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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
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Motio(u)n, Mocio(u)n, n. Also: motio(u)ne, motiown, mocio(u)ne, mosio(u)n. [ME. and e.m.E. mocio(u)n (Chaucer, Trevisa), mocyo(u)n (c 1430), moscyoun (Lydgate), e.m.E. motion, F. motion (13th c.), L. mōtio.]

1. Movement, the process of moving. a. Of heavenly bodies. b. Of animate bodies or their parts. c. Move ment from place to place, passage.a. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 695.
God gave … Till euery ster … motioun continuall
1588 King Cat. I, iij.
The place of the sone … according to the … calculation of his midde or qual motion
b. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. Prol. iii.
Nouther voice nor sicht, Breith, motion nor heiring natural
1533 Bell. Livy I. 57/6.
The ythand mocioun of thare bodyis
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 32.
That walking, motione and frictionis debilitatis the spiritis
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 24 b.
Tactus … is ane continuall mocioun or ane chop witht the hand of the preceptour
1597 Peter Lowe Chyrurgerie (1634) in Comrie Hist. Sc. Medic. I. 349.
Abstaine from … hoysting, crying or other violent motion
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 441.
Thinkis thou thy selfe very weill gif thou have thir vitall motions in thee?
c. 1667 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 30 Apr.
To goe to the coast and attend the motion of the enemie

d. Rapid movement, expedition. a1651 Calderwood VI. 655.
Mr Andrew riseth with motioun, prayeth and goeth with Mr Alexander

e. In immaterial sense: Change, alteration. 1513 Doug. xiii. iii. 39.
O quhou gret motioun … Quhou oftsys interchangit and variabill Beyn the actis and dedis of man

2. Commotion, agitated movement or condition. a. Of the sea. b. Mental, and c. Political, commotion or disturbance.a. 1513 Doug. i. iii. 70.
The motioune of fludis [to] appes
1531 Bell. Boece I. lii.
Throw ithand motioun of the see
b. 1513 Doug. xii. viii. 100.
And thus Eneas remanys all on flocht In syndry motioun of ire
1631 Annandale Corr. 285.
Tho he be agetattid and tossed with many dywers … motiowns
c. 1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 187.
Ther is na apperance of motion in this cuntre except aganys ws
1582 Reg. Privy C. III. 516.
To contene thamselffis peciable … unattempting ony further motioun or trouble

3. In immaterial sense: Action to some end.Also to mak motioun (= take steps) for (the intended purpose). 1560 Montgomery Mem. 157.
Gif it happinis the saidis Neile or his brether mak motioune or querele for the said slauchtir contrar … the saidis Robert
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 336.
Thair hes never bene ony impediment nor motioun maid for interupting … salmond fischeing
1646 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 70.
Wha insted of stryving to mak peace … sould have intended such a divisiue motion

4. The action of moving, prompting, urging, persuading (a person to do something), instigating.Be motioun of, at the instigation of.Also, divine or spiritual prompting.(1) 1531 Bell. Boece I. 35.
Ferlegus … be motioun of his familiaris … began to hate his eme
Ib. II. 95.
Your ennimes invadis yow be wrang persute be motioun of the treasonabil Ethelfred
(2) 1555 Jervise Memor. Angus & Mearns II. 231.
The spirit of sanctification beginning to work sum motiones in his heart
1581 Burne Disput. 8.
Becaus thay vil not follou the motion and instinctioun of the Halie Spreit
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 56.
The motion of the Lords Spirit is, in its nature, kindly … as … He moveth natively without making the spirit confused
(3) 1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 193.
Having … theernist motioun and solistatioun of the Quenis majestie of Ingland

b. An instance of this; a proposal or suggestion. 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 518.
And remind you of the latter mocion off two I made onto yow a little before I came from London
1561 Knox VI. 136. 1563 Cal. Sc. P. II. 72.
The answer sent to the mocion made by the Quenes majesty in the mater off the Erl off Lennox
1567 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots 558. 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 109.
Hir majestie … hes allowit thair motioun and nominatioun
1607 Highland P. III. 93.
I have mad a motion … of matchinge my sone … with ȝour daughter & that [etc.]
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 223.
And in counsell latt it be ane motioun of your awin heid
1628 Dumbarton B. Rec. 30.
Anent the desyre and motioun maid be William Corruith to the proveist and baillies for putting his wyff Janet Neill to libertie
1638 Nat. Covenant in Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xcvii.
If any such dangerous and divisive motion be made to us by word or writt, wee … shall … supresse it
1673 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 143.
To commune with them anent the matter [of bringing water to the city] and think upon the most … convenient way for making the motione effectuall

5. That which moves or prompts. a. Inclination, predisposition; passion. b. A motive or impulse; an inducement or consideration.c. Of (on, upoun) one's awin (fre) motioun, prompted by one's own wishes, of one's own accord.a. c1460 Thewis Wysmen 179.
Abwne thare ire and thar mocioune Thai have hail domynacioune
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 29/24.
The passioun and gret inclinacoune and mocioune to fleschly luf
1513 Doug. xii. ix. 10.
O Jupiter, was it plesand to thé With sa gret motioun of crudelyte Athir pepill suld rusch on other in pres?
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 932 (Wr.).
Beholding everyone about Whose motions mov'd me maist
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 39.
Thay ar not governit be aduisit ressoun bot caryit be violent motioun
b. c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 2/16.
Syndry mociouns and persuasionis indusand peple to the seruice of God
1502 Douglas Bequest 10 Sept.
Becaus of grete gratitudis and wthir mocionis schawin to me be the said Robert
1533 Bell. Livy I. 155/26.
And for thir mociouns [L. proinde] desirit Porsena … to suffir the cieteȝanis thareof to leif in liberte
1533 Boece viii. xii. 276.
Hengist … saying his mocioun tocum in Britan was nocht to reif the kinrik fra his gudeson
1549 Compl. 17/34.
Doutles the motione of the compilatione of this tracteit procedis mair of the compassione that I hef of the public necessite, nor [etc.]
1560 Bk. Disc. 246.
Askyng of thame … assistance how that motioun [sc. to be married] which thei judge to be of God may be performed
a1578 Pitsc. I. 203/6. Ib. 389/20.
Thir motiouns and wther thingis was ane greit hinder to thair consperatouris to put hand in thair prince
1615 Highland P. III. 222.
c. 1538 Breadalbane Docs. No. 48.
Archibald Campbell … of his avne fre motione … is bund and oblist to be … leill and trew to [etc.]
1567 Concilia Sc. I. clxxii.
We mon imput to the said nunceis absence … quhilk hes procedit on his awin motioun and sair aganis oure will
1577 Reg. Privy C. II. 613.
Johnne Lord Maxwell … having willinglie upoun his awin motioun dimittit and gevin up his office

d. A cause, occasion or provocation (of some action or event). 1533 Bell. Livy I. 199/4; etc.
The law agrarie … quhilk was neuer eftir attemptate but motioun of grete troubil
Ib. II. 73/3.
Quhat noyis, quhat trubil and quhat was the motioun of this haisty batell
Ib. 163/2. 1549 Compl. 27/26.
Thai [sc. the English] ar, ande alse hes beene, the special motione of the iniust veyris that hes trublit Cristianite
1570 Wemyss Chart. 200.
Archbald Wynd … without ony motione straik the said Robert [etc.]
1570–1 Canongate Ct. Bk. 326.
The said Johne … straik him in the heid with ane drawin quhinyear … without ony motioun or occasioun offerit be the said David thairto
a1578 Pitsc. I. 294/1.

6. A puppet-show. 1668 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 51.
To use the motione or play called Poor Robin within the citie
1669 Ib. 62.
Warrand to … act thos motions or plays within the citie or suburbs called Pollishingello or [etc.]
1682 Ib. XI. 40.

7. Comb. in motion- (= drill-) teacher, motion (= clockwork movement-) watch. 1646 J. Hope Diary (1958) 167.
In the litle pocketts of my clothes my motione watch
Colvil 1681 Whig's Suppl. i. 7.
The outlaw Whiggs … wanted order and array; Their officers and motion-teachers Were very few, beside their preachers

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



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