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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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Scheth(e, S(c)heith(e, n. Also: schete, scheitht, s(c)hey(i)th, s(c)heit(t, seitht, schieth; schaytht; s(c)heath, scheethe; schitt, schyth; schath; (schuith); sched(d; (scheid); scheif. [ME and e.m.E. shæþe (Orm), scaþe (c1205), sseþe (1297), sheþe (c1375), schede (Chaucer), schete (c1425), sheaf (1697), OE scǽþ, scéaþ str. fem.]

1. A case for holding a sword, dagger or other weapon, and covering its blade, when not in use; a sheath. Also fig.See Quhingar n. and Quhinȝar n. for further examples.(1) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 832 (Asl.).
With a twme scheith ȝe stand nocht than chekmat
1503 Treas. Acc. II 205.
For grathing of ane ald suord of honour with new hilt and plomet, scheith and chaip
1513 Doug. ix v 183.
Hys gyttyn swerd … Within a burnyst scheith of evor bone
1531 Bell. Boece I 103.
Ane swerd … within ane purpour scheith
Ib. II 327.
Ane swerd, with hiltis and scheith [M. scheyith] of gold
1536 Dumfries B. Ct. 174a.
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii 128.
Thay callit the criminall, With ane twme scheith set him on the pannall
1550 Treas. Acc. IX 460.
To my Lady Gordoune ane pair of gilt knyffis with ane scheith of veluet
1562 Ib. XI 189.
Blak welvot to be scheithis to quhinȝearis and knyffis
1569–70 J. Lee Hist. Church Scotl. (1860) I 348.
And mairower sall delyuer his quhynger to the rector within the scheitht
1583 Elgin Rec. I 172.
1585 Edinb. Hammermen III 39.
His assay to wit ane scheith and ane pennar
1643 Edinb. Test. LX 270b.
Thrie dossane of velvott scheitis estimat all to xx lib.
1701 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI 184.
For a sheith of knaives, my mother having put away my last at her unhapie flitting
(b) 1501 Treas. Acc. II 22.
For ane scheth to the samyn [sword]
1504–5 Ib. 477.
For … grathing of suordis, schethis, and beltis to thaim
1553 Ib. X 205.
Crammosye welwote to be schethis to the said knyffis
1581 Edinb. Test. IX 185b.
Horne schethis
1597 Bk. Rates 7.
Knyfis with weluot schethis the pair … xx s.
1607 Inverurie B. Ct. 8 Jan.
The actione & caus persewit be Alexr Smyth … for ane plait schete
(c) 1538 Aberd. B. Rec. (Jam., s.v. Fungar).
A funger with furnyst schaytht
(d) 1530 Edinb. B. Rec. II 27.
Delatit for ane schitt of grene weluos
(e) 1538 Treas. Acc. VI 397.
Ane blak cordwell skyn to be fals schathis to the saidis scalbertis
(f) 1597 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 390.
A helane durk with scheath and bykniffe
1660 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 273.
Admitted freeman as a sword dresser making of skealberts and scheathis
(g) 1618 Bk. Dunvegan 117.
Sex dussine schuithis full of big knyvis
(h) 1644 Arch. Scot. I 174.
[The gairdmakers' essay] ane double scheith and pair of scheiths, an single schieth and an pair of hulsters
(i) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 668 (Ch. & M.).
With seymely scheidis [ed. scheildis] to schew thai set vpone seuin
1581 Brechin Test. I 49b.
Fourtie aucht scheddis price of the haill xxx s. Item of wther small geir estemit at xxvij s.
(2) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 706.
Schort suerdis of scheith smertly thay dreuch
1486 Prestwick B. Rec. 31.
He tuk his knyf out of his scheitht
1513 Doug. iv x 110.
Eneas … hys scherand sword … Hynt owt of scheith
Ib. x viii 93.
Hys brycht brand … Hyntis furth of the scheith [Sm. scheyth] to mak debait
c1520-c1535 Nisbet John xviii 11.
Putt thou thi suerde into thi scheethe
15.. Clar. v 2342.
In scheith he put his sword
a1585, a1568 Montg. P. v 12.
God … owt of his scheith his gowly owtgatt
fig. 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 706.
To scape the fray he was so fane, He put vp club in scheith agane

b. In the following, and perhaps also some of the preceding, quotations, prob. applied to a similar case for some sharp or pointed domestic implement. 1597 Edinb. Test. XXX 162b.
Sevintene pair gilt wemenis scheithis at x s. the pair … tuentie ane pair of vngilt seithtis at v s. the pece
1615 Ib. XLVIII 214b.
Ane pair of browderit heidis with ane purs and tua scheithis
Ib. 249b.
Ane dosone of scheithis for wemen
1643 Ib. LX 233b.
Ane pittie point suite with scheith and preincode pryce thairof vj lib.
1647 Ib. LXIII 66b.
Ane imbroutherit scheithe pryce therof xij s.
1658 Ib. LXIX 150.
Ane parcell of wool ane sheit with xij littell small cleues
1672 Foulis Acc. Bk. 11.
For sheathes to 5 knyfes and forkes

c. With a preceding noun indicating the specific use to which the sheath was to be put. 1506–7 Treas. Acc. III 250.
Wellus to be tua towk schethis
1569 Edinb. Test. I 274.
Quhynger schythis
1573 Ib. II 345b.
Quhynȝear schetis
1600 Treas. Acc. MS 49b.
Ane knyff scheith and string thairto
1615 Edinb. Test. XLVIII 249b.
Ane dosone of quhinyer penner scheithis price [£6 5 s.]
1628 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 213.
Ane quhinger scheath and penneth scheith

d. Painted sheit. Cf. e.m.E. painted shethe (1542) = ‘showy exterior’ (OED). a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 446.
[Of proud persons] He makes meikle of his painted sheits

e. Furnished with a ‘head’ of some kind. 1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII 82b.
Four dossoun heidit scheifis at x s. the dossoun

2. ? Some part of a mill. Cf. 19th c. Eng. sheath ‘a structure of loose stones for confining a river within its banks’ (Ogilvie Imperial Dictionary (1850)). 1554 Edinb. Old Acc. I 150.
The beitting and mending of the fyve commoun mylnis, making of thair haill watter wallis, scheitts and trouchtis, with thair uther standand grayth

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



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