Chapter

‘There is Nothing Like a Good Gossip’: Baptism, Kinship and Alliance in Early Modern Scotland

Jane E. A. Dawson

in Perspectives on the Older Scottish Tongue

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780748622818
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653362 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622818.003.0004
‘There is Nothing Like a Good Gossip’: Baptism, Kinship and Alliance in Early Modern Scotland

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In early modern Scotland, the word ‘gossip’ is usually found as a noun describing a person, often male and used within the context of social and political power. The complexities of the term ‘gossip’ created a problem while the author of this chapter was editing the Campbell Letters 1559–83. She had difficulty identifying which two men were signing themselves and addressing each other as ‘gossip’ in a series of letters written in the winter of 1565–6. The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue provided the key definitions of the term ‘gossip’ as employed in Scotland during the early modern period. The dictionary also offered a range of interesting references which linked the ‘band of gossiprie’ to bonds of manrent and provoked an investigation of these connections.

Keywords: Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue; gossip; Campbell Letters; political power

Chapter.  5350 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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