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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.

Leth, n.1 Also: lethe, leith. [ME. leþe (north., c 1300), leððe, also laððe (Layamon), laþþe (Orm), OE. lǽððu, lǽðu. The variant laððe, laþþe appar. does not survive in Sc.: but cf. Lath(e n.]

1. Harm, injury. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 310 (Asl.).
In wertewe & devocioun haue vsage The quhilk but leth causis gret delyte

2. Ill-will, hatred; revulsion, loathing. Also to tak leth.Common only in Wyntoun.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. 49.
Gywe youre curtasy … fra thaire lethe [v.r. breith] walde me defende
Ib. v. 3415.
For leth [C. lethe] and felny that he had Till Crystyne men
Ib. viii. 2287.
Willame the Walayis Persawyd how he wes in gret leth Had wyth the Cwmynys in thare wreth
Ib. ix. 3001.
His blis, his blame, his luff, his leith [St. A. leth] … his wil, his wreth … , All he set bot til a price
15.. Clar. iv. 457.
Whylome they spake of leth, quhylome of loth, Whylome they lewch and quhylome weippit both
(2) c1420 Wynt. iii. 231.
Bot tyll his wyff he kest sik leth That thai departyd all in wreth
Ib. iv. 1750; Ib. vi. Prol. 2.
Gyff thai ware all reknyd here I dred suld dull yhoure appetyte And gendyre leth [W. leith] mare than delyte
(3) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 316 (Asl.).
A man takis leth quhar he had air delyte
1582 Declar. Causis
The K. Maiestie hes bene intysit … to tak leth to heir the treuth in reprouing of sin

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"Leth n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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