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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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S(c)hulder, S(c)houlder, -ir, Schuder, n. Also: schuldir, -yr, -ar(e, schuldr-, shuldeir, -ear, schwlder, sulduour; schudder; shouldier, -our, souldier, -iour, s(c)howlder, -ar, chowlder, schouder, -ar, shouder, shoudher, schowder, schowdder, shouther; s(c)holder, -re, schoilder, s(c)hoolder; scheulder; s(c)halder; sholler. [ME and e.m.E. shulldre (Orm), ssoldre (1297), shuldre (a1300), scholdur (Cursor M.), sholdere (1428–9), shoulder (1533), OE sculdor. Cf. MDu. schouder(e.]

1. The shoulder of the human body. Also, once, transf. of a creature half fish, half man.In pl., freq. with reference to the upper part of the back and arms, as well as to the shoulders.Freq. with special connotations, as in braid schulderis in referring to a strong physique (or its absence, in narro, lut, or lydder schulderis); on (apon) (one's, etc.) schulder(is in references to the shoulders as the part of the body associated with the carrying of burdens, weapons, tools, etc; with (the, one's) schulder, referring to the use of the shoulder in physical aggression; betuix the schulderis, in, or on, the upper part of the back; to luke over (one's) schulder, to turn one's head to look behind one.(1) sing. a1400 Leg. S. xvi 414.
One thare schuldris Mary can ma The takine of the croice
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 633.
Fifty mailyeis and mair Euin of the schuldir he schair
1513 Doug. x xiv 95.
The steid bekend [he] held to hys schulder plat
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1146.
Scho … Hir hed full softlye on hir schulder laid Syne ȝaild the spreit
1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 287.
Ane callit Cranstoune shoyt thorycht the schwlder
1549 Reg. Privy S. IV 80/1.
For … setting upoun him … and breking of ane aix upoun his schulder
1572–3 Reg. Privy C. II 205 (see S(c)hulder blaid n.). 1577 Crim. Trials I ii 73.
Dilaittit of the hurting and wonding of Johnne Binning, messinger, in his rycht schuldare and collar-bane
1600 Acts IV 205/1.
The king layit his hand on his schulder and clappit him
1600 Misc. Maitl. C. I 95.
Scho said wordis tuiching the houlat hart to be rubbit to ane manis shuldeir
pl. 1375 Barb. ix 357.
He fand a place That men mycht till thar schuldris [C. schulderis] wad
c1420 Wynt. i 722.
A folk wytht-owtyn hede, … Twa eyne ar in thare schuldrys set
1460 Hay Alex. 1915.
[He] saw his schulderis was all scheildles bare
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1355.
With lokker hair quhilk ouer his schulderis lay
c1475 Wall. iii 366.
Throuch … the harnpan also, To the schulderis, the scharp suerd gert he go
Ib. x 887.
Bathe helm and hed fra the schuldris he draiff
1513 Doug. iv v 161.
His rych array dyd our hys schuldris hyng
Ib. v viii 4.
Equale armour … On schulderis and thar gardeys buklys he
Ib. ix v 57.
Thus can he The rycht handis and schuldris of baith embrace
1570 Misc. Bann. C. I 50*.
To propon to yourself the Duik of Alvas exempill, that is to cut fra the schulderis up for the first falt, and that wil gar thame all trymbill and thair hair turn widdirshynes
1579 Athole Mun. I No. 90.
Blak lumpis on his syd nek and schulderis
c1600 Medical Recipes fol. 87b.
[In May] bevar of cutting the sulduouris armis and handis nor in that tyme opin no vaynis in thois partis
1622-6 Bisset II 360/18.
Scho weir … ane quhyte waill of lyning claytht over hir schulderis
(b) a1538 Abell 3b.
1562 Digest Justiciary Proc. D 24.
They … woundit the said laird … in his schuder
16.. Hist. Kennedy 11.
In thair way-ganging schott … the maister throw the schudder
Ib. 48.
His horse … straik his airme out of juntt, in the schudder
(c) 1535 Stewart 11916.
Throw all thair weid tha wrocht thame wondis wyde, And schoudaris sair
a1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii 56.
Than cumis Conscience … bowand bak and schowder
1596 Dalr. II 125/15.
To baith his schouders he couples his wings
1603 Crim. Trials II 419.
Hinging him be the feit and schouderis ouer ane balk
a1700 Mare of Colinton 130.
[He] fetcht the lowder, Wherewith he hit her on the shou'der
(d) 15.. Clar. iv 2091.
Ane arrow … Whilke hurte him in the schoulder
(c1580) Alex. i 1795.
Baith helme and heid … Richt by the shoulder away he share
1581 Sat. P. xliv 122.
Villox … Quhais heid and schoulders ar of bouk aneuch
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 590 (T).
His schewin schoulderis [H. shoolders] schawis the merkis, but dout, Of tarledderis tewch [etc.]
1598 Crim. Trials II 45.
Byrning hir with hett tayngis, vpoun the schoulderis and vnder the oxsteris
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI 129.
[They] maist dispitfullie expellit and schoit him oute of the said kirkyaird be the schoulderis
1623 Perth Kirk S. MS 8 Dec.
Finding the caus licht he chappit him on the schoulder and sett him in his seat
1633 Justiciary Cases I 222.
Upone his naikit schoulderis and bak to ressaue sax strypis be the hangman
1661 Soc. Ant. XXII 247.
The divill kyst hir and niped her upon one of hir shoulders
1661 Hist. Carnegies 350.
I was surprysed with the gutt … in my head, craig, showlderis, and wther pairts of my body
(e) 1605 Aberd. B. Rec. II 277.
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 647.
Shoe … was stangit with ane clege on the sholder
(f) 1602 Crim. Trials II 388.
Diuerse … bludie straikis vpoun his heid, bak, wambe and schoilderis
(g) 1616 Reg. Privy C. X 499.
With so butcherly magling the poore gentilman with sex severall straikis upoun his scheulderis [etc.]
(h) 1667 Old Ross-shire I 95.
[You are to] suffer death by separating yor head from yor souldiers
transf. 1531 Bell. Boece II 179.
Ane multitude of fische was sene in Forth, the tane half of thame above the watter, na thing different fra the figour of man; callit be the pepil Bassinatis. Thir fische hes blak skinnis hingand on thair bodyis with quhilk, sum time, thay covir thair heid and thair cragis, evin to thair schulderis
(2) 1375 Barb. i 386.
Off lymmys he wes weill maid With banys gret & schuldrys braid
?1438 Alex. i 672.
With … armys lang and schoulderis braid
c1475 Wall. ix 1919.
ix quartaris large he was in lenth indeid, Thryd part lenth in schuldrys braid was he
1490 Irland Mir. iii 112/25.
The heid standis richt betuix the schulderis and the armes
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 132/57.
With lut schulderis … Quhilk natur maid to beir a pak
Id. Flyt. 177.
Nyse nagus nipcaik with thy schulderis narrow
Id. Tua Mar. W. 429.
Full oft I blenk by my buke … To se quhat berne is best brand or bredest in schulderis
1513 Doug. v vii 25.
Darhes … Reddy for batale schew furth … Hys schulderis braid
Ib. vi v 13.
Hys smottrit habyt, owr his schulderis lydder, Hang pevagely
1535 Stewart 47748.
With armes lang and schulderis brent and braid
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xix 22.
Christofore … had Cryst borne on his schuldris brad
c1420 Wynt. v 2919.
On hys schuldrys … Off erd twelff bakkatys he bare owt
1471 Peebles B. Rec. I 167.
Quhat women at flytis [etc.] … sal be led to the four yetis of the town … hyngand on thar schowder ij stanys in a irne chenya or in a wedy
1513 Doug. i vi 24.
Venus … Ane active bow apon hir schuldir bar
Ib. vi xiii 90.
Quhar … Atlas On schuldir rollys the round speir in cumpas
Ib. x ix 90.
Serestus … hys armour gay … on hys schuldris careit hes away, To hyng as trophe
Ib. xii xiv 35.
Scarsly twys sax stowt walit men and wight … hes sik mycht To charge it [supra ane ald crag stane] on thar schuldris
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xv 5.
Quhen he has fundin it [sc. the lost sheep] he ioyis and layis it on his schuldris
1558-66 Knox I 335.
Gif it war bot with a pick upoun my shulder
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 359.
Jhone Durie, … cuming behind with his armour and callevere vpon his shulder
1598 Elgin Rec. II 65.
They convenit with Thomas Hayis the merchandis servandis, passand throche the toune with schoulis on thair schulderis to spred muk
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 312.
As ane house smoring him doun, and he halding the same up on his schoulders
1600 Crim. Trials II 199.
Andro James deponit, he saw Patrik Lamb bring ane trie on his schowder to the foir ȝett
1622 Linlithgow B. Rec. ?15 Nov.
Ordanes the saidis officeris to gang with thair halbertis on thair schoulderis
(4) ?1438 Alex. i 2011.
With bodyis, shulderis and sheildis braid Sa outragious hurkling than thay maid That [etc.]
Ib. ii 4110.
With scheildis and schulderis halely Thay hurklit quhill to the erd ȝeid thay
1513 Doug. ix xii 4.
With hys braid schuldris [Ruddim. schuldaris] strang He thristis to the levys of the ȝet
(5) c1420 Liber Calchou 451.
Or ellis bled of vayn that is abofe the hand betwex the thoum & the nest fynger or ellis be ventosyt betwex the schulders with boystis
1551 Hamilton Cat. 191.
The barne that is to be baptizit … is unctit betwene his schulderis, to signifie that God giffis him strenth to do gud deidis [etc.]
1565 Peebles B. Rec. I 301.
For casting of ane stane and hwrting the said Jonat betwix the schwlderis
1565–6 Crim. Trials I i 475.
Delatit of the hurting of Freir Johne Blak betuix his schulderis, to the effussioune of his blude
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 116 (W).
Of gold betwein his schoulders grewe Twa proper wings
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 90.
And ane wther auld wyiff siclyk mother naikit sittand betuen thi scholderis, makand your cantryps
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 146.
Accusit … for dinging of him with ane staiff betwix the schoulderis
(6) 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 127.
Thow luikit over thy schulder, and said, ‘Is thair na mair folowand me?’
1623 Dalyell Darker Superst. 8.
Being on the brigstane, scho lukit over her shoulder
1633 Johnston Diary I 121.
Having looked over my schouders and sein Margret quho had served me, I fand my verry saule humbled to the lauer hels
1693 Answ. Presb. Eloq. 67.
The thieving carlin Lot's wife look'd owr her shouther

b. With reference to the custom of branding a notorious wrong-doer on the shoulder. 1564 Canongate Kirk S. (ed.) 9.
Ordanis thame both to be schurgit, and brunt in the scholder
1581 Burne Disput. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. 144/21.
Siclyk Caluin vas markit vith the flour delise vpone his schuldir for the horribill syn of Sodomie
1583 Dunferm. Ann. 224.
[Sentenced to be] brunt on the richt schoulder with the comon markin yron of Dunfermling, then scourged and banisched
1586–7 Elgin Rec. II 6.
Thay salbe markit with ane burn iron ather vpoun [cheik] or schulder and banesit
1588 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 236.
That he be … brunt on the schowder and thairefter banischit the toun for euir
1614 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 26 Dec.
The said Johne Richertsone suld be … brunt on the left schoulder with the touns irin

c. fig. The shoulders regarded as able, or unable, to bear the weight or burden of responsibility (cf. esp. 1 (3) above), or as the symbol of effort or strength. Also attrib.(1) 1533 Gau 40/33.
And thair is ane bairne giffine to wsz quhais power is apone His schulders
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 74.
I sie that the haill burthin of this will fall upon my schulderis
1569 Reg. Privy C. II 5.
Thinking the burding greittar than the schoulderis of ony ane may beare
1571 Bann. Memor. 167.
And ridiculus it had bene to lay vpoun the shuldearis of ane infant … a burding quhilk hir bake could not beir
Whither the Erle of Lennox bake be able to carie the heavie burding whilkis hir waike shulderis could nocht beir
1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV 377.
[All the charges of this war] hes onely lyne on our scholdres
c1590 Fowler I 308.
Some who caryed … no les burden then commoun welthe on thair schalderis
1596 Dalr. I 346/8.
This Wallase onn quhais schuldiris was laid the moderatioune of the hail realme
Ib. II 387/6.
Quha … baith the maiestie of the realme, and the religione tha buir vpon thair schouldiris
1638 Baillie I 74.
Morton, Roxburgh, let be Haddington or Stirling, were not of sufficient shoulders
1678 J. Brown Hist. Indulgence (1783) 286.
If all … had concurred with one shoulder to carry on that great and necessary work of the Lord [etc.]
(2) 1683 Hay Fleming Six Saints I 57.
Off the throne of Britain they [sc. the Stewarts] shall go, if all the world would set side and shoulder to hold them on
1687 Shields Hind Let Loose 151.
All this time ministers and professors were unite, and with one soul and shoulder followed the work of the Lord
(3) attrib. 1659 Durham Scandal (1740) xi.
How He who once by our unity and one shoulder service did make us beautiful as Tirza … and terrible as an army [etc.]

d. transf. A powerful thrust forward, with or as with the shoulder.1535 Stewart 30191 (see Schow n.1 2).

2. a. The foreleg and adjacent parts of the carcase of a sheep or other animal slaughtered for meat; this part when severed from the body, esp. when prepared as a joint of meat (cf. Lyar n. 4).(1) 1550 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 3 (7 Oct.).
That na fleschouris … bring blawine flesche to this merkat nor collepit nor cuttit out vpoun the scholderis
1551 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 161.
That na maner of flescheouris … cut nor slit ony mwtun in the schulderis nor vther pairtis
1581 Elgin Rec. I 162.
That all flescheris … present thair haill fleschis to the mercat haill oncuttit … except ane cutt vpoun the schulder
1611 Inverness Rec. II 83.
The spair rib, breistis, and schuderis and cragis
1636 Banff Ann. I 74.
1637 Ib. 81.
Muttoune blowin or onye pairt of the craig or schoulder cuttit frome the bodye to be confiscat
(2) 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 142.
Agnes hauing bocht a schowder of muttoun … thow … causit rost the same vpon the morne
The said schulder
1664 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp in Misc. Maitl. C. II 504.
For a souldiour of muttoun, £1 16 s.
Ib. 505.
Ib. MS fol. 44.
1671 Sc. Hist. Rev. LXI 148.
At night ane chowlder of mwtone 1 s. 3 d.

b. The shoulder of a horse. 1666 Irvine Mun. II 204.
Ane … horse … with ane sore place upone the top of the shoudher

3. The shoulder of a garment. 1473–4 Treas. Acc. I 25.
iij quarteris of blac for the kingis gowne schulderis
1506–7 Ib. III 249.
Ane mummyng goun to the king … for woll to the schulderis of it
1535 Ib. VI 246.
For rubanis to the scholderis of twa doublettis
c1559 Innes Rev. XVI 130.
Frontallis with pendikillis [etc.] … vestimentis singill and dowbill schowldaris

4. A relatively gently sloping projection near and below the summit of a hill. 1523 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 144.
Per humerum montis eiusdem, vulgariter owyr the schulder of the hil of the samyn
1563 Echt-Forbes Chart. 99.
To the umast part of the south east schowdder of the said hill
1570–1 Reg. Privy S. VI 213/1.
Humerum lie schwlder dicti montis

5. A part of an artefact which is broader than a relatively slender part next to it (as the shoulder is broader than the neck). b. specif. ? Part of the hilt of a sword. 1587 Acts III 522/1.
That thar be a prik of irne ane insche in roundnes with a schulder under and abone ryssing vpricht out of the … middis of the bottom of the firlot
b. 1627 Edinb. Test. LIV 198.
Ane schort sword with damaske gaird and gilt on the schoulder
1694 St. A. Hammermen in Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 273.
Act decerning that William Suord has no more libertie as formerlie he has usurpit to scharp knifes or chizars bot onlie to dress suordis mak shalders mak scheathes and scharp bygginets and nae other work of smith trade not belonging to his science

6. comb.Shulderman, appar. a porter who carried creels, etc., suspended from a pole borne on his shoulder. Schoulder belt, a (single) cross-belt. Shouder band, ?Shouder sheit, ? a carrying sheet, like a baby's shawl; ? a scarf.Also Schulder blaid n.(1) 1609 Old Dundee I 64.
All the bearers with steyngis callit shuldermen
(2) 1643 Edinb. Test. LX 270.
Schoulder beltis at ix lib. the dossane
1692 Inchmahome Pr. 158.
Ane cutt cloth shulder belt
(3) 1645 Tulliallan Coal Wks. 109b.
For skearbands to the vater quhill with 4 shouder bands vith 2 sneks
(4) 1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 359.
2 bairns shirts; a bairns shoulder sheit; a bairns laced bib
(5) 1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. (1964) 274.
The minor sort of seers prognosticate many future events … from the shoulder-bone of a sheep on which a knife never came. … By looking into the bon they will tel if whoredome be committed in the ouners house [etc.]
(b) 1689 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 23 Feb.
For curing a workman that had his shollerbone brok in the pit

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"Shulder n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2022 <>



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