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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.

Perfit(e, -fyt(e, a. (n.) and adv. Also: -fitt, -fytt, -fijt, -fyit(e, perifit. [ME. and e.m.E. perfite (c 1330), perfit (Wyclif), -fitt (1559), -fiȝt (14–15th c.), compar. perfiter (Rolle), superl. perfitest (1628), f. as Parfit(e a., with change of initial syllable to per- after L. perfect-us (see, however, the entry Par-, Per-). Cf. Perfet a., Perfect a.As the verse rhythm indicates, the stress varied freely between the first and the second syllable, as also in ME., e.m.E. and the mod. Sc. dialect.]

Perfect.Also in compar. and superl.

A. adj.

1. Complete, entire, not deficient in any way; of complete excellence, supremely excellent, faultless, flawless.a. Perfite age, elde or ȝeris, the age at which a person attains maturity, or legal competence (usually twelve for a girl, fourteen for a boy), or one's majority (twenty-one), or the age (of twenty-five) after which acts done during one's pupillarity or one's minority could no longer be revoked.For examples of perfite elde, see Elde n. 1 b.(1) c1460 Thewis Gud Women 291.
[To] norys thaim [one's children] to perfyt age
1497 Acta Conc. II. 86.
Unto the tyme of his perfyte age
1510–11 Reg. Privy S. I. 334/1.
Gif thai happin to be in the Kingis handis before the perfite age of the saidis aire or airis
1531 Bell. Boece I. 31. 1533 Boece ix. viii. 305.
That nane … suld iowrnay ane orphaline destitute of parentis within perfite age
c1530-40 Stewart Maitl. F. cxxxv. 46.
Christ bring oure King to perfyte age
1540 Acts II. 357/1.
Thai may at thair perfite aige revoik … all thingis done be thame preiudiciale in thare menorite and les aige
1570–1 Crail B. Ct. MS. 20 Feb.
His curatour vnto the tyme of his perfyt age
1581 Burne Disput. 1.
The first [estate] is man creatit in perfyt eage as Adam before his fall
1582 Edinb. Test. XI. 285.
Befoir the ȝeris of his perfyt age
1596 Crim. Trials I. ii. 379.
Vntill hir lauchfull and perfyte age
1599 Ib. II. 86.
Eftir his hieneis perfyte age
1606 Dunblane Test. III. 103 b.
Quhen scho is reddie for mariage & at hir perfyt aige
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 67. 16.. Fraser Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 219.
This people never exceeds the number of 8 persons in perfyte ege
(2) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 178.
Quhan he cummis to perfyte age [etc.]
1466 Reg. Morton II. 213.
The tyme … thai cum to lachful and perfite age of mariage
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 100.
Quhill the air cum to perfit aige and haw discretioune
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1004.
Or he cum to his perfyt aige
1547 Glasgow Test. I. 8 b.
Quhill the bairnis cum to perfite aige
1574 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 37.
[He] sall cause the barnis … to ratefie … the said letter of slayance at thair cuming to perfyit age
a1578 Pitsc. I. 36/13; etc. 1587–8 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 26 Feb.
Sa sone as he cumis to perfyit aige
1622-6 Bisset II. 95/30.(3) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 2447.
Lordis … Off perfyte age and als of hie prudence
1524 Arran in St. P. Henry VIII IV. i. 158 (see Les age n. (2)). 1542–3 Crim. Trials I. i. 327.
Vtheris of perfite aige and stark of persoune
1563 Montgomery Mem. 196.
Quhill he be of perfyt age of discressione
1567 Stewart Mem. 102.
Sex scoir of merkis to the said lawde quhow soun he beis of lauchtfull and perfite age
1577 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 44.
George Muirhede is … air thairto and is of perfyte age
1587–8 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 3 Feb. (see Minorité n. (a)). 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 108/1.
& pairtlie of men of perfyte aage
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 22.
His wyff or bairnis being of perfyte age
16.. Gordon Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 392.
1488 Acts II. 207/1.
Oure souerane lord is now … of perfitt age to complett the haly band of matrimonȝe
1557 Reg. Cupar A. II. 157.
Freindis to haif the gyding of the said tak … quhill he be of perfyt age to gyd his awin
(4) 1496 Acta Conc. II. 23.
Ane curat … to governe … him unto his perfyte age of xxj yeir
1515 Reg. Privy S. I. 405/2.
Quhill the Kingis perfyte age of xv ȝere
1534–5 Misc. Spald. C. II. 189.
Eftir oure [sc. James V] perfite age of twenty five yeris
1550 Lochwinnoch Par. 23.
Andro Simple … [shall] contract … matrimony with Mergret Crechtoun … als sone as scho is of perfite age of xii yeiris
1562 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 299/1.
Grantit be his hienes eftir his lauchfull and perfyte aige of xxv yeiris
1565–6 Ib. V. ii. 70/1.
Eftir oure soverane ladyis lauchfull and perfite aige of xxxiii [sic] yeiris compleit
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 148.
At thair perfyt age of twentie ane yeiris compleit
(5) 1612 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 115.
Guardaris of minors to mack mariage before thair perfyt yeiris
(6) 1535 Stewart 45765.
Ane ȝoung sone … Scho nureist hes … Quhill that he come onto perfytar eild
1596 Dalr. I. 145/14.
The incommodities quhilkes mycht follow in perfyter age

b. Applied to persons; productions, material and non-material; actions; states; etc.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. 372.
Noe wes a man rycht wys Perfyt and lele
Ib. ii. 314. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 64/2.
That the man was maid perfyt in all naturale wertu mare nobile
c1500 Interl. Droich 104.
In the cuntre he and I Can nocht dwell baith perfyte
1535 Stewart 4482.
The perfite pepill bald and bellicois
c1590 J. Stewart 219 § 77.
He … is … Perfyt almychtie infeneit
a1585 Maitl. Q. xlviii. 18.
None … with this perfyte paragon In beawtie micht compair
(2) 1562 Montgomery Mem. 190.
The saidis Thomas … is nocht perfyte in his wittis nor compitent in his self
1571–2 Wemyss Chart. 202.
Johne Wemis … beand … haile and perfitt in memorie
1591 Edinb. Test. XXIII. 331 b.
Haill in mynd perfyte in sensis and vnderstanding
1587-99 Hume 144/39.
There is no doubt but our bodies shall arise at the last day perfit in all the senses
1643 Grant Chart. 236.(3) 1551 Hamilton Cat. 4.
Brether … be ye perfite in ane mynd and in ane sentence
1562-3 Winȝet II. 71/19.
Bot that ȝe be perfyte in ane mynde and in ane meanyng
(4) c1450 Cr. Deyng (S.T.S.) 8.
A gude ende the quhilk makis al werk perfyte
a1500 Seven S. 2348.
The masoun … maide a passage wele perfyte
1535 Stewart 15408. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 121.
Thair manerit mans sa perfyit and preclair
Id. Seven S. 843.
Ane proper sterne … perfite and wonder smaw
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 159/9.
Ane perfyte medycyne
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 158.
William Maitland … maid ane perfite orratione
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 14/13. a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 34. 1589 Trans. Edinb. Archit. IX. 130.
The said Thomas … sall erect ane sufficient and perfite chymnay
c1590 J. Stewart 78/193.
In verse virgilian perfyt
1631 Misc. Bann. C. I. 234.
In other reformed kirks … ther psalmes in meeter ar not so absolutely perfite and frie of blame that nothing can be censured in them
1640 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 418.
The tenement of land … to be edified and maid ane perfyt hospitall
1650 Strathbogie Presb. 137.
(5) 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 237 b.
The man … takis augmentacioune quhil he cum to perfit quantite and age
1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 92.
Gyf I haue perfyte sycht Onto my doym I saw ȝou nevir ayr
1549 Compl. 20/8.
Childir … incressis quhil thai be ascendit to the perfyit stryntht of men
1565 Dysart Rec. 21.
Being … of perfyte minde for declaring his latter wyll and testament
1586 Crim. Trials I. ii. 148.
His tryell stayis becaus … that thair laikis ȝit sum personis of ane perfyte nowmer
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Embryon, velum, the bairne in the mothers wombe before it be of a perfite schaip
1596 Dalr. I. 62/20.
Sik lytle foules … of a meruellous perfyte and weil schapen forme
1598 Brechin Test. I. 175.
Of perfytt memorie and resolutioune
1626 Justiciary Cases I. 38.
Nocht of perfyte helth to travell
1664 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 22 Jun.
Being in good and perfyt memorie
(6) c1490 Porteous Noblenes 180/1 (Asl.).
Sen that werteu makis it self perfyte be … travale [etc.]
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 788.
This man-slayer did get Vnto the parliament perfyte respet
1500 Acta Conc. II. 408.
Til see that perfyte and finale redress be made
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvii. 14.
No man hes curege for to wryte Quhat plesans is in lufe perfyte
Id. G. Targe 68. 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 72.
So hie profund sentens Tharto perfyte but ony indigens
Ib. 256.
The … curyus castis poeticall Perfyte symylitudis
Ib. v. Prol. 19.
Plesance and ioy richt hailsum and perfyte is
1549 Compl. 6/35. a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. ci. 93.
Syne perfyte iustice we may se In courtis [etc.]
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 229.
The lordis … having perfyte knawlege that my lord regent haid send ane boitt out of Leith
1580 Cath. Tr. 57/23.
Quhen he sayes that Christ … wanted some thing necessare to the perfyte glorie of the resurrection
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 311. 1651 Blairs P. 136.
& getting a perfyte good tincture of piety in Douay
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 1634.
That … at the last can na thing fynd That is perfyt of propertee Bot endis rycht as vanytee
c1475 Wall. v. 405.
For peifyt joy thai wepe
Ib. xi. 970.
Quhen Bruce saw his credans Tharoff he tuk a perfyt gret plesans
a1568 Scott xv. 19.
Bot peirles perfytt paradisall plesour
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 158/36.
For gif the sacrifice of the croce was perfyt in the self quhat suld mister ane new sacrifice?
1567 Anderson Collect. Mary I. 91.
A perfytt quietness
a1578 Pitsc. I. 4/14.
Thair cunning and perfytt memorie Of thingis consawit quhan I was hynde
1588 Laing MSS. I. 75.
To settill a perfyt amytye … betuene these two crownes
(c) a1585 Arbuthnot Maitl. Q. xxxvii. 110.
Sen our foirfatheris deidlie wound Hes privat men of perfyit ioy
(d) a1500 Henr. Fab. 128 (Ch.).
1560 Rolland Seven S. 319.
I sall him teiche … als perfite clergie As I my self
1562-3 Winȝet I. 5/25.
And sua in thair perfite beleif hes sairlye stummerit
(e) a1500 Bernardus 212.
A gret delyte For to wesy with diligence perfit
1490 Irland Mir. I. 139/34. 1494 Loutfut MS. b.
And nocht twa peifit colouris
c 1545 St. A. Univ. Rec. xxi.
Led thame … to the rycht perfit way
Arundel MS. 251/360.
I … offer … with fre and perfit will my self with all my gudis
J. Durye Israel's Call (1646) 31.
Perfit holines
1682 Aberdeen Lett. 44.
Of which I had perfit assurance
(f) Arundel MS. 281/80.
Rycht faith ferme hope and perifit cherite
(7) compar. (a) 1461 Liber Plusc. 387.
Scho was off bowte mare perfyte
1535 Stewart 44923.
Auerice … moir perfite … growis now in ild
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 169/30.
For the mair perfyt vnderstanding of the samyn
(b) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 69/27.
And tharfor … beatitude of that state was mekile perfitare
1533 Gau 81/21.
That thow wil thy selff dw perfiter satisfactione … na Christ hes dune
1551 Hamilton Cat. 52.
Mair and perfitar understanding of this command
1562-3 Winȝet I. 62/5.
God … sall steir wp … perfytear procutaris than I am
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 865 (Wr.).
No miter perfyter Got Midas for his meed
a1585, a1568 Montg. P. i. 69.
Perfyter and quhyter Then Venus luiffes quein
1593 Reg. Privy C. V. iii.
And the perfytter intreating of the genneris, declinationis [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I. 102/17.
The perfyter that ane amang thame is the mair he is maid of
(8) superl. (a) a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 113.
Best belouit and most perfyte wes sche … Our all the laif the ladeis
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 382.
Latyn That knawyn is maste perfite langage fyne
a1585 Arbuthnot Maitl. Q. xxxv. 59.
Gif ȝe ȝour dayis wald drie In pastyme maist perfyite
c1590 Fowler I. 122/120.
By thair … verteuis most perfyit
c1600 Montg. Suppl. vii. 2. 1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. i. 34.
Loue … Of all pleasoures the most perfyte
(b) 1539 Chart. Coupar A. II. 147.
The said Den Alexander sall giue his consall … in his peifitest maner

c. absol., as noun. a1585 Maitl. Q. xl. 38.
So nature hes ordanit wyislie That in all kynde of thing Perfyite the vnperfyte supplie

2. Fully accomplished, versed, trained or skilled (in (into) or of some knowledge, skill or accomplishment).a. predic. b. attrib.a. (1) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 591.
Scho wes Mast perfyt in astronomye And ek in-to gramantye
1490 Irland Mir. I. 16/4.
Studeand this werk thou sal be richt perfit in theologi
a1500 Seven S. 1550.
Ane barbour … That in blude latting was sa perfyte
a1500 Bk. Chess 1706.
In continens this man was so perfyte That [etc.]
c1500 Fyve Bestes 184. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 870.
The scribis into the law perfite
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 493.
All thocht he stant in Latyn maist perfyte ȝit [etc.]
1535 Stewart 51674. Ib. 29388; etc. 1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 25.
Ane cumlie courteour … Quha wes perfyte and weill besene In thingis that to this land pertene
1585 James VI Ess. 27. 1596 Dalr. II. 344/5. a1599 Rollock Wks. I. 372.(2) 1535 Stewart 56061.
Ane burdour than that wes perfit aneuch Of that same craft
1560 Rolland Seven S. 310.
To be of cunning mair perfite Nor I
b. c1450-2 Howlat 182 (A).
The scarth [was] a fische fangar And that a perfyte [: quhyte = white]
1531 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II. 48.
To mak the bairnys perfyte grammariarris
1549 Compl. 151/8.
The maist perfyit industreus horse dantars of Macedon
1551 Glasgow Masons 4.
Be thre of ther perfiteast men of craft of the sadis craft
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4861.
Than put ane perfyte precheour in his pleace
1561 Reg. Privy C. I. 189.
The haill bukis … to be translatit in Scottis be sum perfyte man of bayth thair consentis
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxxv. 14.
A plesant poet perfyte sall ye be
1622-6 Bisset I. 21/12.
In limitis of our lawis None … heth bene moir perfyte tryer

c. Possessing all the characteristics qualifying for membership of the class designated by the noun; fully, entirely. 1456 Hay II. 53/37.
But the quhilk poyntis na man may be perfyte Cristyn man
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 7/1.
Ellis he is nocht perfyte penitent
1562-3 Winȝet II. 40/32.
Christe is God and man … perfyte God and perfyte man
1567 G. Ball. 174.
It is now perfite day

3. Distinguished by moral or spiritual excellence; free from sin. b. Meritorious. c1420 Ratis R. 1445.
I se to few have gret delyt To knaw wertew ore be perfyt
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 33/11.
That almos deid be vertuos perfyte and meritor ar requyrit four condiciouns
a1500 Bk. Chess 1999.
Become a monk and tuke the habit tyte And kepit thair reull and maid ane end perfyte
c1520-c1535 Nisbet III. 290.
a1550 Ave Gloriosa 68.
Mary … Perfit plesand and moist benyng
1567 G. Ball. 72.
We suld … Leif in the warld al yfe perfyte
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xxviii. 4.
Fra perfyte lyfe to fraud and fikilnes
1638 Henderson Serm. 127.
There is nothing that is perfyte in us
b. c1420 Ratis R. 707.
Sa that dises is mare perfyt And bettir thinge than is delyt
1580 Cath. Tr. 49/5.
Charitie is mair perfite nor faith

4. Pure; unmixed. 1494 Loutfut MS. b.
Pourpre … suld nocht be put in range of colours na comptit for perfit colour … And for caus it is mixt with al the colouris forsaid it is said nocht perfit
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6039.
Erth and walter [etc.] … Salbe more perfyte maid … The quhilkis affore had myxit bene

5. Perfect in detail, exactly corresponding to the facts or to an original, exact, precise.(1) 1523 Treas. Acc. V. 218.
For perfite noumer of thare cariage hors to be send in bill to the secretare
1574 Acts III. 89/2.
Vnderstanding the harme quhilk this commoun weill sustenis throw want of a perfyte writtin law [etc.]
1574 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 34.
And perfyte compte to be haid thairof
1609 Wemyss of Bogie MSS.
That there suld be ane perfyte and particular inventar maid of the haill … domiceillis
1624 Conv. Burghs III. 174.
To produce ane perfyt rentall of thair commoun guid
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 133.
Als many bookes … as should be able to make up a perfite register
1677 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 320.
A perfyt accompt of the touns debts
(2) 1560 Acts II. 531/1.
That the trew kirk be decernit fra the fylthie synagogis be cleir and perfyte notis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 191.
The Erle of Lennox … mycht justlie vse the said office … vnto the perfyte ȝeiris and tyme contenit in the said commissioun
(3) 1570 Cal. Sc. P. III. 160.
[A book to be set abroad for it is not] perfyt [but is the] duble [of another old book]

6. More originally: Thoroughly or completely done, performed, carried out or accomplished.Not clearly distinguishable from prec. senses, into which it passes, but the following may be examples. 1456 Hay II. 125/17.
And this … lettis degestioun tobe perfyte
1567 Acts III. 13/1.
The acceptatioun of the said office of Regentrie … salbe haldin repute and estemit lauchfull sufficient and perfyte
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 6.
Providing that the commissaris … haif the ordour perfyte how thai wald the ministeris sould be payit

b. Of something learned: Thoroughly mastered or acquired. 1496 Acts II. 238/1.
That all … frehaldaris … put thair eldest sonnis … to the sculis … quhill thai … haue perfite Latyne
1560 Rolland Seven S. 309.
To leir ȝour sone perfite science
Ib. 3209.
And quhen scho had thir langages perfite [etc.]

7. In music.Applied to a musical ‘mood’ (Mud(e n.3 a) in which the duration of the longer note is three times that of the shorter note, or to a note reckoned as three times as long as that of the next lower denomination, or to a musical sign indicating this. c1550-c1580 Art of Music 5 b.
Mud maior perfyt it is in the larg hawand thrie longis in the self contenit
Ib. 18 b.
Off imperfection quhow that is quhan eftir the sing perfyt ony figuris eftir noittis ar denigrat and in all thair meid partis collorat
Ib. 23 b.
Gif ane pause with ane figur betwix tua perfyt noittis be includit to quhom it is equivalent
Ib. 27.
Semidite … quhilk alanerlye in perfyt tym is locable
Ib. 5 (see Mud(e n.3 a).

B. adv. = Perfit(e)ly adv. 1.(1) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1100.
As I am cristynit perfite I sall thi kyndnes quyte
c1475 Wall. ix. 1835.
Hys wyff … hyr malice hid perfyt
a1500 Bk. Chess 642.
Chargit he the quene To gar instruct thaim … to spyn & weif perfyte
c1500 Fyve Bestes 134.
And on this wys he tald his tale perfyte
c1500-c1512 Dunb. liv. 4.
Quhou fain wald I descrywe perfytt [: quhytt = white] My ladye with the mekle lippis
1535 Stewart 37580.
The sylar … wes … Porterit perfite
1567 G. Ball. 55.
We knaw perfyte the halie writ
Ib. 198. c1590 J. Stewart 71/34.
Thir vrigling werse than plaine sall pass perfyt
1490 Irland Mir. I. 69/32.
And thus all maner of felicite … Men suld haue had jn that state of jnnocence mekile perfitare na now
(2) comb. 1596 Dalr. I. 61/16.
The similitude of perfyte schapen foulis

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