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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.

Pistil(l, Pistle, n. Also: pyst- and -yll; -ol; pestill. [ME. and e.m.E. pistel (c 1200), pistle (Wyclif), -elle, -il, pystel, obs. after c 1600; OE. pistol, aphetic f. epistol, L. epistola, Epistil(l n., Epistole n.]

1. A letter. = Epistil(l n. 1.(a) 1456 Hay II. 76/32. Ib. I. 29/2.
Here followis a pistle send fra Aristotil till Alexander
?a1500 Steel Roy Robert (1700) p. 28.
Thy pystle I have considered well
a1538 Abell 14 a.
Dary send to Alexander ane pistill wilipensife
a 1540 Misc. Bann. C. III. 42.
Mony other hundreth diverse thingis, quhilkis war to lang to wryte in a pistil
1549 Compl. 3/3.(b) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 4294.
And ane pestill he send with messingeris

2. A letter from an apostle, later incorporated in the New Testament. b. An extract from one of these read during the mass. = Epistil(l n. 2. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 909.
In his pystil, he [Paul] wrat To thame of Rome
Ib. 82. c1420 Wynt. v. 400.
Twa pystyllys off canowne thare he wrate
1490 Irland Mir. MS. fol. 296.
The pistolis of Sanct Paule
b. 1495 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II. 317.
Befor the hye altar quhar the pystill is singyn of the hye mess
c 1500 Coll. St. Salvator 158.
Ane buk epistlar for the lettroun of the pistill

3. A (spoken) story or discourse; a legend. c1420 Wynt. v. 4326.
Huchowne … made … The Pystyll als off Swete Swsane
a1540 Freiris Berw. 184.
Scho rownis than ane pistill in his eir

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



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