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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.

Pieté, -ie, n. Also: pyeté. [ME. and e.m.E. piete (a 1310), -ie (16th c.), (1) as an early form of pity, Pité n. 1–3 (a 1310–1604), (2) = piety, Pité n. 4 (1579); OF. pieté (12th c.), clerical adaptation of L. pietās dutifulness, piety, also (in late L.) pity.]

1. The quality of being pitiful; clemency, mildness. = Pité n. 1, Peté n. a.Also personified.(1) 1488 Lag Chart. 15.
We nevertheles movit of piete and of our speciall grace and favours [etc.]
1490 Irland Mir. I. 113/9.
Hevinly fader … schaw ȝour piete and grace to … mankynd
1498 Acta Conc. II. 173. c1420 Wynt. viii. 2433 (L) (see Pité n. 1 (1)). 1513 Doug. ix. viii. 83.
Gyf thar be rewth or piete in ȝour banys
1531 Bell. Boece II. 253.
Makbeth wes gevin als mekill to cruelte as Duncane wes gevin to piete
1562-3 Winȝet II. 60/17.
Bot the pietie of God mot turn away this horrible cryme fra the myndis of his peple
1567 Sat. P. vi. 110.
[To the lord regent] Ȝour foulishe pietie did thame spair befoir
(2) a1500 K. Hart 349.
Madame, scho said, keip Pietie fast
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 102.
Marcy and Piete maid ane full hevy mane

2. A feeling or onset of pity, compassion or sympathy (for, of, also on, a person or his condition). = Pité n. 2, Peté n. b.Also, in the exclamatory phrase allace for pietie. = Pité n. 2 b.(1) 1472 (1476) Reg. Great S. 257/2.
For the compacience and piete quhilkis thai had of the said Archibald
1501 Acta Conc. III. 102.
Throw his grace favouris and piete that he had and shew til his legis
1513 Doug. x. xi. 176.
Haue of wrachit Turnus sum pyete
1533 Gau 91/24.
And giff usz grace … to haiff piete thairof
1538 Crim. Trials I. i. 205.
To haf royth and piete of my sad spous
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5764.
All … had pietie of hir cheir
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 151/5.
Haifand … piete of ane grit parte of the subiectis of this realme [etc.]
1567 G. Ball. 34.
God … on ȝow hes pietie
Ib. 61.
For pietie sore my hart is pynde
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 87.
Thay aucht … to raise sum pietie of the cace
(2) 1562-3 Winȝet I. 30/12.
Bot allace for pietie … quhy remember we not [etc.]

3. A cause of pity or regret. = Pité n. 3, Peté n. c.(1) 1490 Irland Mir. II. 54/10.
Sic … punycioun perpetuall that gret piete is to think or ymagin it
1513 Doug. iii. v. 61.
Scho … Walit so that piete was to heir
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 3510.
That war piete than war oure gude men loist
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 814.
Quhilk to behald wes greit pietie [: see (= sea)]
(2) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4033.
Bot tyll declare I thynk piete The panefull clamour horrabyll Off woundit folk
(3) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1536.
Vnto that nobill trie Quhilk to cut doun it was ane greit pietie
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 19.
It is ane piete that [etc.]
1616 Haddington Corr. 132.
It is ane pietie of the greitt bowtcharie we mak of prettie men

4. Piety; godliness, devoutness; reverence. Cf. Pité n. 4, Peté n. d. c1460 Thewis Gud Women 13.
A woman suld … Ful of piete and humylitee … bee
1490 Irland Mir. I. 38/5.
And piete is a haly and deuot affeccioune we haue to God [etc.]
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 122.
The angell … halsit hir with reverence and piete
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 175.
That ane commoun librarie sall be erectit … to the greitt incres of pietie
1588 King Cat. 173 a.
Fra my childheid pietie grew with me [sc. Job]
1650 Boharm Kirk S. 13 Oct.
To censure swearers Saboth breakers and mockers of pietie

b. Dutifulness to parents or relatives; patriotism. Our Lady Piete, a representation of the Virgin holding the dead Christ on her lap.(1) 1513 Doug. i. i. 17.
A worthy man [Aeneas] fulfillit of piete
Ib. ix. 115. 1533 Bell. Livy I. 115/1.
Thai pepill quhilkis throw innative piete [v.r. peite] list defend the barnis fra maist persecucioun of the fader
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2939.
For kindlie lufe and fatherlie pietie
1596 Dalr. II. 283/25. Ib. 16/16 (see Pité n. 4 b).
Bot he burnte in pietie to ward his cuntrie
(2) 1533–4 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXIX. 104.
Of Our Lady Pyete alter
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 58.
With ane image of Our Lady Pietie

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"Pieté n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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