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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Mother, Muther, n.1 Also: mothere, -ir, -yre, mouther; muthir; matheyr; and Mither. [e.m.E. mother (1476), replacing earlier moder Moder n.1]

1. A mother, in uses of Moder n.1Also Quene-mother.Muskettis mother, cannon: see Muscat n. b.(1) c1460 Thewis Wysmen 443.
Fathir and mothir thai vill disples
1513 Doug. x. vii. 78. c1520-c1535 Nisbet III. 352.
How children suld behaue … towarttes thair fatherres ande motherres
1543 Inverness Sheriff Ct. 15. 1549 Compl. 151/22. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4573.
Sen my mother me bair
Ib. 10511.
My mother and ȝe ar abill to leif sa lang
Ib. 10254. 1562–3 Rec. Earld. Orkney 114.
Of all landis pertenyng to thar fathyre and mothyre
1562-3 Winȝet II. 37/20. c1568 Lauder Minor P. ii. 74.
And now the dochter and the sone Lychtlyis the mother that thame bure
1570 Conv. Burghs I. 19.
Wrytingis frome oure Kings mothir
1573 Reg. Privy S. VI. 417. 1606 Dunblane Test. III. 103 b.
Be deceis of hir mother
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 742. Ib. No. 1868.(b) 1534 Bamff Chart. 66.
The said William … said his muther ratified … the samyn
a1568 Bann. MS. 271 a/179.
Lett thy muther be mirrour vnto th
(2) 1632 Lithgow Trav. ix. 380.
Young chickens, which are not hatched by their mothers, but in the fornace
(3) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 282 b.
Lovit be … the blissit mother Virgine Marie
a1500 Rauf C. (1572) 495.
Be Christ … and His mother deir
Ib. 510. a1538 Abell 8* a.
Muthir of God the Virgyn Mary ascendit to the hevyn
Arundel MS. 274/1.
O mothir of God, inuolat Virgin Mary
Ib. 286/232.
The mothir of Crist
1562-3 Winȝet I. 73/11. 1567 G. Ball. 139.
Nixt Him to lufe His mother fair
1622-6 Bisset II. 312/5.
Oure Lordis mother
(4) 1609 Inverness Rec. II. 70.
Quha deit … throwcht the grait straickis he susteinit in his mother vomb
1679 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.).
£400 Scots as their mother thrid
(5) c1420 Ratis R. 942.
Hald ay gud mother dochter best
c1460 Consail Vys Man 253. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 886.(6) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 977.
Dare King of Pers my mother brother is
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 105. 1554 Corr. M. Lorraine 384.
Ane slauchter … wpoun George Drummond quhay wes my mother brother
1577 Edinb. Test. V. 274.
Maister Johne Guthrie mother bruther to the said Elizabeth
a1578 Pitsc. II. 175/19.
Thair captane Monsr. de Gwise our Quens mother brother
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 382. 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Avunculus.
Avunculus properly is the motherbrother
Id. Reg. Maj. i. 32 b. 1611 Reg. Panmure I. xxviii. 1620 Grant Chart. 320.
To dispone the same to thair … father brether or mother brether
1622-6 Bisset I. 4/15. 1566 Digest Justiciary Proc. F. 9.
His mother sister
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Matertera.
The bairnes descendand of the mother sister hes na richt of succession
1644 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. VIII. 109.
Margaret Young … quhais mother, mother sister and sister wer all brunt for witchcraft
(7) ?1438 Alex. (c 1580) ii. 185.
Effesoun … That … Of thair mother syde thame falles
1616 Crim. Trials III. 404.
The said bairne … was in the custodie of his guidschir on the mother syde
1650 Misc. Spald. C. V. 334. 1692 Acts Sederunt i. 197.
Untill the friends upon father-side and mother-side be advertised
(8) c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 479.
How the banis of barnis ar chapin in thar mothiris wambe
1551 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 19.
All the gwiddis about hyr motheris hous
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2349.
My motheris mayd scho come and fetchit me
Ib. 3542.
Fy motheris malesoun
1576 Bann. Memor. 338.
Gude kynd on the motheris syde
a1578 Pitsc. II. 72/3.
Sum ar geldit from thair motheris wombe
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 357.
Better do mothers raid nor stepmothers raid
(9) Arundel MS. 282/103.
Mary … quen and mothir of all creatour
1562 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 7.
All princes, magistratis and reularis … suld be faderis and motheris to the common veltht
1706 Jervise Epitaphs & Inscriptions I. 63/2.
But still a mouther to the poor
(10) a1568 Weddirburne Bann. MS. 279 a/33.
Noble holy wemen … Matheyris virgenis and mony holy quene
(11) 1562-3 Winȝet II. 7/31.
Aganis our mother the haly catholik Kirk
Ib. 80/8.
Lauchful sonnes of the mother the Kirk
1558-66 Knox I. 108.
Thare haly mother the Kirk (so terme thei that harlott of Babilon, Rome)
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 149.
And ȝe my Kirk my faithfull mother deir
(12) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus Prol. 235.
Idilnes is mother radycall Of all vicis
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 431. a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlix. 1. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1468.
The mother of mischeif is na mair nor a midgewing

2. The matrix of a mineral.Cf. Eng. mother spar (1681), mother stone (19th c.), id. 1646-54 J. Hope Diary (1958) 178.
By the candle light they [stone and metal] wer neere a color bot by the daylight the stonne somewhat whytter, nather was ther any color of mother

3. In combinations.a. Appositive: That is the mother, the first and chief; that is a source or fountainhead, that provides headwater. b. Attributive: Deriving or inherited from one's mother. 1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 324.
At that pairt of the said Blackburne quhair thair is ane great mother swayll on the south syde of the said Blackburne
1645 Rutherford Tryal Faith 85.
Christ hath covenant-right to the promises by this mother-right, that God is his God by covenant
c 1700 Haigs of Bemersyde 309.
The place of Bemersyde … is your mother-house and head of your estat and famaly

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"Mother n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2022 <>



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