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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Flesch, n. Also: fles, fleyhs; flesche, flech(e, flesh(e; fleysch(e, fleisch(e, fleish. [ME. flesch(e, flessh(e, fleissh, fles, etc., OE. flǽsc.]

1. The flesh of the body of man or animals. 1375 Barb. xx. 572.
Thai … Gert seth hym, swa that mycht be tane The flesche all haly fra the bane
a1400 Leg. S. xix. 547.
Than gert he … hyme downgyne be, Til hyd and flesche ware ryvine
c1420 Wynt. i. 676.
Sum wyll thare eldrys sla, … And sethys the fleyhs
a1500 Henr. Orph. 520 (A).
He .gart the god eite wp his flesche ilk dele
1535 Stewart 28784.
The speiris scharpe, … Throw all thair armour in thair flesche tha thrang
1567 G. Ball. 170.
The seiknes that is in my flesche, Thow may it, Lord, allone depesche
1611-57 Mure Son. xi. 13.
Quhill wormes wpon his filthy fleche do feast
prov. 1535 Stewart 40204. Ib. 31774.
Rycht hard it is … Bring fra the flesche that is bred in the bane

b. In phrases with blud and bane.(1) a1400 Leg. S. l. 825.
I dyssyre my flesch and blud To gyf for hyme
c1420 Wynt. v. 4406.
Sevyn barnys … Quyk in fleysch, blud, and banys
1456 Hay II. 141/9.
Syk wynis … convertis the metis soner in … blude and flesche na othir wyne dois
1513 Doug. ii. iv. 37.
Vennom … Quhilkis infekkis the flesch, blude, and banys
a1568 Scott xxxiv. 136.
All thair dissait thai tak it Off ȝour awin flesche and blude
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 90.
Eve he cald thare a woman, Syn scho wes of hys fles and bane
Ib. ii. 494.
Thai gat nowthire flesch na bane Off thare modyr
c1420 Ratis R. 251.
Baith irne and steil & flesch & banis His awne hand straik in twa atanis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvi. 110.
Luve him that … heir tuk flesche and bone

2. Flesh (of animals) as an article of food.(a) 1375 Barb. ii. 495.
[Thai] eyte flesch, and drank watir syne
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 705.
Persawand prowd sawoure … of sottyne flesche
c1420 Wynt. v. 3918.
Scho sparyd noucht … to sete thame fysche or fleysche
1444 Aberd. B. Rec. I. .
That na fleschour … brek flesch in ony vthir place bot the fleschous
c1475 Wall. xi. 645.
Bathe rostyt flesche thar was, als breid, and cheis
1540 Acts II. 374/2.
Becaus of the vilite that cumis be slaying of flesche be the flescheouris
1572 Peebles B. Rec. 350.
That na flesche be blawin, vnder the panis contenit in the act of parliament
1638 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 388.
[Thai] sall not slay ony flesche on the Hie Streitt, bot in bak sydis
(b) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 708.
Thai … askyte quhar the fles wes done
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 177.
vij fattis for fles
1553 Elgin Rec. I. 121.
Gif ony flessour blawis fles, the samyn to be escheit
1564 Lanark B. Rec. 32.
Caggeris that bryngis other fles to the toun or fysche
1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 142.
Gyff ony … ettis ony gwys fles in ony of thir t[h]re dais
(c) c1420 Wynt. i. 438.
Thai tuk wpe to thaire fwde For tyll ete fleyhs forowtyn blude
(d) 1521 Fife Sheriff Ct. 222.
Twa scheip … of the quhilkis ane part of the flech [etc.]
1553 Fam. Rose 219.
Fleche and fyche of ane competent pris
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 7.
For fische or fleche on the day vj.
1665 Lauder Journal 61.
Frenchmen … that wil praefer fische to flech

b. pl. Kinds of flesh. 1456 Hay II. 137/13.
Syk maneris of fleschis quhilkis … ar hate and dry
1571 St. A. Kirk S. 349.
Thair servandis sauld sum smal fleschis … to puir folkis on the Sabbat day
1594 Acts IV. 70/1.
The greit derth and skarsitie off all kynd of flesches
1622 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 309.
Licence … to eit and feid wpoun fleshes in the forbiddin tyme of Lentroun
1687 Elgin Rec. I. 342.
What flesches they find to be wnsufficient … that they distribute the samyne … to the officers and beadmen

3. The human body; also coll. human nature, mankind. a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 64.
Hou that Criste rase in to that flesch, That he had tane of oure lady
c1420 Wynt. v. 3694.
We … That felys the infyrmyte Off brukyll fleysch
1456 Hay I. 190/26.
For the man and his wyf ar repute … bot a flesch
1513 Doug. xi. Prol. 89.
Lyff in thy flesch as master of thy corps
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5070.
Quhowbeit the flesche to deith be thrall, God hes the saull maid immortall
1580 Edinb. Test. VIII. 263.
All flesche (but exceptioun) … is ordinit anis to die

b. Line of flesch, lineal descent. a1400 Leg. S. xi. 3.
Of Symone … & of Judas … That brethire ware be lyne of fles To sancte James

4. The body as subject to desires or appetites. a1400 Leg. S. xxxi. 65.
Scho … fra wnleful luste of flesche Sa kepyt hyr in al clennes
1456 Hay I. 170/15.
Gif the Inglishmen be enclynyt to the syn of the flesche
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 6/21.
The gret luf that the synnar has to the warld, his flesch, and carnall frendis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiii. 52.
Thair cumis ȝung monkis … And in the courte thair hait flesche dantis
1562-3 Winȝet II. 31/2.
The lustis of the flesche ȝe sal naways wirk

5. Attrib. with apprisour, debt, hewit, rising, etc.; barrel, huke, knyf, etc. Also Flesch-cruke, -day, etc.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxiii. 16.
I sal tel Of flesche-rysing hou befel
c1450-2 Howlat 696.
In flesche tyme quhen the fische war away flemyt
c1575 Balfour Pract. 72.
The aith of flesh apprysouris
1575 Edinb. Test. III. 365 b.
Flesche hewit stamyn
1588 Exch. R. XXI. 326.
For the flesche dewetie of the said lordschipe
1592 Reg. Great S. 19/2.
The yeirlie flesche dett of Clestrane
(2) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV. 489.
A flesche knyf
1542 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 573.
Tway flesche boweis
1568 Pref. Lyndesay ii.
With fleschehukis of flatterie he neuer clew thame
1569 Prot. Bk. T. Johnsoun 165.
Ane flesche barrell
1581 (1650) Dundee B. Laws 39.
The flesh stoles on the calsay
1597 Ib. 50.
The flesh skembells
1595 Edinb. B. Rec. 132.
The rowme of the flesche stand
1600 Ib. 275.
The fleshe buirds of the land mercat

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"Flesch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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