Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Swer(e, Sweir(e, Swear(e, v. Also: suer(e, sueir(e, sweyr, sweer, su(e)ar. P.t. swer(e, sweir, sweyr, suer, sueir, sueyr(e, suear, schweir, swar(e, swair, suar(e, suair, swir, swor(e, suor(e, swoir, suoir, swoyr, swour, suowr, suure, swoore, sour. P.p. sworn(e, suorn(e, schorne, swoirne, sworyng, swarne, swuorne, sswern, suirne, sowerne, sowrine, sourin, syoern, sorne, soorne. [ME and e.m.E. swerien (c1200), suer (Cursor M.), swere(n (Chaucer), swear (1509), p.t. sweor (Layamon), swor (c1250), suor (c1290), suare (Cursor M.), swore (Chaucer), p.p. i)sworen (Ancr. R.), suorn (Cursor M.), y)sworn (c1330), sworne (Chaucer), i)swore (Trevisa), suore (Gower), OE swerian, p.t. swór (also, swerede), p.p. -sworen (also, -swaren).]

1. tr. To take or utter (an oath (Athe n. 1) or vow, also, a lie or false oath); to confirm or assent to (something) by solemn assertion; to make a solemn and binding promise or agreement; esp. to confirm ((the truth of) a state of affairs) as a witness, adjudicator or participant; also in trivial circumstances (cf. 5 below).Also const. to a person with promissory force as to a particular matter or specif. guaranteeing allegiance.Also const. with regard to the subject matter of the oath.Also const. clause object, infinitive, and of phrase.For further examples of to swere the gret athe, see Gret adj. 1 (8), Grete adj. 1 (7) and Grit adj. 1 (5).(1) 1375 Barb. xix 296.
The erle his ayth has suorn then ‘We sall fecht [etc.]’
c1420 Wynt. viii 927.
The gret ath That thai swor in till lawte
c1420 Ratis R. 997.
Luf nocht gretly aithis to swere
14.. Burgh Laws c. 69 (A).
Na childe that is within elde sal suer athe na ber witnes in burgh
1456 Peebles B. Rec. I 118.
The balyeis chardit hym to tak a nechbur on ilk hand onsuspekit and swer the gret ath
1456 Hay I 265/12 (see b below). a1500 Seven S. 203.
Schir be this buke And all the athis that may be sworne He spak full weile
1514 Facs. Nat. MSS III xi.
Ane certane of famous … and vnsuspek persouns … chosin the greit aitht suorn
1533 Gau 13/7.
Thay sine aganis this command that … sweris ony fals aith
1551 Hamilton Cat. 63.
Thai that sweris ane lesing mainsueris thame self
1627 Rep. Parishes 134.
He ministrat vnto thame the aith … Quhilk aith they swoore and thairefter declairit and ansuerit … as efter followes
(2) c1420 Wynt. v 5245.
Till Saynt Serffe … wes he broucht. That schepe, he sayd, that he stall noucht. … thare-till for to swere an athe, He sayd, that he wald noucht be lathe
14.. Burgh Laws c. 79 (B).
The aldyrman and the bailes … sal swere the ath to the kyng [etc.]
1539 Reg. Cupar A. II 3.
Thir witnes … being exeminet vpoun the divisioun of the Monk myre … deponis, vpoun thair aitht sworn thairto, as efter followis
c1590 Fowler I 354/11.
To thé ther solempne vowes they swere
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi 772.
For to thé one his autere The gret ath sal I swere, That [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 468.
Sa that thu To me wil suere ane ath now, That thu sal neuir fra me depart
c1420 Wynt. viii 4238.
He … swore mony ane awfull athe, That he suld nevyre rest … Quhill [etc.]
1425 Liber Melros 544.
The qwylke sayd personis swor the gret ath the haly ewangell twechyt that thai suld lely and trewly … make perambulacion
14.. Acts I 357/2.
Thai sall swer the gret athe that thai sall thar of suth say and na suth layne
1456 Peebles B. Rec. I 118.
Wilyam Peblys swer the gret ath be hys wittyng he auch hym nother gold na siluer
1460 Lindores A. 159.
The said Wylȝeam and his wyf … swoyr the gret bodily atht … that [etc.]
c1475 Wall. iv 135.
Gret ayth thai gert him suer, That he … suld no freindschipe him ber
a1570-86 Dunb. in Maitl. F. 64/86.
The rest of craftis grit ethis swair Thair wark and craft had na compair
1518 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 48.
Margret Duncan … suor the gret aitht that Jhone Jaksoun deliverit to her … v furlatis of bere
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 107.
I ken ane man, quhilk swoir greit aithis, How he did lift ane kittokis claithis
(4) 1389 Wemyss Chart. 25.
And til there thyngys al and syndry lelily and fermly to be fulfyllyt … bath the partys … the gret ath … has sworn
1391 Lennox Mun. 44.
The quhilk thingis … leleli to kepe … the forsaid Erlez … has sworn thare bodily athis apone the haly euangellis
1456 Hay II 105/36.
Thaire kingis and princis suore grete aithis to kepe thai bandis and condiciounis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2865 (Bann.).
Bot gife thow sueir to me the murthour aith But frawd or gyle, to bring me our this flude
1601 Prestwick B. Rec. 85.
The quhilkis personis … suoir the greit aith to do thair dewtie in thair officeis
(5) c1420 Wynt. vii 974.
On the Circumcysiowne day This athe off fewte thare swore thai
1541 Elgin Rec. I 63.
Allexander Malcome … sueir his ayth of fidelate to this brucht
1544 Stirlings of Keir 382.
The aith of calumnia is my saule to suere
?1578 Warrender Illustr. Sc. Hist. 8.
I suoir his ath of coronation

b. intr., absol. or ellipt.pres. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 43 (B).
Gyf it be a knycht and deny his det he may put his stewart for hym and his bailes to swere for hym
14.. Acts I 389/2.
Quhat euer he be that is brocht to suer in pruff of land he aw to suer that he sal nocht say fals [etc.]
1456 Hay I 265/14.
Here speris the doctour quhethir the campiouns … suld suere ane athe … And as be the first advys, he haldis that thai aw nocht to suere
1456 Hay II 105/22.
It is aganis gude thewis … to suere, bat gif … a man be with grete instaunce requerit … be the justiceris
1456 Hay II 105/26.
For a king sulde nocht lychtly suere na hecht nathing bot that he will halde
c1460 Consail Vys Man 378.
Suer neuir bot thow compellyt bee For leif to suere is leif to lee
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1216 (Ch.).
The arbiteris than did sweir full plane [H. sweirand plane] The sentence gaif and proces fulminat
1494 Loutfut MS 3b.
The iiii keparis that ar ordanit to be heraris in the listes suld suer in this maner We sic men sweris and affermys … that we sal nocht do nor say [etc.]
1532 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 64.
Gif he comperit and refusit to sueyr and mak faitht heyrintill and answer
1551 Hamilton Cat. 62.
I say to yow sweir nocht alutterly (that is to say, sweir nocht without verite, rychteousnes and discretioun
1571 Inverness Rec. I 200.
Quhilk the procuratouris … referrit to his ayth, quha refusit to sweyr
1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 356.
In the ninth commandment, if ye remembered it, ye would not swear so oft as ye do at your bargains making, but singly say, This I gave for it
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 121b.
Ane burges sall purge himselfe against the King … be his awin eath and the eath of ten men swearand with him
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 140b.
Quha may sweare be his awin eath, gif he hes na witnes
1639 Fugitive Poetry II xv 1/1.
As Jacobs tribes with Josua did sweir Whole Juda with Jehojada renewed Their oath to God
p.t. 1505 Perth Guildry 471-2.
That tyme that we suer in the tolbuytht and gaiff in our prommys
1544 Fraser P. 154.
The jugis forsaids & overman sueyr & tuik the matter on thaim
1570 Leslie 94.
Quhen we suare last befoir his [sc. the King's] ambassade in presens of oure counsall we expressit speciallie in oure aithe that [etc.]

c. tr., specif. To affirm (allegiance) to a person (also with indirect object); to confirm or assent to (a peace treaty or truce); to agree to (a covenant or other mutual action).(1) 1375 Barb. iii 757.
Off all Rauchryne bath man & page Knelyt and … swour him fewte
14.. Burgh Laws c. 2 (A).
Quhat euer he be is maid new burges … first he sall suer feute to the lorde king [etc.]
14.. Acts I 35/2.
The criouris sal be chosyn communly … and thai sal suer fewte to the Kyng
1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 124.
The inhabitants of St. Andrews … do … sweare fealtie and lawteth to the archbishop as lord of the regalitie
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 569, 578, 591, 593.
Apone the next … day … it was maid … Of the pees to hold & swere … Pryame … and the Gregeois trewly The pece for to hold sekyrly Eftre the fourme of sacrament Swore … He that swerys craftely Mansweris craftely for-thy And as this Dyomedes sware [etc.]
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 598.
Pryame not fenȝeandly, But absolute and lelelye … swore the pees
1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
It is well knawin that trewis war tane & sworne o late betwix the rewmys of Ingland & Scotlande
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 308.
We … sueris and promeissis ane cessatioun and abstinence from hostilitie
(3) ?1438 Alex. ii 2852.
Than was that iorney thame amang Vndertane and sworne with aithis strang
1639 Spalding I 219.
Quhair as … his Majestie did not approve the lait pretendit assemblie … yit … thay press the subiectis to subscrive the approbatioun thairof, and to sueir the samen
1644 Acts VI i 129/1.
That his Majestie … may be pleased to sweir and signe the late solemne league and covenant
c1650 Spalding I 260.
Thay behovit to cum in sueir and subscrive the covenant befoir thay war put to libertie
1657 Balfour Ann. IV 61.
[His Majesty] had solemly suorne and subscriued the couenant

2. To make a promise or undertaking on oath; to vow. a. Const. infinitive. Also const. to (a person). Also ellipt. b. Const. clause object. c. Const. indefinite noun.a. (1) pres. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 79 (B).
Thai sal swere to kepe the customys of the toune
1456 Hay I 125/1.
Quhen the man makis homage to the baroun or othir lord, he sueris to be with him agaynis all persone that may dee and lyve
c1500 Halyb. xxii.
For werite of the samen caus [I] sweris to gyf in wriit and ask fra the samen Androw nother hail nor rest of ony som [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy I 2/16.
Brutus … gart the pepill with mychty aithis swere Neuer with kingis eftir to be gidit
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 3.
They quha hes milns … sall haue … mil-knaves, quha sall swere to be … trew to the lord of the land
(b) 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1079.
We salbe to ȝow trew, … and sweir tyll fulfyll hir intent
1535 Stewart 1488.
I hald it but ane scorne To sueir to da the thing we brek the morne
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3270.
Heir I sweir … Ȝow to releif within schort space
1570 Sat. P. xv 107.
Ȝe … That sweir oft to manteine the King
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xvii 87.
On lovis book, my self I sueir … Ȝour bundman, til obey ȝou
(c) 1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 249.
p.t. 1375 Barb. xiii 564.
He left the Inglis-mennys pes And to the lord Dowglas rycht thar For to be lele & trew he swar
(b) 1513 Doug. iv viii 34.
I neuer swair With the Grekis the Troianys to distroy
a1585 Maitl. Q. 254/27.
Thow … suair … With me to rest and die assuird
(c) 1572–3 Reg. Privy C. II 209.
The quhilk to do … he … solempnitlie sweir in the presence of God
1589–90 Reg. Privy C. IV 453.
Thay … in eithnik and barbarous maner, sweir to defend the authouris of the said murthour
(d) 1579 St. A. Kirk S. 443.
[They] swoir to observe the sam in all pointtis
p.p. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 579.
Dyomed has furst sworne the pees Wnfenȝheandly to hold
1456 Hay I 248/3.
Gif the kingis of Fraunce and Ingland hafe maid trewis suorne to be kepit
ellipt. 1596 Dalr. I 343/22.
Edward requires him to keip his promise as he had suorne
(2) a1500 Bk. Chess 315.
This duke … swor till him to hald him than weile mor In tendernes than euer he did befor
b. (1) pres. 1375 Barb. i 74.
He suld swer that, but fenȝeyng, He suld that arbytre disclar
?1438 Alex. ii 2145.
And he sall swere ȝow be Venus, Cupid and Mercurius, … That he sall na chaip this maner
?1438 Alex. ii 5458.
And I avow and sueris baith That I sall haue thyne helm of steill
14.. Burgh Laws c. 76 (A).
Na lytstar na fleschwar may be at gilde merchandise bot gif he suer that he sal nocht doo his craft with his awn propyr handis bot his serwandis vndir him
14.. Acts I 43/2.
The mare … of that ilk burgh sal ger xii of the lelest burges … suer be thair gret athe that all the lawys … thai sal ȝeme and mantene
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1045.
Sall neuer sege vndir son se me with schame, … I swere be suthfast God
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2025.
Ȝit sall I sweir suppois it be nocht neid … I sall be treu to ȝou quhill I be deid
1494 Loutfut MS 3b (see 1 b). 1534 Acts Sederunt i 23.
That ane man of gude conscience … be chosin … quhem ye sall caus sweire that he sall [etc.]
a1568 Bann. MS 163a/21.
Vmff quod the helandman & swere be ȝon kirk Sa lang as I may geir gett to steill will I nevir wirk
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1471 (Wr.).
We sweare By him, before whom we appeare, Our full intent is now [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I 320/17.
Makpendir sueiris that he sal … and gyues him his hand thairto
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 99.
Thow sweir that if thi mother war tene, thow suld gar the said Mr. Andro die
1638 Nat. Covenant in Facs. Nat. MSS III xcvii.
Wee promise and sweare that we shall … with our meanes and lifes stand to the defence of our dread soveraigne
1641 Rep. Maxwell-Stuart Mun. 33.
Sweering that … we shall contribute ane with ane other in an vnimous and joynt way
p.t. 1375 Barb. i 165.
The tothir … swar That he suld have it neuir-mar
1375 Barb. i 571.
1375 Barb. xvii 665.
1375 Barb. xx 135.
At this tale suld lelely Be haldin, all the lordis swar [: thar] And it with selys affermyt
?1438 Alex. i 963.
The knychtis of Grece … suore that nane suld vthir faill
?1438 Alex. ii 312.
The king … swore be God and all his micht That wele him semed ane knicht to be
c1475 Wall. v 864.
He … swour he suld be wengit on that deid
a1500 Seven S. 1976.
Scho … swor opynly That thai suld neuer be but baile
1533 Boece 605b.
The barouns swair thai suld perpetualie obserue this rite of successioun
p.p. 1375 Barb. iii 96.
Thai had sworn … That thai suld dey or then hym sla
1558-66 Knox II 437.
Saule … had sworne be the leving God that Jonathan sould die
(2) pres. a1400 Leg. S. xix 497.
Bot be myn godis I swere ȝou til, … Ded in hard payne ȝe sal haf
a1500 Seven S. 1752.
He … To the empriour has said & sworne At the secound port fynd ȝe may Alsmekle [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 233.
I dar God suer Scho suld not stert for his straik a stray breid of erd
1549 Compl. 15/20.
I sueir to theé (Kyng Anthiocus) be the god Mars, that gyf ony persone vald speir at me [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1103.
I sweir ȝow heir, be Pater and be Paull, In ȝour keping ȝe haue my lyfe and saull
1603 Philotus 577.
Ȝow mon first to me sweir, That ȝe to me sall do na deir
p.t. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxii 38.
He … said and swoir to hir be God, That he suld nocht twich hir prenecod
p.p. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts ii 30.
God had suorn to him, that of the fruit of his leynd suld aan sit on his sete
c. a1500 Rauf C. 435.
I rid thow at bidding be, be all that we haue sworne
1567 G. Ball. 91.
Quhateuer he sweir to ony man, or say, His promeis he will keip

3. To affirm or declare something by an oath; to assert by oath the truth of a statement. a. Const. clause object with or without that.(1) pres. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 22 (A).
The witnes sall suer that suth is that thai ber witnes of it
14.. Acts I 49/2.
Gar thaim suer at thai wate not na knawys na thyng of the stelyng of that mone
1456 Hay I 265/33.
And the tothir sueris that he trowis till have rycht defens
c1490 Irland Asl. MS 20/29.
Outwith confessioun he may say and swere he wate nocht of the thing that he herd in confessioun
a1538 Abell 7*b.
Lordis of Ingland swerand … quhat payn tha incurrit
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 119.
Euerilk tyke dois me doun thring … And sweris I serue na vther thing, Bot in ane helter to be hangit
1549 Compl. 104/12, 15.
For the Scottis men that duellis in the southt part of Ingland thai suere and menteinis that thai var borne in the northt part … and Scottis men that duellis in … the northt of Ingland thai man suere and menteine that thai var borne in Kynt schire [etc.]
(b) a1500 Henr. Garmont 38.
I durst sweir by my seill That scho woir nevir grene nor gray That set hir half so weill
1517 Buchan Cl. II 135.
We refer the samyne in that point to the said Deyne Wilyamis atht, and gif he sweyr that it wes not hed of tollerence
(c) 1665 Inverness Rec. II 224.
That the magistrats and counsell shall suar upon oath quhatt persons did draw ther blood
p.t. a1400 Leg. S. vii 395.
Than swer Abnen, that he kend nocht The crafte
1456 Peebles B. Rec. I 118.
Wilyam Peblys swer … he auch hym nother gold na siluer
1510 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 96.
Alexander Gray … requirit be his aitht deponit and suer that he had giffin parcial counsaile
1517 Wigtown B. Ct. 62a.
Johne Adair sueyr at thair was viii cronys be hind of the price of the thre bollis of malt
1526 Wigtown B. Ct. 174a.
1540 Elgin Rec. I 54.
Janet Findlay sweyr … that William Smyth pait na greischip maill quhen he enterit with hyr achenpart
1566 Lanark B. Rec. 33.
Archibald rafarit the samin to Thomas aith, quhay sueir in jugement he never had hir in possessioun of gersing
1638 Lundie Poems 39.
My mother … My father … Not only said, bot suear I was not borne for that
(b) 1574 St. A. Kirk S. 394.
Johne Chaeplen … swair and maid faitht that he nevir maid promis of mareage to hir
1627 Dumbarton B. Rec. 13.
The said William swar he tuchit him on the mouth
1700 Minnigaff Par. Rec. 42.
He over again suare he defyed him
(c) c1475 Wall. vi 480.
Sum bad byrn him, sum hang him in a cord Thai swor that he had dissawit thair lord
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 168/41.
Ane fleschour swoir be the sacrament … Nevir fatter flesch saw man with e
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxiv 56.
Ane browstar swoir the malt wes ill
1531 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 20.
The sayd Janet … swoyr on ane bwk be hyr gret aetht that [etc.]
1569 Lanark B. Rec. 47.
a1578 Pitsc. I 41/8.
The chanceleir suore be his great aith and hailie sacrament thair was [etc.]
1589 Berw. Nat. C. XXI 273.
Mair he swoir he laccit i ald sow and thre hogis
(d) 1457 Peebles B. Rec. I 120.
1584 Cal. Sc. P. VII 106.
1700 Minnigaff Par. Rec. 39.
(e) 1568 St. A. Kirk S. 310.
Margaret … referrit to hir aitht gyf it was to the said Henry, swir that it was to hym
ellipt. 1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 50.
The said Duncan suor the hors his and wranguslie tane fra him
(2) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2147.
I sweir thé be my thrift I trou ȝone cadgear carll dow not me beir
1513 Doug. vi vii 71.
Be the goddis abone to thé I swer, … Trewth may be fund deip vndir erd

b. Const. object and infinitive. Also ellipt. 1598 Edinb. B. Rec. V 218.
He … schweir the samyn to be his awin proper geir
1629 Justiciary Cases I 140.
Margaret Reid … quha swoir the samyn to be of verritie
1632 Justiciary Cases I 212.
With Elspeth Nisbet hir sister quha be thair grit aithes suoir the first article of dittay to be of verritie
c1650 Spalding II 288.
He first himself sueir and subscrivit the same to be lauchfull
ellipt. 1526 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 81.
Helyne Jamesone to sweir the pot hiris and tak it to hir

c. Const. pronoun or indefinite or anaphoric noun, also with dependent clause or qualifying adjective. ?1438 Alex. ii 2468.
I dar this swere baith nicht and day
1483 Acta Conc. II cxxxiii.
Samekle as the men that laboris the grund will suere and mak faith that was sawin
1490 Irland Mir. II 109/22.
It that ony leill man sueris resonable he suld keip
1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 386.
And refusit til swere the sammyn
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xvi 47.
Sum gettis giftis and riche arrayis, To sweir all that his maister sayis
1517 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 43.
To comper … and suer quhat James is awand him
1524–5 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 75.
That the lard of the Shawe suld paye to Jok Thomesone xvii d. … and geif Jok Thomsone sweir it mair geff it to his greit aitht and paye hyme
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 100.
Thair is na thing that Jhone of Ladlaw sweiris that is leill in the self bot I vyll sweir the samyn leill and trewe
1532 Selkirk B. Ct. MS 161a.
The forsaid James suar [ed. sueir] it in plane covrt

d. reflex. Also, to swere (oneself) bare (man), to proclaim oneself needy, indigent or unable to pay one's debts. Also in fig. context. (Cf. Bareman n.).See also to swere (oneself) mane (Mane adv.).(1) 1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 410.
The tresspassouris being apone the Bordouris that made faith and swere thame self clene and innocent
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 86.
James and Cristeane … to sweir thaim sakles art and part … of the forsaid sword
15.. Sym & Bruder 93.
Symme swair him: ‘Ȝe meit nocht bot ȝe myr him'
(2) 1575 Murray Early B. Organ. I 323.
[A debtor] offerit to sueir him bair that he hes na kynd of guddis wortht v s. nor may get ony to pay the dett
1581–2 Waus Corr. 237.
For he may at this present proclame and sweir him selff beir man at every mercat croce
fig. 1638 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 558.
Let us then proclaim a free market for Christ, and swear ourselves bare, and cry on Him to come without money and buy us … and let us be Christ's free-boarders

4. To value (the price of) goods, damage, etc. by oath. Also reflex., const. to the price. Also intr. or absol. 1462–3 Misc. Spald. C. V 23.
Gif … Will Modan that day can nocht bring … a man to suer with him quhat at the sponys war of wail [etc.]
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 90.
We ordand Woll Loremer to sweir the price of his sek quhilk vas tint
1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 163.
Male Bellenden to sweir hir skayth that scho had of hir quheit be evyll garneryng of hyme to pay it that scho sweiris
reflex. 1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 88.
Wolle Loremer … to pay James Mous for his hors the quhilk James sweir hym to the price of xl s.
1576 Cal. Sc. P. V 216.
Rather claming the heich prices that they had sworne thame unto nor the horsses and guidis thameselffis
intr. or absol. 1600 Reg. Privy C. VI 116.
To make redress … of … certain silk pasments … sworn at £13 6 s. 8 d.
1632 Banff Ann. I 67.
To declair wpone his aithe quhat pryces he haid giwin to the litster … who haweing suorne judiciallie deponit he haid giwin 40 s.

b. tr. To confirm by oath the truth of (the contents of) a document. 1565 Reg. Privy C. I 404.
Havand diverse of thair servandis fylit in the billis of Elname Newtoun … quhilkis billis ar sworne

c. transf. To confirm or assent to an event by an action. 1571 Sat. P. xxvi 120.
Quha dances fastest with him into that ring, To his crowning baith sweir & gaif consent

5. intr. To utter an oath frivolously, as an expression of strong feeling; to use bad language, more generally. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 546.
Ful il did he, Suerand agane cheryte
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 610.
Think … how thow hes failȝeit … lieand, sklanderand, suerand, sawand discord
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 167/11.
Than swoir ane courtȝour mekle of pryd Be Chrystis windis [= wounds] [etc.]
a1570-86 Dunb. in Maitl. F. 62/2.
I did heir the commowne peiple bane and sweir
1533 Gau 13/1.
Thay sine aganis this command that sweris lichtlie without necessite
1564 Reg. Privy C. I 298.
The law of God dois expreslie prohibit to sweir and tak His name in vane … yit that vyce is sa commoun [etc.]
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 69/6.
To be breif he tuik sic greif That deiplie he did sweir
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 884 (Wr.).
Then Will … Ran ramping, swearing, rude and rape
a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 62.
Fra ye begin anis for to sweir Yowr rychttusnes sall be forgeitt
1594 Edinb. B. Rec. V 119.
Quhair thai fynd any flesheour wyffes of the landmerket flyting, banning or sweyring that thai puneis thame
1613 Conv. Burghs II 430.
To caus hing ane box above ilk ane of the eitting taibles, and caus ilk ane quha sweires pay to the box thrie gritt
a1658 Durham Commandments (1675) 110.
Hence it is that men so often swear, curse, fret, and exclaim at these games at cards, dice, etc.
1697 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 215.
[He confessed that] he sometimes swear in his wrath

b. tr. To utter as an oath or imprecation. a1570-86 Dunb. in Maitl. F. 63/81.
The fiche wyfis flet and swore thair menis
1596 Dalr. I 282/5.
That na man take the name of God in vane, sueiring ony athe

6. passive. To be bound by an oath, to be put on oath in some regard, esp. as a witness or judge in a dispute, etc. 1496 Acta Conc. II 8.
The Lords Auditouris … ordanis … maa witnes to be summond, … and the party [to] be warnit to heire thaim swuorne
1498–9 Acta Conc. II 322.
Thir persons underwritin … jugis arbitouris … to keip the sade place at the day of warnyng and … tak the sade mater apone thame as thai ar sworne
1508 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 113.
It is statute … that na fremen … consele … ony vnfremenis guidis … vnder the pane [etc.] … besyde the violatione of his aith becaus he is suorne in the contrare the tyme of his first creacione
1512 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 16.
David Browne sayis as he was sworne of befor that the kerk as it is begone is maist convenient to be completit
1525 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 75.
Jhone of Murraye … , pertenand to nother of the parteis, restit and sworn, depones [etc.]
1535 Aberd. B. Rec. MS 32a.
Sandris Ratray and Iohne Suddirland sorne and examinit in iugment
1556 Perth Guildry 304 (18 Aug.).
Andro Schoir beand callit … at the instance of Johne Gaw for the missaying … of him … quhilk wes warifeit be certane famous witnes suirne & admittit
1649 Dumfries Kirk S. 19 Jan.
Being deeplie suorne anent the forcing of Margaret Lorimer her handmaid … be the said Andro Ogilbie

b. To tak (a person) sworn, to administer an oath to. 1612 Aberd. Council Lett. I 115.
To chuis twa honest men in the paroche and to tak thame sworne in presence of ane notarie
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. 18.
The said judge tuik suorne the saidis four newtrall men and to cognose and decyde

c. Const. to (till, wnto) (1) a person, etc. owed allegiance, also at a person's faith, (2) the matter under judgement by an arbiter, (3) the rules of a craft guild. 1619 Proceedings Assemblie Holden at Perth in 1618 2.
Without formall voting or lyte he tooke him sworne and admitted him clerk
(1) c1420 Wynt. viii 2488.
To tak wengeans Off thaim that made dystrowblans Off the kyng off Inglandis men Sworne in Scotland till hym then
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2359.
And I wer sworne ȝow to Ȝe suld nane vther counsell haue for me
c1475 Wall. vii 870.
The blessit men, that was off Scotland borne, Fwnde at his faith Wallace gert thaim be sworn
c1515 Asl. MS I 192/4.
The Saxonis war falslie sworne to the Bretonnis and bundyn to tham
1561 Dumfries B. Ct. 13b.
He sall ws his office dewlie as he is sowrine thairto as effers
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 181 (G).
Thai sall … wailȝeantlye tewlȝae wnder his baner, quheirto thai ar sworne the day off thair baptyme
(2) 1424 Acts II 8/2.
In the low landis quhare the scaithis done may be kende ande the tresspassour be of power to mak amendis … that thar be chosyn gude men & lele suorn tharto to modify amendis efter the qualite … of the person [etc.]
1430 Raine N. Durham App. 110.
The quilkis bodyly sworne and avisit with otherris aldmen sworne therto
1488–9 Reg. Paisley 406.
To tak the said deliverance on thaim and to be sworn therto leyllily and thrwly
(3) 1650 Glasgow Wrights Acts 7.
All the members of the croft … sall obey all laufull ordouris from him [sc. the deacon] as that which they ar sworne wnto att thair admissione to be friemen within the croft

d. Suthorne suorne, = c (1). See Southern n. 1. 1581 Sat. P. xliv 154.
Blak and Cahoune, … Sincere vagabundis, and outlauis suthorne suorne

e. Const. to do (something).(a) 1398 Acts I 211/1.
Efter his power all the thyngis that the kynge … wes suorne for til do
1456 Wemyss Chart. 74.
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2311.
Now I am iuge amycabill Ȝe sall be sworne to stand at my decreit
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2314.
On the toddis taill sworne thay ar to stand
1488 Red Bk. Grandtully I 170.
We … beand sworne and oblist to deliuer tharapon eftir oure vnderstanding, lawteis and guegment
1521 Grant Chart. 66.
Donald and Alexander ar swarne, … in affald kyndnes … in wnite, pache and concord athir othir to defend
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 24.
I am sworne that for to schaw
1550 St. A. Baxter Bks. 6.
Thay ar sourin … to stand ferme & stabyll with thair decane in all thingis
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii 52.
Thay war … sworne … for to gif sentence clene, For fauour or feid
1565 Edinb. Univ. MS La.iii.388a, 5b.
The aduocattis admittit to pley befoir thame salbe suorne to exerce thait office of aduocatioun diligentlie and treulie
a1578 Pitsc. I 191/13.
He wald stand at thair counsall so thay wald be sworne to tak his pairt heirin
1573-1600 Burne Disput. in Cath. Tr. 115/29.
Being suorne to iudge … vithout feir fead, or fauore
1629 Linlithgow B. Rec. 24 April.
They ar suorne nocht to conceill any wnfrieman's guidis wnder culour of thair awin
(b) 1531 Stirlings of Keir 341.
Neutrall vnsuspek … personis … to dissyde … anentis all … hurttis, domagis, skaithis, [etc.] … betuix the saidis parteis … and the saidis parteis … to be schorne to fulfill the samin

f. Const. noun clause. 1429 15th Rep. Hist. MSS App. viii 10.
At all thir condycyonis … be trewly kepyd, baithe … partys ar bodely sworne
1448 Acts I 350/2.
The hail lordis and bordouraris he gert bodily be suorne that thai suld mantene and supple him at ther gudlie power
1476 Reg. Cupar A. I 225.
And at al the pwntis forsaid be lelely and treuly kepit he is sworn vpon the haly ewangel
1476 Peebles B. Rec. I 181.
The lynoris sworn on the samyng grond the gret ath that thai suld lyn met and part thai twa forsaid landis ewynly betwex the said personis
1490 Thanes of Cawdor 74.
1514 Aberd. B. Rec. I 90.
The samyn personis to be suorn the gret bodelie aitht, that [etc.]
1519–20 Stirling B. Rec. I 2.
1564 Edinb. Old Acc. I 47.
Discharge … Item Thomas Johnnestoun, becaus the officiar is soorne he can not be gottin [13 s. 4 d.]
1676 Edinb. B. Rec. X 283.
The … baillie … put him in prisone … until he found cawtion … in respect the pairtie wes sworne judiciallie that he dreaded him bodelie herme

7. passive. Inducted into an office, function or position, esp. an assize or inquest, by the administration of an oath.(1) c1420 Wynt. viii 876.
All, … that sworne than was Till that assyse
1456 Perth Guildry 16.
Ane assise of thir personis vnder writtin sworn & chosin be the merchandis in playn court
1475 Edinb. B. Rec. I 31.
Twa masonis and twa wrychtis … sall be sworne quhilkis sall serche and se all wirkis at the craftismen wirkis
1510 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 390.
The quhilkis wes referrit to the inquest suorne in presens of the partyis
1519–20 Stirling B. Rec. I 2.
Allexander Murra, James Merschal [etc.] … prisit this gair, syoern, wnderwrittin
1549 Coll. Aberd. & B. 114.
The said assyse to be chosin and swoirne heirto
1557 Prot. Bk. J. Robeson 179a.
Lynaris suorn & admittit within the sad burcht
1632 Acts V 243/1.
These that ar sworne vpon assysis, attantis, recognitiouns or inquisitiouns
(2) 1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 89.
Jhone Trumbyll … maid burges and sworne thairto
1592 Stirling Merch. Guild 1.
Duncan Patersone is electit, nominat, and choisin den of gild … and is suorne more solito

b. With complement expressing the nature of the function, etc. c1475 Wall. iv 183.
King Eduuardis man he was suorn, of Ingland
1484 Prestwick B. Rec. 30.
The hale comite sworne in ane inquisicioun, chesit [etc.]
a1500 Seven S. 264.
We that ar ȝour counsall sworne
1531 Bell. Boece II 367.
Johne Cumming … come to King Edward, and was sworn his lege man
1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II 240.
Hector Blacader wes suorn and admittit burges and gild
a1578 Pitsc. II 29/21.
The Scottis … war all faine … to tak on the reid crose and to be suorne as natiue subiectis of the King of Ingland
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 11/34.
I thinke ye … would faine sweare your selfe prentise to that craft
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. 17.
Did elect, nominat and sweir William Carmichaell [etc.] … , bailleis

8. intr. To swere by, to appeal to (a person, deity or thing) by way of solemnising an oath.See also previous senses for further examples of this phrase with various constructions. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. xxiii 16.
Quha euir sueris be the tempile of God [etc.]
1533 Boece 81b.
To swere be hand, fute or name of thare capitane
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1943.
Now sweir be thy brunt schinis
1573-1600 King Cat. in Cath. Tr. 212/3, 4.
Sinnes agans the second commandement … to sueir falsly by Gode … to sueire by the Deuil [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I 81/8.
Thir [capitanis] thay holde in sik honour … that thay vsed commounlie to sueir be thair names and handes
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS 118.
In older tymes an ancient custome was To suear in waighty materis by the masse

9. To swere on (a thing). a. To take an oath while touching a sacred book or other object endowed with similar significance. b. = 8 above.a. 14.. Acts I 325/2.
Gif he will suer apon his wapin that he na wyst at that way was forbodyn
a1500 Rauf C. 949.
Thay swoir on thair swordis
1512 Wigtown B. Ct. 5a.
Ony day that he cumys to be ssuern on the mes-bouck
1522 Douglas Corr. 323.
The Erle of Angus is … sworne vpon thevangelyst to the contrarye
1531 Glasgow Prot. IV 37.
[Margaret Watson] sworn on ane halebwk … that scho wes nocht compellit
b. ?14.. Ship Laws c. 8 (H2).
The maistir sall sueir on Goddis halidome … that [etc.]

10. To swere to. a. To promise on oath to observe and abide by (an agreement, principles, etc.). b. To affirm on oath the truth of (a statement).a. 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
In convenable place qwhar the kyng of Ingland may send his messages to se hym swere to this trewis
1594 Bk. Univ. Kirk III 836.
He hes no dispensatioun nor indult to subscryve or sweare to the saids articles
1648 Boharm Kirk S. 17 Dec.
The Solemne League and Covenant was … sworne to and subscryvit be the minister and people
b. a1500 Henr. Fab. 990.
He … at thame speird Geue there wes ony beist in to this eird Absent and thairto gart thame deiplie sweir

11. tr. To swere away, to negate or devalue by frivolous swearing (cf. 5 above). a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS 118.
Having sworne away al faith & troth Only God damn them is ther common oth

12. To swere (someone) out of (something), to coax or cajole someone into parting with something by promises, or the like. 1642 Scots Scouts Discovered 5.
Basing-stoke … a lordly lowne sware me out of ten shillings with his merry conceits of questions and answers

13. In concessive clauses: To assert the contrary, contradict (the statement contained in the main clause). ?1438 Alex. ii 10097.
Out throw the Grecians, thocht thay had suorne, He raid richt to ane hathorne
c1475 Wall. ii 4.
Thi deidis ar knawin thocht that the warld had suorn
c1475 Wall. ii 139.
Thus in thar armys, suppos that he had suorn, Out off the garth befors thai haff him borne
a1500 Seven S. 965.
My son sall de Thocht all the sagis sevyne had sworn
15.. Dum Wyf 124.
For wyffis will haue thair will, Thocht ȝe and I had sworne
a1568 Scott i 134.
Credence is past off promeis, thocht thai sweir
a1665 W. Guthrie Serm. 11 (Jam. s.v. An conj.).
Get enemies the mastery wer Christ as they will He will ay be up again upon them all, an they had sworn't

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Swer v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: