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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.

Hie, adj. Compar. hiear(e, hier; superl. hieast, hiast, hie(e)st. [Spelling var. of He adj., with substitution of -ie for -e, which becomes common in the 16th c.; the rhyme-words in poetry clearly establish the usual pronunciation as he(e. See also Hye adj.The extensive adoption of the spelling, however, may have been partly due to ME. and e.m.E. hie (14–16th c.).]

1. High, in literal senses.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1718.
As hillis hie it schawis
Ib. 2875.
He … gart close it with wallis hie
c1420 Wynt. viii. 3873 (C).
A hie gallouse thai made
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 525.
A gome … turnit to ane hie toure
a1500 Rauf C. 807.
His blonk was vnburely braid and ouir hie
1507 Edinb. B. Ct. Bk. 40.
Richard Lauson of the Hie Riggis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Twa Mar. W. 338.
His biggingis … & hie burrow landis
1513 Doug. i. ix. 105.
The hie rufe of the mekill hall
Ib. iii. v. 20.
Syne to the hie town of Butrot [we] ascendit
1533 Bell. Livy II. 199/29.
The montanis stude sa hie aganis him
1567 G. Ball. 90.
Quha sall on thy haly hill sa hie Mak residence
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxvii. 10.
In heuin so hie
1619 Misc. Bann. C. I. 249.
In places hie and stay
1633 Edgar Old Church Life 310.
[Delinquents are ordered] ... before they go to the hie place to lay down the penaltie
1652 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 226.
Ane jeist in the hie stiple that is said to he brockine
(b) 1488 Rec. Earld. Orkney 197.
Fra the hiest stane of the hill [etc.]
a1500 Lanc. 601.
The farest knycht And hiest be half a fut
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 302/11.
God devidit watteris fra watteris, the hieast the firmament, the lawest the se
1573 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 2.
To dampt and hald in the North Loch to the hieast clouse
1637 Dunferm. Hammermen 38.
And he sould se the hiest bled of his head af Robert Bull
absol. 1573 St. A. Kirk S. 385.
To sit upon the hieest of the penitentis saiet
(2) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 306/11.
Germanea superior hie Ducheland … .Germanea inferior law Ducheland
1633 M. Works Acc. XXVII. 15 b.
Ane punscheoun of hie countrey wyne
(3) 1596 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 5.
The … bulwarks, peir, schoir, [etc.] … is now be occasioun of … hie springis becum ruynus
1603 Reg. Great S. 517/1.
In quantum mare ad alluviem (ane hie streme) enudatur

2. Of exalted rank or dignity.a. 1456 Hay I. 243/33.
To geve compt to the hiest juge of thair … mysdedis
1482 Edinb. Chart. 146.
The richt hie and michti prince, our souerane lord
a1500 Bk. Chess 2041.
Sen a king is hieast in estait
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 547.
Thou yelde … To me, maist hie Kenydie
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 5.
Most laureat hie wictor
1513 Doug. ii. xii. 35.
The hie governour of the hevin
Ib. viii. i. 38.
Cummyn of hie goddis kyn
Ib. xii. ix. 70.
Of anchestry maist hie
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 138.
I … had in court als greit credence And ay pretendit to he hiear
1562-3 Winȝet I. 102/18.
In the law of Moyses God prouidit ane hie bischope
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 73/10.
Men … becumis rebellious to the hie magistrat … the eternall God
c1590 Fowler II. 51/7.
Becaus they war not ordaned by the hie preasts
absol. a1500 Henr. III. 131/55 (M).
[Christ] Quhilk rasis the law and humilis the hie
1562-3 Winȝet I. 65/27.
We … committis the amendiment thairof to the mercy of the Hieast
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 41.
Thocht thow in court be with the hieast placeit
b. 1456 Hay I. 292/33.
The hiest degree and maist excellent
a1500 Bk. Chess 36.
The manere of office lawe & hie Of kingis and lordis
c1420 Wynt. vii. 3046 (W).
The Besettis … rais vp ay to hieare hicht
1549 Compl. 19/1.
The hie monarchis, lordschips, and autoriteis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1064.
Quenis of moste hie degre
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 44.
To … clym up be thair branches to hiear degre
1622-6 Bisset I. 110/18.
The places of iustice and hieast dignitie of administratioun … ar obtenit be corruptioun
c. c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 162.
Luke best about, Quhen thow art hiest with the King

3. Of exalted character or quality. c1460 Wisd. Sol. 728.
God of his hie gracious paciens
c1475 Wall. i. 158.
In armys syne [he] did mony hie waslage
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 114.
Hie Apporte, Bewtie, and Humilnes
1513 Doug. viii. xii. 143.
The … hie renownye Of gloryus jestis of hys postheryte
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 415.
Your hie courage
1567 Sat. P. iii. 127.
To pull ane King fra his hie potent gloir

4. a. Of great consequence, important, grave. c1475 Wall. viii. 639.
It war a our hie thing
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 4/1.
The hie and salutar mater of pennans
1518 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 176.
A man to be vsit [in] hiear and gravar materis
1533 Bell. Livy II. 250.
Ane legate … to commoun with him … of certane hie materis
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 135.
To wit ȝour will, caus the mater is hie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 17/27.
The gouernour … estemed the queine hielie that scho haid attempit so hie and wychtie ane purpois

b. Abstruse, difficult. (Cf. Heich a. 5 c.) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 567.
Arristotyll … Wrait … hie philosophie naturall
1551 Hamilton Cat. 6.
That thai … may mair esely cum to the understanding of hiear doctrine
1562-3 Winȝet I. 87/26.
Caluin confessis this sacrament to be a mysterie mair hie than he can schau be toung, think In mynd. [etc.]

5. Chief, principal, main.Also in many special collocations: see Hie altar, Hie gate, Hie kirk, etc.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lviii. 11.
Off sic hie feistis off sanctis in glory … oft I sang
Ib. lxxxii. 22.
At ȝour hie croce, quhair gold and silk Sould be
1524 Reg. Great S. 200/2.
Maister Hary Henrisoun … to be at hie solempne festuale tymes with ws
1550 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 148.
That na maner of flescheoures … , in the hie merkatt nor land merkatt, tak vpoun hand [etc.]
(2) 1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 163.
The hie passages and kairt gaittis within the toun of Leyth
Ib. 174.
The calsay and hie wynd leiding to the Grayfreir port
1594 St. A. Kirk S. 780.
Being accusit for speiking publicle upon the hie calsy … onreverentle thir wordis
1627 Bamff Chart. 210.
Fra the north end of the said barne north … to the hie cairt get

6. Of great amount, degree, etc.: great, advanced, extreme.(1) 1476 Acta Aud. 42/1.
In the hieest tyme of the merket quhen maist multitude of folk ar present
1531 Bell. Boece I. vi.
Quhill hie invy me from his service kest
Ib. xi.
Quhay salis lang in hie prosperitie
1533 Boece iv. viii. 137.
He grewe … In hieare gre of covatise than efferit ane mortall man
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8498.
Ane ȝoung man … of ingine richt hie
1562-3 Winȝet I. 8/23.
Vtheris … reioyses to he callit … cunning in Scripture, … reft vp in hie curiositie of questionis
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 25.
Quhairby apperis thair maist hie tresoun aganis the quene
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 45.
In hie and manifest contemptioun of us
1606 Acts IV. 297/2.
We haue … judged him worthie of greater truste … in offices … of hier credit
(2) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 895.
The price it is to hie
1571 Peebles B. Rec. 327.
To set the hillis … to the hieast awaill
1627 Misc. Spald. C. V. 219.
Becaus thay … peyit not in thair wituaill to the girnall, the lard … protestit for the hiest pryis
1643 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 4.
To pay … the hiest pryces thairfoir
(3) 1507 Edinb. Chart. 192.
Vnder all the hiest pane, charge, and offens that ȝe may commit
c 1523 Chart. Coupar A. II. 135.
Wnder the hieast payne and wod of obligatione wsit withtin the realme
c1650 Spalding I. 272.
Chargeing all maner of man, at thair hiest perrell. to mvster the morne

b. Loud. a1500 Peblis to Play 57.
He clekit up ane hie ruf sang
1549 Compl. 38/28.
Quhil the depe … cauernis … ansuert vitht ane hie not
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xix. 62.
That I heir thy peple with hie voce … cry [etc.]

7. Haughty, arrogant. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xix. 24.
Gife I … in my hairt is proud and hie
1535 Stewart 38281.
At thair requeist, thocht he wes proude and hie, He slaikit hes
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6308.
His hart was sa proude and hie
a1568 Bann. MS. 87 a/14.
Aganis Pryde, … be nevir our hie for dreid thow eftir fall
(c 1580) Alex. ii. 3096.
He is wicked ... And of ane hie, fell, wicked will

8. absol. as n. The highest point: the dead (of night). c1420 Wynt. v. 5511 (C).
In the hiest of his ȝet … was set Ane [ymage] of the Trynyte
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 56.
Pet Lovrie doing sic ane evill turn In the hie of the nicht

9. On (also, upon) hie, on high, aloft; aloud, loudly.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 94 (A).
Quhen that he did mont on hie
1513 Doug. i. i. 18.
Is thare sik greif in hevynly myndis on hie?
Ib. ii. iii. 11.
This huge hors … Of sa gret statur beldit vp on hie
1560 Rolland Seven S. 602.
The browdin warkis … Quhilk on the stairis war spred sa heich on hie
1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xix.
The fiery dragon flew on hie Out throw the skies
1640 Lithgow Poet. Rem. 209.
Christ … rose, and rose on hie [: see]
(2) a1500 Henr. Fab. 289.
‘Haile Ȝule, haile!’ thai cryit apon hie
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiv. 83.
To the Feind … Thay gaif thame [= themselves] with ane schowt on hie
15.. Clar. v. 1954.
Of trumpits sound full noyis rais on hie
1567 Reg. Privy C. I. 585.
Quhen ony cumpanyis of thevis … cummis ower the swyris … that all our … liegis … crie on hie, raise the fray, and follow thame

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



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