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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.

Chefe, Cheif, a. Also: chef, cheff(e, cheef, cheaf; cheiff(e, cheyff, chiefe, chiffe, chyffe. [ME. chefe, cheef, chef (c 1300), an attributive use of the noun.] Principal, most important, leading. (In various contexts.)Chefe chemis or chymmis: see these words.(1) 1383 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS. 410/1.
His chef parts of the Barony of Langforgond
At the chef plaz of the teneindri of Lytilton
14.. Acts I. 327/2.
The fyndar … aw that to public at the cheff maner place
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1285.
Thare cheffe towne Than to the grownd wes castyn downe
Ib. 1299.
Thare cheffe cyte … Capuva wes callyd
1453 Douglas MSS. (Reg. H.) No. 108.
Ony vther place quhar my … chef duellyng is
1488 Crim. Trials I. 7.
I Carrik, Pursewant, personaly past to the cheif chemis of Bothuile
1513 Doug. ii. i. 53.
Thidder come … Laocon From the cheif tempil rynnand
Ib. iii. 43.
The wachis of the cheif castell
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8889.
The maist cheif kinrik Of all the warld
1560 Bk. Disc. 192.
These edictis aucht to be notified in the cheiff cities
1596 Dalr. I. 3/6.
From Alba the cheif citie, now called S. Androis
Ib. 8 marg.
The cheife riuers in Britannie
1600-1610 Melville 491.
The cheiff blokhous of the Lord's Ierusalem in this land
(2) 1427 Melville Chart. 21.
Thre hundreth punde … to be disponit be the conseile of the cheiffe lorde of the Wemys schire
Ib. 22.
The chyffe lorde of Inchmartyn
c1420 Wynt. iv. 928.
Artymodor … wyrschype prowyde, and manhade, Amang the cheffe off his knychthade
1456 Hay I. 211/12.
Quhen he … maid him chef hedisman to governe the schip
Ib. II. 161/14.
The prince … maid that Sarrazene in his cheif counsaillour
c1450-2 Howlat 203.
The cok … Was chosyn chauntour full cheif
1472 Lennox Mun. 90.
The keping of the landys … came into the Kingis handis, as superior and cheyff lord
c1475 Wall. iii. 165.
Thair cheyff chyftan feryt als fers as fyr
1513 Doug. xi. vi. 84.
Menelay, ane of the cheif barnage
1533 Gau 23/4.
The rewlers of the tempil and the cheif prestis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 71/13.
Sen all hæresie … had sum cheif archiheretic inuentour thairof
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 32.
The cheif conspiratour chosin be thame to be king of Scotland
Ib. 47.
Cheifest ennemy to David
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 113.
Thay blast out … that the Pape is the cheif antichrist
1596 Dalr. II. 328/13.
Desbore … was Chappelis cheiffe captane
1625 Reg. Great S. 287/1.
Lie cheiff postmaster Scotie
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 39.
So many of the cheifest honest men they culd find in the toun
1650 Lamont Diary 24.
The chiffe leaders of the armie
(3) 14.. Acts I. 380/2.
All tha that ar … blamet with the chef capital crimes
1456 Hay II. 86/3.
The cheiff and principale poynt of the government of the saule
c1450-2 Howlat 408.
Ane [scheld] in the crope hiegh as cheif I beheld
a1500 Rauf C. 1.
In the cheif tyme of Charlis
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 186.
The cheif thing … Is to kepe iustice
Ib. 1097.
This was cheif way and nane vther sa gud
1560 Acts II. 532/1.
The Fatheris vnder the law, … had twa chief sacramentis
1571 Sat. P. xxvii. 17.
We haue thé chosin to the cheifest charge
1610 Highland P. III. 118.
Your Ma[jes]tie knaws the cheif occatione of my stay

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



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