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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Besy, a. Also: besye, besey, besie, bessie, beisse. [ME. besy, bessy, besé, var. of bisy, etc., Bissy a.] Busy, diligent, occupied with work.

1. Of persons, or animals (cf. Be n.) and transf. of things.Freq. followed by infinitive or other construction. 1375 Barb. ii. 571.
Ay travailland and besy
a1400 Leg. S. x. 466.
Sa wes he besy to tak wrak
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1620.
The women … besy wes Layand stanys
1456 Hay II. 46/19.
Besy in tyme of nede
Ib. 77/15.
Besy and diligent of thy governance
1475 Peebles B. Rec. 173.
He beand beisse of techyn
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 217.
Dissymulance was besy me to sile
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 58.
I am besy with our story of Scotland
a1585 Maitl. Q. xlv. 18.
My pen wes bessie till endyite
1578 Conv. Burghs I. 63.
We ar besy solistand [etc.]

2. Of care (esp. besy cure), Attention, action, etc. a1400 Leg. S. v. 211.
He … has besy thocht of the kepynge
1416 Liber Melros 539.
At our speciale instance and besy request
1456 Hay I. 166/7.
Thair besy cure for … the commoun proffit
1473 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II. 331.
Makand besy and gude service tharfor
1483 Ib. 335.
To … do thair besy diligence
1533 Bell. Livy II. 173/9.
Ane ythand and besy werk
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1248.
I sall do my besye cure to tak the best
a1586 Lindsay MS. 83.
Men … that mycht sustene besy moving of thair memberis

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"Besy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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