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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FAILZIE, v., n. Also faillzie, failz(y)e, failye, fail(l)ie, faille, falze. Sc. forms of Eng. fail. [′feʎi, ′fel(j)i]

I. v. †1. To default, be lacking. Used mostly in legal phraseology.Lnk. 1708 J.P.s Lnk. (S.H.S.) 33:
Certifieing ilk ane of them if they faillzie therein they will be fyned.
Slg. 1728 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. & Arch. Soc. (1895) 15:
The sealls of the royal burrows to be sent in to the lord lyon King att armes . . . and that under a certain penalty to be forfeited by each burrow failyeing.
Sth. 1736 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 298:
If they failze herein That they and each of them Shall be Lyable to a ffyne of ten pounds Scots.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
If he failzies, there maun be somebody in his place.

Hence failzier, failyier, fail(li)er, falliyer, one who fails to do what is stipulated; a defaulter. Used gen. attrib. in post-position with party.Gsw. 1700 Charters Gsw. (B.R.S. 1906) 287:
The party failzier to pay to the party observer, or willing to observe, the sum of two thousand merks good and usuall Scots money forsaid of liquidat penalty and expenses in case of failzie.
n.Sc. 1728 in D. Sage Memorabilia Domestica (1889) 12:
Both parties [to a marriage contract] bind other under the failzie of three hundred merks Scots money, to be paid by the party ffailer to the party performer.

2. In Weaving: to miss a heddle (Fif.3 1916).

II. n. Failure; non-performance of an obligation, default; a penalty for default. Hence phr. a termly failzie, see 1797 quot.Abd. 1703 Abd. Burgh Rec. (1872) II. 332:
Dischargeing all hyrers and stablers from giveing out or hyreing any horses . . . on the Sabbath day, . . . and that under the faillie of ten pund.
Inv. 1718 Steuart Letter-Bk. (S.H.S.) 95:
He will insist on the failzie in the contract.
Fif. 1728 Private MS. (per Fif.1):
The Penalties or Termly Failzies effeiring thereto if the samen happen to be incured.
Edb. 1771 in R. Chambers Trad. Edb. (1847) 121:
Because it bore a penalty in case of failzie, It therefore was null, contended Willie Baillie.
Sc. 1797 D. Hume Punishment of Crimes II. 388:
Our ordinary bonds of borrowed money, which bear a termly failzie, (as it is called,) or stipulation of a certain sum upon failure of punctual payment of each term's interest.
Sc.(E) 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 4:
Auld-farrant fouk maun joost give in, At new warld failyes lauch and wonner.
Lnk.1 1931:
We maun hae nae failie this time.

[O.Sc. failze, v. from 1385, n. from 1387.]

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



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