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

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

Thre, Thrie, Three, num. Also: threi, thri, thry, threa, (threif), tre, tra. [ME and e.m.E. þri (a1175), þre (Orm), thre, thrie, tre (all Cursor M.), three (Wyclif), treye (Chaucer), OE þrí (þríe), þrío, þréo, ON þrír.]

A. adj. 1. The cardinal number three, qualifying a noun.(a) 1375 Barb. iv 448.
Off the thre batis drownyt twa
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 839.
I … bocht thre lawis to my fud
c1420 Ratis R. 1127.
The tothir eild … Is fra thre ȝer to vij lestand
c1420 Wynt. ix 971.
Wyth the assent off the thre comownys, Byschapis, burgesses, and barownys
14.. Burgh Laws c. 56 (B).
Thar is thre principale mutys in the yhere
1439 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 6.
And ane of the thre baillies sall laboure heirvpoun in Leith
1449–50 Acts II 35/1.
The kingis … decretis … decretyt be the luftennande and the thre estatis
a1500 Henr. Orph. 262.
Sisteris thre … Alecto, Megera, and Thesiphonee
1483–4 Acta Aud. *134/2.
The said Vmfra sall deliuer & pay to the said Johne ix tidy ky & ix thre ȝere auld
1490 Irland Mir. II 16/20.
And thir thingis ar the infynit power of God the thre persouns in diuinite [etc.]
1504–5 Treas. Acc. II 268.
To the kingis offerand in honour of the thre Kingis, iij Franch crounis
1512 Wigtown B. Ct. 10a.
The vrangus withhaldyn fray him of a threhauld scheip
1549 Compl. 38/2.
The thre borouing dais of Marche
1572 Edinb. Test. 222.
Nyne tuentie tua schilling peice of gold Item half ane thre pund peice
1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 142.
In the yer thair is thre peralis dais in speciall
1590 Crim. Trials I ii 202.
Sche … gaif yow thre drinkis of walter furth of thre stanis
1598 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 18 Oct.
The provest & consall statuts & ordanis that … everie hows that exceids thre personis, sall haif ane therof at the preiching or exerceis, everie day
1603 Crim. Trials II 422.
For cureing of the said Johnne Crystie … in putting of thre silk poyntis … about his waist
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 136/25.
Syne thow gart the orient kingis thrie Offer
1584 Edinb. Test. XIV 48.
Ane Scottis pece of gold with tua faces calliit ane auld thrie pund pece price thairof [£6 10 s.]
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI 214b.
Ane peice of gold callit the braid bonet quhilk is the thrie merk peice of King James the fyftis cunȝe, price thairof iiij li.
1596 Dalr. II 377/6.
The day quhilk we cal the thrie kingis day
1603 Haddington Corr. 210.
My runner meiting ane poist at the thrie myle howss be eist Lithgow
1603 Crim. Trials II 421.
The Devill … gaif him thrie penneis
1609 Argyll Rentals I.
Tua meikle meiris ane ȝeirling and thrie ȝeir auld and thrie thrie ȝeir auldis price vijxx mks.
1617 Acts IV 548/1.
All persounes … convict of drunkines … sall … pay thrie pundis or incace of inhabilitye … to be put in joggis
1622 Falkirk Par. Rec. I 35.
Cristiane sent hir ane thrie schilling piece with hir dochter
1671 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct.) 5 July.
Item aughtein thrie yeir oldis
(c) 1473–4 Yester Wr. 73.
1547 Misc. Spald. C. V 311.
xvj kye, … five three ȝeir alds, price of the peice xl s.
1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 218.
Shee tooke a blacke toade, and did hang the same up by the heeles three daies
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 292.
If ane womane with chyld be accuised, the judge should try the truth be three midwyffes if she be with chyld or not
(d) 1552 Buccleuch Mun. II 210.
The saidis Robert and Jhonn … straik him … threif or four tymes throw the body
(e) 1635 Maxwell Mem. II 256.
My brother, Sir George, got the aixes, which continued threa weeks. So, upon his recovvery [etc.]
(f) 1656 Rothesay B. Rec. 260.
(g) 1679 Fawside Coal Compt 10.
For boreing to the 3 foote [sc. seam]

b. As part of a larger number.Cf. Threscore num. 1375 Barb. xvi 522.
Thre hunder horsyt iolyly
a1400 Leg. S. i 40.
Petir broucht to Cristis fay Thre thowsand men on Witsonday
1398 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 5.
Incarnation of our Lorde a thousand thre hundir nynty & aucht
c1420 Wynt. iv 1826 (C).
And thai al sal noucht excede Thre hundyr ȝhere withe outtyn dreide
a1500 Rauf C. 757.
Ilk ȝeir thre hundreth pund assigne thé I sall
1512 Wigtown B. Ct. 9b.
Ane schip of salt … contenand tre hundyr bollis
1525 Wigtown B. Ct. 201b.
The vrangus haldyne fra hym of tre schore of laid of pettis
1543 Boyd Fam. P. No. 20 (8 May).
1545 Aberd. B. Rec. XIX (Jam.).
Three dossoun and thre goif bawis
1633 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 352.
Thrie dussone of aikin kaberis [£4]
1676 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 243.
Fifitei threi pownd payabel as at Martmes

c. Twa-thre, twa or thre, see Twa num. (= an indefinite small number, a few).

B. 1. absol. and ellipt., passing into noun. 1375 Barb. vi 563 (C).
He bad till his menȝhe … in thre depart thame sone
1375 Barb. vii 444.
Sen ik am ane & ȝe ar thre
1393 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 27.
xxiij day of the moneth of Jule in the yhere of grace m ccc nynety and thre
1460 Hay Alex. 1807.
It war his will … To fecht to-gidder thai tuay cors for cors … Or tua for tua, as him list, thre for thre
a1500 Peblis to Play 137.
Thair by lay thre and threttie sum Thrimland in ane midding
c1475 Wall. v 730.
In the Knok wood he lewyt all bot thre
1481 Peebles B. Rec. I 188.
With the ws … of thre of the four lityll pantreis in the south end
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 139/10.
Quhare euer Ecolampadius or Calvyne alleges ane testimony for confirmacione of thair opinione, Arrius alleges thre
1568 Inverness Rec. I 168.
William Hay confessis half daker [of hides] in bark, thre in lyme, thre in the watter
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 715 (W).
Quhy may not we three lead this ane?
1596 Dalr. I 13/20.
Fresche water lochis … that abundes in mony kyndes of fische, cheiflie in thrie, killine, skait, and makrell
1628 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 217.
To Johne Petticruif and thrie with him for thair transport hame over
1648 Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. XII 74.
That in time coming the collection to the poor be collectit at the kirk dors and that thrie shall gather monthlie
1661 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 178.
[An appointment] for three years, and so for three and three if the magistrates agree
1682 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 22 Dec.
I leave ane tuo yeir old stot goeing in thrie to the said Hugh Douglas
1693 Lanark Presb. 116.
Two bad shillings, and a thrie and a babie
pl. 1488 Treas. Acc. I 84.
A collere of rubeis set with threis of perle

b. In expressions of time: Three o'clock. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 936.
Fra twelf till thre he let no thing espire
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 59.
And ilk watch to enter on at thrie efternoone and to be releived aff watch at thrie efternoone on the morne

c. (Be) sic thre, three times as much; by three times. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2129.
It is worth all the hering ȝe haue thair, Ȝe, and we had it swa, is it worth sic thre
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 132/47.
He … mekle mair cuning be sic thre Hes to posseid ane dignite
a1568 Scott ii 136.
Thow art moir lerge of lyth and lym Nor I am, be sic thre

2. Put for the ordinal number. Thrid adj. 1532–3 Bk. Dunvegan 70.
Just heretour of the thrie part of all and heill the landis of Glenelg
1652 Kintyre Rental in Argyll Reg. Acc.
For the forsaid yeers rent of the thrie pairt of the said lands of Ardnacroish

C. comb. With nouns and participial adjectives. a. With nouns: Thriefoot, a trivet. 1617 Compt of Provisions brought from England for the King MS (Reg. H.).
Of irone panberaris called thriefoottis
1695 S. Ronaldshay 65.
A quart of clairet wyne with 3 thrippenay whyt loavis for to be ellimentis to the Sacrament
1613 Dundee B. Laws 151.
3 pyll welvet for a mortcloth
1607 Melrose Reg. Rec. I 37.
The possessioune and kindnes of threquarters of ane land, houses, yard and thair pertinentis liand in Redpeth
1609 Inverness Rec. II 67.
To flit frae thrie quartaris off the office of millerschip of the kingis myln of Innernes, with knavschip and bannock thairof
1684 Cunningham Diary 23.
For that three-quarters of yeir she has the said 46 bolls 3 firlots victuall

b. With participial adjectives: Thrie-tramit, having three shafts. 1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 649/1.
Ane leid of ane thre fuittit pane of brase
1513 Doug. i iii 75.
The thre granyt ceptour wand, Quhilk is by cut gevin me to beir in hand
1513 Doug. i iii 54 Comm.
The thre granyt ceptour, … lyk a crepar or a graip wyth thre granys
c1515 Asl. MS I 309/20.
Hercules … slewe … the thre heddit edder
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 427 (T).
On ane thre headit hecate in haist thair [H. On three headed Hecatus to heere them] they [sc. the witches] cryit
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 60.
Ane thrie nuikit dyamond
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 79.
Thrie nukit buttonis
1587 Crawford Mun. Invent. II 185 (21 April).
Ane dowsen … off the Flandres thre nwikit pottis for farther essayis off our minerallis
1596 Dalr. I 4/27.
The ile almaist is thrie nuiket
1632 Edinb. Test. LVI 23b.
Sex thrie nukit lockes … fyve dosone of round lokes
1674 Fraser P. 258.
Eight litill three nucked saltfats
1685-8 Renwick Serm. 529.
One says the heart of man is three-nooked, and the world round, and so the world can never fill it; there is ay some wants
1608 Tailor's Acc. Bk. MS 67b.
Ane quarter & ane half of thrie pyllit velved
1612 Dundee B. Laws 149.
A mortcloth of fyne thrie pylled black welwet
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III 249.
The inshe of thrie soillit shoes of the best leather, to be sold at twa shilingis twa penneis the inshe
1618 Acts IV 586/2.
The mouth [sc. of the firlot] … haueing a croce iron barre … thrie squared, and edge doun … and euerie square shall be ane just inche of breadth
1601 Sc. Ant. VI 156.
[In the brew house] tua thrie tramit barrowis [for stones, £4] foure tua tramit barrowis [for stones, £6]

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



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