Home» About SLD» Our major dictionaries

The Dictionary of the Scots Language

The Dictionary of the Scots Language is a freely-available online dictionary that combines the full text of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary (see below) into one online resource documenting the history of the Scots Language. DSL was originally created from 2001 to 2004 by a team working at the University of Dundee, and was funded largely by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board. In 2014 it underwent a major overhaul to update and improve its appearance and functionality.

The twelve-volume Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue covers the period of Scots from its earliest records in the twelfth century to about 1700, and the ten-volume Scottish National Dictionary covers the period from 1700 to the latter half of the twentieth century, the final Supplement volume of modern Scots material being published in 1976. DSL combines these two major historical dictionaries to create a unique historical record of Scottish language, history and culture. An additional, new Supplement on modern Scots was added in 2005 to bring the dictionary up to date. Each entry traces the chronological and semantic development of a Scots word and gives details of orthographic variants, grammatical inflections, derivative words and phrases, and etymological history. The definitions are illustrated by quotations from over six thousand sources, covering a wide range of subject areas. Many of the modern Scots words are also supported by evidence from oral sources, and include information on phonological and dialectal variation.

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) is a 12-volume dictionary published between 1931 and 2002. DOST is a comprehensive dictionary of Older Scots, the language of Lowland Scotland from the early Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. It is a major resource for scholars of the language, literature, history and culture of early Scotland, defining and illustrating every meaning of every word found in the surviving records, thus touching upon every facet of medieval and renaissance Scottish life and society.

The Scottish National Dictionary

The Scottish National Dictionary (SND) is a 10-volume dictionary published between 1931 and 1976. SND provides a record of modern Scots from the 1700s to the present day. It is a window on the last three centuries of Scottish cultural life and draws on both written and oral sources, documenting the richness of the Scots language in all of its regional varieties. The text was complemented in August 2005 with the completion of a new Supplement, made possible by a three-year grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.