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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.

My-self, pron. Also: -selfe, -sel(l)ff(e, -shelf, -selth, -salyf; -sel(l, -seall; -selvin, -yn, -selwyn, -selfin. [ME. mi-, my-seolf (Layamon), -seolve (13th c.), -sulf (1297), -sulve,) self(e (c 1325), -selve (c 1350), -selven (Chaucer, Gower, altered f. meself, -seolf etc., OE. mē self, seolf etc., Me-self.O.E. had (1) in emphatic use, ic me self, where self is uninflected in apposition with ic, and (2) in reflexive use, (acc.) me selfne, whence, or perh. f. the dative -selfum, the -selfin, -selvin forms no doubt derive.]Until the 17th c. chiefly written as two words.


1. In emphatic use, in apposition to the pronouns I, me or to one's name.(1) c1475 Wall. ix. 1178.
And I my selff the boit sall bryng yow till
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 432.
I suld sickirly my self be consentand
a1500 Colk. Sow iii. 122. 1513 Doug. ii. xii. 16.
And I alsso my self sa bald wolx thair
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 30. a1578 Pitsc. I. 285/21.
Faillȝeing his hamecomming I sall rather pase for him my self
c 1635 Black Bk. Taymouth xx.
And houpes that I wil seie yow my shelf shortlie
1663 Galloway P. 27 Feb.
My hand … led be the notar because I can not wryt my selfe
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 80.
Pelour, on thé I sall it preif my sell [: fell]
Id. lx. 71. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 363. 1549 Bk. Carlaverock II. 475.
With my hand at the pen, becaus I could nocht writ my seall
1586 Maxwell in Paisley Mag. (1828) 386.
I can my sell his name to tell
(2) 1619 Garden Elphinstoun 922.
Me my self I grant Unworthe
1661 Irvine Deeds 12 Aug.
To me the said Katherein Wylie my selff

b. Also my awin self, see My possess. pron. d.

2. Used alone with pronoun omitted.= I or me, but as subject freq. taking the 3rd person form of the verb.a. (1) 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 28.
Quhairfoir my seluin was richt sair agast
(b) ?1438 Alex. ii. 2776.
My self oft hes hard thame say
c1450-2 Howlat 878.
My self for ȝour saike hiddir has socht
a1500 Henr. Orph. 361 (Ch. & M.).
Scho fare als wele dayly as did my self
a1500 Rauf C. 58.
Baith my self and my hors is reddy for to tyne
Ib. 634. c1475 Wall. viii. 1249.
Off thar cummyng my selff has na plesance
Ib. ii. 313. a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 38. a1500 K. Hart 348.
That is ane craft my self culd never ken
a1500 Seven S. 1679.
Ane said, my self can nocht persaif
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 69. a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. cxxiv. 84.
So is my selffe … In hoip sir of your adiutorie
1513 Doug. xi. xi. 132. 1535 Stewart 23128.
As now my self will lat it be
Ib. 34905.
My pen wald tyre and als my self wald irk
a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 93.
The best and the gay of it, myself tuk a say of it
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xciv. 102.
My selffe am not of faltis fre
(c) ?a1640 Copie of a Baron's Court (1821) 18.
He's hungry, but mysell shall never fill him
(2) a1500 Rauf C. 236.
And thocht myself it say
b. c1475 Wall. iv. 411.
Set we it in fyr, it will wndo my sell, Or loss my men
c. (a) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 383.
Fore of my self & [of] my wyf … The gettyne kene I wondir wele
a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 162.
Thow sall haif … Quheit breid and reme conseruit for my self
Ib. Proh. 43. 1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. III. 162.
Neuer be myself, myn aris … nor assignais
1519–20 Melville Chart. 61.
I sall gyff hyme my consell in all materis to his weill and honour as to my salyf
a1578 Pitsc. I. 21/16.
As to mysellff thair is na thing mair plesand to me nor [etc.]
1678 Cunningham Diary 108.
For a staff to myself, £2/4/0
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiv. 19.
Thow salbe merchand for my sell
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 18.
His wyfe that sall I tell To mak hir acquentance with my sell

3. In reflexive uses.Both in emphatic and unemphatic use.(a) 1375 Barb. iii. 319.
That I [set] off my selwyn sua That I count nocht my lyff a stra
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 212.
I murdris my selfin
1513 Doug. iv. vi. 83.
Reddy to de and my selvyn [Sm. my selfin] to spill
15.. Clar. iv. 1412.
Best it war … for to doe so, Nor ȝow displeise and [als] my selfin slo
(b) c1420 Wynt. iv. 767.
And off my self to be rekles
a1500 Seven S. 1112.
I wil drovne my self ewin now
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxi. 79.
I sall him deiff or ellis my self mak hace
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 408.
Vndir hym alsfer I grant myself to be
Ib. vii. Prol. 149.
And to myself I said [etc.]
Ib. iv. xii. 78. Ib. Direct. 24. 1549 Compl. 9/18.
Par chance [it] maye be iugit be inuyful ignorantis that I condampe my self
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 153/23.
I knaw my self ane offendar vther wayes
1587 Misc. Bann. C. I. .
Vnderstanding my selff to haiff bene injustlie … calumniat
1590 Reg. Morton I. 170.
Finding my selff this far agaitwart
1596 Dalr. I. 83/12.
Quhen my selfe I acknawlege to be mekle debtebunde to thame
1602 Colville Paraenese 92.
My distressit estat admitting no lasar to amuse my self vpon the quantitie of syllabes
1638 Maxwell Mem. II. 267.
I shall be willing … to showe mysellffe
(c) 1638 Johnston Diary I. 358.
To estaiblisch ane house to myselth
(d) a1500 Seven S. 1100.
I had lever sla my sell Than [etc.]
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 177.
Thus in a part I recomfort mysell [: cruell, tell, hell]
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus Prol. 246.
This … cuir I tuik vpon my sell
Id. Seven S. 2406. a1585 Polwart Flyt. 149 (T).
Or I will flyt aganis my sell
1590 Burel Pilgr. ii. xxiv.
Than did I dascan with my sell Quhidder [etc.]
1603 Philotus clv.
Syne dang my sell
1604-31 Craig v. . 1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 64.
God helpit me out my sel' to save

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"My-self pron.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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