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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Salt, n.1 Also: salte, saltt, sallt, sault; saut, sawt, sat, (sawthe); (sall). [ME and e.m.E. salt (c1290), salte (1398), sawt (Lydgate), saulte (1557), OE sealt, salt, ON salt.]

1. Salt.Also in the proverb Bring or carry salt to Dysart (sc. where it is manufactured and so already plentiful).(a) 1375 Barb. v 411.
Syne tuk he salt … & ded hors and fordid the well
a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 110.
As salt sesonis all
14.. Acts I 22/2.
Outtane salt and heryng at sall be salde in the schyp
1482 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 43.
That thai be fre foir euirmare of all payment of customes of salt
a1500 Sir Eger 2391 (H).
He was never christned with salt That could on me set any fault
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 337.
For ane selcht and ane pellok andsalt to thaim
1526 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 82.
1526 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 242.
That certane persouns … byis and takis away in grete quantite the salt furth of the realme
1533 Treas. Acc. VI 164.
Punsiones … to pak the salt intill
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 89. 1548 Treas. Acc. IX 173.
To pas for certane salt and muskade wyne to the Brynt Ilande
1559 St. A. Kirk S. 13.
As be hallowing of candellis, watter, salt and bread, with all there conjwrationes
1563 Acts II 538/2.
Ane new maner of making of salt
1578 Reg. Privy S. VII 263/1.
Visitour and sercheour of all the salt that sal happin to be schippit … furth of the toun … of Culross
1586 Montrose Baillie Ct. MS 10b.
Ane creill of salt of Prestoun met
1586 Conv. Burghs I 213.
1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 238.
To craif ane lok salt owre the dur heid quhilk gif thay had gottin, the wrakment had lichtit on Dauid Setoune
1592–3 Ayr B. Acc. 175.
[From Hew Girven,] of od adventure salt, £10
1595–6 Ib. 190.
[Of 10 bolls] of od salt of ane aventure schip
1603 Crim. Trials II 422.
Casting a certane quantitie of salt and quheit about hir bed; be the quhilk cuir scho was hailit
1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 89.
The said wich cuist salt in the fyr
1665 Dunkeld Presb. II 62.
[For a sore knee] Boyl half ane lippie of salt with thrie choppins of his oun water [etc.]
1667 Argyll-Lauderdale Lett. App. 123.
That monople caried on be him of the salt
1699 Foulis Acc. Bk. 252.
½ boll of salt for to sow on the brig and park [£1 5 s. 4 d.]
(b) ?14.. Ship Laws c. 1 (H).
Peis benis or sault
1474 Acta Aud. 35/2.
xij bollis of sault price of the salt xxiiij s.
1573 Reg. Privy C. II 265.
Thay … sall na wayis schip, girnell, nor transport na sault furth of this realme
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 467 (H).
Indeed it was a dentie dishe … In steid of sault [T. sawthe], on it they pyshe
1586–7 Montrose Baillie Ct. fol. 25a (7 March).(c) 1550 Reg. Cupar A. II 76.
Payand thairfor ȝeirlie to ws [etc.] … with commoun cariage to sat and sand
1692 Presb. Eloq. (1693) 67.
The thieving carlin Lot's wife look'd owr her shouther, for which God smote her in a lump of sawt
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 370.
Bring salt to Disert
1658 R. Moray Lett. 25 April.
Which were to cary salt to Culros if not to Dysart

b. With qualifying expressions.See also grete, gret salt, Grete adj. 3 (3), Gret adj. 2 (2), small salt, kane salt, Kane n.1 2, met salt, Met ppl. adj. 2 (1).Ferme salt, salt paid in rent (see Ferme n. 5).(1) 1560 Treas. Acc. XI 32.
Grit salt to mak pickkle
1566 Crail B. Ct. MS 21 May.
And twa bollis of gryt salt
1606 Inverness Rec. II 34.
Of twa pennorth of great salt
1609 Conv. Burghs II 284.
Grit salt
1614 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 83.
To receave 13 bollis … gryt sall [sic in pr.] inbarkit in our schip
1609 Arch. Scot. IV 393.
Tua lastis of greit Rochell salt price of the last with the tries thrie scoir libs.
Ane last of Scottis salt price of the last with the tries threttie six pundis
(2) 1561 Reg. Dunferm. App. ii 433.
Ferm salt within the parrochin of Kirkaldie
Ilk panne payis of ferme salt be yeir viij b[olls]
(3) 1574–5 Reg. Privy C. II 427.
The pan maisteris and laubouraris of quhyte salt within this realme
1587 Acts III 494/2.
The priuilege of refynit salt
16.. Alchem. MSS V.
For three or four tymes cheinge your salt and ilk tyme lesser quantitie … cover the bottome of the pan with a litill breyed salt and vpon that the mixed salt
1656 Conv. Burghs III 435.
[The] taksmen of the excys of bay salt doe themselues import so much thairof that [etc.]
1660 S. Ronaldshay 30.
Quho did give her something lyk ground salt into ane cloute
1678 Wodrow Hist. (1829) II 416.
Each peck of French gray salt 10 s., each peck of Scots salt 5 s.
1692 Conv. Burghs IV 154.
That all herrings for export be made with French bey or Spanish salt
That noe salmond may … be salted … for export bot with Spanish or French salt
1707 Ib. 428.
Fish cured with forreign salt
1717 Ib. V 186.
Their own home made salt
(4) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 307.
Fourty twa celdris of met salt … for stulage to the said schip
(5) 1586 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 214.
The bailȝe decernis Bessie Bell [etc.] … to deliuer to Johnne Meikill sex peks for the rest of his bailȝe salt

c. Salt upon salt refined or white salt, appar. produced by adding sea-salt to brine and reboiling. 1587 Acts III 494/2.
The refynit salt vtherwayes callit salt vpone salt is verie necessar and proffittable for salting of salmound [etc.] … and vthers grite fisches quhilk can not be maid or dressit with the small salt quhilk now is accustumat to be maid
Ib. 495/1.
Refynit salt vtherwayes callit salt vpone salt quhilk will serue for the samin vseis for the quhilk greit salt seruit
1610 Conv. Burghs II 307.
The gift of making salt vpoun salt purchest be Sir George Bruce in Culros
1664 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser I 527.
Libertie granted to Collonell Lodovick Lesly to make salt upon salt and salt pannes in a way not formerly knoune in this kingdome

d. A quantity of salt paid as a due or perquisite. 1586 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 212.
Johnne Henrysoun to be kirk maister … and to haif the salt and vther dewties the wardane hade of befoir

e. transf. With Biblical allusion, to persons of ‘savour’ or excellence. 1595 Anderson Winter Night 23.
Yea, shining lights and suvorie salt, In word and deed they may be that

2. a. Appar., a large cask or, perh. more likely, erron. for falt (Fat n.1 a vat). 1682 Aberd. Trades 250.
[The cooper's essay] ane salmond salt for holding four barrels of salmond, or ane three boll salt for brewing

b. A salt-cellar.Also, a division of a plate to contain salt. Cf. Saltfat(t n. b. 1610 Hist. Kinloss A. xii.
Ane gilt salt, 25 wnce … ane bell salt, 13 wnce … ane squar salt
1645–6 J. Hope Diary (1958) 155.
15 or 16 lib. sterling … was … debursed for a salt and ane dozen of spoons
1684 Glamis Bk. Record 29. 1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 365.
An eg plaite with a salt in it
1707 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 174.

3. (The) sea. c1554 Makeson Genesis 30.
Noie latand furth the corbe of the ark Be hym knew nodyr the sycht of saut or g[ … ]
1604-31 Craig i 21.
Thou saild the glassie salt and conquered endles fame

4. Attrib. and comb. in sense 1.With gang, mercat, trone; firlot, girnell, met, pok, pot; breaker, maister, makar, man, etc.; silver; stane. See also Boyn(e n., Cratch(e n. (for defin. see Pan-crach(e n.), Pit(t n.1 1 c, etc.(1) 1477 Edinb. B. Rec. I 35.
The salt merket to be haldin in Nudreis Wynde
1557 Ib. III 18.
The merkett of hydis and skynnis … to … be … haldin beneth the salt trone
1560 Treas. Acc. XI 31.
For careing of … vinaker fra the salt trone to the Castellhill
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 126.
The Bischope of Dunkell his lugeing, foranentis the salt trone in Edinburgh
1590 Edinb. B. Treas. Acc. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 198.
For carying of dailis … fra my close to the … west port salt trone & nether bow
1591 Edinb. B. Rec. V 56.
All the nichtbouris … to repair … to the places following … : the sowth eist at the salt trone
1594 Acts IV 79/2.
For establisching of the beir marcat or salt mercat abone the wynd heid
a1605 Birrel Diary 34.
The ȝoung Earle of Montrois fought ane combate with Sir James Sandilands at the salt trone of Edinburgh
1634 Glasgow B. Rec. II 21.
That the salt mercat [etc.] … be haldin … quhair the hors mercat was haldin of befoir
1644 Edinb. Test. LX 371b.
The new kirk now presently in bulding at the salt trone
1680 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 80a.
1 day making & mending salt gangs
(2) 1573 Reg. Privy C. MS XLII 3.
Of ane salt girnell liand at the eist end of the said burgh
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 76.
The rebells … taking from his servantts all the keys of his corne and salt girnells
1592 Edinb. Test. XXIV 117b.
The mekill gray hors with the saidill creillis salt pockis & ane laid of salt
1595–6 Misc. Spald. C. V 63.
To Gilbert Blak, … couper, for ane coill, lyme, and salte mett
1646 Edinb. Test. LXII 282b.
Ane salt pott
1680 Fawside Coal Compt 58.
A locke to the eister salt girnell
1680 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 80a.
3 girds on a salt firlot
(3) 1571 Bann. Memor. 142.
His progenitouris for the most pairt salt makeris
1574 Treas. Acc. XII 389.
The saltmen
1631 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 23.
That the coale and salt maisters be dischargeit to receave onie dollours for thair coale and salt
1679 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 22.
To the poik holders and salt breakers at 10 s. 7 d. boll
Ib. 77.
Da: Mcgibone salt grieve
c1680 Mackenzie Affairs 241.
So far … as to transact with all the salt-masters
1689 Hist. Fam. Seton 999.
The saltgreives
(4) 1582 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 175.
To pay to Herbert Gledstanis xj s. restand of salt siluir
(5) c1515 Asl. MS I 304/21.
His wife luking abak was changit in a salt stane

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"Salt n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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