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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RYAL, n. Also ryall, rial. A name applied to a silver coin of the face value of 30s. Scots minted in the reigns of Mary and James VI. Hist. The word is also loosely applied to a gold three pound piece of Mary, 1555–8, the corresponding 30 shilling piece being the half-ryal, but there is no contemporary authority for this usage (see E. Burns Coinage Scot. II. 289). [′rɑe(ə)l]Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 149:
Other some pays ne'er a rial, Tho' shor'd and threaten'd wi the jail.
Sc. 1844 Letters C. K. Sharpe (1888) II. 564:
The rial and the coin I picked up.
Sc. 1887 E. Burns Coinage Scot. II. 336:
Under Mary and Henry silver coins of considerably larger denominations than had hitherto been fabricated in Scotland were introduced. These consisted of the ryals and their parts, the two-thirds and one-thirds of ryals, of which the coinage was ordered by the Act of Privy Council 22nd December 1565.
Sc. 1955 I. H. Stewart Sc. Coinage 82:
The only other gold coins of Mary before her marriage are three-pound and thirty-shilling pieces, usually called ryals and half-ryals.

[O.Sc. rial, id., 1565. The word is used of various English, French and Spanish coins of the 15th and 16th-cs., O.Fr. rial, royal.]

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"Ryal n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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