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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.

Leve, n. Also: lewe, leiv(e, leiw(e, leyve, lieve, live, lyve, leave, leaw(e. [ME. leve (12th c.), leave, leeve, lyve (14th c.), e.m.E. leve, leave, OE. léafe inflected form of léaf strong fem.: cf. Lefe n.2] Leave, permission.In senses 2 c and 3 occas. plur., as (thair) levis etc.

1. Permission or liberty to do something. = Lefe n.2 1.(a) a1400 Leg. S. iv. 235.
Abyathar … Wrat til Herrod and leve had To stryk his neke in twa but bad
c1420 Wynt. v. 2935.
Quhen he gawe thame lewe to say All that in thair gule lay
1427 Wemyss Chart. 52.
The said … hes … grantyt till the said … full leue and fredome for to make a myllyn dame quhare it best afferis
1456 Hay I. 205/16. Ib. 209/2.
He gettis a lettre of leve to tak ony man of that contree
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 35/18, 21.
Outher he has leve of his ourman expres or vertuale [to give alms] … , bot and he haue na leve and his ourman … forbid him [etc.]
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 197/34.
And [= if] it be ȝour graces pleasour to gif me leiwe I will schew ȝou the veretie
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 776.
He gave thame leive to dicht his schone
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1135.
Painters & poets hes leiv to lie
1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 20.
Heir give me leive to rehearse a prettie stratagem … of his
(c) 1609 Crim. Trials III. 17.
But I had rather gett live to live in pace
1659 Carstairs Lett. 81.
He promised to get live from his mother to be wuthous this vakances
(d) 1673 Red Bk. Grandtully I. cxii.
I must creave leave to give you this trouble
a 1700 Haigs of Bemersyde 477.
They cam to fish without speiring her leave
b (1) 1456 Hay I. 190/9.
He aw to defend hir be armes but ony leve of court
1535 Stewart 39924.
Tha come without his [the King's] traist or leve
1617 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 192.
Na man sall tak away thair guidis furth of ony manes pound … without leive of the pounder therof
1640 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 196.
Ane act anent ressetting of strangeris … without leiwe of the magistrattes
(2) 1456 Hay I. 223/17.
That na man of Ingland … suld cum in his realme … but leve askit and optenyt
1620 Breadalbane Doc. No. 437.
That na persone haid powar … to tak away aney buriall stane … without speciall leive
1631 S. Leith Rec. 21.
Gif ane of the sessiouners be absent without live asked they sall pay ane unlaw
1664 Rothesay B. Rec. 82.
That nane tedder thair horses on thair nighbours grase without leawe
1670 Urie Baron Ct. 91.
No tennant … sall presume to sell any peittis … without leaw askit and gewen
c (1) c1420 Bute MS. fol. 173 b.
The schip men aw nocht to pas oute of the schyp bot wyth thair maystyr leve
14.. Acts I. 304/2.
Gif the clath be schorne thrw the aldyrmannys leve
15.. Clar. ii. 1825.
With the advyse and leive of hir maistres … To make to hir ane mirrie collation
1596 Dalr. II. 248/6.
That with the kings liue, ernist inquisitioune thay mycht make
c1650 Spalding I. 171.
The Marquess send his second sone … , to Strathbogie, by permissioun and leive of the Generall at the cross
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 159.
That palme tre … Syne as wytht lewe, but brayd or bend, Ewyn as before stud wp on end
Ib. vii. 2889.
Efftyre hyr lord off lewe scho bade, Fra he hame in till Scotland rade
1456 Hay I. 151/26, 27.
Bot sen he mycht have leve of the King … to do it, me think it war better he did it with leve
1596 Dalr. II. 358/10.
With leiue he visited Scotland to visit his sister
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 148.
Ye may express it with gravitie, and that two or thrie speake with leive
d. 1375 Barb. v. 227 (E).
Schir, with your leyve [C. leiff], I wald ga se How that thai do in my contre
Ib. xi. 653 (E).
With your leve, sekyrlyy I will Help him
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1861.
Sayand till him, Lord, with your leve, This fyre is bot ane element
1622-6 Bisset I. 16/22.
Now to the purpose … I do proceid (this be ȝoure hienes leve)

e. Opportunity. c 1600 Crim. Trials II. 294.
Now Sir Alexander waited all this tyme so neir to the King that he had not leive till schaw any of his attendantis his purpois

f. As the second element of compounds, as landleve, and see Lefe n.2 1 e.

2. Permission (to depart or to be absent). b. Leave of departure, leave of absence. 1375 Barb. xvii. 863 (E).
But leve he hame has tane his gat
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1630, 33.
Agamenone and Menelay At Grekes askit leif that thai Mycht pas home … , And the Grekes that was bydand At Troye wald scantly gif thaim leve
1456 Hay I. 146/5.
As gif a man of armes … askis leve for a moneth or mare to pas hame to his wyf and barnis, to … visyte thame
Ib. /26.
The leve of that moneth devidis nocht the wagis of the ȝere, sen he passit with leve
Ib. 148/34 (see Leve v.1 6). a1605 Birrel Diary 4.
The … Frenchemen … gat lieve to goe with bage and baggage
1629 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 25.
Dischairges the maister of the grammer schoole … in giveing his scholares leive to the bent

c. (One's) dismissal or notice to quit. = Lefe n.2 2 c. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 67.
We suld … gif all larbaris thair leveis quhan thai lak curage
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 537.
Our poor mother hath gotten her leave and that our father hath given up house
1645 Ib. 624.
Ye are to look to Him who giveth the hireling both his leave and his wages
1661 Black Sc. Witches 40.
Or it be long you shall gett yor leiwe and a lash on the a[rs]

3. To ta(k (one's) leve (at, fra (from), of, another), to obtain permission to depart, or, more usually, to pay one's respects on departing, to bid farewell, take (one's) leave.Also laucht one's leve, see Laucht v.1 4 (2).Also Leve-taking n.(1) 15.. Clar. ii. 430.
The King … tuke his leve for to wend, And went on his way Gol. & Gaw. 220. [They] Thair leave hes taine hamwart for to go
(2) c1420 Wynt. vi. 2171.
Here now my leve I tak at thé, And gyvys wp halyly all tretté
a1500 Henr. Orph. 94 (Ch. & M.).
Than fra Venus he tuke his leve but mare
1596 Dalr. II. 197/26.
Leiue he obteynet and than tuik his leiue of all, with that salutatioune quhilk we vse in depairting, gentlie bidding all adew
Ib. 458/16.
Ilk from vther takeng thair lyue departet
c1650 Spalding I. 220.
Thir Scottis commissioneris takis thair leive fra the King at Bervick
(3) 1375 Barb. i. 589.
He tuk his leve and hame is went
Ib. xvi. 689.
Quhen thair levis on athir party Wes tane, he vent to schip in hy
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2189.
To the Kyng than als fast To tak hys leve than Malcolme past
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1086 (B).
At the ledder fute his leue he tais
15.. Clar. iv. 2534.
The Bischope and the Earle … hes thair leavis taine anone, With the ambassate grathing them to gone
1569-73 Bannatyne Mem. 132.
We touke our leive and come our way
1615 Highland P. III. 223.
I humbly taks my live
1687 Dunlop P. III. 38.
I most tack my live in papr
(4) 1375 Barb. xx. 109.
Quhen on bath halfis levis westane
a1500 Henr. Orph. 87 (Ch. & M.).
Than tuk he leve and to Venus can fare
15.. Clar. v. 2591.
The nobill King … Tuike leave at … the … knightis
1653 J. Hope Diary (S.H.S. ii. 19) 159.
I … overtooke the coach at Heddingtoune where my nephewes … tooke live

b. To depart, go away, and c. To depart from (at or of), quit, give up. lit. and fig.b. c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 222.
New Acquyntance enbracit me a quhile … Syne tuk hir leve
Id. lxxxi. 45.
I sal gar him sing, And lang or nicht gar Langour tak hir leve
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 662.
Save dira [? sans dire] adew his leive he tuik
Ib. 987.
In everie ludgene whair he wald licht Taking his leive without gud nych[t]
c. 15.. Dunb. P. vii. 19.
I tak my leve at all vnstedfastnes
1688 New Mills Manuf. 181.
Mr. Draper being now to take his live of the companie and go for London in respectt he hes not suficient maintinance

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"Leve n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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