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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.

Quhile, adv., conj. and prep. Also: quhyle, qwhile; while, whyle; quyle. [Early ME, ME and e.m.E. wile (c1200), whil (Orm), while (a1300), quile (14th c.), whyle (c1400), OE hwíle adv., accus. of hwíl Quhil(e n., abbrev. of þá hwíle þe conj. phr. Cf. Quhil(l adv., conj. and prep.]

A. adv. 1. Sometimes; from time to time. = Quhil(l adv. 1.Also correlatively in quhile … quhile (quhill, quhilis), at some times … at other times, and wmquhile … quhile, at one time … at another time.(1) 1375 Barb. i 344.
To fenyhe foly quhile is wyt
Ib. 338. a1400 Leg. S. xxi 404.
& of the planetis sic mellynge … Gerris weman do adultery … & in pylgrimag to pas the se & quyle in watyre drownyt be
Ib. v 149, etc. c1420 Wynt. i Prol. 32.
For romans to rede is delytabylle, Suppose that thai be quhyle bot fabylle
a1500 Colk. Sow i 490.
For our exceding study May caus quhyle malancoly
a1500 K. Hart 96. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 428 (Ch. & M.).
And ondir nycht quhile stall thou [Bann. quhylis thou stall] staggis and stirkis
(2) 1375 Barb. v 440 (E).
And him selff with a few menȝe Quhile ane quhile [C. quhill] twa & quhilis [C. quhile] thre And umquhill all him allane In hiddillis throw the land is gane
a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 449.
Fore-thi he wald sere fourmys ta … Quhile foule, quhile woman
c1420 Wynt. v 3163 (C).
And mellit weil oft in to fecht And ourcoyme qwhile he qwhile he [W. quhile and sumquhile he, Au., E.2 And quhillis he ourcome and quhillis he]
1456 Hay I 36/24, 25.
Fortune cummys quhile till ane, quhile till othir
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 1333. a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 49.
Thus quhyle in ioy he leuit, quhile in pane
Id. Fab. 166 (Asl.).
Richt solitar quhile wnder buske and brer Quhill in the corne an uther mennis scaith
Id. Orph. 433, 434 (Ch. & M.).
Quhile to reson it castis the delyte Quhile to the flesch settis the appetite
a1500 Seven S. 2374.
Till vther thai come quhile he quhile scho Quhill … a daye [etc.]
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 927. a1568 Scott xxxi 24. 1375 Barb. ii 574, 575.
For quhile he venesoun thaim brocht And with his handys quhile he wrocht Gynnys to tak geddis & salmonys … And quhill thai went to the forray
?1438 Alex. ii 2754.
Quhyle men chaissis and quhyle chaissit is
(3) 1375 Barb. iii 262.
To stand agayne thar fayis mycht Wmquhile with strenth & quhile with slycht

2. Formerly, at one time, once, before. = Quhil(l adv. 2.Only in verse, chiefly early verse. 1375 Barb. viii 18.
For thai … That war obeysand till hym quhile Left the Ynglis menis fewte
Ib. vi 24. a1400 Leg. S. xi 13.
As quhyle fand I Of haly kyrk in a story
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1999.
That Kyng Agamenone had tane A douchtere quhile of King Pryam To wyf
Ib. 2424.
Now frome the cite bot viii myle Of Thesaly a wod was quhyle
c1420 Wynt. vi 1711 (W).
As men may rekin ȝow belive Fra Malcome that oure king quhile [C. qwhilum, R. quhylome] was

3. a. For a time. b. Temporarily, meanwhile. = Quhil(l adv. 3. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 319.
& the Haly Gaste bodely In fourme of dow come sudenly & one his heide quhile sat stil
a1500 Colk. Sow iii 9.
This Cokelby … Thocht he wald preve the thrid penny quhyle hid, Quhilk for the tyme no fruct nor proffeit did
Ib. 84.
Susan angrit heirat as oft woman is Quhile passionat that all consaitis kennis

B. conj. 1. Until. = Quhil(l conj. 1 a.Also, once, qwhile at.(1) 1418–19 Liber Melros 502.
The qwhilkis indentours the forsaid Nychole has delyuerit till the sayd abbot [etc.] … qwhile at thai be fullely assythit
15.. Clar. iv 792. 1566 Anderson Collect. Mary II 273.
And thair thai remaynit … quhile Bothwell [etc.] … hayd putt all thingis to ordor
1574 (1595) Davidson Three Reformers 115.
They keeped others companie While at the last death did them twin
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 621.
Silver fra him ast In borrowing, while he come bak
Ib. 683.
Ane serving gentleman … stude ane lang hour … While he was grathed into his geir
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 336.
The sixth trumpet doth leave the beast still in some being while the seventh come
a1700 Mare of Colinton 43/100.
But she all night amang the broom Lay still … While morn that it was day
(2) 1557 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. 263.
And that ay and quhile I … pay [etc.]
1680 Cloud of Witnesses 77.
I leave them under process, ay and while they repent

b. With a negative in the governing clause. = Quhil(l conj. 1 b. 1433 Swintons App. xxxvi.
Because that the said landis … war lyand still vnraisit quhile the forsaid Williame … had ressauit sesing
a1500 Bernardus 72.
Gulosite … leffys tham nocht quhile dede tham part
1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I 437.
That na wittel be housit quhile it be putt to the mercat
1567 Crim. Trials I i 498.
I will not gang away quhile I see it done
1602 Decreet in Adamson Muses Thr. ii 39.
That no ship … break bulk while the same come to the bridge
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 30.
But could not be performit be hir while the said testament sould be confirmit

c. Indicating the result of an (extended) action or process. = Quhil(l conj. 1 c. 1375 Barb. x 606 (E).
Thai clamb in-to thai crykys sua, Quhile halff the crag thai clumbyn had
15.. Clar. ii 251.
And fast thay raid quhile they com to the plane [MS place]
1570 Bann. Memor. 58.
Ȝe did … jowke in the water while in the end … yea did escape
a1578 Pitsc. I 148 heading.
And hou his wife contenit still at the seige exhortand the lordis thairvnto quhile the castell wone
1609 Garden Garden 93.

2. While. = Quhil(l conj. 4.In the Ferg. quot. (see (2) below), the second use of quhile is a further example of 1 above.(1) c1420 Wynt. vi 1861.
He thowcht quhile he was swa syttand He sawe thre wemen by gangand
c1420 Wynt. i 80 (E). a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 337 (Wr.).
While I espy That fruite … I calde to minde how [etc.]
(2) 1375 Barb. v 234 (E).
Bot quhile I lyff … He sall nocht bruk it but bargayne
a1400 Leg. S. xxix 6.
Quhyle saule is presente in the flesch Men cesis seldine for to syne
1574 (1595) Davidson Three Reformers 115.
Bot while on earth he did remaine His onely … cair wes to serve God
c1590 Fowler I 242/67, 68. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 318.
He that eats while he last will be the war while he die
(3) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1253 (Wr.).
Hee hit the yron while it was hait

3. transf. a. Quhile … (that), ? Provided that, if. 1656 Logie Par. Hist. 111.
And quhile [pr. qle], they say, that the man hade … interest in that seat why then wes he the first consenter thairto

b. In weakened sense: Before. = Quhil(l conj. 1 d. c. As a connective: (And) then. 1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I 8.
And ony waicheman that … removis fra the waiche quhile the son rise sal pay [etc.]
a1500 Henr. Fab. in a1568 Bann. MS 333b/174.
To the silly mous grit harme scho did Quhile at the last … Betuix the dressour and the wall scho crap

C. prep. Until. = Quhil(l prep. 1.(1) 1566 Anderson Collect. Mary II 273.
And thaireftir thai … talkit quhile twelve hours and eftir
1622 Scot Course of Conformity 90.
The cabinet-counsell … sate while nine
1662 Crim. Trials III 603.
It may be, we will keip yt while Yewll or Pace
1670 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. II 458.
They superseded to give their judgment thereon while the 1st of June
1695 Sharpe Witchcraft 247.
It set some straw in fire … and threw stones while ten a clock at night
(2) a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 416.
They will not blow while His command to sound
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 6.
That … dooris [etc.] … be … not imbasiled while farder order
1662 J. Livingstone Sel. Biog. I 220.
I shall … there remain while my departure
(3) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 211 (C).
And sene that whyle now … It has stonden thar

Quhile adv., conj., prep.

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