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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
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Somer, Sumer, Simer, n. Also: somere, -ar, -ir, -yr(e, sommer, -yr, somber, sumar, -ir, swmyr, summer, -yr(e, soum(m)er, symer, simm-, symmer, -ar, -ir, -yr, semer. [ME and e.m.E. sumerr (Orm), sumer (Ancr. R.), somer (a1300), sommer (c1440), summer (1586), OE sumor.]

1. Summer, the warmest season of the year. Freq. personified. Also, freq., in (the) somer. Also fig.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. i 448.
The sessoune Of kindely chele … Flouris again … As it with-in the tyme had bene Of the sommer
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 34.
Cum, somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne!
1456 Hay II 101/16.
And yit comperis he the king to wynter and to the somer
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1678.
The somer with his iolie mantill grene
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1707.
Ver … The secretar of somer with his sell
c1475 Wall. vi 4.
Apperyd than the last month off wer, The syng off somir with his suet sessoun
1506 Mill Mediæv. Plays 231.
Ane hors to Thome belman at the proclamyne of sommer bringin in
a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. 2/49.
Cum lustie somir with thy flowris
1533 Boece 150b.
Galdus … taryit the come of sommer
1558 Peebles B. Rec. I 247.
To caus the thesaurare mend Peblis brig now in the season of somer quhill the wedder is fair
1642 Rogers Social Life III 399.
[The Kirk Session of Dundonald in 1642 determined that] no women be suffered to sit in the time of sommer with plyds upon their heids since it is a cleuck to their sleiping in tyme of sermon
(b) c1420 Wynt. i 1404.
[In Thule] Thare sex moneth off the yhere, That we halde for summyre here, Thare for-owtyn nycht is day
c1420 Wynt. i 568.
Thar twa summyrys in the yhere and twa wyntrys ar
(c) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1694 (Bann.).
The grene garmont of symmer glorious
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxviii 16.
So nixt to symmer, wynter bene
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 3.
Cleir schynand bemys, and goldyn symmyris hew
1513 Doug. x vii 109.
Lyke as sum tyme in the symmyris drowth [etc.]
1535 Stewart 46457. 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II 351.
Candilmes, Pasche, [etc.] … with the laif of the Sundayis of symmer
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 20.
In tyme of symmer rosis nenuphar, sandile of all sortis, orange appillis
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xi 454.
In that houre quhen sik clernes Suld be as in-to somyre wes
1397 Douglas Chart. 37.
[They] sal haf the gers of the wode in the somer til thair hors
14.. Burgh Laws c. 65 (A).
At the tym of wndurn in wynter & befor wndurn in somer
14.. Burgh Laws c. 75 (B).
1456 Hay II 6/2.
A faire well of water … quhilk … past throu the herber till othir gardynnis … till water thame in somer
1503 Treas. Acc. II 207.
Grene freis clath, to covir the Kingis hors in somir
1513 Doug. i xi 106.
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 75. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 11.
The portar sal … in sommer … ryng dayly … at sax to the lesson public
a1568 Bann. MS 73a/69.
In ver and somer ȝe littill eit
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 11. a1585 Maitl. Q. 104/27.
Neuer in somer the haitt canicular day So hote with beamis brent As dois that fyire
1513 Doug. i vii 27.
In soft somyr the brycht son hait schynyng
(b) 1477 Reg. Cupar A. I 209.
A bol of quhet in coys for a bol of mele in swmyr
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 196 (T). 1678 Rothesay B. Rec. 357.
William Stewart … is ordayned to be goeing to the lizour with his kyne at 4 houres ilk morneing especially in sumer
(c) 1518 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 203.
Betuix five and sex in symmir
1535 Stewart 26964, etc. 1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 160.
Arche Broun … sais in verete that yon is the hog that Alane Mithag keipit in symmer
1549 Banff Ann. I 26. 1549 Compl. 59/24. 1565 Edinb. B. Rec. III 209.
Snawdounis Clois, quhilk is the fische merkat in symer
1596 Brechin Test. I 148b.
For girsing of thre stoitis in symmer
1605 Paisley B. Rec. 278.
Anent the keiping of hors and kye alswell in symer as in hervest
1633 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 161.
1656 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 164.
a1500 K. Hart 8.
So blyth as bird in symmer schene

b. To bring in symmer, to celebrate the coming of summer. Also, once, to bring haym summyr, ? in same sense. 1562 Aberd. B. Rec. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 152.
[Accused of calling the community] to pas to the wood to bring in symmer vpoun the first Sonday of Maij
a1568 Scott v 11.
In May gois gallandis bring in symmer
1496 Edinb. Hammermen in Mill Mediæv. Plays 226.
That day at we brocht haym summyr with the tovne for beryne of our twa new standartis in harnes

c. (Baith) somer and winter (winter and somer), all the year round.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxii 3.
A fare tre callit lawrane, That wyntyre & somir ay is grene
1521 Reg. Privy S. I 493/2.
With … meit to his thre hors baith somer and winter
a1567 Misc. Bann. C. II 95.
Al the regentis sal begyn baith sommer and winther at vi howris in the mornyng to thair ordinar lessons
1605 Conv. Burghs II 204.
Thai may gett mair … profitabill fischeing … baith somer and wynter
(b) 1473 Reg. Cupar A. I 189.
Waterstankis … of sic depnes that ged eyls and fyscis … ma be conseruyt … bath swmyr and wyntir
1498 Reg. Morton II 253.
He haifand siclik meit as ane court horse takis in the Abbay
1665 Forbes Baron Ct. 260.
Indwelleres in the tounes and rowmes wnderwrittin … sall keip thair [beastis] … sumir and winter out and from the birkes
(c) 1526 Reg. Privy S. I 532/2.
Hors meit and mannis … baith symmer and winter
1556 Reg. Cupar A. II 261.
[They] sall tak in keping and sufficientlie pastur, symmir and wynter, samony ky of eild as we plais deliuer thame

d. fig. c1520-c1535 Nisbet III 334/5.
Quhair the spret is, thair is alwayis symmer, ande thair is allwayis gude fructes, that is to say, gude werkes
a1538 Abell 86a.
Quhat sall I do? I am nakit and symmir passis awa. I man cum hame agane for neid garris nakit man rin

2. A particular summer. Chiefly with further specification; also seen as a period of time. Also fig.(1) 1456 Hay II 112/16.
Quha wist be the course of nature that the somere next folowand suld be sa hate
1467 Ayr. B. Ct. 3 April.
Wyll of Blenkanop is bundyn tyll pende owr ane boll of the bryg the nyxt somer to cum
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 115.
Thow lay full prydles in the peis this somer
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 118.
The froitt and cornes, throw insufferabill heyittis of the sommyr, failȝeitt in all partis of this realme
1568 St. A. Kirk S. 307.
Being summond … to heir trial takin of the bairn that sche buir this last somyr
1614 Crim. Trials III 323.
In sommer bigane two yeir
1628 Black Bk. Taymouth 68.
In somer anno 1628
1648 Falkirk Baron Ct. 12 Dec.
In somber lastbypast
1656 Laing MSS 305.
The Inglish is doing all things as expecting forrune wares this somer
(b) 1655 Lanark B. Rec. 155.
The eist end of the muir … to ley leie for a leissour to the cattell nixt soummer
1657 Balfour Ann. III 422.
The pryces of corne raisse werey much this soumer
(c) 1517 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 41.
He had nocht the milk of ane other kow the simmer befor
1531 Bell. Boece I 140.
In the simer followinge, he brocht sindry nobill men of Albioun afore him
1531 Reg. Soltre 104.
For thir [sic] symmer he sall put nay bestiall vpon the inland girs
1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 137.
And Scotland do ther devoir … owr commune inemy sall have this symmer handis foulle [= full]
1563 St. A. Kirk S. 166.
Sche wes present in tym of deces of ane barne in cottoun of Cragfudy the sam symmer
1580 Elgin Rec. I 156.
For the symmering of tua ky to him in symmer last wes
1615 Sutherland Bk. II 119.
The merches betuix Macky and me is continwed whill simmer nixt
(2) a1578 Pitsc. II 29/5.
This [sc. fighting] continieit on all the sommer
1589 Crim. Trials I ii 334.
Having lifted and entertained all this sommer … sum trowpis of men of weir
(b) 1662 Soc. Ant. XXII 222.
Isabel asked how the said James did, and the said Janet answered … that he had ane sore summer
1673 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 177.
[I] haveing all sumer and harvest worke adoe
1684 Symson Descr. Galloway 74.
Their first crop they call their lay, and this is that on which the bestial and sheep were folded the summer and harvest before
(c) 1570 Leslie 8.
All the hail symer … I was earnistly occupied
1615 Sutherland Bk. II 120.
That ye may haue the haill simmer before your hand to do your turnes and ours also
c1650 Spalding II 218.
The victuallis heir in Abirdene wes monstruous deir … quhilk wes the first deir wynter heirtofore sein in this land, albeit thair hes bene deir symeris
(d) 1531 Bell. Boece I lvi.
Thair sollis [sc. of shoes] quhilkis war hardin with the hetis of the semer

b. fig. 1490 Irland Mir. I 46/12.
Bot the gros froitis of oure prebend … we sall resaue in the faire somere to cum … in the hevinly cite aboue

3. In Doug., translating L. æstas, the summer season, that part of the year from March to September, put for the whole year. 1513 Doug. i v 65.
Quhen thre someris … And thre wynteris he rungyn has all haill Fra tyme [etc.]
1513 Doug. i xi 123.
For now the sevynt symmyr hyddir careis thé … errant throu euery land

4. attrib., passing into adj.: Occurring or produced in, characteristic of, suitable or appropriate to the summer.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 177/26.
Thy lustye bewte and thy ȝouth Sall feid as dois the somer flouris
1513 Doug. xiii Prol. 69.
Becaus the symmyr skyis schayn sa cleir
c1590 Fowler I 148/12.
To … Mak wyntar flouers and sommer yce to yeild
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 151.
For the law permits there na mair space nor ane sommer wand [Acts I 334/2 somertane vand] of ane hasel trie
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 126.
There shall be a fair green young garden for Christ in this land, and God's summer dew shall lie on it all the night
(2) 1511 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 106.
Anent bying of somer quhittingis, thai ar alse deir in this cuntre as in Disert
1533 Bell. Livy II 149/8.
Somer fowlis, quhilkis fleis (als sone as hervist cummys) to sum bene hous
1587 Carmichael Etym. 8.
Pelamis, a sommer quhiting
(3) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2355.
It is somer cheis, baith fresche and fair
1597 Oldcambus Acc. fol. 3.
Delyverit to the servands in part payment of thair sumer boll
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 366.
[The usual casualities including a stone of] summer butter with a weather sheep [etc.]
(4) 1504 Treas. Acc. II 435.
For tua Danskin skinnis, to be somer hos for the Quene
1505 Treas. Acc. III 102.
ij½ elne Franch blak to be ane somir goun to the Erle of Murray
1536 Treas. Acc. VI 280.
To James Litiljohne cordinar to begarie ane pair symmir buttis to the Kingis grace
1567 Edinb. Test. I 89b.
Aucht scoir … skynnis twa part symmer and thrid part winter skynnis
(5) 1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I 290.
To the myllars at the laying in of the symmar dam
1565 Conv. Burghs II 480.
That the symer marcattis hald fra sex houris in the morning to xj houris at none
a1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii 10.
Stanche my fyking, and stryd my lyking, Ar semely hewis For sommer play
1579–80 Crail B. Ct. MS 8 March.
Andro Dauidsoun is decernit to resaue in his boit and company ane man pertenyng to Andro Bykartoun to the somar labour duryng his lyftyme
1618 Aberd. Council Lett. I 161.
The hurt sustenit be the merchands treddaris with woll in our symmer fairis
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I 232.
Exacting of the lieges greater toll and custume at the symmer mercatts
1637 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 458.
Twa lang summer carrages … and tua lang carrages
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 652.
By the decaying of the Lambmes drave and sumer fishing yeirlie … ther conditione is become verie miserable
1671 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 99.
The forsaid persons … hes dissoredrlie removed themsells ther goods and geir … to my great skaith and damadge quhilk at this tyme your petitioner cannot estimat in regaird of my daylie sumer and harvest service now ensewing
1672 Edinb. B. Rec. X 122.
The great and heavie prejudice that will result to the good toun by taking away the somer sessione [sc. of the Court of Session]
(6) a1578 Pitsc. I 228/15.
Wpoun ane summar morning a lyttill efter the day breaking
a1578 Pitsc. I 229/31.
Frome the sone ryssing quhill the sone ȝeid to in ane lang sommer day
1616 Shetland Witch Trial in Dalyell Darker Superst. 118.
In ane somer morneing, earlie befoir the sone
1484 Acta Aud. *147/2.
The proffit of the fisching of the somerdais tyde of the ȝare of Finlastone with men bait & net

b. possess. (In) (a, the) sumeris day (nicht, tide). Also with qualifying adj. 1456 Hay I 282/33.
His visage apperit to thame as the sonne in someris day, brycht
a1497, 15.. Gray MS vi 62.
In summeris day full oft is seen [etc.]
1513 Doug. v v 56.
The eddyr amyd the way Lurkand or glydand, in the hait symmyrris day
1513 Doug. vi xi 57.
In schene symmeris tyde
1513 Doug. xii Prol. 93 (Sm.).
Als far as catal, the lang symmeris day, Had in thar pastur eyt and knyp away
1513 Doug. xiii Prol. 158 (Ruddim.).
The signe of Sagittary, That walkis the someris nycht
a1568 Bann. MS 266a/2.
Aboif the sone in mydis of someris day
a1568 Scott xiv 18.
How far … Passis … somersday the nichtis hiemaill
c1650 Spalding I 41.
The like wes neuer sein ane boit to perish betuixt Brunt Iland and Leith in ane fair symmeris day

c. Summer terme, the period of the summer. 1675 Cunningham Diary 54.
To my man for his bountie shoos for the summer terme 1675, £2

d. Summer solstice, the time, around 21st June, when the sun is furthest from the equator. 1549 Compl. 37/28.
In the xxv degre of the sing of Gemini, distant fiue degreis fra oure symmyr solstice, callit the borial tropic of Cancer

e. fig. Summer loan, a temporary or transitory occurrence. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 223.
Let your children be as so many flowers borrowed from God: if the flower die or wither, thank God for a summer loan of them

5. In special combs. a. Somer-castell, a movable tower; ? a pavilion. b. Symmerhill, the site in Glasgow where courts of perambulation of the marches were held at particular seasons of the year (e.g. Whitsun, Midsummer). Also attrib. c. Sommer girs, summer grazing. d. Somer scheill, a shieling, an expanse of summer grazing including a herd's hut. Also, such a hut itself. Also, symmer scheling, the action or activity of pasturing animals in such a place in summer. e. Somer meill, meal for use until harvest. f. Simmer tre, a pole decked with flowers erected for the celebration of summer festivities. g. Symmar feild, ? a field where games or sports are played in summer. h. Summer-blink, a short spell of sunshine in dull weather.a. c1420 Wynt. ix 1264.
The Kyng, in his swmyr castelle That all this jowrne sene had welle
1460 Hay Alex. 4188.
Ane somer-castell stout Quhare wele ane thousand men micht fecht in rout
1460 Hay Alex. 13970.
And oliphantis quhilk sommer-castellis beris
1460 Hay Alex. 4208.
And in the somer-castell pas he wald To pruffe his fortoun
1505 Treas. Acc. III 140.
To the men that bikyrrit the somir castell, be the Kingis command
b. 1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I 13.
The court of perambulatioun of the merchis … haldyn at the mylnedam … Certane turris castin vpone the Symmerhill be quhom we misknaw. Item ane marche stane tane awaye of the Symmerhill and brocht doun ane greit space inwith the commone
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I 15.
The menstrales continewit quhill the Symmerhill quhen the haill communitie salbe present to geve thair votis thairanent
1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I 16.
The court of perambulatioun of marches … haldin at the Symmerhill
1578 Glasgow B. Rec. I 69.
That all sik honest men … sall [come] to ryd [sc. the marches] that daye as vse wes … and this act to be publist at the Symmerhill
1590 Glasgow B. Rec. I 152.
It is statut … for the observatioun of the Sabboth day that the raid of the Somerhill salbe continewit till the twentie thrie day of Junii
attrib. 1601 Glasgow B. Rec. I 223.
That the haill inhabitantis … salbe in redynes with thair armour on futte wpoun Weddinsdaye mornyng being the Symmerhill daye
c. 1531–2 Reg. Soltre 196.
The … sext part of the land of the Blair … will steide for part of hors corne and part of sommer girs nocht put in this compute
d. 1576 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 19.
That na tennent or cottar lat doun thair somer scheillis vnder the pane of xl s.
1593 Reg. Privy C. V 589.
Be … pasturing of thair bestiall … upon the saidis landis, bigging of symmer sheillis thairupoun
1606 Crim. Trials II 519.
Vnderstanding … Thomas to haif bene in his somer-scheill besyde the fellis
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 65.
Ane ile [sc. Staffa] … utter fyne for storme and symmer and wynter scheling also
e. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxix 30 (B).
Lairdis in silk harlis to the eill For quhilk thair tennentis sald somer meill
1595 Davidson A Memorial of the Life & Death of Two Worthye Christians p. 25 in Maidment The Poetical Remains of Mr. John Davidson (1829).
Syne hes their sommer maill to by, Wherefore they man sell sheep and ky
f. 1555 Acts II 500/1.
Gif ony wemen or vthers about simmer treis singand makis perturbatioun to the quenis liegis
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I 270.
Bocht iij dosoun fyrsparis to mak symmer treis with birkis about thame on the Nether Bow
g. 1566–7 Edinb. B. Rec. III 229.
To caus steik the gret yet on the est syde of the kirk yaird sua that the laddis get na interes to mak the samyn ane symmar feild and to brek the glas windokkis
h. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 162.
Yet I am in this hot summer-blink with the tear in my eye

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"Somer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Mar 2024 <>



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