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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).

PRELIMINARY, adj., n. Sc. usages:

I. adj. Combs.: 1. preliminary defences, in Sc. Law: a form of Dilatory Defence, q.v., which concerns the relevancy of an action but not its merits, by challenging the right of the pursuer in an action for Reduction to demand the production of the deed disputed (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 67). See also Peremptor, adj., 3.; 2. Preliminary Examination, freq. in student slang use in reduced form prelim.: (1) an examination for entry to a Scottish University, set, first in 1892, formerly biennially, now annually, by each of the Universities for their own prospective students. The name is about to be altered to the Scottish Universities Entrance Examination; (2) applied unofficially in some schools to the final tests or class examinations taken before the Scottish Certificate of Education to provide an estimate of the candidate's ability and probable performance in the Certificate examination itself (wm.Sc., Kcb. 1960).1. Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 275:
It is competent, however, to the Lord Ordinary, on cause shown, and even although no defences should have been given in before satisfying the production, to reserve all objections to the title till the cause is heard on the merits. These defences against satisfying the production, are usually called preliminary, not dilatory defences.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 463:
Contrary to the general rule that all defences must be stated at once, the defender may lodge preliminary defences against “satisfying the production”, that is, challenging the pursuer's right to have the deed produced, and, on failing in this, may lodge a further defence on the merits of the action.
2. (1) Sc. 1892 Report Comm. Univ. Scot. Ord. 44. Sect. IV. in J. Kerr Sc. Education 340:
Any student who has passed in Latin, Greek, or mathematics on the higher standard, may attend a qualifying class [at the University] in such subject or subjects without having passed in the other subjects; but no candidate can present himself for examination in any subject qualifying for graduation, till he has passed the whole preliminary examination.
Sc. 1910 J. Kerr Sc. Education 340:
In 1892 . . . a preliminary examination was for the first time instituted, in order (1) to maintain the distinction between school and university education, and (2) at the same time to avoid possible injustice to candidates whose opportunities of getting advanced education were unsatisfactory. The subjects of examination were English, Latin or Greek, mathematics, and one of the following, French, German, Italian, dynamics.
Sc. 1917 J. Burnet Higher Education 207:
When the Commissioners under the Act of 1889 instituted a Preliminary Examination in the Scottish universities, they empowered the universities through their Joint Board of Examiners, to accept the Leaving Certificates of the Education Department as an alternative.
Sc. 1936 Prognostic Value Univ. Entrance Exam. 11:
The Entrance board hold an examination of their own, known as the University Preliminary Examination. But they also accept passes at certain other examinations in lieu of passes at their own “Prelim.”
Sc. 1964 St. Andrews Univ. Cal. (1964–5) 163:
Applicants who Qualify by having fulfilled Tests administered by the Board, i.e., The Scottish Universities Preliminary Examination.

II. n. In pl., in the Sc. Church: a popular or colloquial term for the hymns, psalms and prayers preceding the sermon, the latter being regarded as the focal point of worship in the service to which all else is subordinate.Sc. 1946 Scotsman (16 Dec.):
A service of public worship should centre upon the sermon, and hence the old-fashioned but still correct, expression in the Presbyterian Church, “the preliminaries.”

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"Preliminary adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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