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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.

Nowt, Nout, Nolt, n. Also nowte, nowtt; neout; nowit, nowyt, nouit; nolte, noltt; nowlt, noult(e, nould; noalt; note, noyt, noat. [ME. (appar. chiefly north. and north midl.) nowwt (Orm), nowte, naute (c 1420), e.m.E. noote (1525), note (1544), (north.) naut (1657), ON. naut (Norw. naut, Sw. nöt).In the mod. dial. Sc. and north. Eng. as nowt, also nawt, and north. Eng. note.]Much the most common spelling is nolt.

1. Cattle; oxen, bulls and cows, collectively.See also, for further examples, Gud(e n. 7.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xl. 1121.
Ȝe sal haf thred … Of nowt, schepe, hors and ky
1398 Acts I. 212/2.
Hors & nowte
c1420 Wynt. vii. 3043.
His landys … heryit Bathe off nowte and schepe and ky And all othire gudys halyly
14.. Burgh Laws c. 74 (B).
He sal sel gude flesche dede and nowt and swyne
1456 Hay I. 58/30.
Bestis … schepe or nowt
1468 Peebles B. Rec. I. 157. c1475 Wall. viii. 1059. 15.. King Berdok 22.
1553–4 Prot. Bk. Sir Wm. Corbet 19. 1579 Crail B. Ct. 3 Nov.
Na fleschar … sleyand ony scheipe nowt or vaill
1591 Reg. Morton I. 176.
Heiland menn of Athoill … twik away ane pwind of nowt
16.. Hist. Kennedy 18.
1616 Inverurie 200. 1691 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. i. 409 (4 Oct.).
As aither nowt or ship
(b) 1534 Selkirk B. Ct. MS. 185 (22 Oct.).
All infekit novt
1596 Dalr. I. 123/6. Ib. 7/1.
Quhen nout fechtis togither
1633 Dumbarton B. Rec. 42.
And uthir faires of hors, cattell, scheip, nout and siklyk
1641 Fraser P. 121. 1651 Milne-Home MSS. 102. 1662 Crim. Trials III. 613. 1692 Presb. Eloq. (ed. 2) 84.
I [would] rather steal all the horned nout in the parish
(c) c1420 Wynt. ii. 580.
Scheype or nowyt or gayte
Ib. v. 2620. 1443 Milne-Home MSS. 21.
1533 Treas. Acc. VI. 139.
Certane nowit and hors
1540 Prot. Bk. Sir J. Cristisone 72.
[All] novit scheipe and monie [belonging to him]
(d) 1437 Ayr B. Ct.
To kepe the toune nolt for the ȝher
1472 Peebles B. Rec. I. 169. c1475 Wall. x. 551. 1482 Reg. Morton II. 244. 1489 Acts II. 219/2. 1503 Lanark B. Rec. 13. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxii. 73.
Thocht he fra nolt had new tane leif
1517 Misc. Spald. C. II. 80. 1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. MS. 159 (26 Feb.). 1533 Boece iii. xii. 109. 1535 Stewart 18309. 1544 Lochleven Compt Bk. 15 b (5 July).
His compt of all ky and vther nolt ȝowis & vther scheip
1549 Compl. 39/2.
The nolt maid noyis vitht mony loud lou
Ib. 45/3.
To keip nolt and scheip
Ib. 64/20. 1550 Treas. Acc. IX. 458.
Witht certane stollin nolt
1566 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 102.
Thre birnyng irnes to nolt and scheip
1571 Crail B. Ct. 22 May.
1589 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 190.
Thair … garrit nolt
1594 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I. 217. 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 107.
1587-99 Hume 29/119.
The startling nolt
1603 Elgin Rec. II. 114.
To haue left a peice land to the gudmane for the noltis caus
1605 Inverurie B. Ct.
That na nolt … sall be … broch on the stibbels
1616 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 193. 1637 Elgin Rec. I. 257.
Act anent louse nolt
c1650 Spalding I. 162. 1652 Buccleuch Mun. II. 299.
Exonered … of any sick nolt and sheip and kayne fowlles
1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. ii. Skene Agric. MS. a1689 Cleland 26. 1684 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 127. 1696 Lanark Presb. 127.(e) 1527 Carnwath Baron Ct. (ed.) 60.
1549 Banff Ann. I. 24.
1566 Kinnaird Farm Bk. 51.
1584 Burntisland B. Ct. ? June. 1605 Inverurie B. Ct. 1 Nov. 1623–4 Peebles B. Rec. I. 413.
The yeild nowlt
1657 Balfour Ann. IV. 342.
(f) 1668 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 15 Jan.
1693 Banff Ann. II. 63.
Letting in sum noalt to destroy his corns
(g) a1400 Leg. S. i. 37.
The noys … Of noyt & schepe & menstralsy
c1420 Wynt. ii. 100.
Wytht hors and noyt and othir fe
1662 Crim. Trials III. 608.
Either horse, noat, vebs or any vther thing to be sold
Ib. 612.(2) 1482 Acta Aud. 109/1.
The awaytakin … of xiiij hede of nolt
1510 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 59.
The … wranguis takin of viij hed of nolt out of the mylne landis
1633 Ib. II. 365.
Ane firlott quhyt aittis ilk heid of nolt nightlie
1698 Misc. 3 Spald C. II. 108.
Three score heids of nolt

b. With numerals and adjectives of plurality: = (Two, etc.) head of cattle. 1467 Acta Aud. 7/1.
iijxx xvij nolt
1474 Ib. 31/1.
vj nolt of thre ȝere aldez and ane ox of vj ȝere alde
1483 Acta Conc. II. cxxviii.
How mony nolt was takin fra thame
1493 Ib. I. 270/1.
The fogage of lx of nolt
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 103.
A hundreth nolt
1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 144.
Thre or four schore of nowt
1550 Lanark Sheriff Ct. MS. 38 b.
Ten ȝeld nolt
1556 Peebles B. Rec. I. 228.
Ane certane nolt
1563 Crim. Trials I. i. 433.
Thre noltt
1575 Edinb. Test. III. 288 b.
Aucht ȝoung nolt
1589 Berw. Nat. C. XXI. 273.
xij ald oxin, xvj alld ky, v young note of iij yeir ald, v young note of ij yeir ald, iiij stirkis of ane yeir ald
1577–95 Skene Celtic Scotl. III. 431.
But few nolt
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI. 5.
Ane grite nowmer of nolt
1605 Inverurie 190.
Na mair nor sax nowlt
1616 Anal. Scot. I. 365.
Foure fed nolt
c1616 Hume Orthog. 27. 1629 Dumfries Test Ia. 181 b.
Threttie noult auld and ȝoung
1629 Justiciary Cases I. 101.

c. With plural inflexion. c1500-50 Pleugh-Song in 1562-92 Wode's Psalter (ed.) 240 a.
For sklenting of bowts And startling of other mens nowts

d. As a singular: An ox; one head of cattle. c1420 Wynt. iii. 936.
All lyk a nowte thoucht man he ware
a1538 Abell 31 a.
Ane scheip or ane nowt
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Mugio, to rowt like a nowt
1597 Paisley B. Rec. 201.
For the intrallis of ane nout coft ane yeir sensyne
1659 Stitchill Baron Ct. 16. 1665 Forbes Baron Ct. 259.
Tuo shilling for ewry ox or cow or nolt
1674 Stitchill Baron Ct. 76.
As the grass maill of ane nolt

2. Attrib. and comb., also possess.a. Of, pertaining to, deriving from or consisting of, cattle. See also Nowt-fald, -hird, -market.(1) 1688 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 247.
You did bring ane nolt best [etc.]
1658 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 172.
Tuo nolt bestiall
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Bubile, a nolte byer
14.. Burgh Laws c. 76 (B).
In nowte cresche or swyne sayme
1578–9 Ayr B. Acc. 144.
[Arrears] be Robert Cuninghame … for his nolt custume
1609–10 Ib. 242. 1573 Edinb. Test. III. 30.
Thrie scoir nolt and scheip flekkis
1658 Ib. LXIX. 119 b.
Horse graith nolt graith and ther plennishing
1541 Treas. Acc. VIII. 125.
To the making of the gun mulde … For twa stane nolt hare thairto
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II. 66.
For 8 stane wecht nolt hair for plaistering
1628–9 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 370. 1581 Inverness Rec. I. 288.
Gait skynnis, nowte hydis
1589 Edinb. Test. XXI. 89.
Thrie nolt hydis price iij lib. vj s. viij d.
1568 Inverness Rec. I. 167.
In making … schone maid of horse leddyr for nowte leddyr
1570 Elgin Rec. I. 124.
Ony barking of nolt ledder
1591–5 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 195.
Ane daiker of dry nowt ledder
1616 Inverness Rec. II. 149.
In … taking away of ane greit numbre of barkit nolt ledder
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. i. 25 (31 Jan.). 1604 Paisley B. Rec. 269.
That all nolt licht within this Burgh be sauld to all our Soverane Lords liegis for xlvj s. viij d. the stane weight
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1588.
There is no sic dearth that a nolt liver wil give half a mark
1502 Prestwick B. Rec. 37.
The nowte roddyng
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII. 367.
In the byre, 12 set noult staicks
1577 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XII. 140.
He sawe the said Cuthbert hafe twa kye to sell in the nolt stand of Brigend
1549 Banff Ann. I. 24.
The stane of nolt taucht for x d. to the nytboris
1570 Elgin Rec. I. 123.
Nolt tallown for xij s. the stan
(2) 1605 Edinb. Test. Index II. 307.
William Telfer, nolt-driver
1625 Edinb. Marriages 277.

b. Nowtis gres (gers), pasture for cattle or the payment for this. 1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. (ed.) ii.
ij nowttis gres pament gyffin to Jhon Justis aith
1556 Prot. Bk. T. Dalrymple 29 b.
Twa noltis gyrs and ane hors gyrs to be pasturit and lesurit vpon the said … landis

c. Nolt price, noltis price, (in the south-west), payment due for cattle. 1563 Dumfries B. Ct. 197 b.
For the sovme of iij punds restand of ane gretar sovm of nolt price
1593 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. 296.
iiij lib. xv s. quhilk he is awand him of noltis price
1678 Ib. MS. 31 July.
Nolts pryce
1678 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 265.
Four shilin starlin restand of neouts pryc

d. Nolt-fute (pl. -feit), the foot of an ox or cow, esp. as food. Also attrib. with -oyll. a1540 Freiris Berw. 254 (B).
[She] sett meit in hy Ane sowsit nolt fute and scheipheid haistely
1596 Oldcambus Acc. 12.
Coft of drinke to souse the the nowlt feit and panchis with all 6 gallonis
1598 Household Bks. Jas. VI 23 April.
Thre wyldgeis thre gang noltfeit
Ib. 25 May.
Twa gang nolt fitt
attrib. 1663–6 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp 31.
For nolt foot oyll to the cherrut 18 s.

e. Nolt-head, the head of an ox. Also applied to a person, = blockhead.Also in the mod. dial. as nowt-head, id. Cf. also Neatshead n. ?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 41.
Sed hunc corn-greivus heros Nout-headdum vocavit
1698 Hector Renfrewshire Rec. II. 150.
Sheep bones … and ane nolt head, all which were leatly wanted by the neighbourhead

f. Noatis tongue, neat's-tongue, as food. 1663–6 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp 66.
For seck claret aill beir and a noatis tongue 3/8/0

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"Nowt n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2024 <>



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