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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.

Lift, Lyft, n.2 [e.m.E. lyfte (Malory), lift, ME. lyffte (a 1330), f. Lift,v.]

1. An act of lifting; a load that is lifted, also, that is carried or conveyed, at one time. 1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 170.
For x stane towis for gret lyftis of tymmer and stanis at the werk
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 148.
To twa warkmen … to await upon the wrychtis in all thair lyfts
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 370.
To Alexander Millar barrowman in consideratioun of his daylie grit liftis
1636 Aberd. Pynours (1886) 69.
For everie lift or burdine frome the shore to the Castellgett … four penneis
1667 Highland P. II. 44.
He went above the rock and took a great lift of a stane and strack him in the head

b. The distance that anything is lifted or transported. 1632 Lithgow Trav. 29.
[It] was transported miraculously … from Nazareth … O! a long lift for so scuruie a cell

c. A turn of acting as bearer of the body at a funeral. 1659-60 Hay Diary 218.
I went to the burial of Marioun Levingstoun … and convoyed her to the kirkyard of Biggar. I took some lifts of her corps

2. fig. a. In various idiomatic expressions, = to ‘give a helping hand’ to, to be of assistance to, to assist. a1605 Montg. Son. xviii. 14.
Quhom I culd len a lift, your Lordships knauis, War they in love, as I am in the lauis
1635 Dickson Wr. 195.
If … he gives them sore hearts, disgraces, poverty, by these He is only helping them a lift that they may run the faster
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 326.
You say the Kings cause and interest is now weake and at stake and therefore fit to give it a lift. Our rising … for him may well ruin us and not raise him at this instant time
1680 Soc. Ant. XLV. 245.
I hope that our blood shall be a good lift to the Church of God

b. To take a great or good lift of, = to take a great deal upon oneself, to undertake much, for (a task or cause). 1634 Livingstone in Sel. Biog. I. 281.
I am in danger either to take too great a lift of the work … or else to goe too light under it
a 1665 Sel. Biog. II. 72.
Yet ye will find a great lift of Zion's case taken on here
1692 Pitcairn Assembly i. iii. (1817) 19.
We … maun … take a good lift of the cause of Christ

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"Lift n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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