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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.

Gif, Gyf, v. Also: giff, gyff, gife, gyfe. P.t. gaf, gaff, gaffe. P.p. gifin, -yne, -en, (gif), giffin, -yn(e, -en, giffne; gyfin(e, gyffin(e, -yn(e, -yng, -en. [ME. gyf, gyfe, gyffe, gif, gife, giffe, early gifen (c 1200), OSw. giva (Sw. gifva), ODa. givæ (Dan. give), varying in vowel from ON. gefa, Gefe, Geve. The double f is most frequent in disyllabic forms as giffis, gyffis, giffin, gyffyn, etc.] To give, in various senses.

1. tr. With some material thing as object.(a) a 1350 Facs. Nat. MSS. II. 14.
Homines prestabunt [gl. sal gif], etc.
c 1380 Charter (Reg. H.).
I sall gif hym my chartyre
a1400 Leg. S. xliv. 75.
It that thu gifis … Thu gifis for thu ma nocht away ber it
14.. Acts I. 369/2.
Gifand till him … the remane therof gif ocht be attour
a1487 Gud Wyf & D. iii.
Kepe thaim fra giftis to gif or craff
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 217/30.
Thai … said thai wald nocht gif him the hous
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiv. 28.
I gif me to the feynd all fre
1535 Stewart 38285.
[To] gif fra thame all armour and sic geir
1549–50 Breadalbane P. No. 71.
The personis abonewritin … gifis and disponis to … Colyne and his airis thair calpis
1567 G. Ball. 7.
The keyis of heuin will I gif vnto the
1594 Conv. Burghs I. 430.
To gif … to the bankets ky, oxin, scheip [etc.]
1642 Fam. Rose 330.
My cowsine … sal be ready to … gif them pay
absol. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xv. 7.
Ane fule, … Cryis ay, Gif me, in to a drene
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1358.
Quhill God … thi ful far crowne Thé giff in hewine
Ib. xliii. 495.
I … giffis bot a lytill wra
1444 Chart. St. Giles 70.
We sal noght … giff, sel, na analy … the said land
1493 Acta Conc. 269/2.
The avale of the said landis that thai now giff
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 484.
Sum me the cop giffis
(a1570-86 Dunb.) Maitl. F. xci. 12.
Sum giffis money, sum giffis meit
(c) a1400 Leg. S. v. 362.
Quhat amowis thé The kyrtill for to gyf to me
Ib. xxxvi. 519.
Gyf me Iohn the baptist hed in desch
1418 Liber Melros 503.
He is obliged to gyf … ten pund
c1450 Cr. Deyng 182.
Gyfand thaim [sc. wardly gudis] to hyme gladly agane
1456 Hay II. 79/37.
Of quhilk gudis he gvfis habundaunce to wys men
1469 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 52.
For the quhilk he sall gyf the belman twa d.
(d) a1400 Leg. S. i. 16.
To thé I gyff the keys of hewyne
Ib. xvi. 315.
Thu … nocht gyffis thaim of thi gud
c1420 Wynt. iii. 525.
For to gyff … hym tylle Schyppys and wyttaylle
1429 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 42.
I … gyffis and grantis … fourty pundis of annuale rent
c1475 Wall. viii. 899.
We sall be bundyn … Sum part off gold to gyff you
1488 Dunferm. B. Rec. 2.
Gyffand yerly tharfor … sex schillingis
1515 Reg. Privy S. I. 408/2.
My lord governour gyffis the samyn … to the said Andro
1585 Thanes of Cawdor 187.
The rest of my haill geir I gyff to the lard of Calder
(e) a1400 Leg. S. v. 329.
I wil that thu drinke the venome I sal thé gyfe
Ib. vi. 358.
Til [= while] men … has fre will To gyfe, or to hald them still
1456 Reg. Dunfermline 340.
To gife and to pay … a hundreth pundis of vswale money of Scotland
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 172.
Tha sal gyfe to ws … sex bollis of quhet
1583 Sat. P. xlv. 449.
This angel noble … Vnto ȝour lordschip I will gife
1650 Blairs P. 27.
Not to gife them [sc. the moneys] til the treaty be weale advanced
(b) 1375 Barb. i. 565.
The endentur till him gaf he
Ib. ii. 163.
Men and armys till him gaff he
a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 78.
Martha … gaf til thame al that afferyt
c1420 Wynt. iv. 2687 (C).
He bande [thaim] wp and gaff thaim haye
Ib. ix. 598.
Ane other chesabil he gaff alsswa
1457 Peebles B. Rec. 123.
The balye gaf v s. to James Gybson
1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 301.
Alexander Iruyne … gaff, grantit, and assignit … to Dauid Iruyne … ale and hale his gudis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 256/13.
He gaf all Cummerland till his apperand aire
1562 Prestwick B. Rec. 66.
Jhone Ondirwod denyit at [he] gaf yt that day
(c) 1388 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 294.
The forsaid wode sall neuer be giffin na sald
1412 Melville Chart. 18.
Til haue gifyn … al my landis
1431 Reg. Great S. 45/2.
Till hald … als frely … and in pese as ony pensioun or annuale is giffyn
1461 Liber Plusc. 393.
O Prince, think quhi thi crown was giffin thé til
1485 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 32.
Alexander Irvin … has gifen … to me … the landis of Fulȝemond
1496 Treas. Acc. I. 281.
Giffin to Rolland Robysone to ryde to the Bordour
1501 Ib. II. 103.
Giffen … to the masonis at Mowtrayis toure … , ix s.
1535 Stewart 17864.
To reskew the landis … Carentius had giffin thame befoir
1589 Coll. Aberd. & B. 355.
To haif … gifin and grantit … my haill insycht [etc.]
1603 Montgomery Mem. 248.
Four eir ringis … gifin … to my Lady Haringtouns vemen
(b) 1389 Wemyss Chart. 24.
Tha landys fornemmit troch hym gyffyn
1392 Lennox Mun. 45.
The sayde Erll haffis gyffyn … sesyng and possessioune
1393 Charter Thos. Dunbar (Reg. H.).
Tyl hafe granttyt and gyfin tyl the aldirmen … of Elgyne … al the wol [etc.]
1402 Reg. Panmure II. 184.
Tyl haf gyffin and granttyt [etc.]
1420 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 384.
That I … hassawld and gyffyne tyll a nobyle man [etc.]
1456 Liber Aberbr. 89.
The saide lord … has gyffyng … to the hous of Aberbrothoc … tua pecis of land
1459 Acts XII. 26/1.
With outheris possessionis gyfyn to the sayd abbay
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 249.
Gyffyne for castyne of the erd fra the schip, iij s. viij d.
1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 82.
The ix penneland of Saba is fre gyffin and cheyngytt … to the said Jhone Irwyngis fader
1562 Ib. 114.
Quhilk land was gyffine to hyme … in arff
1588–9 Dundee Acc. MS.
Gyffen at command of the bealȝies to the peyper
(c) 1513 Doug. iv. iii. 28 (Sm.).
To suffir … all Libie land Be gyf in drowry to thi son

2. With non-material or abstract object.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1632.
The Grekes … wald scantly gif thaim leve
1410 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 31.
I gif for dome [etc.]
1455 Edinb. Chart. 80.
He sal gif tham the best counsale that he may gif
1491 Acta Conc. 173/2.
Thai … walde nocht gif a full and determit sentence in the said mater
1517 Reg. Privy S. I. 449/1.
Personis … quhilkis wil be bund to … gif sufficient plegis and band thairupoun
1552 Corr. M. Lorraine 358.
We dessyirrit them to dail and gif ws wr chois
1570 Sat. P. x. 365.
To gif the wedow and fatherles comfort
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxx. 43.
Gif na credens to commune clatteraris
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 122 b.
The judge sould gif his sentence siteand in judgement
(b) 1375 Barb. i. 227.
Fredome all solace to man giffis
a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 2.
Idilnes giffis novrysingis To vicis
Ib. xi. 26.
To borne blynd thu giffis sycht
1439 Edinb. Chart. 64.
Giffande and grantande to … schir Robert … oure ful and playne poware [etc.]
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 273/5.
It giffis to me gret consolatioun … in my hart
1533 Gau 13/10.
God giff thé ane ewil deid
Ib. 76/6.
Lord, giff me faith
1559 Coll. Aberd. & B. 314.
Giffand … to our said baillyes … expres mandament [etc.]
1581 St. A. Baxter Bks. 29.
Quha giffis thame seruice to pay xls. as unlay
1597 Misc. Spald. C. II. 135.
All [of them] amerciat for not giffin suite and presence to this Heid Court
1604 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 246.
Ye sall giff ane perticular assign[a]sion off ten chaders victuall, … to Mester Gorg Greme
1665 Stitchill Baron C. 35.
It is statute … that non … giffe deforcement neither to the barroun officer nor bourlawmen
(c) a1400 Leg. S. i. 134.
I sall gyf gud leif hym till To pas frely
Ib. xxxvii. 150.
Til gyf ensampil vthyre til
1385 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 138*.
To resayue this cause … and thairof to gyf iugement
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 360.
To gyf a resone for al thingis that God has maid
c1460 Consail Wys Man 362.
Gyf thaim … quhen thow may sum comfortinge
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 276/24.
Nature … forȝet to gyf thame faith or lawte
(d) 1375 Barb. i. 34.
Now God gyff grace that I may swa Tret it
a1500 Bernardus 194.
Reput nocht hym frende quhilk in thi face Gyffis gret lowynge
c1475 Wall. vi. 138.
Sic pardoune as we haiff In oys to gyff
Ib. viii. 1650.
I thé beseik … To the berer ye … gyff credance
1549 Compl. 53/32.
Venus … in the mornyng … Gyffis ane grit lycht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 321.
Ȝe can nocht faill To gyff ane desolate man counsaill
1590 Digest Justiciary Proc. M. 12.
Our will is … that ȝe gyff dome of baneschment aganes the said James
(e) c1420 Ratis R. 1022.
Tyll hyme fall[is] mekle thinge That may nocht les his stat to gyfe
1472 Lennox Mun. 92.
[Thai] sal … gyfe furth thar delyuerance
1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 315/1.
That nane of ȝow … gife in dittay or accuse the said Adam
1527 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 307.
[We] sal gife thame our … trew and best counsail
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1869.
To that gret God gyfe pryse and glore
a1568 Scott i. 55.
God gife thé grace aganis this gude new ȝeir
(b) a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 112.
God gaff thame sic mycht
Ib. xxvi. 579.
Oyle … for seknes sere Gaf hop and but
1392 Lennox Mun. 49.
Twychande the haly ewangellis, we gaf bodily hathe
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1888.
Thane thai … Gaf full credence thar-to
c1450-2 Howlat 243.
The Pape gaf his benesoun
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 240/6.
All the lordis … gaf bodely aithis to kepe that respit
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvi. 29.
At hellis ȝettis he gaf hyme na succour
(c) 1385 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS. 410/2.
The curt … assignet thareto Tewisday … to caus his dome … to be giffyn
1399 Holyrood Chart. 113.
The defesance … sal be qwit of it selfe and be giffin to thame freli
1405 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 200.
The said Erle of Mar hase gifin his … ful consent that [etc.]
1420 (1430) Reg. Great S. 30/1.
The forsaid lord has … giffin to the forsaid Michel, the keping of hys Castell of Louchmabane
1461 Liber Plusc. 399.
Quhen dome is giffin, and na remede set ford
c1475 Wall. viii. 1136.
The king … has giffyn consent thar till
1540 Elgin Rec. I. 54.
The coppe of ane sentence arbitrall gifin … apon the said hors
(a1570-86 Dunb.) Maitl. F. x. 37.
War … grace him giffin als oft for frawd
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxv. 440.
Quhy has thu … gyfine thi consent?
Ib. xxviii. 188.
He … has thé gyfine lyf and aynde
1394 Liber Aberbr. 43.
Down and gyffyn the yer and the day … befor nemmyt
1405 Maxwell Mem. I. 145.
The patronage of the said kyrke … to be gyffin at his lyking
1432 Lamont P. 14.
Ader of the said parteis … has gyffyn bodely ath
1476 Peebles B. Rec. 181.
That the forsaid seruice sal be gyfyn to the mast abyl chaplan
1488 Dunferm. B. Rec. 5.
The doym that ye has gyffyn is ewyl
1526 Carnwath Barony Ct. 56.
Thomas Howeson said … that thair is ane fals sentens gyffin aganis him
1529 Lennox Mun. 232.
The … sentence and arbytrall decret … to be gyffyne
1556 Inverness B. Rec. I. 2.
The sayd Thom is jugit in admerciament and dome gyfin thairapon

3. With the adverbs again, back, our (= over), up.(1) 1375 Barb. xx. 48.
In-till that tretys wp thai gaff … all the clame that thai mycht haff In-till Scotland
1398 Acts I. 211/2.
The schirefys … sal do thair besines til arreste the personis sua gifyn vp be enquerre or complaynt
1429 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. viii. 10.
The saide Wilham … sall frely delyuer and gyf up the Castell of Drumlanryge
1553 Treas. Acc. X. 199.
To summond ane assis to gif up dittay
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII. 377 b.
Gif ony thing be eschapit my rememberance, that he gif vp the samin
(2) 1466 Acta Aud. 5/1.
That … he … suld incontinent discharge and gif our the saide office to the saide Malcolm
1469 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 416.
I … sal freli giff oure … & resigne al richt & clame [etc.]
1499 Highland P. II. 197.
The said Duncane … sal gife me oure the said landis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 219/9.
Archebald of Dunbar tuke the castell of Halis … and syne cowardlie gaf it owr to the master of Douglas
1513 Doug. xii. xiii. 66.
Thy will obey sall I And giffis owr the caus perpetualy
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1110.
He cryit and said: Gif ouir the hous
1560 Rolland Seven S. 313.
This sall he do … Or I science and cunning sall gif ouir
a1578 Pitsc. I. 257/13.
This lord thocht that he wald nocht … gif ower the admerallschipe
(3) 1474 Acta Aud. 31/1.
Henry … sal restore, deliner and gif agane to Johne … vj nolt
1549 Treas. Acc. IX. 327.
To caus tua seruandis of his gif agane certane geir tane fra tua A(l)manis
1640 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 39.
That his mother … would … giff back my tikitt agane

4. In various idiomatic uses. 1375 Barb. xi. 462.
Basnetis weill burnyst bricht That gaf agane the sonne gret licht
Ib. xiii. 147.
Thai with axis sic duschis gaff
Ib. xviii. 323.
Thai … gaf the bak but mair abaid
Ib. xix. 97.
Myne hert giffis me no mor to be With ȝow dwelland
a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 692.
Gyfand hyme mony dintis sare
c1420 Wynt. iii. 738.
Of kynd his hart gaffe hym … To mak him serwys
1433 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 390.
It is ordanit that na baxtar brek the pais that is giffin or salbe giffin hym be the baillies
c1500-c1512 Dunb. liii. 18.
His hippis gaff mony hoddous cry
1535 Stewart 6622.
Ay da be da puttand thame in beleue To gif battell
1536 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 402.
I sall do ane cursit deid, and gif you with ane quhynger
1554 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 20.
The westmost … chope, giffand x s. [a] ȝeir
1567 Peebles B. Rec. 304.
The haill inquest findis Thomas Dikisoun in the wraing for giffin Rolland Scot ingurius wordis
1582 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 138.
[At] the dairest pryces that the … burdis sall happin to gif in this contrey at the tyme
c1590 J. Stewart 17/87.
Sho gifs hir horse both brydle. chak and vand
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 16.
For twa blais giffin to Andrew Flemingis wif

b. God gif, God grant that, would that. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 158.
All Karrik cryis, God gif this dowsy be drownd
Id. lxii. 4.
God gif ȝe war Johne Thomsounis man
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxx. 8.
God gif I wer wedo now

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"Gif v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Nov 2022 <>



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