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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Wis, Wys, v.1 Also: wiss(e, vis(s, uiss, wyss-, vyss-, wyis, wosse, vos, wis(c)h(e, wissche, wissh, wich, wysche, wysh, wych(e, vis(c)h, vysch, wuische. P.t. also visseit, wycht, wesyit. [ME and e.m.E. wysch(en (14th c.), wis (Cursor M.), wussche(n (1362), wisshe(n, wysshe(n (both Chaucer), wish (1560), OE wýscan, ON œskja.]

1. tr.To wish, desire, want. a. Const. to have, be or do something or be in a specified state. Also absol. ?1438 Alex. ii 7699.
And maydin that to mary is Bird wele to wis sik ane to haue
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 101/33.
I wissitt to be The grytast erle or duk in France
1513 Doug. xii xiv 17.
Wys [L. opta] now to fle vp to the starnys on hycht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6240.
All creature … thay wys to se that day, Quhen [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I 13/21.
All men hes this word reformatioun in mothe, wissing to reforme vtheris
1567 Sat. P. vii 83.
Quhat chaist woman wyssit not to be deid, To se sic vice set vp in vertewis steid
a1585 Maitland in Maitl. Q. 87/3.
Quha wald wis or ȝairne That cumlie clan to ken
a1585 Arbuthnot in Maitl. Q. 140/22.
The prayses greit Of thame sumtyme I wissed till advance Quhom now of neid my hairt hes in dispyte
absol. 1580 Elgin Rec. I 156.
That na persone … that vyssis in ony tym to cum sall pretend or caus mak ony fyris vpon the he calsay … on Sanct Jhonis ewin or Sanct Peteris ewin

b. With direct object. Also absol.pres. a1500 K. Hart 427.
King Hart that … wantis nocht in warld that he wald wis
1531 Bell. Boece I vii.
Thair costlie clethin schew thair michty rentis. Quhat hart micht wis, thay wantit nocht ane mit
1567 G. Ball. 9.
Thy nychtbouris wyfe … Thow couet not to thé, nor wis His hors, his oxe [etc.]
a1568 Bann. MS 15b/7.
Quhame men do feir thay wis war perischeid
a1568 Scott xxvi 34.
Thay wis thair will, that skant weill wenys
1573 Davidson in Three Reformers 98.
God grant agane ȝe may cum hame, For we suld wis ȝour weill I vow
a1585 Maitl. Q. 211/92.
My nature sufferis me not to wis Vengeance to him that is the caus of this
c1650 Spalding II 219.
Sum wissing peace, sum wissing warr
(b) 1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV 355.
At that tyme we wer not in any evill cais which mycht move us to wissche ane abstinence
1621 Denmylne MSS in Highland P. III 310.
I … both by bluid and allyance am oblisit to wisch the standing of that hous
p.t. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 78 (A).
Hym behuffis … say that he lede & wycht waknyng of mercy that is to say put him in his will
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2124.
I wischit ȝou oft, Quhen that my pith micht not beir it [sc. the nekhering] on loft
a1578 Pitsc. I 20/7.
He wysched na thing mair nor the rwine of Lord Crichtounis hous
a1578 Pitsc. I 32/3.
That was the will of thame that wyscheit his weilfair
c1590 J. Stewart 202 § 11.
Long vishit I inspection of this place … That I may sycht this plesand part abrod
(b) c1475 Wall. ix 1413.
Sum wald haiff had Boyd at the suerdis lenth; Sum wyst [1570 wissit] Lundy
1513 Doug. xii v 95.
This was it … Quhilk oft I visseit [Ruddim. wesyit] and desirit by and by
1600-1610 Melvill 316.
He could nocht find that freindlines in the Kirk quhilk he cravit and wissed
1661 Aberd. Council Lett. IV 127.
I did show them it was the counsells previledge quich they did acknowledge and wissed it to come be the counsell
p.p. 1577–8 Reg. Morton I 92.
The said lord regent having lang wisheit his majesteis awin habilitie for the charge
1578 Acts III 95/1.
(b) 1559 Knox VI 43.
Divers men have wissed … a perpetuall amytie betuix the inhabitantis of these our two realmes
a1585 Maitl. Q. 156/108.
Sa blissed That wissed Scho is in all mennis thocht As rarest & fairest That ever nature wrocht
1600-1610 Melvill 79.
They wald nocht haiff wissed a fuller and better commentar
1659 Blairs P. 88.
The fondatour of that hous walde wisset no better then it ware ane good nouitiat for hir housaes
(c) 1649 Misc. Spald. C. V 381.
We haue not head that swcesse in owr imployment heir withe the king that we wold wossed, by reasone of awill counsall that ar abowt him
absol. 1570 Sempill in Sat. P. xii 185.
Than war I fane, bot all in vane, To wis and will nocht be
1596 Dalr. I 228/4.
Quha can wis aboue thir thrie?

c. With double object: To desire or request (God, a person) (to be or do something); to desire (a situation) (to be the case). Also with omission of to.(1) 1566 Reg. Privy S. V ii 137/2.
Thair grace prince or princes quhairwith oure said soverane is now great, wissing God of his grace to provide thame to this warld
a1568 Scott xv 39.
Away I went … Wissing all luvaris leill to haif sic chance
1570 Leslie 68.
The guid will … quhilk he had to intertayne perpetuall frindschip with king Henry, and wald wische the same to knitt
1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV 467.
This man wysched hem selfe ever more to be on the wyning side
1577 Old Ross-shire II 3.
Wissing him maist earnestlie to do the same rather nor to perish his hous kyn [etc.]
a1585 Maitl. Q. 193/94.
Behauld The tratour that the gud Lord Persie sauld Wissing his bluid to be vpon thy heid
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 687 (Wr.).
I wisht him to beware, And rashly not to run ou'r far
1602 Colville Paraenese Ep. 3.
The obstinat Israelites … vissing thair prophets rather to spek plausibill errors nor vnplesant veriteis
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 60/110.
To tak head to thaire end I uold thaime uiss
c1650 Spalding II 32.
And wiss him to content him self to be a seruand to his countrie
(2) 1602 Colville Paraenese Ep. 13.
Suppose you suld … viss all men dishant my cumpany

d. With clause object. Also, const. I wis (at, to) God.(1) 1568 Q. Mary in Ellis Orig. Lett. 1 Ser. II 254.
Y wil send ȝou letle tekne to rember ȝou … guef ȝe fend a mit mesager y wald wysh ȝe bestouded it reder apon her non ani vder
a1568 Flemyng in Bann. MS 160b/48.
Cukkaldis … May wis thair wyfis in graif
1570 Reg. Morton I 54.
My lord of Mortoun beis … in Dumfermeling quhair we would wysche ȝe suld meit him
1572 Waus Corr. 82.
I wald wis that he suld nocht bayth hald my silver fra me, and mak lesingis of me to
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 73.
Quhome … scho not only wischit deid, bot alswa desyrit to se him die
1585 Cal. Sc. P. VIII 46.
I wald wis that so guid purpoissis … suild nott be impedit be accedentis
1588 Burntisland B. Ct. 8 Oct.
He wissit thay sowld newir cum within … this hewine agane
1596 Dalr. II 236/12.
I wisse rather and desyre that in hope of barnes he take Margaret rather than Magdalen for his bedfallow
1610 Crim. Trials III 507.
Expecting your majesties … favorable constructioun of our proceidingis, wischeing thay may prove good mettall when thay come to the tryall of the trew tuitchestone
1615 Denmylne MSS in Highland P. III 292.
I hartlie wishe his Ma[jes]tie may be fred of that neidles burdene
1616 Dalyell Darker Superst. 6.
[It was alleged, that a woman] wisheit in her mind, [that her husband's infirmities might be transferred to a stranger]
1622 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. i 4.
He had wissit that he nor nane of his companie sould evir cum home againe
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 146.
I wische these men were more wise than to make themselves more odious
1649 Misc. Spald. C. V 381.
I heartellie wosse that anie that lowes religione, the Kinge, or ther owen good, keepe themselwes free of … giwing cowntinance to swche wnhape men
(2) 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 203.
It is the first inhibitioune gevin to that effect, and I wisse at God it had not begune in your graces handis
1584 Cal. Sc. P. VII 167.
I wald wyis to God ȝe war in Scotland
1600-1610 Melvill 37.
I said nocht mikle against it, bot wissed at God I might haiff the gifts and grace to be a minister
1625 Bk. Carlaverock II 69.
Vis God he uar als fortunat and uyse ais I desyre him
1628 Dumbarton B. Rec. 24.
That he wisst at God that nothir schip nor salt wattir buir Sir William Alexander aboune
1661 Aberd. Council Lett. IV 127.
I wisse God you be wyse both for your awen guid and the guid of the poore toune

e. Following as, nor, than.(1) 1554 Knox III 182.
God steiris up abone this wickit generatioun sic a king … as thair awn hartis wissit
1569 Lochwinnoch Par. 83.
Finding the mater nocht to proceid in sa formall and gude ordour as thai wald have wissit
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 425/194.
Thairfor reioce, in Him and tak ȝow rest As ȝe wald wis
c1600 Montg. Suppl. i 14.
As ȝe wald wis with diligence
1581 Hamilton Facile Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 229/28.
Albeit … al the Bible war treulie translatit in Scottis (as I wisse it war)
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 183.
I think it will be hard to get the provinciall assemblies constitut as could be wisched
1667 Laing MSS 359.
The other thing I shall now insist on as wisht for is that there may be no more a High Commissioner
(b) 1568 Lennox Mun. 420.
I schal bi als kerful off your weil … as you schal wuische mi
(2) 1558-66 Knox II 137.
He bare it heavelie in harte, and more heavelie then many wold have wissed
1639 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 216.
His majesties caire to this … kingdome hes bein more tender … then our enraged enemies, who have bein seeking his majesties dishonour, and owre utter ruine, could have wyched
(3) 1584 Misc. Bann. C. I 86.
Albeit the said ansuer wes moir nor in resone we culd haif wischit
1602 Misc. Spald. C. II 290.
Giff it sall nothe fall vthervyis nor we propone or vissis, it salbe alwayis to your honouris queyetnessis

2. To recommend (someone) unto another. 15.. Clar. iii 799.
I wald wisch ȝow unto sum gud maistres, Bot ane poure woman is myself … I may ȝow not susteine [long] heir with me

3. To wish (a person) well, etc., to wish (something) to, (for) a person, esp. as expressed in a document or letter. Also absol.(1) 1542 Misc. Bann. C. I 7.
To the moost noble … and redoubted prynce, Henry the Eight … Johne Eldar, clerk, a reddshank, wisseth all wealth, all honour, and triumphant victory ouer all his enymies
1562-3 Winȝet I 32 h. of ch.
Niniane Winȝet to the reidar wyssis grace & peace
1565 St. A. Kirk S. 249.
Master Thomas Byggar most ernistlye wysseth, grace, mercy & peace, from God the Father … unto the superintendent of Fyff
a1578 Pitsc. I 19/13.
The mischeif … and vexatiounis quhilk the chancellar thocht to haue done to ws lat ws vysch the samyn to him
1584–5 Hamilton P. II 638.
So vising till your favorable annswere, I pray thAlmightie King of Kinges to contynewe your majestie in good health [etc.]
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun ix.
To … George Lord Seytoun … Schir Richart Maitland … wissis, helth, honour, and prosperitie
1597 Aberd. Council Lett. I 70.
To all and sindrie ministeris of Godis word [etc.] … visching grace and pace evirlesting
1609 Garden Garden 28.
Their mintings make amisse, That ought bot well to thy evangell wisse
1623 Melrose P. 552.
Still vising to your lordship all health and happines
(2) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8899.
Am I not bound agane To wis him gude quhair that he lyis in pane
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 332 (T).
No wyf will wische the wors with hir will For thow art not wurdie
1596 Dalr. II 359/18.
To King Philip, and Quene Marie now war legatis sent from Quene Regent of Scotland to salute thame baith, wisse thame gude morne, gud ȝeir and helth and lang prosperitie
1613 Haddington Corr. 125.
Vosing you al felesate both in this lyf and the lyf to cum
c1637 Innes Sketches 520.
Wiching you al happines, I rest, your affectioned cousing to poure
(3) absol. 1562-3 Winȝet I 64/13.
The faythfull sones of the haly catholik kirk in Scotland … wisshis [MS vissis] helth and illuminatioun of the Haly Gaist

4. intr.To desire, wish for, long for something. c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 237.
I wis in vane … sweit hart, adew for euer
1609 Acts IV 421/1.
We … euir wissed for the revenge of the machevalent massacaring of oure darrest freindis

b. To express a wish. c1616 Hume Orthog. 31.
Of the mood of the verb … We wish be wald God, God grant, and God nor; as, wald God I knew the secretes of nature

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"Wis v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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