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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CALSAY, Calsea, Calsey, Calsie, n. and v. Also calcay. Old spellings of Causey. The original l was retained in writing long after it was lost in ordinary pronunciation.

1. n.Bnff. 1718 J. Grant in Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club (1905) 77:
They appoint and ordain the Justices of Peace of each district . . . to survey all the public roads . . . and . . . where the repairing of calseys or ridges is needfull . . . to report the same.
Abd. 1701 J. Bulloch The Pynours (1887) 74:
Item from the forsaids places at the shoar to the head of the Broadgate the Nether or Uperkirkgates to the ports therof and the Green to the new calsie twelve pennies Scots.
Lnk. 1712 Minutes J.P.s Lnk. (S.H.S. 1931) 141–142:
Putting sufficient ledges upon the same, and calsays over and to and from the said bridge for safe passage.
Wgt. 1718 in G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 36:
A Complaint Made . . . yt Streets are overflowed with Water by the Wells upon the North Side of the Street yrof, therefore they Appoynt each persone to make their Calseas and Water gates sufficient, soe that the Water may not Overflow.

Combs.: (1) calsey layer, a layer of paving-stones; (2) calsay-paiker, “a street walker” (Sc. 1879 Jam.5, s.v. paiker); (3) calsey pennie, a due formerly exigible by the privileged trades in towns in respect of articles brought in for sale from outside.(1) Ags. 1711 Montrose Burgh Council Records (20 June):
The Councill recommends to the Magistrats to employ ane calsey layer to mend any part of the street.
(3) Lnk. 1716 Burgh Records Lanark (2 Aug.):
The baillies and councill . . . have granted . . . to the petitioners and their successors, freemen of the said craft . . . full liberie and priviledge of levying and collecting a calsey pennie from out-touns or unfreemen.

2. v. To pave.Rs. 1716 Trans. Inv. Scient. Soc. IX. 231: 
They shall furthwith calcay with stone and sand the said street.
Ags. 1709 Montrose Burgh Council Records (11 May):
Appoynts Baillie Mill . . . to cause suficiently repair the ends of the bridge and to cause calsay the samen.

Hence calsier, paviour, layer of paving-blocks.Gsw. 1700 Records Burgh Glasgow (ed. Marwick 1908) 303:
Ordaines Robert Tuill, thesaurer, to have allowance [of £184] Scots money, payed owt be him to Robert Leitch, calsier.

[O.Sc. calsay, calsie, calsey, a stretch of paving; the paved part of a street; also c. and calsier (1636), as above. D.O.S.T. says “the form calsay is very common from 1500–1650.” Mid.Eng. caucé, Mod.Fr. chaussée, from late Lat. (via) calciata, a road made by being trodden down by the heel (calx) (N.E.D.).]

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"Calsay n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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