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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Onto, One-to, prep. and conj. [ME. (Lydgate) and e.m.E. onto, on to, var. of Unto.Written as both one or (almost as frequently) two words. In some instances perh. influenced by On adv. For the syntactic collocation on to (i.e. On adv. followed by To prep.), see these separate words.]As the prep., chiefly before consonants (including h): cf. Ontil(l.

A. prep. 1. Expressing motion towards and reaching (a place, person or other goal).Also on to … wart, see -Wart. a1400 Leg. S. xxxv. 117.
Scho passit furth … One-to that place
c1475 Wall. xi. 236.
That Wallace suld on to the lyoun pas
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlviii. 105.
Onto thi leigis go furth
1513 Doug. ii. iv. 17.
Onto the grund thai glaid
Ib. vi. ii. 61.
Grant me … I may … cum onto my deir faderis sight
Ib. vii. viii. 54. 1535 Stewart 278.
On to the se he bownit sone agane
1576 Reg. Great S. 753/2.
And a litill benorth the said gait onto ane merche stane

b. fig.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. iv. 17 (Ch. & M.).
Oneto the ded gois all estatis
a1568 Bann. MS. 77 a/21.
Sua onto hevin thow hald the hiest tred
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 88.
Joy, rest, gloir … Onto the quhilk eternale God ws gyde
Id. Ib. xvi. 13.
That it may cum on to ȝour ladeis eiris Quha [etc.]
(2) a1500 Lanc. 148.
Of love … That may hir one to thi remembryng brynge
Ib. 149, 150.
Of love … Qwich soundith not one to no hewynes Bot one to gladnes
Ib. 152.
Sum trety … That … may … be one to hir es
1513 Doug. ii. iii. 10.
Bot schaw … Onto quhat fyne this huge hors was heir

c. In various non-material uses: To. 1513 Doug. ii. iv. 5.
Laocon … chosyn by kavill onto that ilk office
a1568 Bann. MS. p. 40/30.
My stormy face schew weill than myne entent Onto this bird

2. As far as. c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 5.
Onto the sterris vpheyt is thyne honour
1513 Doug. v. ix. 36.
Mynestheus … Onto the hed hes halyt vp on hie Baith airow and eyn
Ib. xii. v. 216.
From amyd hys forhed … Onto hys chyn the egge dyd carvyn doun
1531 Bell. Boece I. 123.
Thay kest downe the wallis thairof onto the ground
1535 Stewart 1351.
Fra Clyde alhaill on to Brigantia
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 143.
All on to the occident

3. Of aspect or direction: Towards. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2819 (Bann.).
The mows beheld onto hir fronsyt face
1535 Stewart 26650.
[He] turned hes … his yre On to the Britis

4. So as to be applied, fixed, etc., to. Also in fig. context. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1452 (Bann.).
Onto the gallows hangit be the feit
a1570-86 Clapperton Maitl. F. lxxix. 17.
Thus am I bundin … On to ane churle

5. To, until, up to (a specified time).Freq. in the phr. onto the tym (day) that. c1420 Wynt. v. 3575 (W).
Haly Kirk on to thire dayis … kepis the vs
1440 Acts II. 55/2.
That al the froytis … sal remayne with the said lord on to the ische of the said terme
14.. Burgh Laws c.105 (A).
On to the tym that the mutis of the fayr be haldin
1463 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 24.
On to the morne
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 326/2.
Fra the day of his last compt on to the day of the date hereof
1539 Ex. Processes (Reg. H.) No. i. Scott v. Seytoun.
On to the xx day of Julii
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 45.
On to the day at thai salbe triit
1549 Compl. 35/26.
Fra the begynnyng of the varld on to the consummatione of it
Ib. 145/20. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 364.
Mycht no man say, on to this hour, That [etc.]
1564 St. A. Kirk S. 212.
The superintendent … cessis fra forder proceding … oneto forder avysiment
a1568 Bann. MS. 234b/7.
I … On to the deid to be hir seruiture
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Georgics ii. 405.

6. Indicating that a (normally preceding) person or thing is given, committed, dedicated etc. to a (normally following) person or his charge. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 91.
He brek the bred … & fyrste gawe one-to James
c1475 Wall. i. 447. c1500-c1512 Dunb. vi. 36.
Corpus meum ebriosum I leif on to the toune of Air
Id. lxxii. 82 (M).
The spreit He gaif On-to the Fader
Id. lxxxvii. 7.
Joy be and grace onto thi selcitud
1509 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 266.
Singuler fauoris we beir on to the said Jhone
1513 Doug. vi. ii. 123.
A rank tre … Onto Juno infernal consecrate
1545 Douglas Corr. 156.
To gar delayver one-to me my copeboirde of plate

7. Indicating the person or thing towards whom or which an action, feeling or attitude is directed. b. Of a hostile action: Against.(1) 1492 Myll Spect. 284/25.
This maid … kest sic a delectatioun on to hir fader that [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 528 (M).
Ȝe auditouris … that eris hes giffin On to this vnkouth adventure
Ib. 257. Id. ix. 42 (M).
I haue done full lytill reuerence On to the sacramentis
1513 Doug. x. xiv. 35.
Had I sa gret appetit and delyte Onto this wrachit lyfe … That [etc.]
1525 Douglas Corr. 96.
I recommende me hartly oneto ȝou
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 233.
To quhum ples your grace to gyf credence as one to my self
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 143/12.
Disponand our selues one to the godlye table
a1568 Bann. MS. p. 41/83.
Nocht ȝit for thy my sensualite On to my ressone wald aggre
(2) 1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 233.
To mak offeris to the perty that I haif falyt one to
b. c1460 Regim. Princ. 205.
Committand crime on to thi majeste
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 482 (M).
Lat never this sinfull sote Do schame fra hame on to ȝour natioun
1513 Doug. x. xiv. 57.
My mysdoyng Onto our cuntre
Ib. vii. 27. 1535 Stewart 32808.
Onto the toun richt sone ane seig he set

8. Indicating a person or body addressed by another. 1513 Doug. xii. x. 23.
He … Onto thame spak thus
1525 Douglas Corr. 98.
My lord of Anguys wrait oneto ȝow
a1568 Bann. MS. 224 b/5.
I will go mene ȝit on to my maistrece
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 160/39.
And as towart the cerimoniis … He referrit onto His Kirk

9. Indicating that it is the object of the prep. that the statement relates to or concerns: Concerning, in respect of. c1420 Ratis R. 1693.
It [sc. old age] failȝeis memore one-to men
?a1500 Steel Roy Robert 43.
On to the quhilk we witnes beir
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 381 (Sm.).
Bot ȝit tuichand our tongis penurite I mene onto compair of fair Latyne
Ib. vi. xiv. 72 (C).
Lucyus Onto his surname clepit Munyus
Ib. x. xiv. 43.
Allace, onto me … Myne exill now … Becummyn is hard
1535 Stewart 47019.
His desyr … On to his sone to haif in mariage Margaretis dochteir

b. To stand onto, to pertain to, ‘be’. 1507 Edinb. B. Ct. Bk. 40.
The cais of the red of the land and quhais falt it standis onto

c. According to, by (one's judgement or inspection). 1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 93.
Onto my doym I saw ȝou nevir ayr
a1540 Freiris Berw. 19 (M).
Thairto is it most fair … On to my sicht

d. Onto (a person), also = as far as he is concerned, in his estimation. a1578 Pitsc. I. 169/31.
Quhether they war iust or wniust … all was alyke onto him

10. Expressing a relationship of a. similarity or comparison, b. kinship.a. c1420 Ratis R. 4.
Al his seknes is lytill in comparesone one to the luf at God schawyt till ws
1492 Myll Spect. 274/30. 1513 Doug. v. viii. 64.
Hys frend Entellus onto hym evyn eild
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 128/25.
Ve salbe like onto the angellis
b. 1513 Doug. vi. i. 52.
Icharus, Quhilk son was onto this ilk Dedalus
Ib. x. vii. 72.

11. Indicating the relation of an adjective, participle or noun to the object of the preposition. a1570-86 (Wynt.) Maitl. F. xl. 41.
The few folk of Scotland Neir on to ȝow [England] thai hald thair awin
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2883 (Bann.).
Tratour to God and mansworne on to me
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xli. 12.
Be nevir mair on to thir vicis thrall
1513 Doug. i. v. 134.
The quene … has kaucht … on to thame tilbe bowsum and kynd
1528 Lynd. Dreme 2.
Onto thy grace I traist it be weill knawin
a1568 Bann. MS. p. 6/17.
The Wirgin … wes abasit … On to the angel
Ib. 219 b/29.
Go, littil bill, and be my aduocat Onto my lady
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lx. 31.

B. conj. 12. Until. 1490 Fam. Rose 152.
And sa furtht ay on to the mareage be completit
1528 Douglas Corr. 136.
Oneto he come to Dunbar
a1568 Bann. MS. 246 b/36.
On to I de

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"Onto prep., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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