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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ill, n. Also: il(e, ille, yll(e, hill, hyl(l. [ME. (chiefly north. and north midl.) yl(le, il(l (a 1300), absol. use of the adj.Like the adj. and adv., this was appar. often regarded as a variant or reduced form of the synonymous (but unrelated) Evill, Ivil(l.]

1. Moral evil, wickedness, wrong-doing. 1375 Barb. iv. 735.
That men, kyndly to ill giffin, … avay has driffin Thair ewill [C. ill]
a1400 Leg. S. ii. 800.
In yll the tyrand had sic joy
c1420 Wynt. v. 1033.
All the dedys … done throucht Domytyane … ware fundyn all off ylle
a1500 Seven S. 2742.
Wikit woman, fulfillit of ill
1535 Stewart 3672.
The lustie ladeis … war so wild, wist nother of ill nor gude
1567 Sat. P. vii. 102.
Gif that a freind with fayis away war led Be wickit craft, syne tystit war till ill
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxx. 106.
Thocht the warld be haly set on yll

b. An evil deed, a wickedness. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 864.
Among illes so mony Quhilkis thw done has wikkitly That thw this litill gud wolde do
c1420 Ratis R. 476.
Till fle al lyklynes Of yllis

2. Wrong, mischief, or harm, done to or suffered by one. 1375 Barb. v. 100.
To wenge the angir and the ill That thai … had to thaim vrocht
Ib. xii. 227. Ib. v. 216.
The Persy … went … his castell till Vithout distrowbilling or ill
a1400 Leg. S. i. 505.
Myn master alswa me taucht For to do gud agan hyl
Ib. ii. 582.
That man has done gret il ay To thame
Ib. xl. 62.
With wemene wald he nocht conuerse Na of na man il reherse
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4462.
Qwha till Haly Kyrk doys ille
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 723.
Gret lordis ar quhilum hafand powar … & mar for thar ill na for thar gud
1535 Stewart 40565.
The Inglismen … In tyme to cum tha war quyte of his ill
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1392.
In faith I fand bot ill and war
a1570-86 Maitl. F. cxxx. 91.
Sen that I neuer did ȝow ill It wer no skill ȝe did me skaith
1588 Misc. Spald. C. II. 61.
I him saifitt frome her ill

b. To take in ill, to take offence or be displeased at. For na(ne) ill, with no bad intention. To think yll, to be displeased or annoyed.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxx. 20.
Sweit confessor, thow tak it nocht in ill
a1570-86 Maitl. F. cxxx. 133.
For God, sir, tak in none ill
(2) a1500 Rauf C. 53.
‘Sa mot I thrife’, said the King, ‘I speir for nane ill’
c1475 Wall. iv. 373.
‘Schyr, I sper nocht for nane ille … ’
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 224/5.
Thai … said that thai come for na ill of him ne his childer
(3) 1566-70 Buch. Comm. Virgil Georgics iv. 332.
Si piget te gloriæ meæ, gif ȝe think sa gryt yll

3. Misfortune or adversity. b. A misfortune, a calamity, a disaster. 1375 Barb. ii. 161.
He boune wes … To tak with him the gud and ill
Ib. iii. 302.
His caus ȝeid fra ill to wer
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1606.
Thai Suld haue gret ill be mony way Or that thai come in thare cuntre
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2054.
Fayre on thi waye, Owthire welle or ill as happyne may
?1438 Alex. ii. 2639.
Great ill fallis of villanes speik And gude of courtes
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 714.
Quha sa dois biding, felis na ill eftire
c1460 Consail Vys Man 91.
Gud cumpany gud men makis And of the ill oft men ill takis
1661 Forfar Witches in Reliq. Antiq. Sc. 134.
That hir mother cuist ill one Robert Dog
b. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 788.
Quhair twa illis dois appeir Lat vs that tak quhairin lyis leist dangeir
Ib. 9218. a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 16.
Of twa ills choose the least
Ib. 16 b.
Of ane ill comes many

4. A disease, sickness, illness.Common in the names of specific diseases, as Child-ill, Dede-ill, falland ill (Falland ppl. a. a), foul ill (Foul a 1 d), Land-ill, etc. 1375 Barb. ix. 61.
Till that thair capitane War couerit of his mekill ill
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 577.
Full besyly can he spere Of his seknes the manere & of the cause als of the ile
Ib. xx. 3.
Sere mene … To sancte Blase has devocione, Sume fore il of awne or bane
Ib. xxviii. 10.
[The pearl] is vertuyse callyt alsa Agayne ane il callyt cardiaca
?1438 Alex. ii. 3551.
It was ane ill of ieloussy
c1420 Ratis R. 181.
The lypir and the faland ill
1535 Stewart 36452.
The seiknes hecht the gentill mannis ill … causit him tak bed
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 7.
Scho … seithit kaill rwntis in watter for ane ill or sairnes scho had in hir head
1623 Crim. Trials II. 537.
Scho skaillit swm [water], quhilk scho rewis … , becaus that if oyne hed gone ower it, thay hed gottyn the ill
1659 Barty Hist. Dunblane 97.
Charme this man … for shotes and grippe, For all the ills that ever may be

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"Ill n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Jun 2023 <>



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