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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MORTIFY, v. Also mortifie. [‡′mortɪfi]

Sc. legal usage: to bequeath or allocate lands, property or money in perpetuity to a corporation or public body for specified religious, charitable or social purposes, corresponding to Eng. to grant in mortmain. Now only hist. Ppl.adj. mortified, funded in these terms.Lnk. 1701 Lnk. Presb. Registers (1839) 136:
That they had seven hundred merks Scots mortified for the use of the poor, and sufficient securitie for the same.
Sc. 1711 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. (1927) 41:
I hereby mortifie and dispone to the said Paroch of Hawick all and haill The Soume of Nine thousand Merks Scots money to ly as ane mortified fund.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journal (1884) 142:
These orders never say one mass that is not payed for, either for the dead by the living, or mortified by some body.
Sc. 1773 Boswell Tour (Pottle & Bennett) 80:
I observed upon one small thatched house a broad piece of freestone with an inscription bearing that this house and croft was mortified to the poor of the parish.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 577:
There is also . . . L.5, 11s. 2d. of mortified money, making the average of the whole amount for these years to £273, 2s. 9½d.
Sc. 1929 Sc. N. & Q. VII. 122:
ln “Aberdeen Mortifications” the term “mortified” is used with reference to a gift by a donor during life.

Derivs.: 1. mortification, lands, property or money mortified for the good of the community or for charitable purposes. Hence phr. master of mortifications, a member of the Town Council of Aberdeen appointed to administer the mortified property, etc. of the city; comb. mortification brod, a wooden panel in a church on which charitable donations and bequests were recorded; 2. mortifier, the donor of a mortification (Sc. 1799 H. Mitchell Scotticisms 55).1. Sc. 1707 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) App. 668:
Item, making a large mortification brod to the session house of 3 divisions and furnishing naills to plant on the rolls, a man a day, . . . 1 0 0.
Peb. 1728 C. B. Gunn Cross Kirk (1914) 113:
Thomas Tweeddale . . . had mortified £10 sterling for the poor of the parish . . . Ordered to be inscribed on the mortification board in the church in gilded letters.
Sc. 1764 Poems Fergusson (Grosart 1879) xlii.:
Robert Fergusson, son of William Fergusson, Writer in Edinburgh, one of the boys upon the Mortification.
Abd. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 56:
At Aberdeen, the manager of certain public funds who is chosen annually, is called the master of mortifications.
Abd. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxviii.:
A settlement in mortmain is in Scotland termed a mortification, and in one great borough (Aberdeen, if I remember rightly) there is a municipal officer who takes care of these public endowments, and is thence called the Master of Mortifications.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xix.:
She left ten pounds to the poor of the parish, as may be seen in the mortification board, that the Session put up in the Kirk.
Sc. 1825 S. Ferrier Inheritance III. iv.:
“I really think I should be at a loss how to dispose of such a charming property as Bloom-Park.” “But I'm at nane; I'm just gaun to mak' a mortification o't.”
Abd. 1888 D. Grant Keckleton 99:
My object in endeavouring to establish this connection was to enable me to prove Wee Johnny's claim to a “mortification” of eight bolls of meal . . . made by a certain Robert Scott.
Sc. 1933 E. S. Haldane Scotland of Our Fathers 134:
Again the gifts to hospitals (or “mortifications” as they were called) as shown on the walls of the great infirmaries and other institutions are quite remarkable for a country still as poor as was Scotland early last century.
2. Sc. 1710 Fountainhall Decisions II. 567:
The Lords found it consonant to the will of the mortifier, as exprest in the gift, that though the Aberdeen's tradesmens sons were preferred primo loco, yet iis deficientibus, the patrons behoved to present other qualified boys in their room.
Rxb. 1715 J. J. Vernon Par. Hawick (1900) 123:
They in the highlands gote the best part thereof according to the desire of the mortifier.
Sc. 1807 J. Carr Caled. Sketches 212:
The founder of the charity is . . . called mortifier.

[O.Sc. mortificatioun, 1459, mortifie, 1479, mortifiare, 1612, id.]

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"Mortify v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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