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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.

Murdris, -es, -eis, Murthrys, v. Also: murdrise, mordris. P.t. and p.p. murthrist, mwrth[r]yst, mur-, mwrthrysyd(e, murtherist; murd-, mwrdrist, -yst, -est, mourdrist, mordrest, murdreist; murdris(s)-, murdres(s)-, murdreissit; murderist, -est; murdyrist, murderst. [OF. murdriss-, mordriss-, lengthened stem of murdrir, mordrir (F. meurtrir to bruise): cf. e.m.E. (once) murtrish (Caxton); and, for the forms in -th-, Murther v.]

1. tr. To murder; also, without reprobation, to slay (a person).Also const. doun and to the deid.(1), (a) 1492 Myll Spect. 287/19.
Quhilk efterwart scho cruelly maid to murdres hir lord the king
1533 Boece iii. xxi. 121 b.
Romanis … murdrissing agit men & women
Ib. vi. ii. 186 b.
Murdrissing him self
1535 Stewart 23901.
This sempill king … In to his bed gart murdreis him on the nycht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6826.
a1578 Pitsc. II. 54/27.
To let murdres thame for the preiching of Christis evangell
1600 Crim. Trials II. 181.
They ar murdressing me!
1651 Johnston Diary II. 49.
Teaching people to murdrise their people
(b) c1420 Wynt. viii. 3200.
That till murthrys the kyngis men Byddand thai ware in that buschement
(b, c) a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 92.
That he had as a wykyt mane Mwrth[r]yst his lord
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1651.
He murthrysyd [v.rr. murthrist, murtherist] hym in Elgyne
Ib. 1849(b) 1492 Misc. Bann. C. II. 135.
He was mvrdrist and slane
1497–8 Acta Conc. II. 152.
Had murdrist and slane him had nocht bene that ane chepman happinit til cum
1492 Myll Spect. 282/13.
1522–3 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 163. 1531 Bell. Boece II. 133. Id. Livy I. 227/1.
Than to haue thame self murdrist in thare beddis
1533 Boece iii. vii. 101. Ib. iv. xii. 143 b. a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 35.
c1610 Melville Mem. 14.
The said Piere Louys being mourdrist for his detestable vyces
(c) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 210/23.
He was murdrest schamefully in this manere
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3692. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 42.
a1578 Pitsc. I. 168/1. 1586 Crim. Trials I. ii. 145.
Maist wyildlie … slew and murdrest him
1596 Highland P. I. 154. 1610 Inverness Rec. II. 77.
Thow maist vnmercifullie maisterful murdrest the birth off thai avin bodie
1622-6 Bisset I. 33/35.(d) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 30.
He murdreist mony in medecyne
1525 St. A. Formulare I. 268.
Part murdreist part slane
1535 Stewart 44357. 1567 Reg. Privy S. VI. i. 1570 Sat. P. xix. 46.
With schot of gunne thai murdreist him fra hand
1581 Burne Disput. in Cath. Tr. 143/5.
Eftir he had murdreist his vyf
1583 Reg. Privy C. III. 619. 1598 Ib. V. 443.
To have murdreist him be way of hamesuckin
1614 Crim. Trials III. 270. c1650 Spalding I. 75.
Johne Ross for ane licht caus mvrdreist ane chepman callit Dauid Leg
Ib. II. 396.
Mischantlie murdreist
(e) 1545 Tytler Hist. Scot. II. 349 n.
The Lord Maclanis fader was cruellie murdressit under traist in his bed
a1586 Lindsay MS. 37.
And murdrisit thame that rebellit aganis him
1600 Crim. Trials II. 253.
Tressoun! I am murdreissit!
(f) a1538 Abell 126 b.
& ondir trowys murdyrist the gentil lard of Meldrum
a1578 Pitsc. I. 48/32.
Ib. 66/5.
Ib. 218/4.
To come aganis his father in battell quhairthrow he was murderst and slaine
Ib. 303/28.
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 7.
And thair murderest him
(2) 1533 Boece iv. vii. 135.
Thai suld feirslie mell with inemys sla & murdris thame downe with pikkis & swerdis
1567 Sat. P. vii. 38.
To se the King … murdreist downe causeles and crewelly
(3) a1578 Pitsc. II. 83/23.
They murdrest him to the deid

b. transf. To slay (game) unfairly or in an unsportsmanlike way. 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 205.
That na haris be slayn quhen thai ar liand … becaus haris wer oft tymes murderist be sik maner
Throu quhilk the dere ar … oft tymes murdreist bot ony game

2. Hyperbolically, to torment, cause terrible suffering to. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 212.
Apone sic materis I mus … And murnys so in my mynd I murdris my selfin

3. To beat down, to smash, to damage by beating.Cf. F. meurtrir to bruise. 1494 Loutfut MS. 38 b.
Mayllets ar maid of stark & hard tre or ellis of hevy metall for to strik and foundre hard thingis ande mordrisis thingis that reffusis aganis thaim

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"Murdris v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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