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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.

Ay, adv. Also: aye, aie, a; ey. [ME. ay, ai, ei, ON. ei, ey, = OE. á.]

1. Always, ever, continually; at all times.1375 Barb. i. 14 (that it lest ay furth in memory); ii. 338 (that ȝour honour be sawyt ay). a1400 Leg. S. vii. 59 (lenyne clath he oysit ay). c1420 Wynt. iii. 794 (fra that day Babilone wes falyhand ay); viii. 3986 (the feld aye wan the Scottis men). ?1438 Alex. ii. 16 (ay sen I tuik hir till). 1456 Hay II. 119/27 (he has a blythe hart ay). a1500 Rauf C. 693 (I mon eftir him haue myne E ay). c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 116 (than ay renewis my noy); lxviii. 20 (so is this warld, and ay hes bene). 1535 Stewart 30 (will he considder ay as he reidis). c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 765 (thay derflie ay at vther dang). a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxi. 94 (to send ws joy that lestis ay). 1596 Dalr. I. 12/19 (thay ar ay in radines).

2. In various phrases: a. Ay till or to; ay quhile or quhill.(1) 1387 Edinb. Chart. 36 (ay tyl the werk be brocht tyl ende). c1420 Wynt. viii. 6678 (of the best men cheys thé ay tyll the xxx-ti be). 1447 Reg. Great S. 106/2 (ay to the malis be fully pait). 1585 James VI Ess. 77 (ay till Alecto appeared unto them).(2) 1467 Reg. Dunferm. 359 (ay quhill the kingis water balȝe mak revlis). 1512 Reg. Privy S. I. 361/2 (ay quhill the entre of the aire). 1562-3 Winȝet I. 58/12 (thai still remane preistis ... ay quhil thai dee). 1600-1610 Melvill 305 (ay whill the conspiracies be repressed).

b. Ay and quhill, ay and till or to, etc.(1) 1465 Buccleuch Mun. II. 66 (ay and a quhilest ane vther son cum to lauchfull age).(2) 1467 Acta Aud. 6/2 (ay and quhil thai be redemit). 1483 Ib. 132*/1 (ay & quhill it be improvit). 1505 Liber Aberbr. 356 (ay ande quhill the rychtwis air entyr). 1551 Ann. Banff II. 379 (aye and quhill the said yeris be owtrunn). a1578 Pitsc. I. 144/2 (aie an quhill the castell suld be randerit). 1596 Dalr. I. 81/23 (ay and quhill thay war invadet). 1612 Conv. Burghs II. 375 (ey and quhill the said soum be payit). 1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 96 (ay and quhill they be satisfied). 1693 Grant Chart. 360 (ay and whill we recall the samen).(3) 1487 Fraser P. 107 (ay and to the tyme the said William be enterit). 1645 Aberd. B. Rec. 49 (ay and till they wer sold).(4) 1489 Acta Aud. 121/2 (that it salbe lefull ay and ony tyme to thaim … ). 1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 98 (ay and sua lang as it sall remain wnpayit).

3. For ay, for ever, to all time.c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 530 (in hys temple to sett it, thare to be for ay); 783. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1367 (now my wynning is in hevin for ay). 1567 G. Ball. 34 (to byrne in hell for ay). a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxiii. 71 (thow art my god for ay).

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"Ay adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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