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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Dele, Deil(l, Deal(l, v. Also: del, dell(e, deile, deyll, deele; p.t. and p.p. delyt, delit, delt(e. [ME. dele(n, early dealen, dælen, OE. dǽlan.]

1. tr. To divide; to separate in one or more parts, companies, etc. 1375 Barb. xi. 155.
His folk he delt in battalis ten
Ib. xvii. 559.
Thai … delit thame in-till battellis twa
c1420 Wynt. i. 529.
The erd swa delt in twa partys, … The tothir part than delt in twa
Ib. 534.
A roundale … Markyd to be delt in thre
?1438 Alex. ii. 5352.
Quha-sa micht in ten partis Deale the worship that in ȝow is
c1420 Ratis R. 1195.
All has he turnand one a pyne As hyme lyst luf and deil in twyne
1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 162.
To dele and caus be delt … [in] equale porcions and diuisione, … the five merkis worth of land
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10004.
Micht I deill ȝour seiknes into thre, Ȝe suld not haue sa greit infirmitie
1571 Lanark B. Rec. 63.
The cunsall ordanis the fouir balleis to deill the toun in fouir
1583 Edinb. Test. XII. 178 b.
The haill hous to be delt in twa and my part to my saidis tua dochteris

2. To divide into portions to be given away; to distribute or dispense. Freq. const. with amang or to.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 535.
Or he deit, his land delt he
a1400 Leg. S. xliv. 88.
Quhen thar meble … Ves nere delt clenely away
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1132.
In na thyng That I delte in my lyvyng Helpys me nowe
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 237.
Thai rich deland thar riches … Sal euer habound
c1475 Wall. i. 386.
Waith suld be delt, in all place, with fre hart
Ib. vii. 436.
Deyll nocht thar land, the wnlaw is our sayr
c1530-40 Stewart Maitl. F. cxxxv. 36.
Rewarde in court is delt so ewin, Sum gettis that mycht suffice sevin
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7722.
My counsall is … Giue to the pure, and gar deill greit almous
1576 Edinb. Test. IV. 317 b.
He levis … to the pure bedderallis of the parrochin xx s. to be delt be Thomas Logyis discretioun
absol. 1511 Alloway Barony Ct. (MS.) 6 May.
He grantit that he stopit the evinaris & let thaim to deill equalie as thai wer ordanit
(2) 1375 Barb. xv. 516.
The pray soyne emang his menȝhe Eftir thar meritis, delit he
a1400 Leg. S. xliii. 608.
Scho delt hir gudis … Ymang powre folk that had ned
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1052.
This tresure all the Grekis gat And delt it amang thame
1531 Bell. Boece II. 298.
He delt, ilk owlk, iv bowis of quheit, … amang pure houshaldaris
1593 Lanark B. Rec. 110.
The balleis and cunsall hes vottet that the toun muir be delt amang the burgessis and induelleris in this brught
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xliv. 96.
Hire gudis in sic vise Var … delt to poure men ilke day
c1420 Wynt. v. 5391.
The tresore off the empyre than He delt to pure folk largely
1456 Hay II. 59/2.
Ever mare and mare he conquest, and ever mare and mare delt till his men
1460 Ayr B. Ct. (MS.) 14 March.
It is accordit … that xij personis … sal set & dele the hale sandis tyl al fremen
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 789.
He sais, deill thi met to the trawelouris and pilgryms
c1475 Wall. x. 1123.
He delys myn heretage, To Sotheroun part, and sum to traytouris wage
a1500 Bk. Chess 1603.
This gud bischope … Gart tak this gold … And to the pur gart deile it
1515 Edinb. B. Rec. 157.
Vnder the payne of escheting of the samyn [meill] and to be deit to the pure folkis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 83/18.
He delt thair landis and goodis to thair creditouris
1600 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 206.
The haill deikines … disasentit that ony commone land suld be delt or gevin … to ony particular persones

b. To deal out, assign to one. 1375 Barb. ii. 329.
God may rycht weill our werdis dele
c1420 Wynt. iv. 904.
Lat ws wyth oure fayis fycht Quhill that oure goddys dele the rycht

c. To dele dintis, to deliver blows. 1375 Barb. iii. 32.
Quhen he … saw thaim swa gret dyntis deill, He dred to tyne his folk
c1420 Wynt. viii. 3722.
Schyr Henry the Ballyoll … dyntis delt rycht dowchtyly
a1500 Rauf C. 512.
Thow and I sall dyntis deill quhill ane of vs be deid
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 542.
Ane man … That knawin is for cruel, Doughty dyntis to dell
Ib. 829.
Syne dele ye your dynt

d. To decide (a matter). 1596 Dalr. II. 324/20.
Quhen he knew weil that he was seine, … he thocht … to deil it with the sword

3. intr. To have to do, to occupy or busy oneself, with some practice, action, or thing.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 376.
Him dedeynȝeit nocht to dele With trechery na with falset
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 488.
He gert sek … A man that delt with sorcery
Ib. xxxix. 40.
Scho mycht get na hele Of ony that with that crafte wald dele
?1438 Alex. ii. 5327.
With avowing I may nocht dele, na with hechting
1456 Hay I. 26/20.
He … schewe in dede that he lufit it nocht na nane that delt with it
c1475 Wall. iv. 386.
Inglismen to drynkyn wald him call, And commownly he delt nocht thar withall
a1500 Bk. Chess 1173.
With tressoun on na wys wald he delle
(b) a1400 Leg. S. i. 242.
Sa cuth he deile with trufinge
Ib. l. 820.
I thocht neuir to deile with trechery
c1420 Wynt. viii. 6804.
Thai ware to prys, and sa was he That … wyth wit couthe deile
1429 Acts II. 18/2.
The ȝeman that … can nocht deyll with a bow sall haif … suerde & buklar [etc.]
c1420 Ratis R. 396.
Gif thow be wys, Oft thow deill with gud quyntys
a1500 Bk. Chess 1945.
He suld be ay so leile That with the commoun gud and gold suld deile
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxv. 6.
How lang will ȝe with danger deill?

b. To take part, be concerned, in something. a1400 Leg. S. iv. 31.
In that land a man thar wes … That had delyt in devilry
1581 Wemyss Corr. 96.
Thair was courteouris and vthirs that wald with a glaid will haue delt in this mater
c 1609 Elphinstone Mem. 185.
Gif I get not liberty … to deill in the selling of sum landis … for my crediterris releif

4. To have to do, have dealings, with a person in some respect. a. In a contest or exercise of power. 1375 Barb. xiv. 486 (E).
Trewly thai sall be sa fele, That ye sall na wis with thaim dele
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5368.
Swa couth thai wyth thaire fais deile, That thai ware rudly put agayne
Ib. 6690.
Sa sall men se gyf als fele Off Franche wyth Inglis men may dele
?1438 Alex. i. 2738.
The King is angry with to deill
a1500 Rauf C. 598.
I dreid me, sa he dantit thé, thow durst not with him deill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 408.
Thow sall by it dere, wyth me … and thou dele
1560 Rolland Seven S. 112.
Dout not that deith sall with ȝow deill
a1578 Pitsc. I. 216/19.
He was so weill practissit in weir … that it was hard deilling with him be sie or be land
Ib. II. 90/10.
Defend ȝour selffis, … for ȝe deill with men of weir

b. In a specified manner (= act towards, treat). 1375 Barb. xix. 152.
He delt sa curtasly with me, that on na vis [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. viii. 3994.
Sa sykkyrly delt he wyth hym than, That he gert hym [etc.]
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxiv. 13.
Deill with all folkis faythfullie
1586 Reg. Privy C. IV. 106.
The said David … delt maist unnaturalie and injuriouslie with him
1596 Dalr. II. 344/29.
To justifie the burgesses … and to deil seueirlie with thame

c. In some usual or normal relationship. 1456 Hay II. 81/16.
Thou mon have eye … to the necessitie that thai have that thou delis with
c1420 Ratis R. 562.
Ay quhill thow art funde leill, All worthi man wyll with thé deill
a1500 Henr. III. 93/119.
Robene, with thé I will nocht deill
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 458.
Thir damysellis … That dogonis haldis in dainte, & delis with thaim so lang [etc.]
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 15.
Thow art ane fuile gif thow with fuillis deillis

d. For the attaining of some end. 1591 Reg. Morton I. 176.
I haiwe causit convein the tennentis … and hes causit the gwidman … deill with thame
1611 Hist. Rev. XIX. 108.
It wes ordanit that all the bretherin of the synodoll … sould deill with thair parochinaris for bying of ane Bybill
1637 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 127.
He wes earnestlie delt with be the minister and sessioun of the kirk to vndertake it

5. ellipt. To act (= 4 c); to take steps (= 4 d). a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxii. 21.
Gif I be fals … deill efter my desert
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. ii. 11.
I dar not say, and doubly deill
16.. Hist. Kennedy 21.
The Laird … deltt, with all the moyane he culd, … to get this Tutour compt maid
1665 Conv. Burghs III. 578.
To deall for ane ameiable and freindlie aggriement

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"Dele v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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