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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

He, Hee, adj. Compar. hear(e, heair; superl. heast, heest, heist. [Northern ME. hee, he (14th c.), var. of hei, hey, Hey a., or from OE. héa-, héa, inflectional forms of héah Heich a. See also Hie a.]

1. High, in the usual literal senses. Also, tall. a1400 Leg. S. vi. 578.
I … Has bygyt now a wel he toure
Ib. xix. 27.
He sa mekill, sa hee and auchful vas
a1500 Bernardus 268.
Biggyne … inordinat and hee
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 43.
Ane ciete … with wallis sa he [: se]
1513 Doug. xi. vii. 134.
He … dois bost the hevynnys he
1535 Stewart 8833.
To fle … to the montanis he
a1540 Freiris Berw. 12.
With staitlie towris and turattis he on hicht
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxv. 49.
To bring ws to the hewin sa he
superl. c1420 Wynt. ii. 470 (C).
On the heast [hill]

b. Occupying the higher situation or forming the higher part; (the) upper. c1460 Regim. Princ. 243.
God in heast [v.r. heest] hevyn
1490 Lanark B. Rec. 6.
Common hird to the Hetown … of Lanark
1511 Prestwick B. Rec. 42.
Twa rod of mos, lyand in the he mos of Prestwick
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 325.
Like Phebus in heist of his spheir
1535 Stewart 26316.
Quhen ane man is heast on the quheill
1536 Soc. Ant. XVI. 194.
Fra the heast stane on the hil to the lawest

2. Of exalted rank or dignity; of exalted character or quality. a. Of persons. 1405 James of Douglas Letter to Henry IV in Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
He excellent and rycht mychty prynce
Giff yhour hee excellent war clerly enfourmyte [etc.]
1420 Reg. Great S. 29/2.
A hee and a mychty lord
1447 Reg. Great S. 69/1.
The said he and mychti lady
1513 Doug. x. Prol. 1.
He plasmatour of thingis vniversall
a1568 Bann. MS. 29 b/17.
The he lord fro the hevin abone
15.. Clar. ii. 1220.
Unto bedis went he and law estait
1587 Morris Prov. Methven 67.
To the airis … , na hear of degrie nor thame selffis
absol. c1420 Ratis R. 337.
Than he and law … Suld do syk lawbore
superl. c1460 Regim. Princ. 45.
Think quhy thi croun was gevyn thé till Fra heast [v.r. heest] God
1533 Gau 39/18.
The sone of the heest God
1528 Lynd. Dreme 532.
The nynt [order], and heast, callit Seraphin

b. Of personal qualities, rank, honour, etc. a1400 Leg. S. xxxi. 206.
Al-set thai ware of hee degree
?1438 Alex. ii. 8254.
Lautee and he honour
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1615 (B).
The he prudence … of God omnipotent
a1500 Colk. Sow Proh. 5.
Gentillmen of he genolegye
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxvii. 27.
That mychty campioun … That wan … trevmphe of he victory
1554 Misc. Bann. C. III. 76.
Ane man of he waslege in feildis
15.. Clar. iii. 320.
The Cainis he magnificence
a1578 Pitsc. I. 194/22.
Thair promovearis … to that he estait
compar. a1400 Leg. S. xiii. 5.
Thai ware of hear degre As apostolis chosine to be
Ib. xxvii. 303.
He sat his hart on hear thing
c1420 Wynt. viii. 2184 (C).
Hear and hear was his fayme
a1487 Gud Wife & D. 48.
Erar lawer place to tak Na hear
1533 Bell. Livy I. 20/2.
Of heair curage
1551 Banff Ann. II. 379.
To thair airis maill … of na hear autorite
1562 Q. Kennedy Ressoning viii.
Princes, hear poweris, maiestratis [etc.]
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 269.
Sa may thou baldlie ane hear place cum craue
superl. c1475 Wall. vi. 588.
Quha best did than, he had the heast stait

3. a. Of great consequence; important, weighty, serious. 1416 Liber Melros 539.
Be cause of hee and grete besines
c1460 Regim. Princ. 50.
To maynteine sa hee a gouernance
Ib. 56.
As thai wil answer at the hee jugement
1521 Douglas Corr. 82.
This he fest of Cristis Natyvyté
1533 Gau 33/35.
Thir forsaid thingis ar the heest that man can leir of Aristotil
1531 Bell. Boece I. 18.
I will return to this history … quhen na hear besynes occurris

b. Chief, principal, main.Chiefly in special collocations: see He altare, He gate, He kirk, etc.

4. a. Of the voice: Raised, loud. a1400 Leg. S. i. 646.
Thane the prefet with he woce Gaf sentence sone
15.. Clar. ii. 759.
With he voice

b. Of great amount, degree, or force. ?1438 Alex. ii. 9358.
Thay … Gaif straikis sa horrible and sa he
a1500 Bernardus 49.
To mak fest … and hee costage … is foly
1461 Liber Plusc. I. 385.
Enforst with fortoun in the heast gre
1473 Peebles B. Rec. 201.
Vnder all the heast payne and charge
1562 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 333.
To absteyn fra all sic in tym cuming vnder all heast pane and cherge
c1650 Spalding I. 264.
To cause proclaim thir lettres … under the heast pane and perrell

c. compar. At a higher rate. 1467 Acts II. 88/2.
To set it [the crown groat] hear or lawar as salbe thocht spedefull
1485 Ib. 172/2.
That nane … rase thar penny worthis hear na thai wald sell for vther money
1565 Peebles B. Rec. 299.
That the said master taik na hear waigis fra the landwart bairnis
1574 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 29.
The frauchtaris sall geve na hear pryces [etc.]
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVII. 361 b.
Ony hear dewtie nor thai payit of befoir

5. Haughty, arrogant, insolent. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xix. 23.
Giff I … in my mynd is proud and he
1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 281.
Dauid Grundistone … cruellie slew hyme … in he contemptione of our autorite
1533 Gau 15/1.
Thay quhilk ar pridful and he aganis thair for-elders
1535 Stewart 11129.
Thair appetyte so ardent is and he
Ib. 38036.
Thair wordis so helie wes and he
a1568 Scott xxi. 18.
I fand hir … staitly, strange and he

6. On he, on high, aloft; aloud, loudly.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxv. 205.
Sancte Julyane than sad one he: ‘My gud brethyre [etc.]’
a1500 Rauf C. 211.
The carll with ane cleir voce carpit on he
c1590 Fowler I. 340/51.
Now bagpypes blawes to warme on he These younkers
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 10231.
Porrus heued his brand on he
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 62.
Quhen that he did mont on he
1560 Rolland Seven S. 602.
The browdin warkis … Quhilk on the stairis war spred sa heich on he
c1590 Fowler I. 369/20.
Some he threates, … Distroys, & settes on hee

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



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