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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.

Cummer, Cummar, n.2 Also: cu-, ku-, cwmar; cummere, ku-, cwmmer, cumber; ku-, cumer, comer(e. [ME. commare (1303 only), OF. commere.] A godmother (in relation to the parents and other godparents); a female intimate; a woman gossip.(a) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1445.
To thaire cummarys thaire main thai made, Menande sayre thaire wedowhade
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 353.
Than said I, to my cumaris, in counsall about [etc.]
1563 St. A. Kirk S. I. 161.
He com and careit Barbara Sandelandis away to help to baptis his barne as cumar
1570 Reg. Morton I. 59.
Commend me to my cwmar your wyf
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 102.
The erle of Bedford, … come … to nominat ane woman in Scotland to be cummar to our soueranis to the bapteising of our prince
1581 Cath. Tr. 91/26.
Ane kumar of Carraill, hauing disionit in hir auin hous vith hir kumaris, come to the kirk to get hir communion
(b) 1566 St. A. Kirk S. 284.
Ane ald dayf prest … baptist the barne, beand present Henry Greg, Iohn Colfe, and Besse Aleson, gossopis and cummer
1567 Sat. P. xxxiii. 322.
In hir hart scho did hir cummers mok
Ib. 328.
Hir cummers callit scho apart
1584 P. Gray Lett. 5.
That nothing be done without the privitye of my Lady, my cummere
1594 Mar & Kellie MSS. 42.
The meidwyff and … tua cummeris
1626 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 9.
No inhabitant … shall … invite anie ma persones to be gossopes or cumberes at the babtizeing of thair childrene, bot four gossopes and four cumberes at the most
1642 Baillie II. 26.
My heartie service to my cummer
1680 Foulis Acc. Bk. 28.
For … claret wine to cummers and gossips when my wife was brought to bed
1695 Melville Corr. 240.
God willing, I will help the cummers at the butter saps
(c) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xl. 2 (B).
Rycht airlie on Ash Weddinsday, Drynkand the wyne satt cumeris tway
a 1567 Melville Corr. 232.
The quenes Majestie hes send for sum baggage to be gewyn to the kyng, her sone, and sum to her cumers
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 499 (H).
Then the kumeres that ȝe ken came all with a clake
1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI. 172.
To my cumer … I leiff hir ane Scotis peice of gould
1644 Baillie II. 190.
My heartie love to your Elizabeth. I know who will be two great cumers
(d) 1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 48.
Is it sik [wine] quhairof thay tipple willinglie at thair comeres banquets? or is it mair excellent nor thairs?
c1650 Spalding (1792) II. 105.
An honest burgess … caused bring to the kirk a bairn … to be baptized … and conveened his gossips and comers, as the custom is

b. Used as a form of address or designation. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 224.
I reid ȝow, cummer, tak in your lynning clais
Ib. xl. 16.
Cummer, be glaid both evin and morrow
Ib. 21.
Ȝour counsale, cummer, is gud
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1356.
Quhat, now, cummer? will thow nocht tak my part?
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 303.
Cummers, quod scho, it is a pietie to se [etc.]
1588 Soc. Ant. IV. 426.
Cummer Petre desyrit hir dewtifull commendation to be rememberit to your L. and my gude Lady
1638 Bk. Pasquils 80.
I harde two kealwyffes sore complaine … , ‘Cumer Madie quhat shall wee say Of this sade newes?’
a1651 Calderwood V. 116.
He said, ‘Cummer, goe yee before; cummer, goe yee’ and so they daunced

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"Cummer n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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