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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.

Let, v. Also: lett(e, lete, leit. P.t. lettit etc., also let, leit. P.p. lettit etc., also lettyne, let(t. [ME. lettn, later let(t, p.t. lettede (13th c.), lette (14th c.), let (Cursor M.), p.p. ilet, ylet, letted, let(t (14th c.), OE. lęttan (f. læt Lat a.): cf. also Lat v.2]

1. tr. To hinder, impede, obstruct; to hold back, restrain; to prevent. a. An action, event, etc.Common, in the formula illustrated as (2), in bonds of alliance and of manrent, and in oaths of allegiance.(a) (1) 1384 Acts I. 349/2.
In cas thay may noght let it thai sall ger warne the tother part of xv days and … thay sall lely let thaim of thair boundes at thair powair forowten fraude or gile
1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 139*.
Consyderand to lete mykyl yl scath and grete sclandyr
1398 Acts I. 211/1.
At the kynge be obliste that he sal nocht lette his office na the execucion of it be na contramandmentis as sumquhile has bene seyne
1456 Hay I. 274/21.
For the jugement extraordinar sall nocht lett the justice ordynare
Ib. II. 123/31.
The remaynis … lettis appetite to drynke sone efter dyner
1459–60 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 189.
I disasent tharto and wil let it eftir my power
a1568 Scott xxii. 20.
Quhair that I fynd bot feid My langour for to lett
c1590 Fowler I. 69/70.
My ladie … With … shamefastnes, did lett his high pretence
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 43/4.
That olde blinde dame delytes to lett the ioy Of all
Id. Basil. Doron 107/6.
Monie respectit maye laufullie lett ane admission that will not be sufficiens causis of depriuation
(2) 1445 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 311.
Als safere as thai may letit at thair gudely powere to warn him in al gudely haist
1468 Ayr & W. Coll. III. 133.
Nane of thaim to heir se nor wit harme … til uderis … bot thai sal … let it at all thare power
1525 Bk. Carlaverock II. 463.
Geif we dove nocht lett the samyn, we sall warne hym thairof
c1575 Balfour Pract. 23.
I … sall not sie ȝour skaith nor heir it bot I sall let it at all my power and warne ȝou thairof
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 5.
I shall not know … of any maner of thing to be attempted … against his Majesties persone … bot I shall lett and withstand the same
(b) 1506 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 693.
And neuir to here his or tharis skaithis nor se it bot sall leit it [etc.]
(b) 1375 Barb. iii. 241.
The rayne thus lettyt the fechtyn
c1420 Wynt. v. 3606 (W).
This Valentynyane emperour Gaynstude and lettit his honour
(c) 1497 Prestwick B. Rec. 34.
For a word he mycht haf lettit the distrobillans of the toune be Elene Broune
(b) 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 524.
My suit … being lett to this day by disease of him who suld have enteryt and releisit that other
1565 Instit. Ct. Sess. 149.
The persewar obtenis the libell … , the quhilk being let or protestatioun maid in the contrair [etc.]

b. With object and infin., always with to or till (and thus in contrast with Lat. v.1 7); also with noun clause.(1) (a) 1375 Barb. iii. 362.
Bot mycht nane eys let hyr to think On the King
Ib. xii. 302.
Strynth of this place, as ȝhe se, Sall let vs enveronyt to be
a1400 Leg. S. l. 945.
I sall … mak a bysine wyf of thæ To let wthire to Cristine be
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2140.
Thare is mare That lettys me wyth thæ to fare
Ib. vii. 1248.
Geldyd … To lete hym fadyre for to be To ma barnys
1446 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 109.
Gyf it hapynnys that Pattown … vexis or dystrubylys or lettis the said byschap … to dyspone of the said landis
1456 Hay I. 13/7.
The quhilk lettis to have perfyte resoun of grace to understand rychtwisly
Ib. II. 122/1.
It … lettis a man to be sone beld
Ib. 127/18.
Quhilkis … lettis man to slepe and rest
1486 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 76.
To … persew … al and sindry quhatsumeuer lettis or stoppes the said James to bruk … the foresaid mareaghe
a1500 Colk. Sow i. 178.
Mony galt, mony gilt, Come let the pig to be spilt
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 734.
Sal neyther gold nor gude let him to die
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 213/108.
Thre causes be … that should a generall lett On Fortounis … quheill the uictorie to sett
Ib. 235/318.
Thaime to lett or fray … thaire greiuouse hairmes with lyke for to repay
(b) 1375 Barb. xiii. 279.
Thai … That schame letit till ta the flicht
a1400 Leg. S. xlv. 296.
Scho strak Julyane in the e … & lettyt hyme thane to se
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2040.
This lady … Hys purpos lettyde done to be
a1500 Seven S. 2542.
The caus … stud sa thrang That lettit me to speik sa lang
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 195/763.
Layke of skill Quhich lettit me to imitat his … loftie uerse
(b) a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1266.
Thoucht bludy teris leit hir to se
1511 Alloway Baron Ct. MS. 6 May.
He grantit that he stopit the evinaris & let thaim to deill equalie as thai wer ordanit
1535 Stewart 54231.
Quhilk leit the ȝettis that tyme for to clois
(c) 1375 Barb. x. 320.
I trow thai sall lettit be To purchas mair in the cuntre
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1646.
Hanyball … thoucht That he be man wes lettyd [W. lettyne] noucht To wast … the cyté
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 3769.
I sall wyth-stand, and let that he Wyth-in the kyrk sall mak entre
1531 Bell. Boece I. Proh. ix.
Sen that no thing may let, Bot thy bricht hew mon be with yeris fret

c. With a person or other agent as the object: To hinder, restrain or prevent, from some action stated or implied in the context.Common, in the formula illustrated as (2), in letters of lawburrows.(a) (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 1104.
He had wil hyme-self to sla, & lukit a-bout, that na mane Ware nere by for to lete hym thane
c1420 Ratis R. 1593.
Thai trawalys sal thé think ful suet, Suppos thow think thai do thé lete Of sa lang tyme in vthir thinge
1456 Hay I. 148/25.
Yo.e aw nocht to lett me, bot aw, be the law, to leve me to pas
1469 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 419.
I sall neuer … stop, hendyr, nothir let the saide Robert … in the vsyng of the saidis letteris
a1500 Henr. Twa Mys 173 (Asl.).
Syne dovne scho come quhen thair was nane to let hir
c1475 Wall. v. 876.
Bot Wallace kest thair power for to let
1595 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 61.
Quhilk is ane sufficient warrand to him to stay and lett him
(2) 1477 Stewart Mem. 75.
The said Neill and all that he may lett sal … tak na part with nouther of the said lordis
1479 Acta Conc. I. 21/1.
For thaim self, ther partij and aneredance and al that thai may let
1482–3 Ib. II. cxxi.
Schir James Ogilby salbe harmles and scaithles of Alexander, Lord Glammis, and all that he may let
1520 Thanes of Cawdor 139.
I sal keyp me my kyne and al that I may let onedowne ony skaith to the said Sir Johne
1581 Acts III. 223/1.
Quhome thai may stop or let direclie or indireclie
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 45.
For thair prenteiss, servands and vthers whom they may stop or lett
1689 Peebles B. Rec. II. 128.
Be him or any he may stop or lett
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xi. 118.
[If] dout of Rome lettit nocht me, Thai suld al de
Ib. xxxvi. 1110.
His sistire son … the knyfe gat & his arme & lettit hyme
1474 Prestwick B. Rec. 24.
He came rigorusli withtin hir lande and lettit certane persounis chosing to lyin certane landis
(c) 14.. Acts I. 59/2.
Gif the myl beis brokyn … or lettyt wyth frost
1434 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 11.
Gefe it happinnis the saide Andro … to be inqueet, distroublit or letit be the airis of … Schir Willeame of Douglas
1454 Douglas Chart. 383.
Quhilk sal happin … to be lettit in the browking of the said landis
1481 Acta Aud. 95/1.
To prufe that he was stoppit and lettit be our souerane lordis lettres of recognitioun
c1590 Fowler I. 17.
Who … am letted in my interpryse
1623 Perth Kirk S. 305.
By occasion of his sickness [he] is lettit divers times [from attending church]
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 121.
Sa that thow have na caus to say Thow knew thaim nocht and let thar-by Thow kepyt thaim nocht tendrely

d. Const. of (off) (= from).(a) 1375 Barb. xi. 276.
How we may let thame of purpos [E. thair purpos]
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1502.
[Of female children] away thai walde ger bryn The rycht pape … For dowt it sulde let thame off schot
?1438 Alex. ii. 8162.
I will on na kin wyse Let Perdicas of his empryse
1456 Hay I. 186/29.
And the duk lett him of his voyage
(b) 1375 Barb. xvi. 329.
His outrageous succudry … Of purpos letit hym
(c) 1398 Acts I. 212/1.
Of the qwhilk pensione scho … plenneit that scho was lettit thruch the deputez of chamberlane

e. concr. To obstruct or keep off (something) from (fra) (something else). c1420 Wynt. vi. 1450.
Na kyn wapnys that men mycht get Mycht thai myis fra hys body lete

f. intr. in passive sense, To be hindered or prevented, to be delayed. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 9485.
Ȝit than I thocht my brydall suld not let

2. a. To neglect, leave undone (a task). b. To neglect, forbear, refrain or desist to do something.This and ME. lette(n in the same uses, seem, from the forms, clearly to belong here rather than with Lat v.1 (to which, however, they are assigned in OED.).Not found after the 15th c. (but cf. Lat v.2 2).a. 1375 Barb. i. 254.
Quhethir he his lordis neid suld let [: det] And pay fryst that he awcht, & syne Do furth his lordis commandyne
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 776.
He is not worth ane swayn that letis his labour for the rain
b. 1375 Barb. i. 299.
Thair wes nane auentur that mocht Stunay hys hart, na ger him let To do the thing he wes on set
Ib. xvi. 561.
Thai said emang thaim all that thai Vald nocht let for thame land to ta
Ib. xix. 210.
Hym worthit neyd to pay the det That na man for till pay may let
?1438 Alex. ii. 148.
For all the gould fra thine to France I wald nocht let to tak vengeance
c1450-2 Howlat 807.
Mony lesingis he maid wald let for no man To speike quhill he spokin had
1456 Hay II. 100/20.
And ȝit … the peple lettis nocht for that to lofe and serve God
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 423.
For na largese my lord noght wil he neuer let Na for na riches to rigne
a1568 Kennedy Bann. MS. 268 a/19.
Gold and siluer that I micht gett … Frely to gife I wald nocht lett
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2151. 1456 Hay II. 84/32.

c. absol. and intr. To fail or to leave off; to hesitate, tarry, delay.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 141.
For I ame of wyt and wil Spedful consel to gyf thé til, & thocht I ald be, let thu nocht!
a1500 Rauf C. 306.
‘Se that thow let nocht, I pray thé,’ said the King
(2) 1375 Barb. v. 623.
Quhen the King saw he vald nocht let Bot ay cum on, fenȝeand falset [etc.]
?1438 Alex. ii. 308.
The chalmerlane ane rob him brocht And clethit him sone and lettit nocht
c1475 Wall. vii. 103.
Let nocht tharfor, tak redres of this mys
Ib. ix. 1251.
Jop past north, for leiching wald nocht let
a1500 Sir Eger 171.
For that strake I would not let, Another upon him soon I set
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 449.
Myn wil has ben ay Of my kith to pas my way, … Bot for thi kyne I lettyt mare, That, gyf thu sa dide, wald haf care
c1420 Bute MS. fol. 173.
And he hafe weddyr befor hym and gyf he lettys or bydys he sal pay the skath

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"Let v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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