menȝeis was nocht bot tak and sla
(b) 1375 Barb. iii. 39.
We sall tyne off our small mengȝe
Ib. 48. Ib. 105. Ib. 170. Ib. vii. 510 (E).
He assemblyt a gret mengne Off folk off full gud renomme
Ib. x. 510. Ib. xi. 428. Ib. xiv. 538.(c) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 813 (D).
One hym he rusched wyth all hys meynȝe
15.. Clar. v. 1242.
Quhen they … understud that he was onlie victour of so grit meinȝe
(d) a1500 Sir Eger 452.
That ye were in a far countrie, And vexed with a fell minȝie
(2) 1375 Barb. xi. 170 (E).
Quhen his mengne wer Diwysit in till bataillis ser
?1438 Alex. i. 21. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3582.
Thow me bad to tak of thai menȝe Als mony as me list
(3) 1375 Barb. ii. 475.
His cumpany That war sa few that thai mycht be Fyve hundyr ner off all mengȝe
?1438 Alex. ii. 1603.
Thay ischit out of the toun Wele x thousand of all menȝe

c. Any other body of people etc.; a multitude, gathering, assembly, party, company, crew, set, etc.(1) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 112.
Bot thane in the tempil … A gret menȝe com swdanly
Ib. xxii. 244.
Thare fande he Of Cristine folkis a gret menȝe
Ib. xlix. 104.
That he mycht al the menȝe feyd
?1438 Alex. ii. 6847.
Ay tua and tua … Held parliament that sueit menȝe
Ib. 3598. c1420 Wynt. v. 2399.
Off pure folk a gret menȝe
14.. Acts I. 25/2.
Gif … contak ryse betuix the partyis of suilk meynȝe within the havyn
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 33.
Bot haist or preis of grit menȝie [M. meinȝe]
1513 Doug. ii. i. 42.
Bot Capis than, with ane othir menȝe, … Bad cast … into the sey … That suspek presand
Ib. v. iii. 32.
A gret nowmyr of ȝong Troiane menȝe
Ib. iii. ii. 4. 1528 Lynd. Dreme 357. a1568 Jok & Jynny 63.
Fyive hundreth fleis now in a flok, Callȝe nocht that a joly menȝe?
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. ii.
Schortlie of the toun the haill menȝie [Q. meinȝie] Maist humblie to ȝow now dois plenȝie
1568 Lyndesay Pref. (S.T.S.) 404.
Reid heir ȝe lordis of the meyner menȝe The end of hicht
Ib. 397. 1591-2 Rob Stene ii.
The grewhound … The sarest bytar of that menȝie
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Manvs.
Meinȝie, quhilk signifies ane multitude, and speciallie of folke and people
c1615 Chron. Kings 167.
Subscrywit be ane grit meangȝie of the nobillity counsalouris and the mair of Lundone
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxviii. 162.
Al thai menȝe ware in bande

d. (A) few menȝe, sa few (a) menȝe, a small party, few companions. 1375 Barb. v. 15 (E).
The nobill king With his flote and a few mengye
Ib. viii. 117.
The Dowglas … Wencussyt sa fele with fewe menye
Ib. ix. 59. 1456 Hay I. 105/32.
Suppos a king … wald with a few menȝe passe that voyage
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 743.
Sen he with sa few a menȝe com him till
Ib. 746.
With sa few menȝe
a1500 Lanc. 749.
Agane so few menye
1513 Doug. x. iv. 61.
With thy few menȝe
1535 Stewart 2098. Ib. 7239.

3. In more or less disparaging use: A ‘crew’, ‘gang’, ‘rabble’, etc.; also, a more or less disorderly body of companions.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 724.
Thare-fore resone wald nocht [that] we Suld sacrify to sic menȝe
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1418.
For till wyn that wyld menyhe Till the trowth
c1475 Wall. vii. 357. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 79.
Off Sathanis senȝie syne sic ane vnsall menȝie
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1968.
Thairfoir the mekle dum divill drovn all that menȝie
a1568 Scott i. 79. 1558-66 Knox II. 271. Ib. 393.
Wold to God that menȝie … had tacken good nyght at this realme for ever
1568 Lyndesay Pref. (S.T.S.) 400.
Poggius and vtheris of the antichristiane menȝe
? 1570 Sat. P. xx. 73. a1578 Pitsc. I. 48/32. Ib. II. 90/26.
To thoill themselffis to be murderist witht ane menȝie of wniversall theiffis
c1590 J. Stewart II. 36/224.
1602 Colville Paraenese 27.
1616 Crim. Trials III. 586.
Gif this vnhallowit menȝie had nocht … bene cassin out
1637 Spalding I. 78.
The Marquess of Hammiltoun … , togidder with ane meingȝie of miscontentit puritanes
1660 Cramond Urquhart Ch. 19.
Calling them [the Clan Kenzie] that filthie and beastlie menȝie
plur. 1456 Hay I. 7/25.
Thai evill menȝe the quhilkis was callit Jebusienis
(2) 1601 Elgin Rec. II. 92.
Alexander Russall, … delatis Thomas Gadderar passing to Cheppell Vell with a menȝie with him
1603 Moysie 89.
The said Erle of Huntley with his bloudie menȝie maist tressonablie reased fyre
1669 Murray Early B. Organ. II. 517.
A fierce young man who ordinarily had a minȝie attending him

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"Menȝe n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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