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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Sele, Seil(l, v. Also: cele, seile, ceill, seyl(l, siell, seal(l, seale, seel, sell(e, sale, saill, scheill. [Early ME seil, seal (both a1225), ME and e.m.E. sele (Manning), seel (Trevisa), cele (a1400), seale (1477), OF seieler, seeler (1080 and c1131 in Larousse), sceller (14th c. in Larousse), vulgar L. *sigellare, f. sigillum n.; Sele n.2] tr.

1. To ratify or authenticate (a document, also the material contained in a document) by affixing a seal to it. Also const. to a person. Also fig.(1) 1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I 139*.
Eftyr the tenur of certane endentarys and obligations, the qwylk I ordaynyt thaim to sele
1394 Liber Aberbr. II 43 (see Sele n.2 7 (1)). c1420 Wynt. v 2161.
[He] gert thame sele [C. seil, W. seill] thare ragman welle Off all thare poyntys ilke delle
c1420 Wynt. viii 2834.
The kyng than bad hym tak and se, Gywe that indenture selyd he
c1475 Wall. viii 1555.
Than Wallace said, ‘We will pass ner Scotland Or ocht be seld’
1482–3 Acta Conc. II cxi.
It was grantit … be the said inquest that thai [sc. the retours] var utherwais retourit be the clerk na thai determyt, and selit be the lest part of thame, the said retouris beand close or thai come to thame sa that thai mycht nocht understand quhat was contenit in thame [etc.]
1487 Acts II 176/2.
He sal deliuer … the names of the personis, that thai cum borowis for endentit in write, selit or subscriuit with thar handis
a1500 Seven S. 147.
He selit tham [sc. letters] with his awne ryng
1491 Acta Conc. I 229/2.
To sele ane instrument of resignacioun
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 344, 347.
I had for flattering of that fule fenȝeit so lang, Mi evidentis of heritagis or thai wer all selit … Bot quhen my billis and my bauchlis wes all braid selit I wald na langar beir on bridill
1517 Treas. Acc. V 117.
Gevin to David Adamsoun, for wax reid and quhit to sele the act and decret of my lord governouris
(b) a1400 Leg. S. l 10.
He … gert sone awfull lettris wryt, & seile thaim with his seile all tyt
1488 Treas. Acc. I 93.
To mussche to pass in Argyle to the Chanslare to get a commission seylit to the Bordouris
1532–3 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 129 (see Sele n.2 1 (1) (b)). 1535 Stewart 18439.
Thus wer thai bund with letteris seillit braid
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2082.
My potent pardonis … Weill seilit with oster schellis
1555 Carte Northberwic 71.
The said priores sall … ceill and subscreiff sufficiantly ane assedacioun and tak
1555 Balmerino and L. Chart. i 67.
Ane assedacioun maid, seilit, and subscriuit be the saidis abbot and convent, of the haill teynd-shaiffis of the landis and tovne of Ester Crowy … for the space of nynetene ȝeris
1575 Glasgow B. Rec. I 44.
The saidis Margaret and Williame … sall seill, subscriue and deliuer … ane sufficient lettir of slayanes
1575 Reg. Privy S. VII 22/1.
To mak, writ and seill cocquetis of all maner of custumabill guidis passand away as said is
1596 Dalr. I 264/8.
Thir conditiouns publikelie writtne in parchement and seilet with the seilis of baith the kingis
(c) 1567 Bann. Memor. xxiii.
Thomas Sinclair … answerit that … he wald seall na sic lettres that ar extreordinare
1586-7 Rait & Cameron King James's Secret 197.
The warrant being made, seald and sighned, [etc.]
1621–2 Aberd. Council Lett. I 190.
Now if you send mee a coppie of my former mortification amended as now I write, I will seale and confirme it
1638 Alyth Kirk S. in Sc. N. & Q. XII 45.
As his testimonial schew wretin at Knokfraigous and seallit with the seal of the said toun
1645 Aberdeen B. Rec. IV 59.
The counsell … ordaines ane commissioun to be drawin vp to thame, seallit and subscryvit to that effect
(d) c1420 Wynt. vii 3322.
The lettrys sellyd [C. selyt, W. seillit] off that cownnand
1459 Perth Guildry 37.
That Schir Thomas Stevinsones letter salbe sellit for his seruice
(e) 1539 Chart. Coupar A. II 165.
As is contenit at lentht in thiris saidis euidentis and contrakkis maid betuix ws quhilkis ar now heir saillit be owr said ouirman collatral
ellipt. c1475 Wall. x 1148.
The Bruce and he completyt furth thar bandis; Syn that samyn mycht thai sellyt with thar handis
1497 Treas. Acc. I 377.
To Dande Doule to his expens … that tyme he com uith the trewis to sele
(2) 1438–9 Rec. Earld. Orkney 71.
He had selit the charteris off the xij penny lande off Tollop to the forsaide Thomas
fig. 1490 Irland Mir. I 123/35.
And this charter and lettir of grace and of mercy sal be subscriuit be the consent of the haly spreit, and sellit with the sign of the haly croce
1606 Melvill 633.
For Chryst and his truth, quhairfor we now suffir, is seillit to us with many seiles

b. To conclude, render binding, ratify (an agreement) by affixing seals to the document containing it. c1475 Wall. vi 930.
Than band thai thus; thar suld be no debait … Fra that day furth quhill a ȝer war at end; sellyt this pes, and tuk thar leyff is wend
c1475 Wall. viii 1567.
A day he set quhen he suld meit him thar And seill this pees … Thai seyllyt the pes with out langar delay

c. fig. To confirm, authenticate or ratify as if with a seal, or with the degree of certainty or seriousness implied in a seal. Also const. to a person. Also const. up.(1) c1460 Regim. Princ. 250 (Fairf.).
The man is best … Quhilk quhen he gyffis a sentence suthfastly Gerris execut for ony mannys aw Nocht anerly to seil a nakyt saw For to Godvart is bot derysioun A bare sentence but execucioun
a1500 Sir Eger 789.
If I … win … And get his helm … The lady will think it be ye: She will say soon and to you seel That she is wood
1513 Doug. v Prol. 38.
[Virgil] altyrris hys style sa mony way … To satyfy ilk wightis fantasy, Lyke as he had of euery thyng a feill, And the willys of euery wight dyd feill [Sm. seill]
a1568 Bann. MS 34b/39.
Now blindit is thi imbitioun With blud of Christis woundis fyif And selit agane is thi remissioun To ryse with Him fro deid to lyfe
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1227 (Wr.).
Then Dread and Danger grew so glad … They thought all seald that they had said, Sen they had first begun
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. ii 17.
First thou mon preis thy prince to pleis … And seme vhatsoever he sayis to seill
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. v 43.
Nou a dayis, All is not gold that gleitis; Nor to be seald that ilkane sayis
1631 Justiciary Cases I 179.
[He] read over the wholl writting and subscryved his name to it saying he would seak it with his bloud
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 226.
I am glad that the dying servant of God, famous and faithful Mr. Cunningham, sealed your ministry before he fell asleep
(2) a1570-86 Maitl. F. 421/63.
Sene ȝe haue leirnit ȝe ar the Lordis elect Suir sealid wp sen he him self hes sayd
1570 Sat. P. xix 68.
This commoun weil he luifit sa tenderlie … His lufe to it he schew maist faithfullie, And with his blude he seillit it up at last
a1630 S. Leith Rec. II 285/1.
(Catechism) How many thingis ar sielled up to? Twa … That my soull is fed upounn Chryst … [and] That I and Chryst ar on togidder
a1630 S. Leith Rec. II 285/1.
Baptissime sealis up oure wasching frome sine in Chrystis bloud and … the Lordis Supper seilis up oure nurishment by Chryst

2. a. To impress or stamp an official mark (on measuring vessels) as an attestation of correctness and fitness for use. b. To affix a seal (on cloth) as a guarantee that it meets the required standards of quality.a. 14.. Acts I 30/2.
Ilke burges may hafe in his hous a mesure [etc.] … And al thir mesuris and wechtis sal be selyt wyth the seele of the burgh
1573–4 Glasgow B. Rec. I 7.
The inhabitantis … to be warnit to bryng in thair furlotis and mesouris to be justit and selit
1618 Acts IV 588/1 (see Sele n.2 11 d). 1621 Glasg. Chart. II App. 576.
Quhilk firlot conteines … twentie ane pyntis and ane mutchkin of just Stirling jug and measoure, and is brint and seillit as followes, viz. with the mark of four crounes wpoun baith the sydes of the bottome thairof, with fyve impressiounes of the letter L wpoun the lippis thairof
1629 Dumbarton B. Rec. 32.
The new missirs … to be seillit with ae lettir S on the stouppis at the mouth, and the bottom and syd seillit with the lettir D
1633 Cullen B. Ct. 22 Feb. (see Sele n.2 11 d). 1684 Symson Descr. Galloway 98.
The measure, by which they sell their beir, malt, and oates, is their helfe peck … This measure [sc. the half peck] should be … seal'd by the magistrat of Wigton, and is call'd … met and measure of Wigton
b. 1540 Acts II 376/1.
That … thare be ane qualifijt man chosin to seill all claith and sall haue for his labour of ilk steik seling xii d. … and gif the said seilar beis fund culpable seland vnsufficient colour or drawin claith he to tyne his fredome [etc.]

3. To fasten (a document) by means of a seal or seals. 1565 Edinb. Univ. MS La.iii.388a 5a.
Thair depositiones to be subscryuit be thame and closit under thair signet or seillit nocht to be oppinnit quhill the proces be advysit

b. To enclose (something, also, specif., erd and stane (see Stane n. 2 b)) in a receptacle by means of a seal.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxiii 411 (see Sele n.2 13). 1565 Misc. Maitl. C. III 179.
Maistir Randolphe deliverit to him thre sackettis full of money selit quhairin wes contenit … thre thowsand crownis
1639 Aberd. B. Rec. III 152.
Andro Burnet thesaurar exhibit on the counsell tabill the wreittis and bands of the tounes mortifiet moneyes sealled within a codwair and desyrit in respect of the present imminent danger, that thay be put wp in sure custodie amongst the tounes evidentis; and Walter Cochraine deane of gild exhibit lyikwayes the bands and wreittes belonging to the deanrie of gild sealled and bund togidder in a paper and desyred the same … tobe putt amongst the tounes evidentis
fig. 1632 Lithgow Trav. xxix.
All you may see and much more than I name Seal'd in the author's never-dying fame
(2) 1507–8 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 165.
Than the sade Dene presentit erde and stane of the sad land in jugement ande askit at the saide balye to seill the samyn
1510–11 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 11.
Thai comperit the said cowrt befor the said balyeis and suor the samyn bringand with thaim erd and stayne in ane lenyng clath. The said aitht beand lauchfully maid the balyeis selit the said erd and stane and gaiff it to the said Rechert for his annuel
1519 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 206. ?c1578 Murray Early B. Organ. I 152 (see Sele n.2 6 b).

c. To attach a seal to (a receptacle etc.) so as to render use or access impossible without breaking the seal.Cf. Sele n.2 4. 1516 Prot. Bk. J. Foular II 7.
Schir Alexander put the samy[n] in keping in ane box selit in the hands of Walter Chepman
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III 109.
The vesitouris … [to] mak just inventour off all guddis quhilk thai may apprehend out of lokfast lvmes, and seill and lok the saidis lokfast lvmes
1692 Acts Sederunt ii 196, 197.
The saids Lords considering that this excellent statute cannot attain its due effects unless the keys of such lock-fast places … be sealed up so soon as their dying predecessors become moribundi and incapable of sense, do therefore ordain the nearest relations … to see that the saids places be locked and the keys sealled under the seal of one or more of them

d. To shut up the entrance to (a cave, etc.) as if by sealing as above; also, to block up (a passageway).(1) a1400 Leg. S. vii 782.
Thare-fore the Jowis fore inwy In til a cawe me closit faste Lokit & celyt at the laste
1490 Irland Mir. II 40/31.
Eftir that His blist body was wtuth the graif it remanit stekit and selit
(2) 1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 163.
The hie passages leiding betuix the New heavin and this burgh ar … haillie labourit and ceillit vp

4. transf. To impress a mark or sign on (here, a part of the body). a1605 Montg. Flyt. 100 (Harl.).
The castell ȝe weir weill seald on ȝour shoulder. This twysse sealed [T. twyscheillit] trumper [etc.] … Withe the print of a key weill brunt on thy browes

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"Sele v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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