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

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(Prefe,) Preff, Preif, Preve, n. Also: preife, preiff(e, preyf, pryf, priefe, preef, prewe. [ME and e.m.E. preove (Ancr. R.), preve, preeve (Chaucer), prieve (Gower), prewe (1422), preeve (1594) and pref (c 1325), prefe (Wyclif), proef, preef (Chaucer), preyf (c 1400), prief, preffe (c 1430), priefe, preife (Spenser), OF prueve (c 1224 in Godef. Compl.), proeve, preve, proeuve (F. preuve), late L. proba f. probāre Preve v.1 Cf. Pruf(e n.]

1. a. Submission to trial or test; trying something out in action; trial, test. = Pruf(e n. 1. b. Giving proof of (a quality) in action, demonstration. = Pruf(e n. 7 b. But ilkane seir Ar fundin ay douchty at the preif; Alex. ii 3457.
His practikis nevir war put to preif [: theif] But suddane deid or grit mischeif; Dunb. xxxiii 45.
I wrate this to you, that I knaw your preef [P. preuyng, W. asayinge] quhethir in althingis ye ar obedient; Nisbet 2 Cor. ii 9.
And in my hand sled schillingis tway To put his lergnes to preif, For lerges [etc.]; Stewart Bann. MS. 95 b/4.

2. That which makes good a statement etc., also an instance of this; (an) evidence, confirmation, verification. = Pruf(e n. 8. As men may preiff furth bringe Be the ewangelis in witnesinge; Leg. S. i 187.
I haue na preiff heir bot my purs, Quhilk wald nocht lie, and it war luikit; Dunb. lxxix 19.
His fraudfull vyllis Him selff begyllis, As in the Yllis Is now ane preiff [: theiff, mischeiff]; Id. Maitl. F. x 18.
Truely … it vas nocht sufficient preiffe of his resurreccione to say that he saw hyme be ane spirituall visione; Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 123/32.
Be invincible ressouns … we previt the interpretatioun of the auld fatheris towart [etc.] … to be sufficient confirmatioun and preif of the sacrifice of the mes; Id. Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 170/25.
And knawis that of ȝour faith it is a preif To wirk in ȝow pacience for ȝour releif; G. Ball. 34.
As I my selfe can bee a priefe [W., L. preife] And witnes thereuntill; Montg. Ch. & Slae 761 (Wr.).

3. The action of establishing something by evidence etc. in court. = Pruf(e n. 10. See also, for examples, Lede v. 19. Falȝeing of that preif that he has made na defors; 1479 Acta Conc. I 38/2.
As he may prufe befor the schereff … that thai [certain lands] are of vaile … and ordanis our souerane lordis letteres be derect to the schereff to tak the sade preif befor him and to warne the perty tharto; 1485 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 318.
1494 Acta Aud. I 192/2.
1531 Mill Mediæv. Plays 250.
That the said Androw Chalmer hed failit in his preyf twyching waytaking of the forsaid money; 1540 Aberd. B. Rec. I 167.
Gevin to ane induellare of Air quha was witnes to the executioun of the Erll of Levinax summondis, for his expensis maid in his ganging to Edinburght for the preve thairof; 1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 404.
The said day the actione contenowit betwix Wm. Johnstone … & John Angus the said action is contenowit to the nixt without forder preff; 1609 Inverurie B. Ct. 25 July.
And gif he produces na probation nor schawes diligence, ane terme salbe assigned to his preif; Bisset I 150/28.

4. Evidence, or a piece of evidence, brought to establish a fact or prove a case in a court of law. = Pruf(e n. 11. To get xv dayis and bryng his pryf with hym and pruf his pament; 1459 Peebles B. Rec. I 134.
Anent the preve that Sir Patrik Hume offeris to produce that [etc.]; 1499 Exch. R. XI 436.
Ordanit thame to bring with thame thar richts resonis witnes and previs quhilks thai haue and will wis in the said mater; 1506 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 52.
Or ellis to preff with ane sufficiant preff that he never nowder sald na analit the wob; 1515 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 32.
Preiffis; 1523 Carnwath Baron Ct. (S.H.S.) 22.
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 90.
To produce his preiff laufull; 1530–1 Ib. 111.
Ve decreit that James Turnbull sal pay Robert ane boll of ferme beir for this instant yeir, becaus his preff servit nocht hyme; 1532 Ib. 122.
That this day vas set vith avys of bath the parteis to oppin the preiffis and enter the hors; 1535 Ib. 159.
The iuge … ordanis … Patrik his curatour to say agains the prewis; 1562 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. 3 Aug.

5. a. The action of giving evidence or taking an oath to the truth of an alleged fact. = Pruf(e n. 12. b. A solemn oath that an alleged fact is true. The quhylk mere Adam Scot persewit … and maid hir his be ane preff of fatht; 1518 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 48.
Jenot Loremer tuk ane act that scho vanne the caus betueix hir and hir bruder James … be preiff of my moder … and my broder; 1531 Ib. 114.

c. A person who gives evidence or takes an oath to the truth of an alleged fact or in support of one's case; a witness, swearer. = Pruf(e n. 12 b. James of Lebden producit Woll Smyth [etc.], … as prewes and lauchfully suorn deponit … that [etc.]; 1520–1 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 60.
Jok Ruderfurd, Thome Boid, Jok Robesone preffis of Arche Raith incontrerar Jhone of Jonstoun; 1530 Ib. 107.
That he mycht leid thre produxtionis of preiffis of unsuspekit men becaus the party is greit and the preiffis for to leid; 1535 Ib. 157.
Thir preiffis undervrytting sweiris [etc.]; 1536 Ib. 166.
To Arthure Hammiltoun ane of the previs to the executioun of the said summondis of tressoun upoun [etc.]; 1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 404.
It suld nocht haif place nor na Inglisman preif be admytit to be preif aganis hym bot Scottis men; 1562 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 161.
That the disobedient … persounis … sall not be admittit as preuis witnessis or assysouris aganis ony professing the trew religioun; 1572 Acts III 72/1.
Led preif, lo theif [H. Fals preife, lean theiff], mischeif on thy lippis; Polwart Flyt. 777 (T).

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"Prefe n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jul 2020 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/prefe>



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