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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Diligence, -ens, Deligence, -ens, n. Also: dilygens, diliegence, dilligence, -ens; delygens, deliegence. [ME. diligence (1340), dily-, dely-, etc., OF. diligence, L. dīligentia.]

1. Persistent application or endeavour; assiduity, industry: a. In phrases with do, give, mak, put, tak, or use.(a) c1420 Wynt. v. 4310.
Frere Martyne and Vincens Storyis to cwn dyd diligens
Ib. vi. 354.
That … thare-till couth gyve diligens
1456 Hay I. 166/4.
And that diligence war done for … the gude of the commoun proffit
Ib. II. 90/33.
To … mak gude diligence to put thame self till honour
1506 Edinb. Chart. 190.
That ye … caus the mair diligence to be done thairin
1518 Glenartney MS. Docum.
Quhare he … has takin grat diligence in the use … of the samin
1535 Stewart 37.
I traist he suld do diligence and cuir
1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 315.
I fynd this cuntray folkis makand diligence to the ost
1562-3 Winȝet II. 20/7.
Than sall he do diligence to inquire [etc.]
1567 Sat. P. iii. 123.
Gif diligence to mak the giltie couth
1570 Leslie 228.
Ȝe shuld have seine sic diligence used … [to] bestow thame selfis aboird
1589 Bk. Carlaverock I. 284.
The Lord Maxwell … to take speciall diligence that the committing of disorders by their men … be left off
1596 Dalr. II. 323/17.
Tha in this bussines did al diligence
(b) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 8/6.
Puttand all laubour and deligence to his … seruice
1525 Douglas Corr. 99.
Ȝoure lordschip schewe me at thaire sould be deligence doune to Rome in all gudlie haist
c 1580 Maxwell Mem. II. 145.
Wryt ane afectious letter to my mother, that schu may mak delygens
1622-6 Bisset II. 255/30.
To tak sic cair and deligence in keiping of this hundreth crownis as upoun his awin

b. With diligence. Also with adj. as all, gret, etc.(a) c1420 Wynt. vi. 2024.
He … bad hyr wyth gret diligens Kepe that hows
Ib. vii. 3281; etc.
Thai … ordanyd thame wyth dilygens In thare schyppys to mak defens
a1500 Bernardus 34.
Al tyme se thou with diligence Off thi seruandys haff gud experience
a1500 Henr. Fab. 9.
The busteous eird, Swa it be laubourit with greit diligence [etc.]
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 209.
Heir I … with afald diligens, This nixt buke … Has thus begun
1535 Stewart 31954.
Quhilk labourit hes … With diligence and all the cuir he ma [etc.]
1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 70.
That the silver wark … vsit in Sanct Gelis Kirk in tymes past … be with all deligence sauld or cunyet
1562-3 Winȝet II. 18/6.
With grete diligence and maist attendance
a1578 Pitsc. I. 377/14.
The said ambassadouris … send him word with all diliegence that [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I. 100/31.
Thay ar war with all possible diligens that thay sched nocht thair blude
(1639) Spalding I. 220.
The fortificationis salbe demolishit with all convenient diligens
1670 Rep. Southesk MSS. 12.
Advertis vs with all … diligens of ȝour advise
(b) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1516.
All syn debait with deligens
a1500 Prestis of Peblis iii.
I will ȝe wit with deligens Quharfor that I [etc.]
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3374.
Now haif I schawin, with deligence, The Monarche of Asserience
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 316.
He sall, with all deligence possibill, be peyit of his said stepend
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 59.
He … vent … with deligence … thruch his hous and ovir the yaird dyk

c. In other constructions or phrases. 1456 Hay II. 59/27.
Inclinacioun mare to sleuth na to diligence
a1500 Bernardus 343.
Seldyne … besy diligence Folowis with wanfortonys violence
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 934.
In thi hert be devoit deligence Graif deipe his deid
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 180/30.
Deligence that awalkinnis all vther wertuis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 28.
Nocht sped but diligence we se
Ib. lvii. 3.
Be seruice and diligence
1554 Duncan Laideus Test. 166.
To the vicar I leif diligence and cure To tak the vpmest claith
1562-3 Winȝet II. 34/22.
Being excellent in grete actis and grete diligence
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. ii.
Sum regent … quha sal haif cure of thayr studie and diligens

d. Application of legal means against a person, esp. for the enforcing of a payment or recovery of a debt. 1568 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 128.
The persons addebtit for payment of the same being at the horne, and no farther diligence to be useit for obtaining of payment
1583 Reg. Soltre 238.
To do deligence for the biganes and persew thairfore
1590 Rec. Privy C. IV. 800.
Efter all diligence done alsweil aganis landislordis and baillies as aganis the chiftennes and principallis of clannis
1622-6 Bisset I. 127/32.
All summonis of forther diligens, aganis witnessis quha … compeiris nocht
1662 Rec. Iusticiary Ct. I. 28.
The diet continued and a new dilligence granted to the pursuer against witnesses
1686 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 20.
The said Sir Iames … cannot saiflie apear in respect there is severall dilligences against him for privat debts
1707 Corshill Baron Ct. 234.
John Dean to pay within term of law, otherways diligence to be done against him

2. With personal pronouns: Such application or endeavour as one is able to make: a. With do, mak, set, use, etc.(a) c1420 Wynt. iii. 917.
This smyth … set all hale his diligens Till have had [etc.]
Ib. iv. 2254.
Hym consalyd he All his diligence to sete [etc.]
1449 Reg. Great S. 70/2.
I oblis me … to do my lele diligence … to further the said A. I, and A. to brouke and joise the forsaid landis
1456 Hay II. 102/4.
Do all thy diligence to enquire and spere of the grete necessitee of the poure
1535 Stewart 5554.
Beseikand him to do his diligence To stanche all stryfe
1550 Breadalbane Coll. (Reg. H.) No. 73.
The said Iohne … sall do his vtter diligence to put the saidis ȝairdis to proffite
1579 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 218.
To trawell and mac his laboris and dilligens in sersing … the said Iame Skynner gudis
1595 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 71.
The minister … to wse his diligence for to have the sclander … remowit
1658 Conv. Burghs III. 463.
That the clerk had don his dilligence in wryting to the magistratis
(b) 1446 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 105.
I oblyis me … to do al my power and delygens … to get … ane lettir of reuersioun
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 464.
Thinkand it was na wyt … till a wysman, till set his deligens & besy cure … to waist the tyme
1501 Acta Conc. MS. X. 120.
Becaus he has made his delegince in the persewt
1557 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 692/2.
That thai will do thare deligens to cause gud reule be keipit be the said clann
a1578 Pitsc. I. 38/3.
[I set] my haill labouris and deliegence to eschew the samin

b. In other constructions or phrases.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 86.
As I think eftir, withe all my diligence … at lenthe for to discry
1542 Reg. Privy S. II. 754/2.
Unlawis … of the saidis baillie-courtis to rais … and to his awin use for his laubouris and diligens apply
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 224.
Throw his verteous diligence Of that Lord he gat sic credence
1562-3 Winȝet II. 25/18.
Quhen … al preistis … euery man for his awin diligence, gainstuid
1614 Highland P. III. 149.
By his dilligence in dealing for a sufficient securitie to thame
1634 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 19.
Quha reportit thair diligens be wryte put in the buist
(b) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 339.
To get devocioun dasit is oure deligens
a1500 Seven S. 64.
To leir sciens With all thair wittis and deligens
1528 Douglas Corr. 136.
The Kyngis grace … ramuffit bakwarts be al his mane and deligens

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"Diligence n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2023 <>



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