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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Micht, n. Also: mycht(e, might, myght, myth. [ME. might, myght etc., OE. miht. (Cf. Maucht).]

1. Operative power, ability, capacity.Also at, eftyr, of, with (all) (one's) (mekle) mycht(is.(1) 1375 Barb. xvii. 42.
By him-selvin he Micht nocht of mycht na power be For till eschewe so gret a thing
a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 112.
God gaff thame sic mycht At thai had haile poware … To confownde the fend
Ib. x. 62.
For to here to haf na mycht
Ib. xviii. 1249. Ib. xxxii. 172.
I sal … cum & my mycht assay … That scho sal do quhat thu wil
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxvii. 13. 1513 Doug. i. xi. 109.
Onhappy Dido alsso set all hir mycht With sermondis seir forto prolong the nycht
1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 66.
The potent prince … Contrair that bailfull brybour had no micht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4507.
For ȝour counsall I haue done far ouir micht [: gude nicht]
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxix. 146. c1590 J. Stewart II. 33/109.
Hir horse to dant scho haid na mycht
(2) 1375 Barb. iii. 190.
The King … bad conford to thaim tak And at thar mychtis mery mak
Ib. xvii. 688.
With thair mychtis all Thai pressyt the sow towart the wall
Ib. xx. 349.
He wald … serve him at his mycht lely
a1400 Leg. S. xxxv. 172.
To … pray to God at al thare mycht
Ib. xl. 903.
Jak … with al mycht bettir blew
1415 Lennox Mun. 61.
I sal … mak homage … witht al my micht and pouer
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2199. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 106 (B).
Thai sall kepe … al the oyse of the burgh eftyre thair mycht
c1420 Ratis R. 758. c1475 Wall. iv. 546. a1500 Henr. Fab. 468. Id. III. 98/66.
The lady murnyt … With all hir mekle micht
c1500 Fyve Bestes 401. a1500 Seven S. 2679. c1500-c1512 Dunb. x. 36. Id. lxxxiii. 7.
Of all my micht … Welcom
1513 Doug. ii. viii. 91, x. iii. 102. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 725, 1417. 1567 Sat. P. v. 16. a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xix. 4.
With all my hairt and micht I wylcum thé
(c1500-c1512 Dunb.) Ib. cxxxvi. 22.
Be I ane courteour or a knycht Honestlie cled eftir my mycht
1596 Dalr. I. 182/15.

2. a. Bodily strength (great or small); mightiness as a fighter, doughtiness.Also in phrases coupled with main (see Main n.1) and opposed to slicht.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 402.
Off manheid and mekill mycht Till Ector dar I nane comper
Ib. viii. 155.
Throu his mekill mycht
Ib. xvi. 219; etc.
To faynd hys mycht In bataill
a1400 Leg. S. i. 110.
Sum mycht recouerit he sone
Ib. iv. 76.
Quhow his master … Had rewit hym steringe & mycht
?1438 Alex. i. 351.
Haill and feir into my micht
Ib. ii. 1629.
Him semyt weill ane man of mycht
c1420 Wynt. ii. 29.
Fyrst he supprysyt wytht his mycht And slewe hym syne wyth fors in fycht
c1450-2 Howlat 367.
A lyon … Maid maikles of mycht
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 2527.
Ȝoung … men … that ar in strenth & mycht
c1475 Wall. vii. 1219.
Quhen Wallace ost had won that feild throuch mycht
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. Prol. 109. c1500-c1512 Dunb. li. 17.
He is ane mastyf mekle of mycht
1513 Doug. x. xiii. 71. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 299.
Thow ar to ȝoung and hes no micht To fecht with me that is so wicht
1567 G. Ball. 75.
All micht & fortitude
1596 Dalr. I. 347/6.
Throuch ony strenth of body or mychte of man
(2) 1375 Barb. ii. 325; Ib. i. 527, ix. 721.
Ȝone folk … Schapis thaim to do with slycht That at thai drede to do with mycht
1467 Anal. Scot. I. 380.
Baith be slyght ande be mycht
1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV. 377.
Thay will spare nathing outher be micht or slicht to com be it
1595 Ib. XI. 653.
[They think either by] slicht or mycht [to persuade him]

b. Military power or resources. 1375 Barb. iii. 232.
To fycht Quhar Hannyball his mekill mycht Aganys thaim arayit was
Ib. ix. 251. Ib. xiii. 638.
With sa ferlyfull a mycht Off men of armys
c1420 Wynt. v. 4240.
The Saxonys … In Yngland come and ay thare mycht Wes ekyd
Ib. vi. Prol. 16, vii. 3211, viii. 4094. c1450-2 Howlat 509. c1475 Wall. vi. 824.
The buschement brak and come in all thar mycht

c. Also plur. 1375 Barb. ii. 523.
Off swilk strenthtis and swilk mychtis That thai may mekill paynys endur
c1450-2 Howlat 328.
Marchonis in the mapamond and of mychtis most
1456 Hay I. 212/26.
The quhilkis was of syk mychtis that the Emperour mycht nocht our-cum thame
1494 Loutfut MS. 32 a.
His conduit did mair na the mychtis of his fallowis
1513 Doug. ii. iii. 49. 15.. Clar. iii. 382.
Into threttie knichts Had never beine the curage nor the michts, That he saw into that knicht

3. The power or authority wielded by a ruler or magnate, imperial power, dominion.Also plur. 1375 Barb. xiii. 657 (E).
Quhen the King Eduuardis mycht Wes lawyt, King Robert wes on hycht
a1400 Leg. S. ii. 467. Ib. iii. 915. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 239.
Dukis … And erlis that war mekle of mycht
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1572.
Landys sere thaire mycht oure-yhude
Ib. iv. 1265, vi. 1644. 1456 Hay I. 37/29.
Babilone … , that wes of sa grete mycht and come to nocht
1456 Acts II. 45/2.
The gret baronys of the lande that ar of ony mycht
a1500 Rauf C. 182.
The gentill King, Charlis of micht
a1500 Henr. Fab. 934 (Bann.).
I ryve all beistis that makis debait Aganis the mycht of my magnefecence
c1475 Wall. i. 14. a1500 Bk. Chess 1479.
He weddit hir and wox a man of micht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxvii. 21.
Gif thow hes mycht, be gentill and fre
1549 Compl. 90/28.
There grit pouer & mycht be see & be lond
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 99.
Thare ennimeis of thame sall haue no mycht
Ib. 4397.
From spiritual lyfe to temporall micht
1562-3 Winȝet I. 13/6. II. 4/7. 1567 Sat. P. vii. 147. 1611 Inverness Rec. II. 82.
Greit men of micht and capitanis of clanis
plur. 1513 Doug. iii. i. 98.
Seand how Troy Lossyt his myghtis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5035.
Men of greit wisdom and michts
Ib. 5042.
Thair mychtis is far abone all our puissance
Ib. 5135.

b. Domination by force; oppressive force or violence. c1460 Consail Vys Man 350.
Lawte brekis nocht for no mycht
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1306 (Ch.).
For micht he lettis the richt ga doun
Id. III. 171/28. 14.. Statut. Sc. Ch. 5.
Al thaim that haldis … teyndis owthir by strynth, sutelte or mycht
1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 123.
Lat neuer thair micht … with hand ay bend

4. The divine power of God, Christ, a pagan deity, etc. 1375 Barb. i. 607.
God of mycht Preserwyt him [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. ii. 402.
The twa bodis of mekill mycht
Ib. xxx. 294.
Quhen God sal haf mycht To deme al [etc.]
Ib. xxxiii. 754.
Thar God of sic mycht is … That thai ma nocht ourcumyne be
Ib. xlvi. 173; etc. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 529. ?1438 Alex. ii. 244.
Schir, be Gods micht [etc.]
Ib. 312, etc. c1420 Wynt. iii. 465, v. 1946, etc. c1420 Ratis R. 516.
Till knaw the qualite Of His micht
c1450-2 Howlat 986.
Now God, for His gret micht, [etc.]
1456 Hay II. 24/13. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3114. c1475 Wall. iii. 8.
The makar of mycht
a1500 Rauf C. 338.
Thankand greit God that mekill was of micht
a1550 Ave Gloriosa 88.
Mothir of mycht
?a1500 Steel Roy Robert 23. 1513 Doug. iii. Prol. 5.
Pail Cynthia … Schipmen … hallowis thi mycht
1551 Hamilton Cat. 160.
Be the powar and mycht of our salviour
1567 G. Ball. 10, 25.

b. Plural in the same sense.Also appar. = acts of power, divine acts. 1375 Barb. iii. 366.
God help him, that all mychtis may!
a1400 Leg. S. xxix. 59.
A knycht … To quham God ferlifully Kythit His mychtis
a1450 Fifteen Ois 286.
To Thi Father of mychtis maist
a1500 Rauf C. 885. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 578.
Gaudifeir gat vp agane, throu Goddis grete mightis
1513 Doug. ix. v. 49.
O kyndly goddis, … Vndre quhais myghtis all tyme Troy vpstandis
1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 47. 15.. Christis Kirk 88 (B).
He eschaipit throw michtis of Mary
1560 Rolland Seven S. 9509.
Be all the michts that God in warld did mak
1567 G. Ball. 75.

5. Financial resources, riches, wealth. c1420 Wynt. vii. 3600.
Yhwmen [etc.] … That wes of mycht an ox til hawe
Ib. viii. 6395 [see Michty a. 2 (1).]. a1500 Bk. Chess 1594.
Scho was erdit with hire gold & micht
? c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxviii. 7.
Merchauntis full of substaunce and myght
plur. c1460 Wisd. Sol. 76 (S.T.S.).
I maid hurdis of gold and tresore, of al the michtis of princis
Ib. 92.
Thinkand of … al my michtis and warldis riches
c1530-40 Stewart Bann. MS. 277 b/26.
Thocht ane persone had peciablie to spend All mychtis movit within the mappamound

b. ? Abundance. ?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 80.
And ȝit thay have maist abundante of beir and maist myth of corn, store and fishing [v.rr. mightie of corne, mighel of store]

6. a. Of natural forces: Power, force. Also plur. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 157/13.
The … mycht and strenth of other ryweris
1513 Doug. x. vi. 155 (B).
The contrar wyndys stryvys … in thar equale mychtis
1549 Compl. 38/8. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1435.
The fludis rose with so gret mychtis
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 442 (T).
Be the michtis of the moone

b. Of impersonal agents: Potency, efficacy, ‘virtue’. 1375 Barb. ii. 520.
For luff is off sa mekill mycht That [etc.]
c1420 Ratis R. 124.
The sycht That is a wertew of gret mycht
a1500 Colk. Sow iii. 35.
To … multeply [the money] in moir memor & mycht
1494 Loutfut MS. 10 b.
It may be liknit … till virtues puisance & mycht
a1500 Bk. Chess 1079.
That gold … As filth suld be & reput for na micht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxv. 24. 1513 Doug. xi. iv. 37.
Of quhou mekill mycht Till ony ȝong man … Was gret desire of new loif
Ib. xii. vii. 35.
The myght and fors of strenthy herbys fyne

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"Micht n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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