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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Malan-, Melancolious, a. and adv. Also: -ius, melancholious, -iows, -ius, mallancoleous, mellancolious. [ME. malan-, malencoli(o)us, melancolyous(e (14–15th c.), malancholious (c 1400), OF. melancolieus.]

1. Tending to cause, consisting of, or of the nature of, the humour melancholy. b. adv. 1456 Hay I. 76/26.
The naturis of the sternis and the planetis … the tane is sangwyne, the tothir is malancolius
1549 Compl. 67/33.
My dul melancolius nature
1561 Crim. Trials I. i. 415.
[He] is subdewit to ane malancolius hvmour, naturallie descendand from his progenitouris
1600-1610 Melvill 219.
Melancolius dysenterie
1615 Sutherland Corr. 113.b. 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 10.
Sic humoris corruptis in mannis bodie … quhilkis ar melancholius infectit be pestilentiall corruptioun of air or vater

2. Of persons, their attributes or actions: Characterised by ‘melancholy’; deeply depressed, gloomy, sad; sullen, resentful.(a) 1492 Myll Spect. 277/6.
Quhen thow art our blyth & wald be malancolious
1528 Lynd. Dreme 924.
With ane rycht malancolious countynance
1548 Cal. Sc. P. I.
[Be not] mallancoleous
(b) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 207.
He dissimilit his ire for ane time. His wife, seand him ilk day more melancolius, demandit [etc.]
1549 Compl. 68/16.
Ane lady … makkand ane melancolious cheir
1575 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 680.
Quhair he befoir was melancholious
1558-66 Knox II. 450.
Melancholius ressouns wald haif sum myrth intermixed
1584 Colville Lett. 57.
I haif skribbillit out ane melancolius letter
1611-57 Mure Dido & Æn. ii. 421. 1640 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 590. a1650 Row 368. 1656 Laing MSS. I. 306.
If he help it not, he may turn mellancolious

Melancolious adj., adv.

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"Melancolious adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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