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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.

Gud(e)wife, Guid-, Goodwife, n. Also: -wyf(e, -wyff(e, -wyif, -wif(f, -vif, -vyf. [ME. goode wyff, good wyf (c 1325), in later use chiefly Sc. Freq. written as two words.] A wife or woman as the mistress of a house.(a) 1375 Barb. vii. 238.
He com soyn in the hous, and fand The gud vif [E. howswyff] on the bynk sytand
Ib. 248.
‘Schir, perfay’, Quod the gud wif [E. gud wyff] ‘I sal ȝow say’
1458 Peebles B. Rec. 130.
Than the chamerlain chargit that gud wyf gan[g] ham and manwr that arschap qwyl scho lefys
c1475 Wall. i. 238.
In at the dur he went with this gud wiff
1509–10 Edinb. Hammermen 68.
The grotis at the gudwiffis gaif of the craft
a1540 Freiris Berw. 82.
The gudwyfe thay prayit for cheritie To grant thame herbrye
15.. Clar. iii. 763.
Scho … fand the gudwyfe standing in the dore
1599 Elgin Rec. II. 75.
The minister sall admoneisch … specialie the gudman and gudwyffe of ilk hous to be present at the Wedinsdayis preaching
1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 89.
The gudvyf of the hous sat at the fyr syd with the said witch
c1650 Spalding II. 396.
Sir Williame Forbes … cruellie took the gudwyf, hir barnes and seruandis, and most inhumaulie schot thame to the yettis
(b) c1475 Wall. i. 235.
He knew the hous … ; The gude wyff than within the clos saw he
a1500 Rauf C. 175.
In feir fairlie he foundis with the gude wyfe, Quhair the coilȝear bad
1540 Lynd. Sat. 754.
The gudewyffis will not let freiris want
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4521.
Sa the gude wife ane bonie lytil kie, Hang at hir belt, scho knit richt quyetlie
1580 Inverness B. Rec. I. 280.
The gudeman nor gudewyff will mys na thing in respect the gudewyff beris the keis in hir awin keiping
1594 Wedderburn Compt Bk. 96.
Item payit the Witsonday meill … to the gudewyf
(c) 1544 Prot. Bk. J. Cristisone 89.
Guidwif, I haue send to Carnbrogy til bring avaye the guidis
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 7.
Honest matrons and guid wyffis … Maist humblie to ȝow now dois plenȝie
1590 Crim. Trials I. 207.
Seing that the guidwyffe thy hussie sould haif detenit the puir woman
(d) 1558-66 Knox I. 38.
The goodwyiff of the other syd of the gait hes tynt a horne spune
1620 Grant Chart. 323.
Reackoned with the goodwyff for ordiner and extraordineris
1654 Stirlings of Keir 494.
Our goodwyf presentts hir reall serwice to you
1658 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 201.
The goodwyffes servand wonman

b. With the name of the place added. 1510 Edinb. Hammermen 71.
Gottin fra the gudwif of the Castelhill of the Mertimes annuel last bipast xv s.
1523 Carnwath Barony Ct. 2.
The quhilk day my l. folloit in court the gud vyf of Mossat for the non furnissin of ane cariage in to the kingis veris
c 1540 Liber Dryburgh 338.
The guidwife of Smalahanme Craigis
1596 Elgin Rec. II. 45.
Cristane Sutherland said the gudwyif of Cumȝeachis boig cam to her hous to stay the vomit of hir barne
1598 Reg. Privy C. V. 442.
Eftir thay had stellit thair horssis at the gudewyffe of Knokdairis ȝettis
1622-6 Bissett II. 98/5.
The guidwyfe of Ballyndalloch wes ane heretrice
c1650 Spalding I. 304.
This samen Sonday the Ladie Pitmedden, the goodwyf of Iden, [etc.] … wes excomunicat in both kirkis of New Abirdein, being all papistis
1663 Forbes Baron Ct. 236.
Tennents … who pay corne … sall giwe the prooff theroff to the goodwyff off Ennetis

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



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