A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
Lern(e, Leirn(e, Learn(e, Lairn(e, v. Also: leyrn(e, larn(e. P.t. and p.p. lernid, -it, -yt, leirnit, etc.; p.t. also leirnd(e, p.p. also lernt. [ME. lerne(n, leerne, early leornie(n, leornen, etc., e.m.E. learn(e, OE. leornian (ONorthumb. liorniᵹa) to learn.]Not recorded in Sc. in any of its senses until the late 15 th c. and at first less common than the synonymous Lere v.
I. To learn.
1. tr. To learn by instruction, study or experience. = Lere v. 6.(a) a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 168.
Be this said taill thow sall Lerne fyve wittis 1490 Irland Mir. in Sc. Ant. XV. 4.
To submyt you humylly to Jesus and lern his law 1518 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 63.
The said Wolliem … to lern and ws his craft as prentis be the spac of sex ȝeris 1570 Leslie 58.
The … erle … havinge lerint [sic in pr.] experience … refusit to brek his ward 1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 46.
Wemen, wha can not sew, cairde, nor spin without thay lerne the same of vther skilful wemen 1602 Crim. Trials II. 421.
Quhilk craft he lernit fra the Devill his maister(b) 1549 Compl. 8/23.
The Egiptiens var inducit … to leyrne sciens, craftis, and mecanyke occupations 1560 Rolland Seven S. 407.
Ane hous … Quhair at quyet the child may leirne his lair 1568 Peebles B. Rec. 73.
My fadir … may nocht sustene me to hald me at the scoillis … to leirne vertu a1585 Maitl. Q. xxxv. 188.
Socrates wyise thocht na dispryis To leirn at hir prudence a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlii. 1.
A bony ‘No’, with smyling looks agane, I wald ȝe leirnd(c) 15.. Dum Wyf 34.
[G]if thow will counsell keip [And] learne weill quhat I say 15.. Clar. v. 341.
Thair men micht have learnit courtisie a1599 Rollock Wks. II. 629.
All young men … may learn a lesson at Peter 1640 Dundonald Par. Rec. 466.
No certaine number of lessons can be appointed for them quho learns Scots to get(d) 1600-1610 Melvill 783.
Mair … guid lairneing [was] forget in ane oulk, nor wes … lairnit in a moneth befoir 1618 Glasgow Trades House 81.
He had lairnet his haill grammer and was reddie … to go to the colledge c 1680 Ravillac Redivivus (1682) 45.
You know I came to England to larn the language
b. To learn (how) to do something. = Lere v. 6 b. Also with the infin. understood. 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 112.
Kepand na sudron bot our awyn langage, And spekis as I lernyt quhen I was page Ib. ix. 92.
Thus … I lernyt to help all tholis aduersyte Ib. vi. ix. 191.
Be myne exampill all wightis … Lernys … to hant justice and rycht 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 288.
Amang the rest, schir, lerne to be ane kyng c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 455.
Quha wald exaltit be, Go learne at Christ, to lead humelytie 1567 G. Ball. 183.
Quhair thay in thair exile Leirnit better till vnderstand The trew word of Jesus Christ 1568 Peebles B. Rec. 73.
To sustene me at the scoillis quhairthrouch I may leirne to minister the ewangell of Jesu Christ a1585 Polwart Flyt. 122 (T).
Learne … to knave thy sell c1600 Montg. Suppl. 199/32.
For I hawe leirnid to countt my kinch 1616 Macritchie Gypsies 96.
[Accused of having] leirnit to take proffeit of thair nyghtbouris cornis and ky of the saids Egyptians 1657 Balfour Ann. III. 48.
The eldest sonnes of noblemen … to sitt in the housse and heire, quherby they might learne how to carrey themselues in tyme to come
2. intr. To acquire knowledge, receive instruction or training, study, learn (at or from a person or other source of knowledge). = Lere v. 7. a1500 K. Hart 656.
Barnis ȝoung suld lerne at auld mennis sculis c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4609.
That Pape red neuer the New Testament; Gyf he had lernit at that lore, He had refusit sic vaine glore 1566 Inverness Rec. I. 136.
His son quha is lernand wyth the said George at the brebnar craft c1475 Wall. (1570) vii. 671.
Togidder … thay had bene, Lernand [MS. Lerand] at scole in to thair tender age a1586 Lindsay MS. 17.
Thai … will not leirne becaus thai deinȝie not demand nor spere 1679 Mcward Tracts 113.
That we may learn at them, and … know how to carry and acquit ourselves
3. tr. To get to know (of), be informed (of), ascertain (a fact). With noun or noun clause as object. = Lere v. 8. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 143.
And gif I leirne ony thing heir, I will mak ȝow memoriall at euin a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxx. 62.
Sene ȝe haue leirnit ȝe ar the Lordis elect 1586 Waus Corr. 365.
In case I had lernit off your ll. said bedfallow aye thing mycht proffeit my ladye 1595 Moysie 122.
To try and learne gif Angus resorted theare 1629 Maxwell Mem. II. 202.
As to my Lord of Nidisdeillis awin turneis, sua far as I can larne, thay go hardle 1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 322.
So far as I cane lairne … thais monyes will nocht be gottin from her in ane freindlie maner
b. To lern owt (for), to find out, discover. 1586 Waus Corr. 365.
I travellit with hir to lern owt your ll. mynd yitt I fynd I was mett with lyik craft I brocht Ib. 366.
I am maist assurit nane wilbe ane hinderer … and in case your ll. fynd it nocht sway I wald be glaid to lern thame owt, for it may happin they imploye me in the lyilk ado 1703 New Mills Manuf. 344.
To sie if he cann learne out for ane sober man fully seen in the makeing of broad cloath … and quhat such a man may ingadge for to serve in this place
II. To teach.
4. To teach (a lesson, a subject, a craft or skill, etc.); to teach (a person a thing). = Lere v. 1. 1513 Doug. viii. Prol. 159.
Leyd, lern me ane other lesson, this I ne like 1516 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 51 b.
The said William sal tak Johne Champnaye … to prentes to lern him his skenarcraft 1549 Compl. 14/18.
He beleuis to leyrne Annibal the prettik of the veyris Ib. 15/29.
It is grit folye to thy philosophour til vndirtak to leyrn the ordiring of battellis vitht in his solitair achademya 1540 Lynd. Sat. 4593 (Ch.).
My gudame the Gyre Carling Leirnde me the prophesie of Marling 1573-1600 Burne in Cath. Tr. 126/28.
Godfatheris ar obleist to learne thame quhom thay hald in baptisme the formes of prayeris 1591 Bruce Serm. 164.
What should this lear nus? This visitation of the king's learns us twa necessare lessons 1608 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 50.
John Mathesoun wrytter that came to learn bairns the art of wrytting a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 995.
I will learne yow ane other use, nor wasch your feit in the kirne 1640 Dundonald Par. Rec. 467.
Let the maister … point out the faults [in writing] and learn them by ocular demonstratioun in his own practeise before them 1649 Brechin Presb. 17.
John Donaldson, … confessing charming … was asked who learned him that arte ?1661-5 M. Bruce Soul-Confirmation (1709) 10.
The devil has learned the professors in Scotland a brave trick of it now c1695 Satire on Stair in Bk. Pasquils (1827) i. 49.
His mother's tongue learn'd him his father's law 1700 Kingarth Par. Rec. 214.
The Session approves of sending a person to learn the quest[ions]
b. To instruct or to show (a person) (how) to do something; also, to induce. Also with the infin. understood.(1) 1513 Doug. xii. ix. 3.
Quhat god sall now … me lern in metyr to declar Sa feill … slauchteris? c1552 Lynd. Mon. 350.
Lerne me for to be content, Of quyet lyfe, and sobir rent a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxx. 147.
Truble … lernis ws to muse apone the deid 1602 Crim. Trials II. 422.
The Devill … lernit him to tak southe-rynnand watter to cuir the saidis diseissis 1633 Peebles B. Rec. I. 372.
The small; quheill … to be erectit to lerne the ȝoung anes to spyn 1639 Old Ross-shire II. 10.
[That] the best trained … men in the companie be electit as dreilmasters and lerne the companie to dreil and handil thair armes(b) 1549 Compl. 182/1.
He … neurissit tua ȝong corbeis … and he leyrnit them baytht to speik 1567 G. Ball. 4.
The Lordis prayer … quhilk Christ leirnit vs to pray 1570 Sat. P. xv. 32.
Tak the turtill ȝow amang To leirne ȝow how to murne 1572 Ib. xxxiii. 371.
Leirne ȝour bairns to saw and teill 1540 Lynd. Sat. 494 (Ch.).
I sall leirne ȝow all kewis how to do(c) 1583 Ayr B. Ct. & Council Bk. 28 Aug.
To learne thame to sing 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 84/3.
Learne your nobilitie to keipe youre lawis als præciselie as the meanest a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 21.
Ye learn your father to get bairns ?1672 M. Bruce Sermon in Edinburgh 4.
They'll gar us take up our lodging in Virginia to learn us to be more loyal 1697 Foulis Acc. Bk. 218.
To Jamie Gray to buy a sheep head and soap to learne him to barbarize(d) 1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 14.
The said Bessie askit at the said Kaithrein quha larned hir to do so(2) 1597 Crim. Trials II. 27.
Scho … fyrit the water, and brunt stray at ilk newke of the bed, as the said Michael had leirnit hir
c. With noun clause as object: To instruct or inform. a1500 Henr. Fab. 626.
All the planetis … in quhat degre Thay wer ilk ane, as Lowrence leirnit me 1551 Hamilton Cat. 242.
He hes lernit thé quhow thow sulde praye 1567 G. Ball. 11.
Christ … leirnit vs quhat we suld say, Syne hecht to heir vs mercyfullie
5. To teach or instruct (a person). Also const. in (also to) a subject, craft, etc. = Lere v. 2.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. liii. 9; Ib. 30.
He leuket as he culd lern tham a 1549 Compl. 14/5.
Quhen ane ydiot … presumis to teche or to leyrne ane man that hes … experiens 1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 106.
That na maner of scole maisteris … be permitted to instruct or lern ony youthheid … except [etc.] 1591 Ib. V. 45; 1673 Ib. X. 145.
[The senior apprentice] may be helpand and learne the young prenteis c1590 Fowler I. 325/3.
Such warning did me learne, Such warming did me harme a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1333.
Sillie bairnes are eith to learne 1688 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 251, 261.
She acknowleged … that she is a witch and was acqwaint with that Margaret McLane who learned her; … the minister … asked hou did she lairne her(2) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 73.
Thir preistis war institute … to lern the sonnis of nobill men in vertew and science 1557 Inverness Rec. I. 10.
He ressaid to hym in prenteschip Jamie McDone to hef lernit hyme to the brebner craft 1606 Edinb. Test. XLI. 113 b.
Tutrix testamentar to … thair lawfull barnes … to lerne and trane thame vp in godlines and vertew 1672 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 28 Feb.
The webster tred wherin the said James binds … him to instruct and learne the said Johne … faithfullie 1698 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 761 (9 Nov.).
6. Passive, with the person taught as subject. = Lere v. 3.a. (1) 1533 Bell. Livy I. 45/6.
I can nocht afferme that Numa was lerned ony maner of way be Pithagoras 1540 Lynd. Sat. 620 (B).
War ȝe weill lernit at luvis lair 1562-3 Winȝet II. 50/31.
For quha wes bettir leirnit than wes this man? quha in the diuine and humane materis wes mair exerceit? a1578 Pitsc. I. 160/5.
The said bischope … requirit … gif the … ȝouth [were] brocht wpe and leirnitt conforme to the order that was taine in the kirk of God ?1549 Monro W. Isles 24.
Selccheis, whilkis are slain with doges lernt to the same effect 16.. Crail Squaremen 27.
Act that ane prentis learnitt with in the toun sall nott be mead frie till [etc.] c1650 Spalding I. 318.
Quhair ony persone nocht lernit within the colledge sould be preferrit befoir personis educat and brocht wp thairin(2) 1559 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 144/1.
Ane Instructioun for Bairnis to be lernit in Scotis and Latene 1576 Prot. Bk. T. Auchinlek i.
We … vnderstanding our louit Thomas Auchinlek … to be sufficientlie instruktit lernit and exercesit in his grammer and humanitie a1578 Pitsc. I. 160/12.
He was ane mane weill leirnit in the civill lawis 1666 Caldwell P. 136.
My two saids doghters … are to be … learned at schooles in all good breadingb. (1) 1513 Doug. ix. viii. 123.
The Troianys, that … Be lang vsage of weir war lernyt and kend Quhou thai thar town … suld defend(2) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 483.
He was weil lernit to fecht with swerd, to just, to turney Id. Livy I. 24/18.
The Poticianis, lernit to mak sacrifice in this wise be King Evander c1552 Lynd. Mon. 613.
Lyke one stirlyng or ane papingay, Quhilk leirnit ar to speik be lang vsage 1662 Forbes Cantus (ed. 1666) xlix.
All you that be batchelors, Be learn'd by crying Will … to remain so still 1697 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I. 458.
That black Bettie be learned to … shew with the needle well(3) 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 618.
Thair Holieglas begane his gaidis, As he was learned, amangis the laidis
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