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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TRIAL, n. Also Sc. forms †tryal(l), †tryle (Sc. 1735 D. Beveridge Culross (1885) II. 107). As in Eng., a test by examination or otherwise of one's abilities or qualifications. Sc. usages, specif. in pl.: in the Presbyterian churches, the series of examinations prescribed by a Presbytery for a candidate for admission as a preacher after his theological training; in Court of Session practice, a test of his judicial powers laid upon a new judge before being admitted to the Bench, abolished in 1933. See Probationer. Phr. to take trial of, to test one's proficiency, esp. in preaching or scholastic attainments.Sc. 1701 Acts Gen. Assembly 28:
More strict notice be taken of such as pass their Tryals in order to the Ministry.
Edb. 1710 A. Law Educ. Edb. (1965) 65:
The Principal of the College, the professors, and some of the city ministers ‘had taken tryall of Mr George Arbuthnott his parts and found him qualified to be one of the masters of the High Schooll.'
Rxb. 1725 Melrose Parish Reg.(S.R.S.)126:
The session considering the approach of the tryals, thought fit to enter on their privy tryals, so accordingly the elders present were removed severally two by two, were tryed and approven, and encouraged to go on in the Lord's work.
Lnk. 1765 Caled. Mercury (1 June):
The cause of Mr. Wells, presentee to the Kirk of Shotts, and whose trials were not approved by the Presbytery of Hamilton, was remitted back to the Presbytery, to make remarks on his discourses, and take his trials anew.
Sc. 1799 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (22 May):
William Macleod Bannatyne, Esq., having gone through his trials as Lord Probationer, took the oaths, and his seat on the Bench.
Sc. 1800 A. Carlyle Autobiog. (1860) 90:
My father's wish was, that I should pass through my trials to be admitted a probationer in summer 1745.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xix.:
When he went to stand trial for his license as a preacher.
Sc. 1853 Fraser's Mag. (May) 513:
These “trials” occupy perhaps six months, at the end of which time he is licensed to preach.
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.Sc. 1964 J. T. Cox Practice Ch. Scot. 209:
Any student who has applied to a Presbytery for Licence shall undergo trials either by the Presbytery itself or by a Committee therof.

[O.Sc. tryalls, id., 1630.]

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"Trial n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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