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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.

Lest(e, Leist, Least, conj. Also: laist, list. [e.m.E. and ME. lest(e, leest, lyst(e, e.m.E. least, early ME. þi les ðe, OE. þy lǽs þe, þe lǽste. In Sc. appar. a late adoption f. e.m.E.: cf. Les conj. 2.] Lest.Used to introduce a clause expressing something to be feared, prevented or guarded against: For fear that, in case, that … not. Also lest that (as also in e.m.E. and late ME.).(1) a1578 Pitsc. I. 38/9.
That thair sould nocht be … any kynd of memorie thairof in tyme coming, lest it sould throw small occatioun … kindill greatter haitrent
(b) 1567 G. Ball. 41.
That he my fyve brether aduerteis may Leist thay in to this cairfull place discend
Ib. 216. a1578 Pitsc. I. 43/23.
They ȝeid never baitht togither quhair thair was ony appeirance of fraud … leist it sould be thair wraik
1581 Burne Cath. Tr. 161/4.
Al men … Sould feir leist the deuil … vse thame as instrumentis
1596 Dalr. I. 63/14, 95/25 etc. 1587-99 Hume 97/16. 1611-57 Mure Psalmes xxxix. 2.
I said I would watch o'r my wayes Leist sinne escapt my tongue
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 79.
Thairfore, and leist any sould be interest heirin, we resolve to keip the commissione undelyverit till we heir from you
1671 Rep. Menzies MSS. 23. 1678 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 264.
Nor dar I keip my oun bed leist he com in to me … and stab me unawars
1680 Warning to Professors in Fife MS.
What can the Pope do more when his [officers] searches all clogbags entering the ports of Room leist bibles be found in the Italian tongue
(c) a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxix. 20.
Accuis him nocht bot hald thé still, List thow prowok his mychttie ire
1676 Kirkcudbright Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 243.
Ye war so discrit as to refewes may bond list it sowld [etc.]
(d) 1599 Reg. Privy S. Nov. 29, in Comrie Hist. Med. I. 351.
[All professing the art of medicine to be examined] laist our subjectis be abusit
1660 Aberd. Council Lett. IV. 33.
I should wishe yow would tack this to your consideratione, laist we and the gentleman … sufer ane affront
(e) 1611-57 Mure Misc. P. i. 127.
In tyme tak heid then, least too lait thou mourne
1641 Cunningham Journal 58.
Least … the said appointment with the said toun … should be irritt
1671 Acts Sederunt 104.
Lyable … in case they have not sufficient catbands upon the doors of their prisons … least the rebells pyke … the locks
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii. xxiii. § v.
The reason why the assize must be unequal in number is least by equality of votes affairs be not terminat
(2) 15.. Clar. iv. 253.
I wald the reidar tuike not sik consait That nature had wrocht them so diligate Least that he leuch thairat and maid ane jape
1562-3 Winȝet II. 75/14.
And leste, peraduentuir, that it mot hef bene iugeit to hef bene the doctrine of ane … prouince, thair was adiunit also the … lampis of Cappadocia
1563-72 Ferg. Tracts 8.
And list that ye should think that we deale to austeirlie with you … I wold ye vnderstude [etc.]
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlvii. 72.
And than I think … Leist that, mein tym, blind Love … to love thé shortly suld be movd

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



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