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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

EXERCEESE, n., v. Sc. form and usages of Eng. exercise (Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 67; Abd.21, Ags.19, Slg.3, Edb.1, Rxb.4 (obsol.) 1944). The Eng. form is gen. used in religious contexts. [′ɛksər′si:z]

I. n.

1. Family worship, prayers (Abd.21 1890; Bnff.2, Abd.2, Slg.3 1944). Obs. in Eng. since 17th cent. Also phr. †to make exercise, to hold family prayers.Sc. 1701–31 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C. 1842) II. 180:
He used still to have exercise, as it is called, in his house, to which the best of his people used to resort.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xix.:
As ye're no used wi' making exercise, it may be as weel for us at the beginning to read a chapter intil oursels.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet II. xii.:
There was heard within the uplifting of a Scottish psalm; and the boy saying, “They are at exercise, sir,” gave intimation they might not be admitted till prayers were over.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 32:
Syne the Minister cam' to inquire what was wrang, He made exercise, too, an' converst wi' her lang.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 97:
One of the decent neighbours . . . was called upon to make an exercise on the occasion.
Knr. 1925 “H. Haliburton” Horace in Homespun 246:
An' at the family exerceese, When auld gudeman, on bended knees, Wrastled as Jacob did langsyne For favours temporal an' divine.

2. An exegetical sermon or discourse delivered to a Presbytery by one of its members or by a divinity student before ordination. In mod. usage now largely superseded by trial for licence (see Trial).Sc. 1709 W. Steuart Collect. and Obs. Ch. Scot. 30:
The Presbyterial Exercise and Addition; the Exercise gives the Coherence of the Text and Context, the Logical Division, etc. The Addition gives the Doctrinal Propositions or Truths.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xliv.:
Reuben Butler . . . will doubtless desire instantly to retire, that he may prepare his mind for the exercise of to-morrow, that his work may suit the day, and be an offering of a sweet savour in the nostrils of the reverend Presbytery.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxv.:
Some parts of the exercises to which Mr MacCassock was subjected were confessedly beyond Johnny Gibb's intelligent comprehension.
Sc. 1927 Manual U.F. Ch. Scot. 40:
The Presbytery which takes a student on trials for licence shall require from him the following exercises on subjects which it has prescribed: — (a) a Lecture; (b) a Sermon; (c) a Thesis.

II. v. To engage in prayer; to expound the Scriptures; “to conduct family worship” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.; Bnff.2 1944). Vbl.n. exerceesing, public worship. Also found in Lan. dial.Sc. 1721–4 Covenanters Knr. (1895) 13:
A considerable number who were met together at Robert's house to hear Mr Hepburn exercise.
Abd. 1828 “J. Ruddiman” Tales and Sk. 68:
As long as my legs can carry me twal miles to the laigh kirk of F . . ., even though I am bereaved of the outpouring of the forenoon's exerceesing.

[O.Sc. has n. = practice or occupation in study or discussion, esp. of religious themes, from 1560; = exposition or discussion of a Scriptural passage, from 1568; family exercise = family worship, 1650; and v. = to perform an exercise in the presbytery, from 1597.]

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"Exerceese n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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