Back to Fiona's Finding Service
Back to Index | Previous page | Next page

GLOSSARY

GLOSSARY OF UNFAMILIAR WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS USED HEREINBEFORE, WITH NOTES WHERE NECESSARY.

[From Balfour's Memorial; Edmondston's Glossary; Jamieson's Dictionary; Dennison's Sketch-Book; Peterkin's Notes and Renrals; and Tudor]

The power thou dost covet
O'er tempest and wave,
Shall be thine, thou proud maiden,
By beach and by cave; -
By stack and by skerry, by noup and by voe,
By ayre, and by wick, and by helyer and gio,
And by every wild shore which the northern winds know
And the northern tides lave.
[Sir Walter Scott]

A, ay - an island, Norse
Aergin - a shieling, Celtic
Aith - a tongue of land, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Al-thing - a general assemblage of Free-men, Norse
Arff - heritage, succession, Norse
Ats - contraction for "at suit of"
Ayr, aer - an open beach of sand and or shingle, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Banks - the cliffs where fowling is pursued, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Bard - a bold headland, with top projecting beyond its base, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Bear, bere - a species of barley with six rows of grains, Scottish
Berg - a rock, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Boendi - a yeoman or Odaller, plural boendr, Norse
Bracken - heathery, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Bref, breve - an officer of authority, Norse; compare Bishop Thomas, breff of Orknoy (1418) and the Breve of Lewis.
Broch, brough, or brugh - prehistoric towers reputed Pictish, see page 177, also applied to a detached precipitous rocky islet, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Brother-german - full brother, an expression used when either parent has been married more than once.
Bru - a bridge, or in the neighbourhood of one, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Bruike - to enjoy or possess, Scottish
Bu, bull - the principal farm or manor house on an Odal estate, Orcadian and Shetlandic
But, bot - without, not burdened with, Scottish

Chemis-place - the manor house or baronial residence, Scottish; compare chesmez, old French
Cheytrey - revenue arising from the Scottish casualty of Escheit, Scottish
Commonty - a right of pasturage in common with others, Scottish
Compearit - appeared with, Scottish
Conqueist - acquired, purchased, Scottish
Coram - in presence of, Latin
Corss - the signal in Norse times for clerical assemblies.
Cosingnace - feminine of cousin, Scottish
Cost - victual, two-thirds malt, one-third meal.
Cowsworth - part of a mark of land, one-third, one-fourth, or one-eighth.
Craig - the neck or throat, Scottish
Craigie - a long-necked bottle, Scottish
Cru - a small enclosure, generally a sheepfold, Shetlandic
Cuttell - a measuring rod of the length of a Scottish ell, used in Shetland as the fundamental unit of length and valuation, Norse

Donatary - a grantee of the Crown Skatts, Males, and Duties, Scottish
Drong - a steep rock rising out of the sea, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Eirde-house - earth-house, Scottish
Excambion - exchange of land.
Ey - an island, Norse

Ferd - fared, travelled, Norse
Fey - demented, witless, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Ferry-louper - one from over-sea beyond Orcadian confines, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Fiar, feuar - usually applied to the eldest son during life of father, Scottish
Fjell - a mountain range.
Flet - scolded.
Flesh - rent paid in cattle, generally estimated by weight.
Flow - a reach of the sea, Norse; compare Scapa Flow.
Fold - originally Collector of the King's scats, afterwards Chief Judge, and lastly Sheriff of the Foudrie of Shetland, Norse
Foss, force - a waterfall, Norse
Foy - a festival or convivial gathering, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Garth - an enclosed portion of the Odal heritage, Norse
Geo - a cave, a rocky creek or inlet, a deep ravine which admits the sea, a fissure, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Gill - a deep rut or ravine on the side of a hill, Norse
Gloup - a sea-cave with roof collapsed at landward end, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Goedingr, gofugr - terms applied in Sagas to Odallers of position, Norse
Gudeman-gude-wyff - are self-explanatory, Scottish
Guid-folk - the elfin race.
Good neighbours - the good fairies.
Grencher - great-grandfather, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Gutcher - grandfather, Scottish
Grind - a sea gate, in the Faroes applied to a whale-drive, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Guestquarters - occasional residence of the Jarl as guest of the Husbondi, whose bord-land was therefore exempt from skatt [Tribute for Orcadian defence].

Havers - fictitious gossip.
Haf - the deep sea, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Hawk-hens - hens exacted by the royal falconer on visiting the Islands, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Helyer - a tidal cavern, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Herad - a district.
Heritor - a landowner.
Hoch, haug, or how - a mound or tumulus, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Holm - a small island, uninhabited, used only for pasture, pronounced as ham,
Hope - a small bay, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Horn - proclamation of outlawry by three blasts at the King's Horn; Scottish

Ilk - the like, de codem, Scottish
Impignorntion - a mortgage.
Infangtheif - the right of trying a thief captured within the baronial jurisdiction.
Infeft - enfeoffed.

Jarl - earl, Norse

Kirk - church, Norse

Laing - a narrow ridge of land, as distinguished from "skift", a broad ridge, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Langersam - a longing for something, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Last - as a measure = 12 barrels; as a weight = 24 meils, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Law-book - the book of laws, Norse
Law-man - President of the Althing and Chief judge, Norse
Lispund or setteen - 24 merks == 28 lbs. avoirdupois

Male - rent, Scottish
Manbote - compensation for manslaughter, Norse
Mart - cattle salted for winter provision, killed about St.Martinís Day (11th November), Scottish
Master - a title of address to the eldest son or heir apparent to a Scottish earldom or barony, affected of late by principals of English colleges; compare Master of Balliol
Meil - a weight = 6 lispunds, (144 merks == 168 lbs) Norse
Merchetis mullerum - a clause frequently found in charters, probably the right to a fine upon the marriage of a tenant's daughter.
Mark - a weight = 24 lispunds: also a land-measure ad valorum, Norse
Merk - a Scottish coin, nominal value 13 shillings and 4 pence
Moor - a heavy and dense fall of snow. A snowdrift was called a wind moor, a snowfall a lift moor, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Maul, maol or mull - a bold promontory or headland, Norse or Celtic
Muir - heath pasture, common to all Skathalds and Hrepps of a Herad, Icelandic
Muir-stane - the idol, afterwards the thing-stone, Norse

Non-entry - a Scottish feudal casualty, the failure of heir to renew investiture with superior, on death of predecessor, Scottish
Norn - old Norse language.
Noss, ness - a promontory, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Noup - a lofty headland, precipitous seaward, sloping landward, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Noust - a boat hauling-place, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Odal - a term applied to lands held by uninterrupted succession, without original charter, feudal service, or acknowledgment of any superior, Norse
Opgestry - conveyance of property, subject to maintenance of granter for life, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Oy - a grandchild, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Oyse - an inlet of the sea, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Pas - a step, precedence, French
Peerie - little, tiny, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Pit and gallows - a baronial privilege conferred by charter allowing a pit for drowning women, and gallows to hang men convicted of theft, Scottish
Planking - the process by which runridge lands are laid into severalty. Provost - the chief magistrate of a burgh, Scottish

Quern - a small hand mill for grinding corn, Norse
Quhair throw - where through, through which, Scottish
Quhyt - white, Scottish
Quhilk - which, Scottish
Quhill - while, Scottish
Quondam - the deceased, Latin.
Quoy - a fenced enclosure, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Quoyland - a possession enclosed from common, and not intermixed with town lands; it pays no scat, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Riding the hagrie - is when the parochial heritors [landowners] ride the scattald marches, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Rentals - records of the various burdens chargeable by the Donatary [a grantee of the Crown Skatts, Males, and Duties]
Roost - a strong current, race or rush, occasioned by the meeting of rapid tides, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Rancelman - the official appointed to ransack the parish for goods stolen, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Runrig - lands variously owned lying inter-mixed.

Saga - an ancient Northern composition, usually in verse, and dateless, Norse
Schind - an inquest of Thing-men upon matters of heritage, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Scart - the cormorant or shag, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Scord - a deep indentation in the top of a hill at right angles to its ridge, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Scutage - shield-money.
Set - an agreement, the letting of land, Norse
Setteen - a synonym for the lispund.
Setter - the infield pasture of a town, Norse
Sixareen - a six-oared boat, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Skat - tribute for Orcadian defence, payable to the Suzerain or his donatary, Norse
Skald - court bard to the King or Jarl, Norse
Skaw - a promontory, Norse, Icelandic
Skerries - rocky reefs, or insulated rocks, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Skyld - tenant's rent as opposed to skat, odaller's tax, Danish.
Span - a synonym for lispund or setteen.
Stack - a precipitous insulated rock, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Stem-bod - a symbol of citation, being a Staff for ordinary meetings, an Arrow for matters of urgency, an Axe for a Court of Justice, and a Cross for Ecclesiastical or Religious affairs, Norse
Stent - skat according to extent of land, Norse
Stoup - a flagon, Scottish
Swa o' sea - the music of the sea-swell, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Tack - a lease, to tak possession, Scottish
Tang - seaweed, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Teind - tithes, Scottish
Thing - an assembly of Free-men, Norse
Tocher - dower, Scottish
Toft - land once tilled, but abandoned, Norse
Town - a collection of houses within a dyke, Norse
Trows - evil elves, such as Hill (i.e., unseen), Kirk, and Water trows, Norse
Tumail - land enclosed from the common or hill, and tilled, Scottish
Tutor - a term often applied to a relative as guardian of a noble in minority, Scottish

Urisland - an 18 penny land, Norse
Umquhile - late, deceased, Scottish

Vatn - a loch or lake, Norse
Viking - pirates from wicks, "bay-boys", Norse
Voe - a long narrow bay, Orcadian and Shetlandic
Vor - spring, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Ward - the turf or fuel prepared for beacon-fires on the ward-hill, Norse
Wick - an open bay, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Yon - yonder, Scottish
Yule - the old pagan festival of the Norse at New Year, Orcadian and Shetlandic

Back to Fiona's Finding Service
Back to Index | Previous page | Next page


e-mail to:fnsnclr@btinternet.com