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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Athe, Aith, n. Also: aath, ath (aht), atht, acht; aithe, ayth(e, aitht, aytht, aicht, aeth(t; eithe, eitht, eath; heith. [Northern ME. athe, ath (ME. othe, ooth, oth), OE. áþ.The forms with -tht and -cht are sometimes editorial renderings of MS. contracted forms with superior t, while disregard of the contraction gives the incorrect at, ait, ayt, eyt.]

1. An oath: a solemn asseveration or pledge.Common in both literary and documentary use. Frequently with qualifying word, as athe of fewté, fidelité, obeisance, suthfastnes, verité; see those nouns. Bodily athe, grete athe: see the adjectives.(a) 1375 Barb. ix. 540.
Sum of the men of the cuntre Com till his pes, and maid him ath
Ib. xx. 146.
All the lordis … Till thir twa vardanys athes swar
a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 828.
The Iug thane The athe gaf to the cristine mane
1388 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 295.
At all this covenand … suld be lelely kepit bath Alexander and Iohn … made athes on the Haly Ewangelies
14.. Acts I. 25/2.
He sall clenge hym with the athe of xii men of his nychtburis
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1126.
The lardis thare Be athe to thame all bundyn ware
Ib. vii. 3166.
Thai … wald na langare hald thare athe Off thare trewys before tane
1456 Hay I. 113/16.
Till a gude knycht efferis to kepe wele his athe
a1500 Seven S. 203.
Be this buke And all the athis that may be sworne
1564 St. A. Kirk S. 213.
The athis of Robert Thomson and Gelis Moffat takyn
1596 Dalr. I. 185/6.
Because his fostirfather affirmet with ane athe that he was Findokis sone
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xix. 114.
He … in gret thank his seruice tuke, But ony aythe one bel ore buke
1456 Hay II. 32.
That brekis thair aithe to Godwart
1463 Wemyss Chart. 82.
In contrar of this myn obligatioune and aith
1513 Doug. vi. v. 60.
The Goddis ar full laith, And dredis sair, to sweir, syne fals thar aith
1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. 14.
The said Elesabeth gaif to him aith, & he swer that scho awcht him sa mekill
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 79.
With mony grit aith thay sell this same claith, To gar the byeris cum agane
1569 Grant Chart. 136.
I sall … obey as becummis a detfull subiect, and … gif my solempnit ayth
1581 Lanark B. Rec. 84.
Hie … may, unhurtand his aith, refuis the samyn offece
1622-6 Bisset II. 225/3.
That na private aythis be amangis theme [sc. mariners] for defrauding of thair maisteris
1651 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 119.
That they present the foirsaids armes … and give thair aithes … that they ar not borrowit
1687 Misc. Spald. C. V. 237.
John … deponed upon aith that he saw them both at the ground
(c) 1470 Prestwick B. Rec. i.
Quhove mony burges was … lefand that had maid lawti and atht
1530 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 477.
To … tak the said Agnes aitht apoune the awale … of the saidis gudis
1549 St. A. Baxter Bks. 5.
The aicht being maid solemplie be the said Duncane
1622-6 Bisset II. 99.
The persewer will refer to the defenderis aytht
(d) 1547 Black Bk. Taymouth 184.
The forsaid … hes deponit thair eitht of fidelite upoun the Mes Buk
a1568 Scott ii. 96.
Bot ethis haif thay sworne He suld deir by
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 85.
Whair the eath of the suddartis wer taken
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxxii. 86.
The rest of craftis grit ethis swair
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 140 b.
Quha may sweare be his awin eath, gif he hes na witnes
1610 Sutherland Chart. 179.
I ordaine my motheris dettis to be peyed to theme shee was iustlie addettit vnto, by there aethis
(e) 1590 Waus Corr. 447.
Of my heit[h] I assur your l. [etc.]

2. A profane oath. 1533 Gau 87/9.
Thy halie nayme is … abusit … to mony greit abhominabil aithis
1551 Acts II. 485/1.
Deuill stick, cummer, gor, roist, or ryfe thame, and sic vthers vgsume aithis
1570 Sat. P. x. 370.
He wald not thoill blaspheming, nor na aithis
1584 Melvill 184.
Giff … a gentilman sall nam the devil, banning, pronounce an athe, … the Eldar sall cause him pey to the box

3. Comb. in athe-breking. 1442 Reg. Great S. 64/1.
Till underly the charge of ath breking and perpetuale reprufe

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"Athe n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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