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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ald, Auld, adj. and n. Also: alde, aulde (hauld), awld(e; aild. [Northern ME. ald(e, auld(e, awld(e (= southern old, oold, etc.), ONhb. ald (WS. eald). As the first element in place-names alde- occurs early in Aldeham (1094), Aldehamstoc (1127), Aldestelle (1136), Aldetuneburne (c 1200), Aldefoghou (c 1240), etc. The later form auld(e)- appears in Auldton (1329), Auldeburgh (1329), Auldestell (1368), and as a surname in Johannes Aulde (1365).]

A. adj. 1. Of persons and animals (or their attributes): Advanced in years.(a) 1375 Barb. xv. 111. (ald schir Thomas). a1400 Leg. S. iii. 132 (thu wrechit ald man). c1420 Wynt. v. 1878 (Phylipe the alde). 1456 Hay I. 297/8 (ane alde king); II. 10/17 (bathe alde and wayke). c1515 Asl. MS. I. 153/5 (the ald men of Rome); 167/1 (in thare ȝouthhed and quhen thai ar ald). c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 114 (Saturn ald and haire). 1543 Reg. Cupar A. II. 25 (ald and decrepat). 1566 St. A. Kirk S. 284 (ane ald dayf prest). a1598 Ferg. Prov. 14 (an ald horse). c1616 Hume Orthog. 28 (an ald man).(b) a1400 Leg. S. i. 348 (a richt auld man); xviii. 413 (auld & febil). c1420 Wynt. iv. 1038 (ane awlde schypbrokyn marynere); vii. 465 (ane awlde knycht). a1500 Bernardus 161 (ane aulde woman). c1460 Wisd. Sol. 564 (an auld fule kinge). 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 628 (auld Saturne). c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 110 (that auld schrew). c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 12 (crukit, auld, and sair). a1540 Freiris Berw. 39 (he wes awld). a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. xxxi. 19 (ane auld gray beird). 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 158 b (in my auld days). a1598 Ferg. Prov. 6 (auld men are twise bairnes).(c) c1460 Thewis Wysmen 296 (quhen we are aild). 1528 Stirling B. Rec. I. 33 (all martis ȝoung and aild). a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. cxiii. 11 (thocht I be aild and may not se).

b. Used absolutely in plural sense.a1400 Leg. S. xxxiv. 350 (til ȝung & alde). c1420 Wynt. vi. 1569 (awld and yhowng, man and wyff). c1420 Ratis R. 1564 (may nothir auld na ȝonge it blame). 1567 G. Ball. 29 (cum, ȝung and auld). c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 11 (auld, ȝung, ryche and pure).

c. Veteran.1596 Dalr. II. 307/13 (ald men of weir, weil practiset in the feild).

d. Ald man's hede, app. something used as a broom.(Cf. the later Eng. old man's beard, Spanish moss.) 1633 M. Works Acc. XXVIII. 8.
For ane auld mans heid, xiij s iv d

2. Of a specified age.c1420 Wynt. i. 389 (sex hundyr yhere quhen he was awld); v. 560 (full fourtene yhere alde). 1456 Hay I. 297/11 (of ane hundrethe ȝere aulde). 1474 Acta Aud. 31/1 (ane ox of vj ȝere alde). 1547 Misc. Spald. C. V. 311 (four stots of three ȝeir auld). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 28 (ane dochter of sex dayis auld). 1589 St. A. Kirk S. 654 (being ane quarter yeir aild and thre dayis).

3. Of persons: Of old time; ancient.c1420 Wynt. v. 4844 (that lauche of awlde Moyses). 1456 Hay I. 266/3 (be alde doctouris). c1450-2 Howlat 268 (mony allegiance off Arestotill and ald men). 1513 Doug. ii. viii. 21 (the ryall werkis of faderis auld). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1993 (the auld Greik historitiane Diodorus). a1578 Pitsc. I. 4/20 (in auld authouris). 1587-99 Hume 7/58 (the ald Hebrew Dauid).

b. From old times; of long standing; esp. our ald enemeis (= the English): see Enemy n.c1450 Cr. Deyng 61 (the deuill is our auld enemye). c1420 Ballad 21 in c1420 Ratis R. 9 (thi enemys auld trow neuir in). 1571 Sat. P. xxvii. 54 (ald feyis = foes).

c. Former, previous. 1493 Liber Aberbr. 276.
Patone Thane, the ald wycar of Innerkethin
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 139.
Margrete Sinclare, ald lady [= dowager] of Balmouto
1521 Stirling B. Rec. I. 21.
The aild provest and ballies: … The new provest and ballies
1556 Prot. Bk. D. Gray 8.
Spous to the ald lady of Innerdewatt
1587 Ayr Charters 115.
Johnne Lokart burges and auld provest of the burgh of Air
1592 Edinb. B. Rec. 73.
The provest, baillies, … the twa awld provests, and foure auld baillies
1606–7 Misc. Spald. C. V. 80.
For ane lawing to the auld baillies

4. Of things: Having been long in existence or use; made some time ago; no longer new or fresh.(a) 1375 Barb. v. 317 (a mantill ald and bare); xix. 177 (thair armyng sall worth ald). c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1917 (in ane alde drawwell). 1456 Hay II. 7/5 (a syde goune, alde and bare). 1497 Dunferm. B. Rec. 77 (vj bollis of ald malt). 1513 Doug. iii. ii. 32 (his tempil of stanys ald). 1533 Gau 16/28 (that sellis ald guidis for new). 1555–6 Edinb. B. Rec. 364 (xj fut of new glas and ix fute ald glas). 1638 9th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 194/2 (ane ald cushoun).(b) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1107 (aulde hose and rywine schone). a1500 Rauf C. 517 (ane auld buklair); 560 (my weidis ar auld). 1488 Treas. Acc. I. 83 (a pare of auld knyffis). 1513 Doug. iii. x. 49 (thir cypressis in schawis auld). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2386 (the auld Rude of Kerrail). 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. 285 (ane new bukat and ane auld). 1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 319 (ane battirt montit upoun ane auld stok). 1585 James VI Ess. 54 (quhen the warld is waxit auld).

5. Coming down from past time: a. Of stories, records, etc. (Ald testament, see Testament.)1375 Barb. i. 17 (auld storyis that men redys). c1420 Wynt. vi. 13 (in cornyklys awld). 1439 Edinb. Chart. 64 (alde charteris, takis, and settis). a1500 Henr. Fab. i (fabillis of auld poetrie). 1477 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 200 (the ald rollis and registeris). 1517 Edinburgh B. Rec. 172 (the awld statutes). 1543 Lanark B. Rec. 19 (the ald akis [= acts] made of before). 1567 Sat. P. . 212 (the Poetis auld indyte). 1629 Black Bk. Taymouth 69 (be virtew of ane auld chartar).

b. Of buildings, boundaries, etc.1441 Reg. Great S. II. 69/2 (with al ald markis and divisis). 1469 Peebles B. Rec. 161 (our ald myldamsted). a1508 Kennedy Flyting 275 (Dumbar, that auld spelunk of tressoun). 1537 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 17 (an ald carn of stanes; the ald dyke). 1579 Mun. Univ. Glasg. III. 518 (the howse callit Awld Paidagog).

6. Belonging to past time; former.(a) a1400 Leg. S. ix. 440 (his ald seinȝnery). c1450-2 Howlat 544 (throw thir ressonis ald). 1473–4 Treas. Acc. I. 3 (a remissione for ald slauchter). 1489 Ib. 127 (the alde taxt and new). 1513 Doug. iv. i. 47 (the ald fyre of luffis heit). 1518 Dunferm. B. Rec. 297 (all covndittis hafand the ald passag). 1533 Gau 4/16 (in my ald blindnes). 1590 Douglas Corr. 242 (in the ald maner). 1596 Dalr. I. 8/7 (to continue in thair alde bewtie).(b) 1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 162 (five merkis worth of land of auld extent). 1545 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 454 (to haue thar auld wagis). 15.. Christis K. 50 M. (all auld lycht futtis he did forleyt). Scott i. 145 (Protestandis takis the freiris auld antetewme). a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. clxxv. 6 (kipit is na auld kyndnes). 1580 Hay Cath. Tr. 65/1 (in the auld catholike kirk). 1596 Dalr. I. 110/31 (sal I rub vpe this auld sair?).

b. Used as an epithet of time(s).c1420 Wynt. i. 1244 (in awlde tyme). 1439 Edinb. Chart. 64 (of alde tyme). 1456 Hay I. 151/10 (in alde tymes). 1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 214 (of the ald tyme). 1549 Compl. 88/11 (in alld tymis). 1611-57 Mure II. 26/189 (in alder tymes).

7. Continuing or lasting from past times; long established or current.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 254 (in the land ald custum wes … ). 1456 Hay I. 192/33 (alde fore-thocht fede). 1513 Doug. i. i. 16 (throu ald remembrit fede). 1549 Compl. 67/20 (gude for ane ald hoste). 1552 Reg. Cupar A. II. 109 (conforme to the ald laudable vse).(b) 1424 Acts II. 3/1 (thar aulde priuilegis and fredomys). c1420 Wynt. iv. 569 (he wndyde al thare awld ceremonyis); vii. 707 (with wsualle and awld custwmys). 1512 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 109 (as the auld use has bene). 1528 Edinb. B. Rec. 3 (for awld feid nor for new). 1530 Ib. 43 (that the auld reule be obseruit). 1580 Hay in Cath. Tr. 33/16 (the awld and accwstomett cowrtesie). a1598 Ferg. Prov. 20 (better auld debts nor auld saires). 1622-6 Bisset II. 201/20 (the sea lawes of Scotland ar als auld as ony uther lawes of the seæ).

b. Ellipt. in the phrase ald (usit) and wont, according to the old custom. 1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 214.
The croftis of the yond syd the burn ald and wont to perten to the sayd wicar
1572 Peebles B. Rec. 344.
[The council] ordanis the merchis of Caidmuir to be ridding, ald vsit and wont, efter novne

B. n. 1. poet. With the, that, or this: The (etc.) old man. a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 385.
The alde this hard, & … fel done til erde
Ib. xxx. 325; etc.
Of hyr gud scho gef that alde
?1438 Alex. ii. 54.
That ald ansuered with simpill cheir
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 286.
When the ald did me anger
1513 Doug. ii. xi. 23.
Scarsly the auld thir wordis had warpit owt, Quhen [etc.]
Ib. xiii. Prol. 79.
Me thocht I lurkit vp … To spy this auld

b. Used in plural after ane or twa ȝeir: cf. Ȝerald n. 1574 Buccleuch Mun. II. 454.
Nyne stottis and queyis of tua ȝeir auldis
1576 Edinb. Test. IV. 220 b.
xii wedderis of tua ȝeir auldis outgane
1588 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 426.
Thre stirkis of ane yeir auldis; … aucht quoyis of tua yeir auldis

2. Of ald, of old time, formerly. c1420 Wynt. viii. 4259.
Amang the craggis, that off alde In Scotland ware the Wolvys calde
c1475 Wall. v. 586.
Befor tyme thai gentill men war off ald
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 12.
A remissioune … for slachter committit of ald
1505 Liber Aberbr. 356.
With al ande syndry profytis … of alde as of new
1541 Peebles B. Rec. 59.
Quhare ye and youre predecessouris are infeft of ald of oure said burgh
1572 Maitl. Q. lxi. 47.
For Scotland ay of auld and new To baneist wichtis wes euer trew
1596 Dalr. II. 362/11.
Contrare the priuileges … and vset maneris of the Scotis of awld
1607–8 Misc. Spald. C. V. 134.
Quhilk annuall wes payed of auld to the blak freris

b. Of the ald, in the same sense. 1495 Acta Conc. 409/1.
Allegiit … that thai wer infeft of the auld of the said tend penny
1535 Stewart 99.
Lang of the ald thair wes thair sepultuir
1555 Coll. Aberd. & B. 383.
Ane merch carne made and biggit of the ald
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 6.
Ye knaw of the ald, that I was ever mair rashe nor wyse

cIn ald, in the same sense. 1561 Reg. Dunferm. 449.
Alsmekill beir and aittis ... as the said kirk of Newbirne schyre was assumit of befoir in awld

3. Old age. Cf. Elde n. 1535 Stewart 3045.
Be his greit ald he did him self excuis
Ib. 13865.
Vnsaturabill bayth in ald and ȝouth

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"Ald adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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