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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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Scor(e, Scoir, Schor(e, Schoir, n. Also: skor(e, scoire, skoir(e, scoyr(e, skoyr(e, skoyir, schoyr, scour, skowr, scoar(e, scoer. [ME and e.m.E. scor a set of twenty (c1290), also (Manning) a mark or line, etc., skore (1303), late OE scoru strong fem., ON skor, of the same ulterior origin as S(c)here v.]

I. 1. A set, or group, of twenty; a score (of people, things, animals, quantities, etc.).Sometimes represented by superscript xx, as in e.g. viijxx.Chiefly uninfl. pl., but also, rarely, infl. pl. and sing.Generally numbering 20 of any item, but there were exceptions: grain, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire, 21 bolls … and sheep, Dunbartonshire, 21 in number (R.E. Zupko The Weights and Measures of Scotland before the Union in Sc. Hist. Rev. LVI, 2 (1977) 137. Cf. d below. For instances of 6 score to the hundred, see quot. Lauder under 1 c (2) below.Freq. as an element in a compound number.See also Fourscore n., Sex-score adj. and threscore.uninfl. pl. (1) c1420 Wynt. iv 2025.
Four score [C. skoyr] of thoussandis wes slayne downe
a1500 Henr. Fab. 525.
Sister, ȝe wait off sic as him ane scoir
c1475 Wall. iv 545.
Four scoyr of speris ner hand thaim baid at rycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 98/16.
Off the Clan Quhettane twenti scoir He drave as oxin him befoir
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 100.
Fyftie score of freiris
1549 Compl. 89/4.
Aucht scoir of thousandis engel noblis
Ib. 93/11.
Sexten scoir of the maist nobillis of the cuntre
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 605.
With aucht scoir … Of waillit wicht men
1572–3 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 95a.
Fyve scoir of gentill men
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 16.
Quhan … he vincust eight scoir of Inglishmen
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xvii 52.
A dragone … in bred … Sewyne schore of fute & na ma
Ib. xxxviii 523.
Twa hundre and aucht schore of ȝere
c1420 Wynt. iv 1318.
He broucht wytht hym off fwt men Foure schore off thousand
1505 Montgomery Mem. 63.
Thretten schor of merkis of mony awande to me
?1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 144.
Thre or four schore of nowt
c1550 Douglas Chart. 244.
Fowr schor of ȝeris syne or thar by
(c) 1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 141.
Tre schoyr of salis
1568 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 644/1.
Ane belt and ane cowter … contenand of knoppis and intermiddis … sax schoir and ane
1572 Kinnaird Farm Bk. fol. 102.
Of lamis … vij schoir and xvij
1639 M. Works Acc. II 404.
x schoir and xviii laid of lyme
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii 772.
Off tha [sc. wise men] gert he Thre score or ma assemblyt be
Ib. viii 6541 (C).
(b) 1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 463.
The yer of God ane thousand four hundretht four schor and a yer
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1774.
Gode send thame languagis three schore
1602 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 130.
Sewin schor sax poundis
(c) 1501 Stirlings of Keir 273.
Sex schoyr thretten pundis
1534–5 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 126.
Ten schoir v stanis a pund of vine
1572 Boyd Fam. P. No. 60 (30 May).
The ȝere of jmvc thre schoir nyne ȝeris
(3) 1472–3 Swintons App. l.
Tuelf scor of markys of the usuale monye of Scotland
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 483.
Seuyne score of scheildis thai schew at ane sicht
1488 Treas. Acc. I 83.
A grete chenȝe of gold contenand of linkis thre score and a lynk
Ib. 87.
xvj skore of Hare nobelis
a1500 K. Hart 516.
Followand him thair come fyve hundreth score Off hairis
1491 Acta Conc. I 199/1.
xv skore of scheip
1496 Treas. Acc. I 299.
For iij score of elne of cammas to be a kechin
1512 Ib. IV 452.
xvj skor of nalis
1526 Acts II 305/1.
His expens extending daly to xiiij score of breid
1530 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 477.
Sex score of yowis
1536–7 Ayr B. Acc. 25.
Making of v score of lyddin taknyngis to the pure folk
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1734.
Off large pasis of mesure … Fyue thousande, aucht score, and fourtene
15.. Bk. Dean Lismore p. 93.
In the iiii scor of dais are xixc & xx houris
1659 Blairs P. 162.
In al it uil be six scor of ligs out of my uay he sent me
(b) a1500 Colk. Sow ii 138.
Hir aige I hald of sevin scoir of winteris heild
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 334.
Ane hundereth and three skoir of schippis
1503 Orkney Rentals i 62.
To pay yeirlie … vj skoire of skynnis
1521 Maxwell Mem. 247.
Ane lewyne scoyr of merkis
1554 Reg. Privy S. IV 497/1.
Tuentie scoir of laid of collis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6506.
Fyue scoir of Florens
1570 Edinb. Test. II 40.
Fyue scoir ten thrauis of infeild aittis
1597 Ib. XXX 162.
Thrie scoir … thrie d[us]on of lang tailȝiet buttounes
1606 Ib. XLI 253.
Twelf scoir of gainȝekling being sacking claith
1675 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 413.
(c) 1534 Chart. Coupar A. II 138.
Decem le skowr de lie byrkis
1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I 356.
Fyve hundreth scour of the dollors callit the rix dollor
(d) 1663 Menȝies MSS in 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 699/1.
You … who hes lived these so many scoar of years in so near and intimatt nighbourhood
infl. pl. 1531 Reg. Dunferm. 363.
The sovme of auchtene scorz of merkis
1584 Melvill 188.
The parochinars will haiff a couple of skores of hirdes for thair cattell
sing. c1610 Rep. Hist. MSS Var. Coll. V 117.
Half ane scoir of fallow deir
1623 Peebles Gleanings 43.
Ane scoir of stairtes and heacs

b. With omission of of, or as quasi-adj.Once, as an element in an ordinal number (see (6) below).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii 857.
Twa hundre ȝeris foure score & sewine
c1420 Wynt. ii 1575.
A thowsand ane hundyr and foure score, And twa yher fully gane before
1456 Hay I 47/34.
The space of thre score and twa ȝeris
1457 Acts II 48/2.
That men … past thre scoir ȝeiris sal vse vther honest gammys
1484 Lennox Mun. 126.
The ȝeire of God a thousand foure hundreith foure skore and foure ȝeris
1529 Red Bk. Grandtully I 69.
1533 Boece 94.
Before Criste incarnate thre skore ȝeris
1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 464.
Not sparand to sla auld men off fowr skoir ȝeris off age lyand decrippit in thair beddis
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 78.
Upon the nixt thre scoyr lawfull daye immedietlie efter
1585 T. Hudson Maitl. F. 447.
Quho died of the aage of four scoir and tene ȝeiris
1626 Justiciary Cases I 35.
The … murthour … committit in Apryle 1m fyve hundreth four scoir saxtene ȝeiris
(2) 1398 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 5.
Twa scoyre oxen
c1420 Wynt. iv 2269.
Thre scor and ten bargis
1488 Treas. Acc. I 80.
Sex score twa bedis and a knop
1506 Prot. Bk. J. Young 375.
Thre skoyr endis of irn
a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. 184/14.
His baner … Quhairin wes cloutis mony [B. ane hundreth] score
1539–40 Reg. Episc. Morav. App. 420.
Aucht skoir fyr sparris sufficient to be gestis
1547 Misc. Spald. C. V 312.
xi score vij yois
1586 Edinb. Test. XV 348.
Send to Danskene twa hundretht four scoir thrie lams skynnis
1602 Dundee Shipping P. 74.
Nayne skor dokatis of frawcht
1612 Edinb. Test. XLVII 123b.
Fyve scoir tuell flok goiff ballis
1612 Crim. Trials III 232.
Sax scoir peise of horsis, aucht scoir scheip and gait
1628 Edinb. Test. LIV 356.
Ane hundreth & ane scoir hankis of killing wyir
1641 Acts V 504/1.
Three scoire and ten heed of kyne and young goodis
1682 Brechin Test. VII 89.
Nyn score peice of knappert
(3) 1398–9 Liber Melros II 488.
Foure skore and ten pond of gude mone and lele of Scotland
1488 Treas. Acc. I 80.
Fyve hundreth thre score ten rois nobilis
15.. Bk. Dean Lismore p. 183.
xii scoir mylis of lynth
1503 Treas. Acc. II 214.
Ane pece of Salamon contenyng … ten score ix elne
1512 Reg. Privy S. I 374/2. 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 281.
For cutting of sevin skoire tuelf laid byrne wode
1535 Acts II 346/1.
Ane sufficient barmkyn … of stane and lyme contenand thre score futis of the square ane eln thick and vj elnis heicht [etc.]
1542 Acts & Decr. I 152.
Ilk fidder [of lead] contenand vj scoir vj stane or tharby
1544 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 21.
xviii scoir and xvi bollis of wittal
1549 Compl. 50/32.
The … zenyth … is iiij scoir and ten degreis distant fra our oriȝon
1560 Carte Northberwic 79.
Fyffe scoir bollis of ferme beir
1602 Edinb. B. Rec. V 308.
That the said kirk be … of the lenth of sex scoir fute
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 20.
Thrie skoir gulyeonis
1627 Justiciary Cases I 68.
Four scoir myles
1655–6 Dumbarton Common Gd. Acc. 209.
Four scoer merks
1662 Edinb. Test. LXX 299b.
Four scoir on pund
(4) c1522 Doug. in Doug. (Sm.) I p. cviii.
Wageouris to the novmer of aucht skoir persounis
1547 Treas. Acc. IX 104.
vj score men … ingianes
1578–9 Reg. Privy C. III 94.
Thre scoir personis
1641 Acts V 715/1.
Sax scoir men for compescing the brokin hiland men
(5) 1546 Reg. Privy C. I 36.
The scoir lynt, viij li.
(6) 1622-6 Bisset II 194/26.
Williame, the ane hundreth thrie scoir sext Scottis king

c. ellipt. or absol. as noun.Put for persons or things.(1) 1375 Barb. xiii 554 (C).
Schir Lowrens … with four scor in cumpany cum
?1438 Alex. i 314.
In the formaist front befoir He sawe mair than ane hundreth scoir
c1420 Wynt. viii 861.
Foure scor … thai ware … That thare ware stad
1460 Hay Alex. 2159.
Thairein was marscheld may than twentie scoir
c1475 Wall. vii 239, etc.
Thus xviij scor to that derff dede thai dycht
1567 G. Ball. 131.
Ane thousand scoir throw did restoir To thy glorie
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 288/12.
Quhair ane is fund ane freind in deid A scoir thair be that failis at neid
1570 Sat. P. x 310.
Thre scoir and twelf he brocht of thame [sc. thieves] in pledge
1638 Bk. Pasquils 42.
Frome … devout palyards by the scoare … deliver us!
(b) 1651 Wemyss Corr. 95.
Thair vase thre schore that fell on tham clad in Heland wed vith … long gunnis
(2) 1375 Barb. xi 120 (C).
But all thai [sc. carts] that bar Harnas [etc.] … Four scor wes chargit with fewale
a1500 Bk. Chess 2019.
Thre scor and iiij it makis
1513 Doug. vi Prol. 65.
And of this saxt buke walis he mony a scor [sc. of Virgil's ‘versis’]
1517 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 41.
xxxvii s. for xx lammes and ane to the score
1612 Soc. Ant. XVIII 304.
Of Yeiris lambis; and yeild scheip; 662, comptand six skoir to the hundred, pryce xx s.
1665 Montgomery Mem. 329.
Wrytten … the yeaer of God on thousand six hundreth thre scoer fyve
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 257.
For six or aught thousand daills accounting six score two to ewrie hundreth and aught or ten last of tar
1687 Lauder Notices Affairs II 801.
In sheep and all beasts and other things, 6 score goes to the 100, except only in men, cornes and horses
(b) 1534 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 295b.
His guddis to the numer of tre schore in his corne
(3) 1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 120b.
For vrangus vsing & bying with ane vrang ellvand to the quantite of tua ells mair at the scoir
1578 Edinb. Test. VI 141b.
Ȝowis … price of the scoir xviij l.
1584 Ib. XIV 107.
Of Scottis & Inglis tartane fiftie fywe eln price of the scoir ix li.
1630 Kirkcaldy Presb. 7.
For threttie nyne ell tries at aught punds the scoir to be couples and lath
1640 Fam. Innes 167.
Twantie scoir bollis lyme … at twa pekis the scoir
1640 Dumfries Test. I 63b.
Tuentie gimmeris and tuentie kebbs at xxxvj lib. the score
(4) 1685 Paterson Sc. Arithm. 9.
12 is called a dozen, 20 a score

d. With the following, cf. ME = ‘a weight of twenty or twenty-one pounds, esp. used in weighing pigs or oxen’ (OED). But probably merely further instances of ellipsis. 1546 Reg. Privy C. I 36.
The hundreith dailis, xv li.; the scoir lynt, viij li.
1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 287.
For ane half scoir of beir coft and ressavit be him fra the said Alexander

II. 2. A row of ‘points’ (or squares) on a chess-board, perhaps specifically one of the back, or side, rows. ?1438 Alex. ii 3895.
Ȝe salbe met [F. mat] … Outhir in the nuke or in the score [F. en roie]

b. lit. and fig. A mark or line made to show the boundary of a course or arena; a boundary- or side-line; a starting or finishing line.To schift our scor, to disqualify, reject.(1) 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1984.
Prosperitie in eird is bot a dreme, Or like as man war steppand ouir ane scoir
1513 Doug. v vi 70.
He suld ful sone haue skyppyt furth befor, And left in dowt quha come fyrst to the skoyr
1570 Sat. P. xx 69.
Stand to, thairfoir, fyle not the scoir, But all togidder draw
1603 Philotus 999.
Trowis thow to draw me ouir the scoir Fals feind with thy alluring
1620 Paisley B. Rec. 288.
And quhat hors first comes over score at [gap in MS] Renfrew sall have ane dowbill aingell
Ib. 289.
Ane efterschot rais sall be rin yeirlie … fra ane scoir at the Sclaittis of Ellirslie to ane uther scoir at the Calsayheid of … Paislay … And quhilkis of the saidis horses that sal happin to cum first over the said scoir … the awner … sall have the said sadill [etc.]
1630 Rutherford Christ & Doves 14.
The Devil fyles the score, and comes over the march upon Gods bounds
1635 Dickson Wr. 187.
There is no stay in a race till one win over the score
(2) 1513 Doug. i Prol. 490.
As now war tyme to schift the werst our scor

c. A line drawn; a stroke. 1581-1623 James VI Poems I 155/396.
My memorie … Is lyke … unto the uatter quhaire a skoire Is als soone uanisht quyte as drauin
1601 Mackie Denmilne MSS 43.
Lat this letter /m/ doubill the preceding letter as quhen twa SS or twa RR or ony sic fallis in ane word. When ye find ane lang scoir drawin above the letter as this understand that that letter is appoynted to be but ane chiffre or null
1604-31 Craig ii 119.
The whitest siluer drawes the blackest skore
1628 Stirling Ant. IV 189.
[He] drew ane scoir about thame with ane drawn sword
1657 Balfour Ann. IV 112.
He desyred me to forbeare making intimatione to 9 of them [sc. persons listed], wich he marked with a long score in the roll

3. A line or crease on the human face. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 122 (M).
Fy scolderit skyrne thow art bot scoir [B. skyre (Skyre n.)] and scrumpill
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 575 (T).
With scoiris and crakis [H. scarts and scores] athort his froisnit front In runkillis run ruwth
1658 R. Moray Lett. 14 Feb.
Thus I have stoln by your fine talk without a score, though I … find a smile in my face just now

4. A scratch, cut or incision; a mark or blemish left by one of these.For further examples of incisions made in flesh or hides, see Score v. 1 b and c.(a) 1586 Ayr B. Ct. & Council Bk. 10 Oct.
Item that na flesche … [be] ony wyis scorit out bot onlie with ane scoir that the guidnes thairof may be knawin
1609 Reg. Privy C. VIII 302.
[A new impost … 8 d. for each] hoill or skoir [that they find in any of the skins]
1610 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 81.
For mending the glass and scoir tharintill above the oirlage
(b) 1553 Elgin Rec. I 121.
[That] na schoris be vpoun ane schep bot tua vnder the payn of ten s.

5. Appar. deriving from e.m.E. and late ME = ‘notch cut for record, tally’ (1460- ). a. A list. 1572 Inverness Rec. I 220.
That … the committaris of offenssis maye be keipit in scoir inrollit within our buikis

b. An amount owed; a debt. Also fig.For our schoir, ? for our redemption, ? on our account. In (the) schoir, owed, due to be paid.(1) 1639 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 272.
And for your grace, we think a large scoare is due to yow
1578 St. A. Baxter Bks. 26.
That na persoun of ane hous by quheit bot onlie deken vnder xl s. on forgeuin in the schoir
1617 Yester Wr. 322.
The maill 1617. … Soma in schoir iij lib. xiij s. viij d.
(2) fig. 1567 G. Ball. 191.
Syne for our schoir he deit thairfoir And tholit paine for our mis

c. A bill or reckoning. Only fig. in to count … down on, or put upon, (a person's) score, to impute to, to attribute blame or responsibility (for wrong doing) to. a1652 Dickson Psalms III 263.
The persecution of former enemies is imputed and put upon the score of present persecutors
1685-8 Renwick Serm. 176.
He will count it down on enemies score, and make them reckon and pay for it

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"Scor n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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