A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
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Law, a. and n.4 Also: lawe, lau. [North. and north midl. ME. law(e, lau (Cursor M.), midl. and south. lowe, loue, loghe, loȝe (c 1200), earlier lahe, laȝe, laȝhe (Orm), inflected form of lāh Laich a. Cf. also Lauch a.]Unlike Laich, Lauch, (and Lach(e), common esp. in the fig. senses, 4–5 below.
1. Low in stature or upward extent; small. 1375 Barb. xvii. 380.
The vallis of the toune than wer Sa law that [etc.] c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 729.
The Scottis schip scho wes sa law, That monie gunnis out ouir hir flaw a1568 Bann. MS. 211 b.
The lawest treis hes cropis thocht thay be small
b. To lede or bear ane or the lawar saill (i.e. as of a ship), used fig., = to show oneself less prominently or openly, to proceed more quietly or cautiously. Cf. Law adv. 1 d. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 154.
Synthea … Scho loste hir lycht and lede ane lawar saill a1578 Pitsc. II 14/1.
That causit him and his freindis bayth to bear the lawer saill
2. Occupying a low, or the lower, position; also, far down, deep in situation.(1) 1375 Barb. xiii. 653.
For twa contraris … Set agane othir on a quhele; Quhen ane is hye, the tothir is law 1456 Hay II. 158/16.
As the last party and the lawest is the leggis c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 448.
I saw fulis set one segis of honore, and wysmen set one lawar segis c1515 Asl. MS. I. 302/11.
God devidit watteris fra watteris, the hieast the firmament, the lawest the se Ib. 24, 26.
It had iiij housis, ane lawar for bestis of filth … : siclyk figuris hell lawest a1500 King Hart 388.
Our lord … , That ȝit is law amang the nether bowris 1533 Bell. Livy I. 269/3.
The pepill … in the law discence thareof [the Capitol] rasit thare ensenȝeis with gude array 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 12.
Remuifit … to the Quenis awin ludgeing, and thair laid in ane lawer chalmer, directly under the chalmer quhair the Quene lay 1585 James VI Ess. 50.
Mount heigh vp through the air, To gar thy heat and beames be law and neir c1590 Fowler I. 65/188.
They that highest went, The lawer and the deeper doun agane was thair dissent 1587-99 Hume 47/14.
The heauen it is his dwelling place, The earth his littil fute-stule law 1629 M. Works Acc. MS. XXI. 37.
ij pair lang bandis to the ȝettis in the law gairdeintransf. 1533 Bell. Livy II. 188/18.
The power of the said Ethruschis war fra the ovir seyis namit mare superum to the law seyis namyt mare inferum betuix quhilk seyis Italie lyis inclusit in maner of ane ile(2) c1475 Wall. ii. 157.
And ek thar to he was in presoune law 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 219.
In the law fos and pyt of syn 1513 Doug. iii. vi. 166.
Vndir a roch, law within a cavern Ib. x. xiii. 144.
Sone eftir is the spreit of lyfe furth went, Down to the goistis law Ib. xi. iv. 102. Ib. xi. i 56.
Acheron, the lawest hellys see c1590 Fowler I. 229/2.
The stormye sees Quhase wawes uer high lyke hills and law lyk hell
b. Low-lying (ground, place, part); and applied to the underworld.(1) a1400 Leg. S. v. 498.
The eyrne … mon of fors he cum done To the law ȝerd c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1645.
This tyme, quhen that herwist had In law places his coursses maid 1456 Hay I. 164/33.
To geve thame the werr felde, outhir lawar or in a myre Ib. II. 158/24.
The erde that is lawast is ay calde 1513 Doug. ix. i. 9.
Ane valle wondyr lovn and law 1533 Bell. Livy I. 50/28.
Hostilius … led the batall … in the law vail vnder mont Capotoll againis the Sabinis 1551 Hamilton Cat. 157.
Hell is in the lawast part of the erd, or in sum place under the erd 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 17.
Being set in ane law plaice and a verray marische(2) c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 201.
All elyk … drawis till a law place downwart, quhen thai de Ib. 485.
Thane suld a man have mynde … one the mirknes that is in the law parte 1533 Gau 49/28.
He first passit dwne to the law partis of the ȝeird c1552 Lynd. Mon. 886.
Sum lychtit in the lawest hell
c. The law cuntrey, = Lawland n. 2. 1596 Highland P. III. 79.
To be transportit … to the law cuntrey and thair to remaine
d. Low (Germany), the Low (Countries).(1) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 306/11.
Germanea superior hie Ducheland, … Germanea inferior law Ducheland 1616 Doug. Chart. 323.
To depairt … to … France or heigh and law Germanie allanerlie(2) a1578 Pitsc. II. 215/27.
In all Flanderis … and in the law cuntries 1597 Conv. Burghs II. 8.
The nameis of thais persouns that sall happin heirefter to arrywe within the Law Cuntreyis with burnecoll 1610 Ib. 297, etc. c1610 Melville Mem. 24.
The K[ing] entrit far in the Law Contrees 1610 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 166.
Being in the lau cuntries … at the arryvail … of the Arceduke 1628 Stirling B. Rec. I. 162.
Lait conservatour in the Law Countreis for the Scotis natioun
e. Law wat(t)er, low tide. 1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 297.
Twa fyrn spars … to sett ane of thame at the full sey and the uther at the law watter 1597 Ib. V. 195.
That thair be fourty persouns … enterit to the fylling of the bulwarks at law waters 1600-1610 Melvill 168.
Because it was law water, we behoved to ly a whyll in the road till the water grew Ib. 486.
The sie … about a law water, debordet and ran upe abon the sie-mark 1638 Edinb. B. Rec. VII. 200.
That the saids persouns sall caus cleng the herbarie of all hirsts of chingill … , giff it be above the watter at ane law watter
f. In Orkney and Shetland: (Land possessed) fra the hiest (stane) of the hill to the lawest (stane) of the eb.(1) 1488 Rec. Earld. Orkney 197.
Fra the hiest stane of the hill to the lawest stane of the eb 1528 Soc. Ant. XXV. 191.
Fra the hyest point of the hill to the laues stein off thye ebb 1536 Ib. XVI. 194.
The said v merk landis … fra the heast stane in the hil to the lawest in the eb … to be … browkyt be the said Adam(2) 1531 Rec. Earld. Orkney 214.
Fra the hyest of the hill to the lawest in the ebbe 1558 Soc. Ant. XXV. 191.
Fra the hyest of the hill to the lawest of the eb 1639 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXI. 131.
From the highest of the hill to the lawest in the ebb, far and near, wnder the eard as abone the same
3. a. Of a sound or voices: Not loud, subdued. b. Of a musical note: Low in pitch, flat. 1513 Doug. iii. i. 75.
Furth of the graif a duylful murnyng law I hard 15.. Clar. ii. 1861.
Great was the banquit … With law demandis of ladies by and by a1605 Montg. Misc. P. iii. 14.
Sing sho tua notis, the one is out of tone, As B acre lau and B moll far abone
c. Of a colour: Dull. a1586 Lindsay MS. 46 b.
Of the colour sad and law lyk walx
4. Of persons. a. Of low birth, station or rank. Also absol. 1375 Barb. iii. 556.
Wes nane amang thaim, hey na law, That he ne had pite and plesaunce c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 497.
Thar is no liffand leid so law of degre That sall me luf vnluffitcompar. 14.. Acts I. 299/3.
Al thir that ar lawer than thir in kyn ar callit carlis 1456 Hay II. 104/11.
That thou despise neuer lawar personis na thyself c1475 Wall. viii. 1230.
It was nocht rycht, A queyn on kneis till ony lavar wycht 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 310 b.
A thing … ordinat of the prince and ouirman quhethir he be god ore laware c1515 Asl. MS. I. 324/8.
Ysaias, Jeremias [etc.] … with xij lawar prophettis 1533 Boece iv. ix. 138 b.
That nobilis suld nocht vse the wyiffis of the laware pepill in commoun a1568 Scott xxvi. 40.
Thay wald with nobill men be nemmit Syne laittandly to lawar leindisabsol. c1420 Ratis R. (S.T.S.) 176/5.
Than he and law … Suld do syk lawbore as thaim afferys a1500 Henr. Fab. 931 (B).
The lawest heir I may rycht sone vp hie 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 298.
Ane vthire ascens … fra the lawest in dignite to the hiest
b. Of low condition or fortune, mean, base, of little account; also, humble, modest. c1450-2 Howlat 937.
And sen thow art so elate, As the Ewangelist wrait, Thow sall lawe be 1456 Hay I. 110/24.
Bot quha ever of ȝow be first, that he be lawest servitour to ȝow a1500 Henr. III. 131/55.
Remember him … Quhilk rasis the law and humilis the hie a1500 Colk. Sow i. 441.
Such is this warldis glore, Now law, now he; Nothing stable we se 1490 Irland Mir. I. 32/20.
Sene he js sa hie in hevin and thou sa law Ib. 63/36.
Justice originale causit in the jnferior and lawar part of the saule the wertu of prudence 1533 Gau 30/22.
God hes al tyme hwyd the richt visdome … and schawis it to thayme that ar simpil and law 1535 Stewart 43877.
Thocht I be now so law and wratchit wicht 1567 G. Ball. 78.
Christ come full humill and full law a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 417 (L).
All ouris ar reput to be wys, Our heych, our law, our rasche, our nyce
c. A low or the lowest class in a college, etc.; junior. 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 8.
The lawast clas Ib. 11.
The thre law classis sal nocht be subject to cum to preaching or exercise public, except on the Sunday
5. a. Of birth or rank, station or place: Low, humble.(1) 1456 Hay II. 151/24.
Despis nocht a man for his law birth a1500 Henr. Fab. 60 (Makc.).
He no wald Tak the disdeyne of he nor law estat a1538 Abell 99 a.
He was of law kin for it is said at he wes a schomendaris sone Ib. 107 b.
Tamburlayn … wes in Tartare borne of law place 15.. Clar. ii. 1220.
Unto bedis went he and law estait c1552 Lynd. Mon. 654.
Amang ws peple of the law estait 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8878.
My birth it is to law, Sa heich maters I durst not to ȝow schaw 1562-3 Winȝet I. 10/7.
Sen men of the law sorte ar togidder with ȝour excellence a1568 Scott vi. 24.
So serwice cumis of sympilnes, And leilest lufe of law degre 1584–5 Elgin Rec. I. 177.
That na … persone … ressaue ony maner of persone of hie degre or law degre … within thair housis 1596 Dalr. I. 286/13.compar. 1375 Barb. i. 58.
Thai said successioun of kyngrik Was nocht to lawer feys lik 1429 Acts II. 18/2.
At the yeman of lawer degre … be bodyn with souer hate & doublat 1456 Hay II. 98/26.
That all othir wayis suld be punyst a notable man na a man of lawar condicioune a1487 Gud Wife & D. 56.
Hear honour, bettir thing, And lawar stat, lakar clething a1500 Henr. Orph. 376.
He wald noucht lufe in na lawar place Bot Juno, quene of nature & goddace a1500 Bk. Chess 253.
In him suld mercye … Appeir … fer mor Than ony man in lawar honour 1540 Acts II. 362/2.
That all vtheris of lawer rent and degre in the lawland haif jak of plait [etc.] a1578 Pitsc. I. 80/23.
Thair was wtheris of lawer estait, sic as … knychtis and gentillmensuperl. 1456 Hay II. 22/5.
Suppos … the knychtis office be the lawast of office of dignitee under … ryale magestee 1533 Bell. Livy I. 143/23.
All hie estatis sall be equate to the lawest 1562-3 Winȝet I. 7/20.
Fra the lawaste to the hieast degree 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 34.
In the lawest ordour of knaves 1596 Dalr. II. 365/3.
Monie amang thame not of the lawest sort of the peple(2) a1487 Gud Wife & D. 48.
Noucht our fer pres hir till avans, … Bot euir with … schamfulnes Scho suld draw to the lawast plas, And erar lawar place to tak Na hear
b. Of condition, quality or degree: Lesser, inferior. 1456 Hay I. 251/28.
A thing that is of lawar condicioun may nocht be juge till ane thing that es of hyar condicioun Ib. 284/16.
It is the lawest of degree of all the four elementis Ib. II. 48/15.
Quhen he war doune strykyn, than war his honour lawe 1490 Irland Mir. I. 57/23.
The erd and erdlie thingis God has put lawast Ib. 58/14.
This element of erd … js the lawast of all … And ȝit it js of gret wertu a1538 Abell 70 b.
And thai do the contray thai fall in a law gre of pane c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 204.
Ane dog may cum furth of Balquhidder, And gar ȝow leid ane lawer tryne 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 34.
That the Scottis be of sa law courage that [etc.]
c. Low in amount, value or rate. 1467 Acts II. 88/2.
To auis … vppon the avale of the grot of the crovn … & to set it heare or laware as salbe thocht spedefull 1541 Elgin Rec. I. 65.
And war [ale] to be set be the cunstaris to lawar prece 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 204.
Gif ony of the said siluer be fynar or lawar of fynes thai to be payit thairfor according to the fynes thairof 1557 Inverness Rec. I. 15.
Selling thair aquavitte of na lawar prices quhen the boll is gud chep nor quhen the same is at the derrest prices
d. Of less consequence; pertaining to minor matters. Only coupled with hie, hey. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1131.
Quha is Goddis wit ma knaw, Or ȝet his consall hey or law? 1456 Hay I. 153/18.
Gif the baroun … haldis him … thare quhare he has bathe hye and law justice, jurisdictioun and powar to do justice a1500 Bk. Chess 36.
The manere of office lawe & hie Of kingis and lordis sall he efter knaw
6. Used absol. as n. (Cf. Laich n.1 and Lauch n.3, and see also sense 4 a above). a. The, or a, low place, position or part, in the above senses, lit. and fig. b. In law, to a low position (of station or fortune). On law, in a low voice, quietly.Appar. only in early writings.a (1) 1375 Barb. iii. 707.
Sum [ships] wald slyd fra heycht to law Ib. vi. 518.
Schir Ameryis rout he saw, That held the playn ay & the law, And in haill battale alwayis raid 1456 Hay II. 123/27.
The remaynis lyis lang in the law of the ground of the stomak Ib. 140/25.
Bot of all wynis the best ar thai that growis betuix the hye and the lawe in mydlyn erde, that is nouthir our hye na our law erde(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 2596.
Quha that haldys hym in the lawe, Till hycht his meiknes will him drawe 1456 Hay II. 62/36.
For man that has na mesure in himself, quhen he dois outhir till the hye or to the lawb. c1420 Wynt. v. 2580 (C).
Qwha that wil draw hym on hicht In law hym doun behuffis to licht ?1438 Alex. ii. 1586.
Ȝonder ar the folk men may nocht fle, That spekis on law and strekis on hie
c. ? Cf. Laich n.1 1 (a stretch of low-lying ground, a hollow), Lauch n.3, Lache, and Law n.3 1358 Rot. Scot. 829/1.
Cuiusdam piscarie … vocate la lawe in aqua de Twede
Law adj., n.
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