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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.

Cleth(e, Cleith, v. Also: cleithe, cleitht, cleath. [ME. clethe, OE. clǽðan (rare), ON. klæða, prob. from OE. For the older p.t. and p.p. see Cled.]

1. tr. To clothe; to dresss in, provide with, clothes, armour, or other covering for the body.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 277.
Gyfe thame thu cleth & fed, Thu sal dere by
Ib. xxviii. 45.
Scho had symply hvre fud & clath, To cleth hyre honestly
1456 Hay II. 121/14.
Efter that thou sall clethe thé with gude and faire and riche clething
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 68/6.
I haue synnit … clethand me or adornand me to pleis other personis
1513 Doug. vii. x. 93.
He clethys hym with his scheld, and semys bald
1549 Compl. 70/23.
The sycond of hir sonnis vas sittand in ane chair, beand clethd in ane sydegoune
a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxix. 102.
Ȝit dar I nocht in commoun place be sene, Les I be clethit sum quhat gorgiouslie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 375/2.
Vnder ane peill of gold … Be burgesis borne, clethit in silkis fyne
(b) a1500 Seven S. 1832.
Thin almous deid, That lufis pure folk to cleith & feid
a1500 Bk. Chess 435.
His barnis … to cleith and thaim to feid
1513 Doug. x. xiii. 46.
I avow … My lovit son Lawsus for to cleith With spulȝe
1533 Boece ix. vii. 303.
Saxouns … had na place to cleith thame in armoure
1549 Compl. 98/19.
Pontius … causit ten of his knychtis to cleitht them lyik hyrdis
1549 Prot. Bk. J. Crawford 37.
The said Elesibetht … sall honestlie cleyth the said Eleyng … bayth in bed & bak
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7141.
Madame, … cleith ȝow vp richelie, As is the gise and vse of my countrie
1573 Cath. Tr. 6/5.
Euin as the asse … quha … did cleith himself with the skin of ane lyon
1596 Dalr. I. 96/1.
Casteng aff al courtlie decore, … thay cleith thame selfes of thair cuntrey maner
1612 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 326.
The … counsale … ordanis the said Thomas to cleith him self in blak apparell [at funerals]
c1650 Spalding II. 466.
Hurry … causit schortlie cleith his soldiouris and pay thair dewis
(c) 15.. Clar. ii. 743.
Sex squyeris he hes gart cleath also In greine satine

b. To cover with cloth, planking, verdure, etc. c1475 Wall. vi. 9.
In Aperill quhen cleithit is, but weyne, The abill grounde be wyrking off natur
1527 Treas. Acc. V. 325.
Canwes to cleith hall windois in Halyrudehous
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 253.
Twa dosoun of dowble rauchers to cleith the monitioun houss with
1559 Haddington Acc. MS.
For iij duson daillis to cleyth the sentreis
1581 Burne Disput. 57.
Sua began thay to adorne thair altaris … and to cleyth thame maist richelie
1586 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 388.
Thai … wrocht the bak of the rud loft and clethit the same
1637 Kirkcaldy Presb. 119.
James Bruson cleithed it [a stair] above and batted it with iron

c. To cover up, cloak. 1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 342.
Ȝe … went for … Frenche claith and silks, for to cleith vp thir vyces

2. fig. To invest with some quality or form. a1400 Leg. S. xli. 28.
Of fele vertuse with syndrynes He clethis thame
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1661.
The plesande aire … With clowdy gaddering of myrknes Clethand him
1513 Doug. i. x. 52.
My child, cleith thé with ȝon kend childis vissage
1549 Compl. 163/32.
Thai maye cleitht them agane vitht there spiritual habit
1567 G. Ball. 113.
He … all thair sinnis sall expell, And cleith thame with his rychteousnes
1585 James VI Ess. 70.
That syne I may thy gloir and honour blaise, Which cleithis thé ouer
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxiv. 75.
Cast of thy comfort; cleith thy self with cair

3. To invest, furnish, or provide with something. (Cf. Cled p.p. 2, 3.) 1472 Lennox Mun. 90.
Thair may na superior cleth, seys, na posses na persoune of the landys cummyn in thair handys
1533 Boece viii. x. 270 b.
Hengist … chargeit his son Occa … suld wyislie cleith him self with all castellis and fortalicis … betuix the fludis of Tyne and Humbir
1563 Acts II. 543/2.
That nane … put on armoure, cleith thame selfis with wappinnis [etc.]
1576 Edinb. Test. IV. 148.
Als lang as ony of thame clethis nocht with ane partie nor mareis
1577 St. A. Kirk S. 428.
Jonet Johneson confessit that sche is clethit witht ane husband
1610 Brechin Test. II. 44.
Quhensoeuer scho cleithis hir selff to ane husband
1620 Ellon Presb. 107.
[The people wish that the minister would reside in the parish,] and cleith him with his ministrie
1613 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 335.
That he … renunce the same [office] … , and that he nor nain of his sall cleithe tham thairwith at ony tym heirefter
1626 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 286.
It aucht to have bene opponit that the King could not cleith him selff with the said first chartour

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"Cleth v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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