A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Bla, Blae, a. and n. Also: blaa, blaw, blay, blea, bleaie, ble. [Northern ME. bla, blaa (midl. and southern blo, bloo), ON. blá-r (dark) blue, livid, black.]

1. Of persons or parts of the body: Livid or bluish as the result of a blow. Freq. coupled with bludy. Si quis verberando fecerit aliquem blaa et blodi ipse qui fuerit blaa et blodi prius debet exaudiri [etc.]; ? a 1200 Acts I. 37/1.
Sancte Nicholas to thame aperyt Bla & bludy; Leg. S. xxvi. 930.
He … mad hyr sa bludy and bla … That [etc.]; Leg. S. xxxi. 523.
My bludie hekill and my nek sa bla; Henr. Fab. 569.
Br[e]istis war brissin, bayth bludie maid and bla; Stewart 508.
Stryking of hir with ane flail on the arme makand the samyn blay; 1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 21.
Alexander Bruce … straik thame with baich strakis, and maid thame bla and bludie; 1582 Reg. Privy C. III. 496.
Scho gatt ane sair straik … the mark quhairof wes blae and ewill faurrit; 1588 Crim. Trials I. ii. 163.
[Gif ane man strikes ane other, and makes him blae and bloudie; Skene Reg. Maj. 129 b.]
Putting violent hands on Elspet Craig, … abeiseing hir face, and making the same bla; 1641 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 269.
A halfe hower after … his finger was also raisen in blay blisters; 1665 Lauder Jrnl. 72.
Comb. Conwict for the blud-drawing, bla-making and strublens; 1538 Aberd. B. Rec. XVI. (J).
[Thai] wer convickit … for the strublens, striking and bla making of Mariorie Pattoun; 1558 Ib. I. 309.

b. Of a blow: Making a livid mark or bruise. With leyd pellokis … By dyntis bla thar famen doun to dyng; Doug. vii. xi. 112.
[Thai] crewelly strak and dang thame, with rungis … , mony blaw and bloody strekis; 1563 Crim. Trials I. i. 431.
[He] geff hir many bauch and bla straiks; 1593 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 85.
Giffing hir mony bluidie and bleaie straikis; 1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 144 b.
The fornemitt persounes … gave him many blae and bloodie straikis; 1630 Orkney Bp. Ct. 74.
Giveing him ane bloodie strak thairwith in his thigh, and sindrie blae strakis on his back; 1642 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 291.
Geweing hir many bla strakis; Ib. 292.

2. Livid or bluish from cold, bloodlessness, etc. Also as a colour attributed to fiends. (a) Saturne … With lippis bla and cheikis leine and thin; Henr. Test. Cress. 159.
On thair kneis bla and blak; Rowll Cursing 215.
Than sall bla Baliall gif ane brattill; Ib. 244.
Bla berfute berne, in bair tyme wes thow borne; Dunb. Flyting 210.
He brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla; Id. lxxxvi. 30.
His fingeris, quhilk quhit wes, wox bla; Kennedy Pass. Christ 380.
Thy … lippis with ded ar maid full bla; Ib. 1269.
Chymera, That wondrus monstre, with wide chaftis bla; Doug. vii. xiv. 10.
All his bodie … Without bluid it was baith blak and bla; Stewart 36462.
My rosy lippis ar woxin paill and blay; Bann. MS. 234 a/19.
The said William … callit hyr blay ribald; 1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 128.
(b) Shoe that … bringes anie bedding for thy blae bowke; Montg. Flyting 341.
Her steid was white … , His top, his taile, war both full blae; Anc. Prophecies 19.
Some of you will stand with a blae countenance before the tribunal of God; Bruce Soul-Confirmation ii (J).

3. Of things: Bluish; blue. A blese of fyre as brynstane bla; Leg. S. xxxi. 723.
Blak pic & gret brynstane bla; Ib. xxxii. 733.
Quhen … flowris spredis on seirkin hewes, Blew and burnat, blak and bla; Alex. ii. Prol. 5.
The rosis reid … and the purpour violat bla; Henr. Fab. 1329 (H).
I … Persauyt the mornyng bla, wan, and har; Doug. vii. Prol. 130.
Four dosone bla pointis … xiiij bla pursis; 1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 47.
Tuenty loadis of blea stanes to the fynning furnaces; 1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I. 165 b.
Bla glaized callicoe, bla cloath; 1699 Wemyss Chart. MS.

4. Black. Bla man, a negro. So ME. blamon, blomon, -man, ON. blámann-. In Ethiope, that is the land of bla men; Asl. MS. I. 155/27.
In Ynd is … men of bla colour; Ib. 158/24.
Of Cam [come] churllis and foull pepill as bla men; Ib. 309/6.

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"Bla adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/bla_adj_n>



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