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Re: Scottish titles

Poster: mn13189@WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU

On Fri, 18 Apr 1997, Stephanie M. Thorson wrote:

> > Here is what I have been able to find and date so far:
> > Lord--late 14th (more specific titles such as Lord of the ____ date from
> > 	late 14th to 20th)
> > Laird--15th-?
> > Lard--late 14th - 20th
> I'd add to this that just now I'm dealing with some late 15th and early
> 16th century material where *Lord* refers specifically to someone who not
> only holds a grant of land from the king, but is also a member of the
> nobility. Lard or laird refers to those who hold lands of the king, but
> are *not* members of the nobility.  (Yes, in Scotland it was entirely
> possible).  The scribes are quite consistent in their spelling and meaning
> on these issues, and what background research I've done indicates that
> they were correct in this.

I was primarily using Robinson's _Concise Scots Dictionary_, because it is
the only one available to me that consistantly dates all of its entries.
It lists "Lord" and "Laird" seperately, because of the differences you
describe, but includes "lard," "lerd," and "leard" all under the heading
of "laird."  The word, as they descibe it, had different meanings at
different times.  Example:

1.  a prince or cheif (la14)
2.  Christ (la14-16)
3.  Christ, as a mild expletive (18-)
4.  landlord of landed property or an estate (15-)
5.  a landowner holding directly of the Crown, and so entitled to
	parliament, but not a lord of parliament (-e18)
6.  an owner of property in general, especially a house-owner (19-)
7.  applied to the chief of a Highland Clan (la16-e17)
8.  jocular term of address (20-)

and it goes on giving other varieties, such as lairdly, lairdship, ect.

> > Lerd--late 16th - 17th
> Hehe.  The aforementioned 15th/16th c. material also uses this word, as
> the past participle of "lere" and also a substantive adjective to mean
> "learned," as clerks, for instance, and as opposed to "lawd"  meaning
> sometimes the laity in general or more often the unlettered.  For example,

Interesting.  The CSD, under "lerd" simply says, "see LAIRD."  But I have
had experience with confusing similar words before in different ME, or
Early English dictionaries before.  What I tend to do (if I am translating
a MS), is to consider all possible definitions available to me, including
definitions of similarly spelled words, and try to choose the best one in
the context of the MS.


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