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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Gryt(e, Grite, Gryit(t, adj. and n. Also: grytt. [Var. of Grete a. with exceptional change of vowel, which appears also in quhyte (mod. dial. white) for wheat.A common form from c. 1540, and remaining in the mod. dialects, now chiefly in sense 1 b. The speiling gryt(t may also be a variant of Grit, a.]

1. Of things or persons: Great in size, quantity, number, or importance.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 466.
Thane Decius … A gryt fyre sone gert mak
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 174.
Item ij gryt cussenis of arres
1542 Inv. Wardrobe 71.
Ane gryt bowie ourgilt
1549 Compl. 83/20.
At that time the tua gryt battellis … var campit neir to giddir
1556 Crim. Trials I. 390*.
The pryce of … the peis of pultrie vj d … , gryt chikkiuis iv d.
1572 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 383.
For ij faldowme of ane tow to the gryt bell
1578 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 57 b.
Thrie grytt behewuis
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 172.
The Deuill … in ane gryt man his lickness
1605 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 44.
For dinging … her on the face with a gryt key
1609 Ellon Presb. 89.
In steilling of cornes to mak his stacks grytter nor they suld be
1619 Orkney & Zetl. Test. I. 38 b.
Tua gryt eikin boattis, … tua litle ald firne boittis
c1650 Spalding II. 216.
It fell … vpone the kirkis gryt ledder, brak it in thrie peices
(b) c1420 Wynt. iii. 648.
Dydo … gert formyd be … that gryte cyte
1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 139.
xxxiiij grytast garroun [nails]
1580 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 35.
Twa taffellis, ane small, ane gryter
1607 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 166.
Item, twa gryte powtis at ten schillingis the pice
c1650 Spalding I. 259.
The castileanis began to schoot … with gryte schot
(c) c 1450 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 202.
A gryit crois … standand apon a gret futh closit wyth a pyn of silner
1561 Monymusk Writs No. 16.
The gryit stane in the bauk
1567 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 643/2.
Ane gryitt rubye … bakkytt only with blak enamaleit
1570 Leslie 18.
Ane gryit pray of guidis
1592 Elgin Rec. II. 26.
James Roy, pyper, … playing on his gryit pyipe
1598 Marischal Coll. Rec. I. 97.
The gryit anguel house
1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 5.
A gryit shoo will not gain a little fitt
Ib. 29.
The number of the quheills of gryitt and small cloaks of dyvers sortis
(d) 1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 174.
Ane grite arres bed with ruif and heiddis
viij coddis grite and small
1552 (1554) Reg. Great S. 215/1.
The eist grite carne of Cowburty
1578 Invent. Guidis, Lady E. Ross (Jam. (1825) s.v. Cumpter paciss).
Ane grite chinȝe, & … ane small
1581 Treas. Acc. MS. 822.
Hors scheittis to his hienes grite hors
1582 Ib. 83.
Ane mekle grite calderoun
1607 Reg. Privy C. VII. 335.
The port and heavin … fillit with … grite craigis and rolling stanes
1615 Highland P. III. 299.
Some of the Laird of Largy his servandis … set on grite beikynis
(2) 1549 Compl. 14/2.
I saw neuyr sa grite ane fule
Ib. 25/19.
Kyng Darius, quhen he vas venqueist be grite Allexander
(a1570-86 Dunb.) Maitl. F. clxv. 19.
The grytt Sowdan Gog-ma-gog
(Id.) Ib. clxvii. 34.
The grytast erle or duik in France
a1570-86 Maitland Ib. xvi. 9.
The gritest ȝoung prince in Christintie
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 332.
The suitting of redres of snm gryt men quha oppressis thame
c1650 Spalding I. 213.
A gryte favorit of the covenant
(3) 1542 Acts II. 416/1.
To … avise vpoun sa grite materis
1542 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 30.
Ane grite nummer of commoundis tane
1579 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 33.
All thing is becum of darar and grytar pryces
1588 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 120.
Vtheris grite stentis and chargis
a1605 Montg. Sonn. xii. 6.
Can candle lou give fyr a griter heet?
1610 Rep. Earl Southesk MSS. 14.
For thair wes allreddy gryt snawe
1632 Fam. Innes 220.
The gryt droucht sene April
c1650 Spalding I. 31.
Ane gryt storme of snaw

b. Of salt or grain: Coarse. 1587 Acts III. 494/2.
Grite fisches … can not be … dressit with the small salt … and thairfoir … behovit to be … saltit with gryt salt
1594 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 44.
22 bollis gryt salt
1604 St. A. Baxter Bk. 62.
The pickeman … for his peanes in grindeing of twente bollis gryt corne
1647 Misc. Spald. C. III. 198.
Ane boll gryt aitis
1570 (1650) Dundee B. Laws 111.
Two watter-mettis for gryte salt

2. Of conditions, etc.: Great in degree or intensity.(a) c1420 Wynt. ii. 566.
Thus that kyng … Heide this folk in gryt thryllage
1553 Rec. Earld. Orkney 250.
Becaws my brodyr germen geff me the forsaid sowme in my gryt neid
1588 King Cat. 91 b.
A gryt misdeid … requiris gryt satisfactioun
1590 Reg. Morton I. 169.
Gif the difference be not werie gryt
1622 Melrose P. 480.
I come heir … with als gryt expedition as I could
1642 Strathbogie Presb. 29.
He … hade brydled her … to the gryt effusion of her blood
1649 Blairs P. 21.
Those who are of gryttest power
(b) 1461 Coll. Aberd. & B. 364.
A certane soum of mony payit to me in my gryte mystir
1507 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 140.
Na baily nor factour … in gryter degre
1568 Breadalbane Lett. MS. (Reg. H.).
Your cheif hes tayn gryte paynis
1573 Cath. Tr. 3/12.
I haue … with als gryte simplicitie as I culd, … ansuerit
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxx. 9.
Ȝour greif is gryte, I grant. in sa gryte aige
1609 Hume 176/441.
If suche a man, … indewed with so gryte giftis, did so
c1650 Spalding II. 294.
This vncouth act, … bred gryte feir and perturbatioun
(c) 1571 Misc. Bann. C. III. 125.
A gryit havines in my body
a1585 Maitl. Q. xl. 13.
Ȝonr vertewis ar so gryit
(d) 1549 Compl. 4/9.
The grite force of the oriental pepil
Ib. 8/6.
My esperance is sa grite
1555 Conv. Burghs I. 10.
The grite diuersiteis of pete custumis of burrowis
Ib. 11.
Because grite hurt is dayiie done
1586 Reg. Privy C. IV. 74.
Quhenas thair is grite derth and scairstie of victuallis
1591 Ib. 578.
Quhair he wes lyand bedfast … in grite disease
1609 Gardyne Garden 31.
His grace and godhood … Full glorious and grite
1624 Melrose P. *641.
Als grite caus of greiffe aud havynes, as euer pastoris had of thair flocke

3. = Grete a. 4. 1590 Conv. Burghs I. 351.
That … the said conseruatour vplift of ilk refuisar … fourtie schiliingis grite

4. n. a. In gryte, = Grete a. 5 a. 1553–81 Aberd. Baillie Ct. 9 b.
Androw Raye, saidlar, being convict for bying of hyidis in gryte … and selling the same in gryt quantitie to extranearis
1587 Aberd. Chart. 350.
To sell and top in small and gryt thair said handie wark of seyis [etc.]
1587 Acts III. 456/2.
That his Maiesties casualities sall not be gevin away in gryte as of the casualities of ane haill cuntrie togidder
1598 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 168.
That na inhabitant … by victuall in smallis … , and gadder the same in gryt, and keip the same to ane darth
1615 Sutherland Corr. 114.
I spendit my money in gryit in Santandrous

b. A groat. = Grete a. 5 b. 1515 (1650) Dundee B. Laws 94.
To gather and tak vp fra the merchantes … in Zealand or in Flanders, twelf gryt of ilk seck of guid ane gryt of ilk stick of cloth [etc.]
1541 Conv. Burghs I. 517.
Ane herald to be sent to the king of France for doun-getting of the gryte
1592 Dundee B. Laws 131.
5 d Scotts money, ... and ane gryt in Flemmis

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"Gryt adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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