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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Stil(l, Styl(l, adv. Also: stille, stylle, stile, style, stell. [ME and e.m.E. still(e (both Orm), stell (Cursor M.), styl(le (both Trevisa), styll (1544), OE stille.]

1. Motionlessly, without movement; at rest. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1638 (Bann.).
Ane bakkis ee … lurkis still as lang as lycht of day is And in the gloming cumis furth to flee
a1500 Seven S. 897.
In the caldron fell he … Thar stak he still & mycht nocht steire
1490 Irland Mir. III 127/31.
The … empriour … quhen he was on hors passand to battel … a pur woman com to him … than remanit stil on his hors the noble empriour and said humely [etc.]
1513 Doug. xi xiii 114.
Alsone he hir saw Abasyt huvis still for dreid and aw
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 540.
Throw curras and throw gluifis of plait … The trencheour of the squyeris speir Stak still into Sir Talbartis geir
15.. Clar. ii 1090.
He … wald not with them licht, Bot hovit still abyding the Greine Knicht
15.. Clar. v 2181.
The mirrie knightis … went to bed … and sleipit still Whill bright Phebus schynit ouer holt and hill
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 23/62.
The warldis instabilitie That never still in till ane stait dois byde Bot changeand ay as dois the mone and see
1596 Dalr. II 430/22.
An Inglis nauie … to the watter of Forth … thair stak still [L. tamquam in statione hæserat]

b. To stand still, to remain motionless, to stop, also ? to remain silent.See also Stand v. 3 b, 10 f for further examples. 1375 Barb. xii 113.
James of Dowglas … bad thaim that with him wer Stand still and pres na forthyrmar
1375 Barb. vi 97 (see 6 c below). a1400 Leg. S. xviii 68.
He … Passit … The sad abay til he fande, & at it stil cuthe he stande
a1400 Leg. S. xliv 255.
Vnsterit scho stud stil As a crag
a1500 Seven S. 1937.
Hir moder … bad him he suld speik na word Bot evyn befor the dur stand still … Than said hir moder ‘son mak na dyn’

2. Noiselessly, quietly, calmly, without excessive noise or activity. 1513 Doug. ix iii 203.
Ane hundreth fallowys … Thar giltyn geir maid glitteryng euery sted Quhar so thai walk and romys still and soft. Thai stalk about and wardis changis oft, [etc.]
1549 Compl. 64/26.
Sum … sangis … Stil vndir the leyuis grene
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 360/1.
Still vndir the levis grene This hindir day I went alone

3. To sit or ly still a. Motionless, without movement or, sometimes, noise, passing into b. Without change of place. c. To lat (liquid) ly still, to leave (it) undisturbed, to leave (it) alone. d. Describing land: (To lie), untilled, fallow.a. 1375 Barb. x 632.
Thai sat still lurkand ilkane. The wachys quhen thai herd nocht ster [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. x 89.
He … gerte thai serpentis ly al still As slepande
a1500 Henr. Fab. 620 (Ch.).
Bydand nicht full still lurkand he lay
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1412.
He lay so still the myis wes not effeird
1531 Bell. Boece II 479.
Thay sit full stil, that hes ane revin breik
1540 Lynd. Sat. 934.
I will sit still heir and repois
1559 Statut. Sc. Ch. 190.
Requyre tham to heir yow … without noysse or din, and to sit styll … quhill thay be ordourlie seruit of the saide blyssit sacrament
a1568 Bann. MS 158b/82.
This Gilly Hatchett … fyndis ane mene to ly still and his maistir pleis
b. 1375 Barb. viii 277.
The cariage & the powyrall That war nocht worth in the bataill Behynd him levyt he all still Syttand all samyn on the hyll
1375 Barb. xvii 492.
[Fyve] dayis eftyr thai war still That nane till other did mekill ill. Now leve we [thir] folk her lyand All still [etc.]
?1438 Alex. i 2569.
King Alexander … leit Betys ly still alane. Men sayis he micht him weill haue tane, Bot he raid … To mak Emynedus welcuming
c1475 Wall. vi 645.
Quhen he persawit the Scottis folowed nocht In Jhonnys greyne he gert the ost ly still
1513 Doug. x i 134.
Gyf that … Troianys hes socht till Itaill … Had not bene bettir thame in thar natyve hauld Have syttyn still, amang the assys cauld
1535 Stewart 51243.
To the thrid day the parteis baith did ly Into thair tentis wnsturtit richt still
a1578 Pitsc. I 266/16.
The king … havand no forsight … lay still, takand no thocht … for saifgaird of his ost
c1650 Spalding I 142.
Bot the bischopis lay still and beheld all, … depending vpon the Kingis protectioun
c. a1500 K. Hart 766.
This drink wes sweit ȝe fand in Venus' tun Sone eftir this it salbe staill … Thairfoir of it I reid no moir ȝe cun. Lat it ly still
d. 1434–5 Chart. Coupar A. II 34.
The forsaid lande to be occupyit in pasturyng as befor was, na the lying stil of it

4. Loud and (na) still, entirely, completely. See also Loud adv. 5 c for further examples. ?1438 Alex. ii 2031.
I kepe na lufe, loud na still, Bot Cassamus, quhill at he will
?1438 Alex. ii 3178.
Than leuch thay all, baith gud and ill, And loued Cassamus baith loud and still

5. Without change of place, at rest, passing into continually, constantly. Const. dwell, bide, remane, etc.Some examples may belong in next. 1375 Barb. v 119.
The king … duellyt all still thar dayis thre
1375 Barb. x 502 (C).
He … duelt still thar quhill Tevydale Com to the kyngis pes
1375 Barb. xv 313 (C).
Quhen all the Iles war Brocht till his liking … Still all that sesoune thar duelt he At hunting [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. xli 291.
Thar bad stil Amarentia, That nawyse wald fra hyr grawe ga
?1438 Alex. ii 3411.
Thame that I will, this poynt sall ma. The laif with me sall byde all still
?1438 Alex. ii 6866.
I put me in ȝour courtasy … To leif in ostage with ȝow still
c1475 Wall. viii 933.
Ȝeit still off pees the ost lugyt all nycht, Quhill on the morn [etc.]
c1475 Wall. ix 1177.
Yhe sall remayn her at this port all still, And I my selff the boit sall bryng yow till
c1475 Wall. xi 69.
In Schynnown still Wallace his duelling maid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 105/6.
Madam … ȝour men said thai wald ryd And latt this Fasterennis evin ower slyd … Nou propois thai, sen ȝe dwell still, Off Venus feest to fang ane fill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 28/111.
He … baid still as it wes resoune With bewty and the presoneir
a1540 Freiris Berw. 113 (B).
Scho … Closit the trop, and thay remanit still
1540 Lynd. Sat. 535.
Schir Wantounes, tary ȝe still; Lat Hamelenes the cop fill, And beir ȝow cumpany

6. Continuously, constantly, ever; yet; thereafter. a. With reference to an action or state which continues from the past to the present moment (with the implication that it may continue into the future).Const. verbs expressing continuity, specif. to be; (a)bide; leve, remane, etc.; hald, detain, etc. (someone or something); leve someone, freq. in, at, etc. (a place or state). Also const. other verbs or constructions containing no implicit notion of continuity.There is some overlap with sense 5.(1) 1375 Barb. iv 393.
He wes in-to the castell still The tyme that [etc.]
c1475 Wall. ix 1285.
A hundreth men was at his ledyng still
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 237.
Tha … that dois my wourdis imbrace, Tha same in me tha haue ane dwelling place And tha be faith in me ar still ingrauit
1596 Dalr. I 266/21.
Ȝe in this age have beine abbatis, as in sum places thay ȝit ar, still in thair dignitie and kuir
1632 Lithgow Trav. vii 301.
As some reape, some are growing green, … and some still in the floorish
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 184.
How sweet and dear are those thoughts that are still upon the things which are above
1689 Acts XII 79/2.
Wee are still of the same mind quhich we did express in our former letter
1697-1707 D. Hume Accompt of Estate 32.
He went off considerably in my debt … He has still been so poor, … that I reckon it a desperate debt
(b) 1553 Balcarres P. 313.
The Emperoris arme is at this our lyand stell castand down Torsuen and Hedeng and destroyand tham
(2) 1375 Barb. xvii 420 (C).
So lang abaid thai fechtand still Quhill [etc.]
c1475 Wall. vii 849.
The Irland folk than maid thaim for the flycht … Born Scottis men baid still in to the feild
c1475 Wall. xi 18.
Still saxte dayis at sar sailȝe thai baid
(3) a1400 Leg. S. vii 565.
Vaspaciane … til Rome passyt … & Tytum, … lefyt thar still
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 796.
The nobile wemen … war then … in doloure Remanand still [D. stylle] and in langoure
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 130/13.
His reall bodye and bloude … in the forme and quantite of bread and vyne … is resauit and remanis still
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 300.
Tha euer leuit still in ignorance
a1578 Pitsc. I 176/24.
The king remanit still in the castell … as captiue and had ane certane lordis … witht him that tuik hald wpoun him
a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1655) 393.
This done he was dimitted, Sir Robert Bowes residing still as legier
1680 Argyll Justic. Rec. I 128.
[She] took bed and still since seyne keeped the same
(b) 1705–6 Melville Corr. 197.
The Duke of Queensberry's lage continows stile so ill that [etc.]
(4) 1511 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 133.
The said nychtbouris that haldis the lairge wechts yit still
1604-31 Craig ii 61.
He whom still the jayler doth detaine
1607 Red Bk. Grandtully II 133.
The goodis and aittis … to be reteanit still vpon the ground
1608 Melrose P. I 60.
That gratious … cair whiche your maiestie doeth still hald over this estate
1615 Melrose P. 215.
He took perforce a young youth … and keepes him still in custodie
1629 Banff Ann. II 27.
I carie still ane earnest lyiking and guidwill to the said burghe
(5) a1540 Freiris Berw. 131 (B).
Now this in to the toun I leif him still … and turne agane I will To this fair wyfe
(6) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2813.
With my twa feit … In steid off airis, I row the streme full styll … Baith to and fra I swyme at my awin will
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 151/52 (M).
And still rownaris of fals lesingis Allace that courtis of noble kingis Of thame can nevir be quyte
1535 Stewart 11485.
Ay still tha faucht all ouir the hinder nycht, Quhill [etc.]
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 159/13.
Comunlie still syn makis loud schame
1571 Reg. Privy C. II 89.
The said Burgh of Edinburgh is still fortifeit
a1578 Pitsc. II 85/22.
They … wald obey the autorietie on na way … bot still mallignit aganis the quene
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 173/561.
The sheip doth feare the skabbe & als the dulling sturdie still
1650 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. LI (1975) 49.
The said Thomas contracted a verie heavie disease which continuing for the space of two yeirs at last took away his lyff in all which tyme he still apprehendit and said it to his said wyff that Elisabeth Maxwell and Kathrin Edgar wer still nipping him
1662 Crim. Trials III 603.
We went seuerall tymes abowt; and all we of the coeven went still wp and downe with the plewghe
1662 Crim. Trials III 606 in Murray Witch-cult 229.
The thrid sprit is called the Roring Lyon, … and he is still clothed in sea-grein
1662 Crim. Trials III 617 in Murray Witch-cult 123.
Efter that we vold still meit euerie ten, twelve, or twantie dayes continwally
1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 3.
Jockies who … use still to recite the sluggornes of most of the true ancient surnames of Scotland
1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII 116.
Which did still increase Sir Allexanders jealousie that all this was a contryved jest
16… Nat. Lib. MS 22. 2. 11 penult. p.
Warm it in a pan still stiring it about with a spune

b. With reference to an action or state which is to occur in or continue into the future.Const. to be; bid; dwel, remane, etc; hald, kepe, etc. (someone or something); leve (something) in, at, apon (a place or state) or with complementary adjective. Also with verbs without implicit continuity.(1) 1375 Barb. v 305.
Thai ordanyt that he still suld be In hiddillis and in prewete Till Palme Sonday
a1500 Seven S. 887.
[He] devysit a subtell gyn To lat that hole still opyn be
(2) c1475 Wall. ix 877.
Syn bad the layff bid at the barres still
(3) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 88 (A).
The lande sall returne to the next ayr of the wyff & remayn styll
1515 Fife Sheriff Ct. 19.
The … catale to remane stil wpone the ground to the decisioune of the pley
1528 Lynd. Dreme 604.
I did inquyre, Geue I mycht in that plesour styll remane
1596 Dalr. I 126/13.
King James … walde of the maist notable men … institute a sessione stil to remane in Edinburghe
c1646 Craufurd Edinb. Univ. 25.
The engagement to duetifullnes towards the colledge was first subscryved be the candidats this year 1604 and thereafter still continued
1638 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 557.
I do not think my dawting world will still last
1650 Glasgow Wrights Acts 10.
[Assay-masters] sall still keep wp in secreit from him what is the peice of work
1662 Forbes Cantus (1666) xlix.
All you that be batchelors, Be learn'd by crying Will … to remain so still
(b) 1394 Liber Aberbr. II 43.
Of the xxxv marcis v marcis sal dwel style in the abbotis hand
(4) c1400 Troy-bk. i 48.
For hys entent is … In pece to kepe hys kynryk still
c1420 Wynt. iv 460. c1475 Wall. iv 534.
He … bade thaim hald it still, On ilka syde, assailȝe quha sa will
1535–6 Selkirk B. Ct. MS 208 (14 March).
Thome Mynto to keip Thome Scot still for vther chairgis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 43.
Thaj to bruik still the castell ay and quhill thair absolutioun
1596 Dalr. I 88/3.
Baith the peoples, keiping still thair awne names
(b) 1496–7 Acta Conc. II 68.
That thai suld nocht freith … Jhone Innes … and that he be haldin stile thare apone his aune expense quhil [etc.]
(5) 1521 Boyd Fam. P. No. 3 (3 Nov.).
To nowmer the sad sowme … apone the sad hie altare … and to ther leif the samyn stille
(6) a1568 Scott i 38.
Wald thow be servit and thy cuntre sure Still on the commoun weill haif e and eir; Preis ay to be protectrix of the pure
1570 Sat. P. xvii 158.
Ȝit in His mercy haifand ay beleif, Still sall I pray His deuine Maiestie
1622 Scot Course of Conformity 8.
They resolue to be still working the maine conclusion by degrees
1662 Strathblane Par. 153.
[I] shall still remember yow in my preyers

c. To stand still, to stand, remain, etc. for a further period of time, yet.Some examples may belong in 1 b above. 1375 Barb. vi 100.
He stude still for till herkyn mar & ay the langer he wes thar He herd it ner & ner cummand But he thocht he thar still wald stand Tyll [etc.]
1375 Barb. xvi 479.
The forest left thai standand still, To hew it than thai had na will
14.. Burgh Laws c. 104 (A).
All thingis that ar biggit & set in erde sal stand still
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 100.
The hous … to stande styll in affec and forme as it is now quhill the air cum to perfit aige
1535 Stewart 10468.
Still thai stude durst nother fell nor fle
1558 Prot. Bk. Sir A. Gaw 42.
[He is to remove] the cobil quhen he plesis and the kyl to stand styl to the gud vif
1613 Glasgow Weavers 15.
Thrie of the four upone lyt to be deikin, with the auld deikin, sall stand still maisteris for that yeir

d. To ly or sit still, to lie, sit, remain, etc. continuously, yet.Some examples may belong in sense 3 above. 1375 Barb. xvii 838.
His [sc. the king's] consaile he assemblyt … To se quhether [fayr] war him till To ly about the toun all still And assailȝe quhill it wonnyn war, Or than in Ingland for to fayr
1375 Barb. xx 391.
Apon this maner still thai lay Quhill [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 186.
The barne fra hyre handis can fal In the fyre … & scho … had sa gret wa … That scho had nothir fut na hand to helpe … Ȝet the barne stil can ly, Ay kepand it sa Godis grace That in the fyr vnbrynt it was
c1475 Wall. i 248.
In that same hous thai socht him … Bot he sat still, and span
a1500 Bk. Chess 1152.
This knychtly man To counsall gaif to lat thir folk still ly But interchange of ony man
a1538 Abell 119a.
On thame folloit Fermond king of Wngary & the king of Poill … & liys still and hes recowerit all thare landis and mekill maire agane
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6587.
Still he lyis into ane chalmer hid
1620 Reg. Great S. 783/1.
Minerallis … quhilkis hithertill hes lyin and still lyes obscure and hid within the bowellis … of the earth
1639 Spalding I 220.
As for the [cannon] ball, thay ar lying still on maid vse of
1689 Corshill Baron Ct. 182.
Non presence continues to the nixt court, and the arreistment to lie on still

e. Modifying a verbal noun, past participle or adjective. a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 398.
Ȝit thay presumit, for hir hie regrait, And still murning, scho was of nobill kin
a1500 K. Hart 498.
Delyte come in, and all that saw his bak Thay wenit it had bein ȝouthheid bundin still
a1585 Maitland in Maitl. Q. 143/46.
And blist ar thay dois sa thair burding beir That faintis not bot faithfull still ar found
1602 Reg. Great S. 456/2.
Keipand the said dyke southeist throuch Henderstoun-burne and thairfra still southeist keipand the said dyke till it cum to the merche
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 31/236.
That tre still grene
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 260.
So marches lie still unredd and accounts uncleared betwixt us

7. With adversative force: Yet, nonetheless. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 2535.
God hes done wonder weill ȝow till Thocht ȝe … Hes perseuerit still in ȝour harlatrie
c1568 Lauder Minor P. iii 81.
The godlie men will still cleue to Gods wourd, Thocht tha to death for it suld be persewit
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 278.
Ane fische … in the nette, … Ay wristing and thristing, the faster still is scho
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 50/138.
But yet their ill intent Kythed, when they saw all other foules still bent To follow her, misknowing them at all
1624 Chron. Perth 26.
Robert Abroche … haid been ains or twys forgeven … for his oppressiovn … ȝit continewit still in his knaueries
1657 R. Moray Lett. 41 (27 Oct./7 Dec.).
Red firre will do still as well as elm
1661 Baillie in Lauderdale P. I 96.
I am ane ill beggar, yit I must still creak to your lordship whil I live
1662 Crim. Trials III 603.
Somtymes he [the devil] haid buitis and sometymes shoes on his foot; but still his foot ar forked and cloven
1693 Cramond Kirk S. III 11 April.
The tutors haveing now turned that seatt into a piew without prejudeing any pairties rycht since they are willing to allow Barntoun still a liberty to enter that way to the communion table

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"Stil adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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