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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Profound, -fund(e, adj. Also: -fond(e. [ME and e.m.E. profound (c1305), -founde, also profund (1451), also perfounde (c1530), OF profund, profond (c1175 in Godef. Compl.), parfund (11th c. in Hatz.-Darm.), L. profundus deep, high, obscure, f. prō and fundus bottom.] Profound, in various usual senses and applications.

A. adj. 1. Physically deep; having considerable depth. Also transf. 1513 Doug. vi iv 3.
Thar stude a dirk and profound cave fast by
1533 Boece 223b.
Thai war commandit to cast ane brade and profound foussy
1565–6 Reg. Privy C. I 425.
Throw greit tempest and profound watteris the beraris of thair lettres mycht na wyise get passage
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 13.
Frequent puls small & profund
1580-92 James VI Lusus Reg. 45.
This lairgenes & this breadth so long, this hienes so profound, this boundit infinit
transf. 1513 Doug. vi v 1.
Fra thyne, strekis the way profund onone Deip onto hellys flude of Acheron
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 121/59.
By the porte half oppin of the goulfe profonde & hou

2. Of a person: Having great knowledge, intellectual perception or insight; very learned (in a subject). c1490 Irland Asl. MS 4/13.
The writ declarit … with the mynd of the gast the kirk and profound doctouris [etc.]
Id. Mir. I 48/18.
Thomas Brawardyne … doctor profound
1531 Bell. Boece II 105.
He was … ane profound clerk
1560 Rolland Seven S. 9914.
Cuning doctouris, and phisitians profound
1535 Stewart 41291.
Torgatus … Ane letterit man profound in all science

b. Applied to mind or its workings. — a1500 Henr. Fab. 1623 (Bann.).
The profound wit of God omnipotent
Id. Orph. 55 (Ch. & M.).
1490 Irland Mir. MS fol. 353.
He was in profound pensy & meditacioun
1513 Doug. v Prol. 28.
The hie wysdome and maist profund engyne Of … Virgile
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5018.

3. Applied to various other non-material things.

a. Of a subject of thought: Deep in meaning; not superficial.(a) 1490 Irland Mir. I 8/9.
Perchaunce lawde pepil comprehendis nocht the profound verite tharof as dois clerkis
c1590 J. Stewart 48/15. 1596 Dalr. II 32/12.
In na science was nathing sa profound … bot his … ingine was able to comprehend
(b) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 610.
1513 Doug. i Prol. 71.
Thou … has so hie profund sentens … That [etc.]
Ib. xiii xi 31.
Thir profund wordis .furth braid
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 112/2.
The profund mistery of the blissit sacrament of the altare
1596 Dalr. I 88/22.
That with the gretter facilitie we may prepare the way sum things to reherse mair profunde

b. Of a state of mind, quality or attribute: Deeply felt or believed; intense; very great.(1) a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1349.
The tothir [band] wes profound confiddance That inmortall he suld rais in haist
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii 886.(b) 1549 Compl. 115/34.
He beand depriuit, he of ane profond maleis departit fra Lacedemonia
(2) a1538 Abell 89a.
His nychtbur excers in contemplacion profund meiknes
a1568 Bann. MS 71a/10.
Aganis he pryd, profound humilitie

c. Of sleep: That cannot be easily disturbed. 1533 Boece 287b.
The cubicularis … traisting the king … was in ane profound sleip [etc.]

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"Profound adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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