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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Stil(l, Styl(l, adj., n. [ME and e.m.E. stille (a1200), still (Cursor M.), stylle (Manning), styll (1502), styl (1525), stil (1570), OE stille.]

1. adj. Unmoving, motionless, inactive. Also const. hald.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxv 215.
One hyme that in the cart thare lay, Thai callyt lowd, bot he wes stil. Sa … thai … sad Ryse vpe … Bot stil he wes. … [then they] fand hyme ded
a1400 Leg. S. xl 1153.
Sir, quhat wynnyng had ȝe Tho ȝe had mycht to sla me? Bettir war to be stil
?1438 Alex. ii 560.
Betys said, ‘I haue sic will That I on na wayes may be still. Quharefore … to-morne … Ishe we furth of the cite'
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1396.
Vlixes … Frome Troye is passed … the palladinar levand … Inne-to the oost that still than wes
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2516.
He … Syne furth to the forest ȝeid … all him-allone And left his men still euerilkone
(2) 1375 Barb. x 211.
Or day thai enbuschyt war … & held thaim sua still but stering
1375 Barb. xiv 540.
Thai … held thaim still Quhill thai [sc. the enemy] war cummyn to thaim ner Than in a frusche … Thai schot apon thaim
1375 Barb. iv 498. 1375 Barb. viii 51. a1400 Leg. S. x 426.
Syne quhen he had sad the mes & all went hame that thar wes The in-kyre luf he had God til Held hym in-to the kyrk al stil That quhare he had Goddis body Sacri[fy]te … Thar martyrdome thar cane take
a1400 Leg. S. xxix 606.
He … mocht na langar hald hym stil, Bot passit furth
?1438 Alex. ii 1415.
The battellis come than on ane raw Bot als fer as ane bow mycht draw Durst nane approche … On bothe the sydes thay held thame still That nane did vther mekill ill
?1438 Alex. ii 4397.
Sum held thame still and sum wald chas
c1400 Troy-bk. i 580.
All kindely thingis that he will Ger pas at will or hald thame still, Als wele baith erd ayer & wynd
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2598.
And with that sche to Pirrus ran And his arme that was strekit than On loft with drawin swerd, to slo Hire fadere, sche held still richt tho

b. Of a material or non-material thing, freq. of water: Exhibiting little or no movement; calm.(1) 1513 Doug. ii iv 8.
Throw the styl sey … twa gret lowpit edderis, … towart the land gan draw
1513 Doug. vii i 6.
Eftir the wyndys lownyt war … And all the blastis pacefyit and still, Out our the calm streym
1513 Doug. viii ii 46.
The streme bakwartis vpflowys soft and still; On syk wys mesand his watir that he Ane standand stank semyt for tobe
1513 Doug. x vi 12.
Quhar the flude went styll, and calmyt all is But stowr or bullyr, murmour or movyng
1513 Doug. viii i 30. 1535 Stewart 46949.
Syne on the morne the da begout rycht fair, Bayth lowne and still
(2) 1513 Doug. ix xiii 45.
Turnus … Steppys abak with huly pays full still

2. attrib. and predic. Silent, not speaking or making a noise; taciturn. Also const. hald.The first Dunb. quot. may belong in sense 1.(1) attrib. 1456 Hay I 78/33.
The tane is a grete tratlar, the tothir a still herkenare
c1460 Consail Vys Man 367.
Na falow theé nocht with our-gredy Na with our-still men na our-sture
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 49.
A still sow eats all the draff
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 187.
A still man is a castell and keips him from wo
(2) predic. a1400 Leg. S. v 479.
Sancte Johne than a quhyle ves stil, Thane spake na thinge the ȝung man til
?1438 Alex. ii 1439.
Thay me … Slayand with toung and words of wynd … And now abased ar made and still [F. taisant]
?1438 Alex. ii 9477 (see Dum adj. 2). ?a1450 Florimond 458.
‘Luk thow speik na mair thairtill.’ ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I wil be still’
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1167.
Thair wes na word muuand, So war thai all stil
a1500 Henr. Fab. 581 (Ch.).
‘I wes mair fule,’ quod he, ‘to be sa still, Quhairthrow to put my play in to pleid’
a1500 Peblis to Play 29.
Be still my joy and greit nocht
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 615.
Be doutsum, chaist, meik, pacient, still besy; and for all God sall reward thé
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 41/23.
Tohie quod scho and gaif ane gawf Be still my cowffyne
1513 Doug. xiii iii 18.
Quhen he hard thar lowd womentyng … he … this rowt … chargis be still [Ruddim. styl] onon
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke ix 36.
And thai war still [W. helden pees, P. weren stille], and to na man said in tha dais oucht of tha thingis that thai had seen
1549 Compl. 14/7.
Quhat hart can thole, or quhat tong can be stil, quhen thai see, or heris tel, [etc.]
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. 12a.
Better is to be still, and keip in thocht, Nor to pray ane wther to reweill it nocht
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 85.
A foole is wisest quhen he is stillest
(3) 1375 Barb. xii 169.
A litill quhill he held him still Syne on this wys he said his will ‘Lordingis [etc.]’
1375 Barb. xvii 71.
The marchell … held his spek preue and still Quhill the day that wes set him till
a1400 Leg. S. xl 665.
Quhen modir & fadire bath Had sorouyt … Thai held thame stil … for thai mycht nomare
?1438 Alex. ii 1945.
The Bauderane … of his speche aschamit was, And … held him still And na word spak
?1438 Alex. ii 2345.
Ilkane had lufe at thare deuys Bot Fezonas … Bot scho was wyse and held hir still
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1126.
Hyre virgynite … She offred wp … Syne held hyre still
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 128.
Fore quhen scho dois that is lyk ill, Traist nocht that folk wyll hald thaim still
c1500 Fyve Bestes 233.
Madame, Wysest ȝe ar quhen that ȝe hald ȝow still
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 333.
Pas … and be confest … Renounce thy rymis … Heve to the hevyn thy handis, ande hald thé still
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 215/47.
Sen all is jugit bayth gud and ill And no mannis toung I may had still … Lat everie man say quhat he will
1513 Doug. iv ii 53.
Begyn scho wald to tell furth hir entent, And in the myd word stop, and hald hir styll
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xiv 4.
Jesus … spak … to the Phariseis, and said, Quhethir gif it be leeffull to hele in the sabot? And thai held thame still [P. helden pees]
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i 481.
The saddest said ‘I pray thé hald thé still For to alledge on Salomon that saw'

b. Silent, describing the breaking off of a theme in a written text.(1) 1375 Barb. x 341.
Now off thaim I will be still, And spek a litill quhill … Off the … lord off Dowglas
(2) 1535 Stewart 60860.
No moir of this; now I will hald me still, And to my storie turne agane I will

c. With non-material subject: Quiet, calm, not noisy. c1460 Thewis Wysmen 268.
Thai ar euir in sacret vrisone, Hyd prayere, styll dewocioune
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 27/47.
Sayand till hir with wirdis still ‘Haif pety of ȝour presoneir'
1513 Doug. iv x 6.
Woddis and rageand seys war at rest … All feildis still but othir noys

3. noun. Stillness. 1513 Doug. ii v 7.
Still war in all, and soft vapour of sleip Apon thar wery lymmys fast doith creip

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



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