Show Search Results Show Browse

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lif, Lyf, v.1 Also: liff, lyff, life, lyfe, lyif; also Luf(f, Luif. [North. ME. lif (14th c.), liff(e (14–15th c.), lyf(f, lyfe (15th c.); var. of Live v.: cf. Lefe v.4]See also Lif(f)and pres. p.

1. intr. To live, enjoy life, be alive. a1400 Leg. S. i. 483.
Gyf he liffis, he ma spek, and ga
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 593.
Mast perfyt … ine-to gramancye Of all that lyffyt ine hyr quhill
1457 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. vi. 29.
Before and agaynis all thaim that lyfe or de may
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 155/17.
All that liffis may better with cald na heit but mesour

b. To continue in life; to live for a certain period; to survive.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 476.
Gyf thu treuys that thou ma lif [: gyf v.]
1437 Cop. St. A. 155.
Quhethir the said Willȝeame dee or lyf
1521 Douglas Corr. 79.
We sal de and liff in the querrell
(2) 1375 Barb. x. 487.
Thar full schort tym liffit he; … He deit soyn
Ib. xvii. 927.
Micht he haf lifit quhill he had beyne Of perfit elde
1490 Irland Mir. I. 50/25.
Thocht he lyffit euir mare
Ib. 65/16.
Thocht it had helpit him to lif lange, ȝit nocht perpetualy
1533 Boece iii. xii. 109 b.
In Orknay … inhabitantis … liffit mony ȝeris
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 59.
Quhair ye say ye haif not lang to lyif
(3) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 124.
Til [= while] he lifyt, halt wes he
Ib. xxxii. 350.
Til thai life
1533 Boece ix. xiii. 319.
Quhill Aidan ȝit liffit

c. To survive spiritually.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 15.
The ded of synful I na wil Bot that he leife his syn & lif [: gefe]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. iv. 99.
Eftir our deid that lif may we
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xv. 81.
Quha that trewis trewly Sal lyfe euire-lestandly

2. To pass one's life in a certain manner or a certain condition or circumstances. = Leve v.4 2. Also to lif furth.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 366.
Throuch leavte liffis men rychtwisly
1490 Irland Mir. I. 12/32.
How thou has [MS. lufit corrected to] lyfit in tyme passit
Ib. 49/4.
We suld euir life in hope … of the mercy of God
1513 Doug. xi. Prol. 89.
Lyff in thy flesch as master of thy corps
1533 Boece xiii. ii. 496 b.
To lif all thi dayis in chaistite
a1400 Leg. S. xli. 362.
In virginite syne thare ay Scho lifit furth til hire enday
(2) 1375 Barb. iii. 315.
We lyff in-to sa mekill dreid
Ib. xii. 281.
Ȝhe mycht haf lifit in to thrildome, Bot [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1145.
Tha ten … liffit in bargan and in were
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 177/6.
Erar to chese … honest ded than to lif with schame
1549 Compl. 100/29.
Ȝe maye lyif in pace and surete
1600 Crim. Trials II. 250.
I have lifit hetherto ane frie prince
(3) 1456 Hay I. 296/10.
Gif a king lyfis efter the lustis of the warlde
1533 Gau 20/14.
That ane man lwffis notht God … na liffis notht efter his halie wil
Ib. 93/28.
To liff efter Thy command and noth as dwis the tirannis [etc.]
(4) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 198/10.
We haf ay liffit wnder a God and ane king
1529 Rec. Earld. Orkney 57.
Traisting na troubill of ony personis bot to have liffit under Godis peax and youris

b. To live according to, be obedient or faithful to (laws, a treaty): const. on, apoun, at. Cf. Leve v.4 2 e. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 5.
Baith thir pepill in times cuming … sall life on thair awin lawis
1533 Boece i. ii. 35.
Apoun thare propir lawis suld the Scottis liff like as did the Spanȝeartis apoun thare awne
Ib. vi. 47.
This necessare lyig bundin with Scottis … lat ws liff and stand thareat

3. To dwell, reside: cf. Leve v.1 9 (to remain). a1400 Leg. S. ii. 68.
In fre presone quhare twa ȝer ay He liffit, in prechinge ilka day Agane the Jowis
c1420 Wynt. ii. 798 (C).
Quhen at the Egiptis ware Drownyt in the Rede Se, The laif, that liffit in that cuntre, Banyst fra thaim a gentil man That duelland was amang thaim than
1533 Boece iii. xxi. 124.
About this ilk tyme at Rome liffit men of excellent ingyne

4. a. To feed on (a certain kind of food). b. To maintain oneself on, upon, of, throch, be (a means of subsistence or support); to obtain one's livelihood. c. fig. To obtain or receive spiritual nourishment by (be).a. 1375 Barb. i. 157; 1533 Gau 28/7.
For wrytine is: nocht al anerly Man liffis of bred, bot sykyrly In ale gud word that procedis Of Godis mowth
a1400 Leg. S. xl. 428.
One bestiale The commounis nere lifit hale
1456 Hay I. 12/13.
The sparow … the quhilk lyfis on sedis that ar poysoun till othir foulis
(a1570-86 Dunb.) Maitl. F. iv. 31.
For quhilk the tennentis … liffis on ruttis vnder the rys
b. a1487 Gud Wife & D. 299.
Thai haue no craft; how suld thai liff?
1505 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 107.
Ony maner of vagabounds … haffand na … seruice to life upon
1549 Compl. 123/17.
Thai lyf t[h]rocht me, and I dee t[h]rocht them
c. 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 160 b.
The werkis of grace be the quhilkis we life spiritualy

d. ? To have one's vital processes maintained by (an agency). 1456 Hay II. 157/10.
Man has … saule vegitative that he lyfis by

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Lif v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: