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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Reverence, -ens, n. Also: rewer- and -ance, -ans. [ME and e.m.E. reuerence (c1290), -ens, OF reverence (c1155 in Larousse), L. reverentia.]

1. Respect felt for or accorded to a person because of his position or deserts; veneration for a divinity, holy person, etc.; deference; an instance of this.Also, to give, also do or mak (honour and) reverence.(1) c1420 Wynt. v 3966.
Wyth reverens gret suld thai [sc. priests] Be tretyd
Ib. viii 770 (C).
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 103.
How mekill that a man aw to his lorde of humagis sua mekill the lorde aw till his mane of lordschip outane allanerly reuerence
c1450-2 Howlat 869 (A). c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 143/77.
Dame Natur … Quhom thai ressaif with reuerens
1513 Doug. iii iv 105.
Our fader … The gret goddis dyd call, and … Hallowis thar mycht with detful reverens
1531 Bell. 1531 Boece I 59.
With na les reverence than he war a God
a1538 Abell 114a.
Law natural … hes … comon possessioun, reuerence to elder [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3028.
He hailsit him [sc. the Emperor] with reuerence and honour
1562-3 Winȝet I 78/18.
To beleue in simplicitie of mynd thir thingis … nocht … in idolatrie nor superstitioun, bot in ane moderat reuerence
1567 Sat. P. iv 68.
Scho come to me …, Promittand … In tyme to cum with reuerence me treit To my degre
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 88.
Quha sa hes misusit his father, semit to haue cast out of his hart all naturall reuerence
1579–80 Inverness Rec. I 274.
Wyth his cuwerit heid, but reverence to God, prince, nor magistrat
(2) a1400 Leg. S. x 72.
Mare reuerens is gewine always To vekyt men fore dred & dowte Thane to gudmen
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 152.
His sentence … gaue to Cupide litill reuerence
a1500 Bk. Chess 1934.
Ȝone two pur men quhom to I gaif reuerens
1540 Lynd. Sat. 500 (B).
Vnto thy celsitude I gif lawid, gloir, honour, and reverence
1560 Rolland Seven S. 200.
Randring to him honour and reuerence
(3) c1420 Wynt. vi 2084.
He … mad hym honowre and reverens, As afferyd till the kyng
Ib. vii 3136.
Gret reverens dwne till hyr lord … Quhen scho wes hys spowsyd wyff
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 310.
He maid me ryght hie reverens fra he my rycht knew
1549 Compl. 12/35.
He resauit Annibal … ande … did hym grit honour ande reuerens
a1578 Pitsc. I 52/1.
And then they sould do sic honour and rewerence as become them dewlie

b. Such respect or deference extended to an object, action, ceremony, etc., freq. one associated with a person revered. c1420 Wynt. ii 76.
But all reverence off maryage
Ib. vii 1863.
For reverens off Saynctandrewys se, And off the kyngys dygnyte
?1423 Edinb. Chart. 213.
Yhur honorablez lettres … we hafe resayuit mekly wytht reuerence
c1475 Wall. xi 1208.
Sauff reuerence off the croun
1531 Bell. 1531 Boece II 297.
Eftir that the messis wer done with maist solempnite and reverence [etc.]
1533 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 94.
To the … lettres the jugis … obeying with reverence … continuit the said action
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 102.
Quhilk commissione being be us resavit wyth reverence and obedience as efferit
1626 Justiciary Cases I 53.
Alexander Gourlay … schaiking of all feir of God reuerance or regaird to the lawis of this kingdome

c. In (with) reverence, in a respectful or deferential manner. 1613 Lanark B. Rec. 120.
Quhille hie … in reverens acknahaulege his offens
1632 Cullen B. Rec. 6 July.
Be staff & battone with all humble reuerence … resignit and wpgaiff puirlie and simplie as procurator for thame

d. To have (hald) (a person or thing) in reverence, to have respect for, revere. a1400 Leg. S. vii 46.
Al the puple had hym thane In maste reuerence as haly man
1533 Boece 63b.
He institute that euery moneth suld be had in reuerence the cours and change of the mone (othirwayis callit Dyane)
Ib. 72b.
The sepulturis of valeȝeand men … suld … be had in reuerence
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 3.
God hes creat man to ryng In euery realme to be as king And to be had in reuerence … During his … lyfe
1562-3 Winȝet II 77/10.
That thai also suld hald in reuerence the doctrine of the haly antiquitie

e. To do (pay) or mak (one's) reverence (to or till a person or thing, to manifest or show (a person) respect or veneration by, or as by, one's actions. Cf. 1 (3) above.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii 655.
This Nero worthit … Ryse ay quhen his master com nere … And do hym reuerence
c1420 Wynt. vii 3577.
Till all prestys he dyd reverens, And sawffyd thare statys wyth diligens
1456 Hay I 221/29.
The law … forbedis that ony … do thame ony … molestacioun bot all honoure and reverence
c1460 Dietary 44 (Makc.)
First at thi rysyng do thi God reuerence
a1500 Rauf C. 896.
Thow dois bot reuerence to thame that rekkis it nocht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (O.U.P.) 16/41.
Lord! I have done full litill reverence Unto the Sacramentis
1533 Boece 58b.
Than man we intertenye and do reuerence to sic myscheant persouns as to oure souerane
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1914.
No reuerence done to relegioun
a1568 Bann. MS 265a/7. 1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 37.
Balaam his ass which payed reverence to God before its mastre
1513 Doug. xii Prol. 292.
Into … [her] presens Behaldis how I beynge and do reuerens
(2) ?a1500 Remembr. Passion 119.
Mary apoun hir kneis maid hir prayeris and reuerance till him
1513 Doug. v xii 145.
To Troiane ingil … Within hys secret closet [Æneas] maid reuerence
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 138.
Ane Frence lady … wyll discouer mouth and neis, And … With uisage bair makreuerence
1549 Compl. 68/2.
I maid hym reuerens on my rycht syde on the cald eird
a1578 Pitsc. I 258/23.
Quhene he saw the king he maid him lytill reverence or sallutatioun bot leinitt doune groufflingis on the dask befoir him
1613 Warrender P. MS I 34.
Al the persons … at thair entrye makking thair reuerence to the queen

2. A gesture, movement or procedure indicative of respect or deference.There is possible ambiguity with 1 above. 1456 Hay II 7/22.
With that he lichtit doune … and salust the noble knycht quhilk ȝeldit him agayne his reverence and ressavit him graciously
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 130.
Quhen gentill men biddis thame gude day, Without reuerence thay slyde away
1549 Compl. 145/7.
At that tyme ther vas no ceremonial reuerens nor stait quha suld pas befor or behynd
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 181 (G).
Confessand in humlie maner with ane sonlye reuerence
1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 13 Sept.
Thomas … past by him without vsing anye kynd of reuerence, quhairuith the sessioun war heichlie offendit that he suld haue safar misregairdit his pastour
a1586 Lindsay MS 8b.
Suld ask ane testimoniall vnder the juges seill and do his reuerence and tak his leif

3. specif. Only in legal use: (Marital) reverence, excessive respect for, amounting to fear of, one's husband. 1681 Stair Inst. i ix § 8.
When the deed is extremely to their [sc. wives'] prejudice … it is presumed as done ex reverentia maritali. … But ordinarily marital reverence is not sufficient though the husband were vir ferox
Ib. xvii § 14.
[The] wives' consent to the alienation of lands … is both null and presumed to be granted upon her fear or reverence of her husband

4. The condition of being respected or revered; that in a person which inspires deep respect in others.The Dunb. quot. may properly belong to 1 above.(1) 1456 Hay I 217/1.
Conquestis … maid for the … honour of the reverence of Almychty God
a1500 K. Hart 815.
He was the gritest of reuerence Best lovit with the king of leid on lyve
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 162.
Servit wyth ladyes full of reverence
1513 Doug. i Prol. 277.
Twichyng Virgillis honour and reuerens
a1568 Bann. MS 26a/28.
His name is holy and maist of reverence
(2) 1533 Boece 39.
To euery clan was the name of thare capitane in sic reuerence that [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy I 47/34.
To mak him in mare reuerence to the pepill he cled him with … riall abilȝementis
a1538 Abell 29a.
Origeyn heir wes in rewerence

5. (Ȝour) … reverence. A complimentary form of address. 1401 Aberd. B. Rec. (S.H.S.) 210.
Reuerence and honour, likit yhu to wit that [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. iv Prol. 30.
Wytht othir storys … Plesand lik tyll yhoure reverens [W. reuerencis]
a1500 Colk. Sow ii 2.
Ȝour he reuerence, humly eft I requyre [etc. [
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1618. a1578 Pitsc. I 181/30.

6. In various special phrases. a. At the reverence of, out of respect for. 1438 Reg. St. A. 430.
Yhoure humble seruand rycht mekly besekis yhoure hee lordschip … at the reverence of God that yhe wald do me law and resoune
1445 Reg. Episc. Morav. 219.
Bot ever at the reverence of the blisset Trinite
1456 Hay II 70/9.
At the reverence, honour [etc.] … of Almychty God

b. In (a person's) reverence, in (his) honour. 1513 Doug. v iv 148.
The entralis … in the fludis brak, In ȝour reuerens, sal I … swak

c. Sauf reverence, saving ȝour reverence, if you will excuse my saying so. a1538 Abell 67b.
Arnulphy Impriour … wes consumit sauf reuerence with … lice
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3375.
Gude Schir, sauing ȝour reuerence, ȝe said not sa

d. Rendering L. pace: Under (the) reverence of, with the leave or permission of. 1533 Bell. Livy I 271/18.
Vnder [v.r. vnder the] reuerence of Claudius & Valerius now deceissit

e. In, also at, or out of (one's) reverence, in, or out of, one's power or control.Cf. the only Eng. example, (to put oneself) into the reverence of (rebels) (1645 Charles I in The King's Cabinet Opened, in Harleian Misc. VII 515).Also in the later and mod. Sc. dial.(1) 1596 Bk. Dunvegan 73.
His lordship would caus the Lord Lowett steale fray all the petendit [sic] richt … that he alledgit to the landis of Glenelg and thair withal to be in his rewerence for the discharging of the persuite of the said herschip
Ib. 74. 1600 Lett. Jas. VI to Eliz. 133.
I neuer thocht so baselie as that ather myself, or my sonnis person or education, shoulde be in the reuerence of any pope, king, or queen liuing
1615 Douglas Corr. 196.
I doe not intend to be in the reverance of any of these people
1632 Lithgow Trav. iii 87.
My right legge was almost in their reverence before I remarked the danger
1633 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 91.
Little vessels, that are not so much in the mercy and reverence of the storms, because they may come quietly … alongst the coast
1634 Ib. 112.
Put the business out of your hand in the Lord's reverence
1671 Campbell of Ardgartan MS (Edinb. Univ. MS) fol. 49a.
I am not in ȝour reverence
1673 Reg. Privy C. IV 3 Ser. 24.
It were most unreasonable that the petitioner in the meantyme should ly at the reverence of the said Sir William his creditours
(2) 1677 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. III 128.
To put wrong out of his reverence they do not allow him … to execute the law alone
1684 Red Bk. Grandtully II 264.
I will not faill to play the expeding of your signatour of Strathbrane … for I am very anxious to have it out of the reverence of ill willers

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"Reverence n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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