A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Bony, Bonie, a. Also: bonny, -ie. [e.m.E. bonye (1570), bonny (a 1529), of obscure origin. In early Sc. examples always with single n, but rhyming with mony.]
1. Beautiful, handsome, pretty, nice: a. Of persons.
Ane bonie wenche sho was; Prestis of Peblis 820.
He braisit hir bony body sweit; Dunb. xxxii. 8.
Ȝe brek my hart, my bony ane! Ib. lxxv. 35.
In the stabill thai fand the bony barne; Kennedy Pass. Christ 157.
Thay callit my mvder bony Bes; Lynd. Sat. 160 (B).
The ymage of our lady … beirand in her arme the bony ymage of hir sone; Hamilton Cat. 53.
Scho brankit fast and maid hir bony; Bann. MS. 137 a/3.
The Persoun wald nocht haif ane hure, But twa, and thay war bony; G. Ball. 206.
Ane bony boy was soir makand his mone; 1567 Sat. P. iii. 3.
The maist bening and boniest Mirrour of madinis, Margareit; Montg. Maitl. Q. lxiv. 23.
April xv our Quene is delyuerit of a bony barne; Dalr. II. 137/12.
He married his wife … only for his gear, and she took him because he was bony; 1665 Lauder Journal 113.
My wankle [= uncle] tels me my brother is gron the boniest litle man that hi ever did se; 1666 Wemyss Corr. 127.
b. Of things. Also = good, excellent.
Vpon ane lytil bony stule Sat Fictus; Prestis of Peblis 743.
Ane ile callit Cransay, … ane boney ile for corne and gerssing; Monro W. Isles 41.
Ane bonie lytil kie, Hang at hir belt; Rolland Seven S. 146/21.
That bony foull of flicht, The nichingaill; Ib. 326/5.
Bot nycht & day mon he nocht tyre That sailis my bony ballinger; a 1568 Sat. P. xlvi. 48.
Zephir … vith bonie bousum blast; J. Stewart 54/49.
A bony ‘No’, with smyling looks agane; Montg. Misc. P. xlii. 1.
The said Agnes preparit ane bony small pictour of ȝallow walx; 1591 Crim. Trials I. 240.
I leif … to my brother, becaus he misteris nocht, … ane bonie bonnet of gold; 1607 Edinb. Test. XLIII. 5.
Thertie yeardis of flowrit tafetie or sume uther bonie sticht stuffe for his doichteris; c 1614 Rep. Hist. MSS. I. 139.
The morne, the towne of Edinburgh moosteris and makis swndrie bonie pastymis; 1633 Maxwell Mem. I. 228.
The man hes a bonny spirit; 1638 Baillie I. 149.
2. Of a space of time: Little, short, moderately long. Usually a bony quhile.
I salbe heir within ane bony quhyle; Doug. K. Hart 732.
We sall leir ȝow to dance Within ane bony littill spaice Ane new paven of France; Lynd. Sat. 3651 (B).
It salbe heir within a bony [M. littil] quhyle; Freiris Berw. 330.
Abasd, ane bonie quhyle I baid, And musd; Montg. Ch. & Slae 928.
Within a bonny while … he tuik occasioune … to advyse me; 1596 Highland P. I. 188.
His face first fell to the est, bot within a bonie whyll turned about to the west; Melvill 36.
Thou both bagg and bow a bonie while shalt beare; Craig ii. 26.
Eftir that he haif pawsed a bony quhyle; Bisset I. 288.
3. In ironical use.
At the last of mony smallis couth mak This bony pedder a gud fut pak; Prestis of Peblis 187.
Ye've played a bonny sports to your self, by being so loose-tongued; 1685 in Biogr. Presb. I. 76.
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"Bony adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Mar 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/bony>
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