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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.

Ga, v. Also: gay, gae, gea; 3 sing. gais, gayis, geas (geathis). P.t. gaid, gaed, geid, ged. P.p. gan(e, gaine, gayn(e, gein(e. [Northern ME. ga, ONhb. gaa, gae (OE. gán); 3 sing. gais, gas(e, ONhb. gaas, gaes; p.p. gan(e, igan (OE. ᵹegán). Cf. Go v.Down to the latter part of the sixteenth century the past tense was supplied by went (Wend v.) or by ȝede, ȝude (q.v.). The mod. form gaid, gaed (replacing ȝeid) first appears in the Bannatyne MS. of 1568. In the Sat. Poems xlv. 1017, 1071 (of 1583) the 3rd sing. is written geathis on the analogy of the rhyme-word cleathis = claes (clothes).The past participle is frequently construed with the verb be, as is gane, was gane.]

1. intr. To use the feet for moving about; to walk. 1375 Barb. ix. 41.
His strinth so haly can him falȝe, That he mycht nouthir ryde no ga
Ib. 190. a1400 Leg. S. i. 483.
Gyf he liffis, he may spek, and ga
Ib. xxxvi. 365.
Blynd ma se and halt ma ga
c1420 Wynt. ii. 428.
Figuris of men he made alsua, The quhylkis he gart be craftis ga
c1475 Wall. xi. 398.
On lowd he cryt, and said, ‘Lo, her I ga’

2. To move (esp. forward) by steps; to change place in this way. a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 273.
Maydine, ga gude spede, … & hyme lede
?1438 Alex. ii. 1657.
The stede gayly garris he ga
Ib. ii. 5636.
Gif … I vnwittandly hes gane
1456 Hay I. 123/10.
Gif the vassall will nocht ga with his lord
1570 Sat. P. xi. 122.
As schip but ruther, sa ga we now but gyde
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 200 (T).
In stoir of lambes … Thow wattis quhair money cupple gais

b. And (thay) to ga, and set off. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2229.]
[Thai torned thare bakis and to go
a1500 Henr. Fab. 992.
He said, ‘Ga furth … ’, And thay to ga withoutin tarying
Ib. 2150.
With that the uolf gird vp sone and to ga [v.r. gay]
a1568 Bann. MS. 143 a/44.
Thay trowd it was ane gaist, and thay to ga

c. Followed by an infinitive, usually with ellipse of and or to.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 433.
[Let him] Ga purches land quhar euir he may
Ib. v. 79.
Ga we venge sum of the dispit
?1438 Alex. ii. 3392.
Lat me ga se that barny
Ib. 3425.
I had leuer ga se that were
a1500 Rauf C. 157.
Ga tak him be the hand
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvi. 10.
He bad gallandis ga graith a gyis
Ib. xxx. 24.
Ga bring to me ane bischopis weid
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1554.
Let vs ga part this pelf amang vs
1560 Rolland Seven S. 940.
He wald gameit his sone
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 636.
Suld our embassadour gea borrow?
(2) a1500 Rauf C. 750.
To ga to fecht on Goddis fais
a1568 Bann. MS. 163 a/21.
Thow bot new maid sa sone gais to steill

3. To make one's way to, into, or from, out of, etc. a place, person, or thing.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 330.
Sone to Parys can he ga
Ib. ii. 10.
The marschell till the hall gan ga
Ib. iv. 404.
Soyn fra the batis saw thai ga … Ynglis men
a1400 Leg. S. l. 541.
To the fyre glad can thai gay
c1420 Wynt. ii. 487.
Owt off the cove that thai sulde ga
?1438 Alex. i. 270.
Ga to the king that lyis at Tyre
c1475 Wall. xi. 503.
Quhill Butleris men sum part fra him can ga
a1500 Rauf C. 219.
All the thre into feir To ane fyre gais
1513 Doug. ii. ix. 68.
To Pellyus son … thou most ga
1535 Stewart 408.
Gathelus out of that place suld ga On to ane feild
a1540 Freiris Berw. 342.
The freyr … tuk his buik and to the flure he gayis
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 781.
Then to that bishop in he geas
1587-99 Hume iii. 139.
The labowrers … downe to their houses gais
fig. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 154.
Nero off wit ner cuth ga
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxx. 25 (B).
Gife evir thow wald my saule gaid [M. ȝeid] vnto hevin
1596 Dalr. II. 185/2.
The nobilitie geid to a counsell, quhither war best [etc.]
Ib. 332/16.
Schortlie efter gaid … til Ingland M. Lord Erskine
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 588 (Hart).
In Argyle amang gaites hee gaed [T. ȝeid, H. ȝead]
(c) 1375 Barb. i. 144.
He … till Ingland agayne is gayne
Ib. iii. 423.
The king … fyrst into the bate is gane
Ib. vii. 365.
All his folk var fra hym gane
?1438 Alex. i. 3125.
Men sayis he had to Gaderis gane
a1500 Rauf C. 158.
Gang agane to the burd quhair ȝe suld air haue gane
1513 Doug. iii. iii. 97.
Gan we ar Amang the blynd wallis
a1540 Freiris Berwik 557.
Freir Johine attour the stair is gane
1596 Dalr. II. 255/21.
Our king was verie angrie that Norfolke … was gane in England

4. With adverbs or adverbial phrases indicating direction, distance, place, or aim.(a) 1375 Barb. iii. 411.
It wes fer about to ga
Ib. iv. 214.
Now may I no wis forthir ga
Ib. 488.
Now ga furthwardis
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 465.
Quhar thu gays, will I ga
c1420 Wynt. iii. .
Gedeon … Chesyd thre hundyre men … And lete all the lave ga by
Ib. 945.
Falaris … gert that ilk smyth in ga
?1438 Alex. ii. 121.
Thow may vs leid quhair ever thou gais
1456 Hay II. 129/23.
As the crab gais … backwart, sa dois the sonne
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 54.
Grant me … on yone gait graithly to gay
c1500-c1512 Dunb. v. 38.
Drink with my guddame, as ȝe ga by
1535 Stewart 228.
He … tuke his leve and furth with thame he gais
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4174.
Await sum day quhen he gais in hunting
a1568 Bann. MS. 134 a/7.
Ga way, my ioy, and latt me be
a1578 Pitsc. I. 314/31.
Quhilk caussit the laird … to ga bake and flie
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 911.
With this baggage hame he geas
1587-99 Hume vii. 145.
The emperors and kings sal ga behinde
(b) 1581 Sat. P. xliii. 165.
Quha gaid formest … vp the braies
1583 Ib. xlv. 763.
Daylie thair he gaid to dyne
1596 Dalr. II. 173/30.
That Angus … led her with him quhair euer he gaid
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 81.
Professing hir self ane that gaid with the fair folk
(c) 1375 Barb. ix. 110.
Fra the Erll … Wist that thai war thiddir gane
a1400 Leg. S. i. 608.
Thai wald the appostulis thine had gane
Ib. ii. 404.
[Thai] with thame wald hawe gan away
a1500 Rauf C. 238.
Quhat sal I cal thé … quhen thow art hyne gane?
1513 Doug. ii. xi. 122.
Haldyng bakwart ilk futstep we had gane
Ib. v. xi. 46.
On syk wys … Transformyt, entrys scho and in is gane

b. Freq. with gate or way as complement: see these nouns.

c. In various phrases with betwene, by, nere, to, togiddir. c1420 Wynt. i. 170.
The Bybyll tellys it opynly, Thar-for I lat it nowe ga by
c1475 Wall. i. 106.
The battaillis than to giddyr fast thai ga
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxv. 47.
Our teyne to meyne, and ga betweyne
1535 Stewart 2695.
Without affray togidder all ar gane [in battle]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8821.
The verray treuth … ȝe haue gane neir
a1568 Bann. MS. 138 a/80.
Syne gaid to giddir bayth Jynny & Jok
1573 Sat. P. xxxix. 112.
With all his capitanes reddie to ga to
1588 King Cat. 152.
Thou sall pay him … befoir the sunne ga to

d. To proceed in a narrative. 1375 Barb. ii. 49.
Now agayne to the king ga we
Ib. iv. 336. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7521.
The Quenes last taill ȝit farther or we ga We will persaue

5. To move in a specified direction or way. 1375 Barb. xii. 59.
He doune till the erd can ga All flatlyngis
?1438 Alex. i. 1115.
Hors and he to eird can ga
c1420 Wynt. i. 139.
Agayne the est the streme is gane
1456 Hay II. 130/32.
All growth gais bakwart, and all grenenes away gais
Ib. 133/18.
Be twa wayis men failis and gais to the dede
a1500 Gol. & Gaw 1225.
Quhan on-fortone quhelmys the quheil, thair gais grace by

b. To take a particular course; to turn out in a certain way. c1420 Wynt. iv. 1480.
As he than saw the fortoune ga
?1438 Alex. i. 807.
How that euer it ga, This message will I na way ma
Ib. 2170.
I sall wit how the gle is gane
c1475 Wall. xi. 1437.
I haiff said her ner as the proces gais
1581 Sat. P. xliii. 167.
Howeuer the warld now gane is

c. To pass or fall into a certain state; to become (mad, etc.). a1500 Gol. & Gaw 915.
Thair speris in the feild in flendris gart ga
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 293.
Suppos the churll wes gane chaist
Id. Flyt. 101.
Thow art … out of thy wit gane wyld
Id. lxvi. 74.
I dreid that it be quyt gane will
1513 Doug. i. i. 56.
Scho thame fordryvis, and causys oft ga will
1540 Lynd. Sat. 420 (B).
Me thocht sum said I had gane wrang
1567 G. Ball. 83.
Quha seruis the warld, gais a mis
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 19.
The flescher skamlis are gane dry

6. To go away; to depart. 1375 Barb. ii. 133.
He ne wald spek till he war gane
Ib. iii. 405.
Eftir that he was gane
c1450-2 Howlat 884.
I sall gar thaim samyn be … or I ga
Ib. 947.
All thir gudly are gane, And thair levit allane The howlat and I
1535 Stewart 76.
Now tell me or ȝe ga, Quhat is the cause [etc.]
a1568 Bann. MS. 143 b/34.
Or ȝe haif endit ȝe wilbe gane
a1578 Pitsc. I. 326/9.
The king was gain, they knew nocht quhair
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 435 (T).
Now grant ws … ere we gae Our dewtie to doe

b. To lat … ga, to release, allow to depart or be free. c1475 Wall. xi. 1334.
Sad lordys consellyt to lat him ga
a1568 Bann. MS. 134 a/30.
Hald vp ȝour handis and latt me ga
1567 Sat. P. v. 40.
Gif ȝe lat ga that is in ȝour grippis
1583 Ib. xlv. 630.
The man … Gave him the gek, and lute him gea

c. To come to an end, to perish or be lost. Chiefly in p.p., no longer existing or living. 1375 Barb. iv. 210.
My lif wend I thair suld be gane
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 634.
Makare of al Warldis, that gayne are or cum sal
?1438 Alex. i. 2488.
Or all the gaming ga, I sall thame mak sic ane shawing
Ib. ii. 643.
Wald thow him lufe, this were war gane
c1475 Wall. viii. 888.
Gold may be gayn, bot worship is ay new
a1500 Seven S. 120.
Gif caise war that he war gane, Than falȝeit ȝour generacioun
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 424.
All his cuyr and crafty engiyne gais quyte
Ib. ii. v. 76.
Troy from the top down fallys, and is gane
1535 Stewart 989.
Airis had thai nane To take the landis quhen thairselfis war gane
Ib. 1272.
In greit lettres … Weill gilt with gold as it suld neuir be gane
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5435.
Becaus quyte gane is discretioun
1567 G. Ball. 127.
Quhen gaine is my greit sinfulnes
a1578 Pitsc. I. 7/11.
Quhill that the Douglas was … deid and gane
Ib. 149/30.
Deid and geine

d. p.p. Of time: Past, ended. 1375 Barb. i. 522.
Quhen ten ȝeris of the wer wes gane
Ib. iv. 338.
Till the vyntir neir wes gane
a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 887.
It is gane wele thretty ȝer
c1420 Wynt. iii. 640.
Quhen all his fadyr tyme wes gane
?1438 Alex. i. 1364.
Or this day be gane
Ib. ii. 5982.
Of sic ferlys hard neuer nane In to na tyme that euer was gane
c1475 Wall. i. 271.
This passit our, quhill diuers dayis war gane
Ib. iv. 102.
The day was gayne, and cummyn was the nycht
1513 Doug. ii. xii. 65.
Thus finaly, the nycht [being] al passit and gane
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 5.
My ȝouth is gane, … My time is gane
1560 Rolland Seven S. 344.
Quhen the ȝeir is furth gane
Ib. 902.
Unto the space seuin dayis war gane
1587-99 Hume iv. 33.
The halfe neereby the space is gane

7. Of things: To pass, or change place, by being carried or moved or by natural motion. Freq. fig. 1375 Barb. ii. 80.
Lettres ar gayn To the byschop off Androws towne
a1500 Henr. Fab. 874.
Efter the tennour of the cry … That gais on all fourfuttit beistis
c1475 Wall. i. 396.
All this [fish] … sall in our flytting ga
Ib. xi. 1032.
Witt tharoff is in till Ingland gane
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 223.
Tharfor that lychtly cummis will lichtly ga
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lvi. 14.
Lat anis the cop ga round about
1513 Doug. i. iv. ii.
Within, the watir in a bosum gays
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5698.
Throw all thir hoillis thair gais not out a drop
1567 G. Ball. 30.
Quhill haistelie gais out his aind
Ib. 57.
Thocht heuin and eird suld ga arreird
1569 Sat. P. x. 357.
He wald not lat the Papists caus ga bak
a1578 Pitsc. II. 246/5.
The plewis had nocht gein xii oulkis togidder
1600-1610 Melvill 32.
On ged the corslet, and fangit was the hagbot

b. To discharge. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 4354.
Scho ȝeild and gaid [B. ȝet] at baith the ends
1573 Sat. P. xxxix. 152.
He gart the cannones ga sa thik amang thame

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"Ga v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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