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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Heich, adj. Also: hech(e, heiche, heych; heghe, heegh, heigh(e; hiech, hyech, hiegh. [ME. heigh, northern heghe, early heeȝ, hegh, heh, OE. héh, héah. Cf. Heicht adj. and Haich(e, Hich.Uncommon before the 16th century, the common early forms being Hey, He, and Hie.]

1. Of considerable (or more than usual) upward extent; tall, lofty. Said of persons, and things. Also with specification of the height.(a) c1475 Wall. v. 300.
In heich haddyr Wallace and thai can twyn
Ib. vi. 236.
In a heich hous quhar he was slepand fast
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 900.
Thair wes no hathill sa heich, be half ane fute hicht
1503 Treas. Acc. II. 225.
For mending … the jenetis sadill and tua heich sadill[is]
1513 Doug. i. iii. 21.
Heich as a hill the jaw of watir brak
Ib. xi. iii. 79.
The heich eschis
1533 Boece iv. viii. 137 b.
Cornan … apoun ane heich gebate was contrynit to end
1543 Treas. Acc. viii. 232.
For ane quarter … of velvet to be heich schone to my lord governour
1562-3 Winȝet II. 49/17.
He had ascendit the heich toure of al science
1580 Treas. Acc. MS. 43 (2) b.
vij eln of small camerage to be heich ruffis
1590 Digest Justiciary Proc. M. 19.
The gers … wes so heich be the natour of wther gers
1596 Dalr. II. 438/9.
Tha thair cannonnis … schot against the heichest houses of the nobillest men
(b) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1426.
Sum clam in cragis, … And sum to heychast montanis fleis
Ib. 2432.
One image … , Thre score of cubyts heych
1590 Edinb. Test. XXI. 312.
Aucht heych piggis for oyntmentis
(c) 1559–60 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. VI. 223.
Ane lawar of siluer with hech strowpis
15.. Clar. ii. 1338.
Skaffaldis … Hecher and lower
1610 Hist. Kinloss A. p. xi.
I heche chare and towe lawe stullis
(d) c1590 Fowler I. 77/3.
The pillar heigh, the fortrest full of store
?1549 Monro W. Isles 36.
Ane forest of heigh mountains
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xcvii.
The ground … is al heighe
1664 Inventory No. 4 in Decreets Dalr. XI.
3 heigh lether chairs
1674 Montgomery Mem. 337.
Ane heigh gilt saltfatt
1699 Glasg. Chart. II. 278.
When the kirk shall be door heigh
(e) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. iv. 8.
A ful hieche hill
1533 Boece ix. xiii. 319 b.
The Bas, ane castell in Loutheane … apoun ane hiech rocke
1562-3 Winȝet I. 43/3.
On the hyech moutane Hor

b. Of edging-lace or braid: Broad. 1602 Treas. Acc. MS. 205.
Heich peirling to his mutchis; … small peirling
Ib. 280. 1669 Thanes of Cawdor 312.
Ane ell of very fyne heigh lace for another pynor; … heigh lace for band and gravat

2. Situated far up; in an elevated position. c1450-2 Howlat 408.
Ane [branche] in the crope hiegh as cheif I beheld
1513 Doug. iv. v. 135.
The heich top … Of hard Atlas
1538–9 M. Works Acc. VI. 17 b.
Ledand fre stane fra the heich quarellis … to the hill fut
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 596.
Quhen he stude vpon the heychest gre
c1552 Id. Mon. 245.
The heych hevinis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6052.
The sone was heich and weill gane of the day
c1600 Montg. Suppl., Misc. P. xxiv. 1.
The royall palice of the heichest hewin
1596 Dalr. I. 10/14.
Thir Mersemen … kendle bleises in Tour heidis or heicher places
1618 M. Works Acc. XV. ii. 47.
To the meassonis … quhen they laid on the lintellis vnder the heighest gaistes

3. a. Situated on the upper part or upper floor of a building; the, or an, upstairs (room, etc.).(1) 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 350.
Ane pannell in the heich windo in the queir
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 86.
Abone the queir in the heych wyndois
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 71.
My lord of Arrane come furth … at ane heych wyndo
(2) 1553 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 177.
Occupyaris of buith or chalmeris in the he-gait other heych or laych
1570 Prot. Bk. A. Millar 4 b.
In the over heiche chalmer
1596 Wedderburn Compt. Bk. 24.
The fewmeill of his heiche buith
1605 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. IX. 41.
Na geir left in the towir except tua chaple beddis in the heche hall
1633 M. Works Acc. XXVI. 4.
Ane wadge … to ding out the window in the heiche rowme
1653 Soc. Ant. XXIII. 304.
In the hiegh chamber at the end of the litle hall
1678 Douglas Bequest (Reg. H.) II.
These tuo merchand boothes wherof the ane heigh and the uther laich

b. Denoting the upper portion or division of a building. 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 148.
To beir up the haill tymmer of the brandraucht of the heich tolbuith to the nether tolbuith
1565–6 Ib. 494.
The maill of the hous heych and laich att the eist end of the North Loch
1573 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 4.
To repair the windois in the heche and laicht tolbuyth
1605 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 228.
Haifing purchest … relief to … his brother out of ward of the heich hows to the laiche tolbuithe
1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 173.
Att Aberdein in the heigh counsell hous theirof

c. Occupying the higher situation.(1) 1581 Burne Disput. 96 b.
Jonet ane ingleiss voman of natione, borne in heiche Almanie
1616 Doug. Chart. 323.
To depairt … to … France or heigh and law Germanie allanerlie
(2) 1602 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 300.
The heiche yaird of the said Grayfreiris
1633 Dundonald Par. Rec. 372.
He sall stand in the jogs … in the heich place [of the kirk]
1640 S. Leith Rec. 32.
The keas of the heigh seat that is above the leach seat belonging to the trafickers

d. Heich gait, = Hé gate. 1569-73 Bann. Memor. .
Arthur of Meritoun vas opinlie gangand vp and doun the heich gait [of Edinburgh]

4. Of high rank or dignity; exalted, outstanding.Applied to persons, singly or collectively, and to the qualities or actions of these. Freq. as a complimentary title of princes or lords.(1) 1434 Raine North Durham App. 63.
This assise chosin … befor a ryght hegh and mychti lord, Williȝam Erle of Angus
1567 G. Ball. 178.
Thocht thow be Paip or Cardinall Sa heich in thy Pontificall
1569 State P. MS. (Reg. H.) No. 90.
The ryght hiegh, rycht myghty and excellent princes
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 94.
Ve haue sik ane bischop and hech priest
c1590 Fowler I. 31/115.
This pompe and heigh triumphant lord
1635 Echt-Forbes Chart 138.
To compeir … befoir ane richt heighe, excellent, and michtie prince, Charles [etc.]
c1650 Spalding I. 25.
The heich and michtie lord Frances Erll of Erroll
(2) 1562-3 Winȝet II. 67/22.
The doctrine and traditioun of this heich Kirk
1606 Haddington Corr. 117.
Ane ewill choysine word … spokene he one of the heygher hows [of Parliament] vntill one of the lower
1611 Misc. Spald. C. II. 156.
I have caused cite him before your heich commission
1633 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 118.
The heichest clas in the colledge
1643 Bk. Pasquils 164.
The lyon's trode on by the mouse, The lower is the heigher housse
(3) 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 229.
Prepotent Prince, … Glore [etc.] … Be to thy heych excellent celsitude
a1568 Scott xxxvi. 6.
Off thy heich clemens, heir my cace
1581 Burne Disput. 146.
That thair aucht nocht to be onie distinction of temporal magistratis in heichar or laichar degrie
1608 Highland P. III. 114.
The deipnes of ȝour maiesteis heich wisdome
1617 Acts IV. 540/2.
If he be of a heeghar degrie
(4) 1591-2 Rob Stene 18.
O heich, heroik, merciall mynd!

b. In the names of offices: Of the highest rank, chief, principal. (After Eng. High.) In use in Scotland after 1603. 1584 Montg. Suppl. p. xlvii.
My L. Burghley L. heich thesaurer of England
1609 Craig iii. 3.
To … George Earl of Dvnbar, … Heigh Thesaurer of Scotland [etc.]
1616 Haddington Corr. 133.
To … my lord of Binning, lord heiche Secretar of Scotland
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 551.
Alexander, Erle of Linlithgow, Lord Heighe Admirall of this Kingdome
c1650 Spalding II. 64.
Declairing the Lord Lovdoun … to be heiche chancelare of Scotland

5. Of great consequence: important, weighty, serious. 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 97.
To attempt sua heych ane purpose
1562-3 Winȝet II. 21/18.
Sen that nocht onlie smal thingis, bot the maist heich wes doung almaist to nocht
a1578 Pitsc. I. 122/10.
His … freindis be quhois … assistance he had interprysit sa heigh matteris contrair the kingis autorietie
1581 Acts III. 267/2.
Certane vtheris personis foirfaltit for heiche offenceis
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 376.
Sciences ... gif they haue ane glorious subject, they ar accounted heich and accurate sciences
1610 Highland P. III. 120.
The haill escheittis … whilkis ar never disponit bot in some heich point of seruice
1647 Reg. Panmure I. p. cii.
Ueray unconsiderable persones to manige a bussines of soe heigh a nature

b. Of literary style: High, elevated. 1585 James VI Ess. 63.
In ane heich and learnit purpose, to vse heich, pithie and learnit wordis
Ib. 67.
For any heich and grane subiectis, … vse this kynde of verse

c. Abstruse, difficult to comprehend. 1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 93.
Sum termes … scho not vnderstude, Because thay war sa heich and curious
Ib. 5528.
In phisick and vther heich science
1562-3 Winȝet I. 73/9.
In hiech materis weill obscuir in Scriptuir
Ib. II. 18/23.
That all man resauis nocht the haly scriptuiris for the heich hid sense thairof

6. Of great amount or intensity: great, advanced, intense, extreme.(1) c1552 Lynd. Mon. 290.
Tyll his heych honour and loude louyng
1546 Id. Trag. Card. 169.
For heygh contemptioun of the Gouernour, I brocht the Erle of Lennox furth of France
1554 Crim. Trials I. 373.
For the committing of sa heych, crewell, and abomenabil slaychteris
1576 Reg. Privy C. II. 533.
As thay will answer … at thair heichast charge and perrell and under all hieast pane
1594 Warrender P. MS.
So heich and detestable ane murther
1637 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 130.
To breake the peace … of the parish in heich and proud contempt of law and justice
(2) 1561 Inv. Q. Mary 29.
Ane claith of estate of crammosie veluot of heich cullour
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 2.
A burning corruptit fever that occupyit hir in sa heigh degre
1604 Urie Baron Ct. 8.
Smeddie collis was risseyn to hiecher prycis
1636 Aberd. Council Lett. II. 82.
Thair ransomes wilbe heicher than first wes condiscendit on
1637 Chron. Perth 34.
Andro Wilsone … departit this lyfe … of ane heiche fywer

b. Of various mental conditions. 1570 Leslie 32.
Ane princes of hiech corage
a1578 Pitsc. I. 74/16.
To thair heich displesour
Ib. 94/18.
The king … tuik ane heigh anger
c1650 Spalding II. 29.
It is better to leive in a humill content, then in heiche care and trubbill

7. a. Of the voice: Raised, loud. b. Of the wind or weather: Violent, stormy.a. 1561 St. A. Kirk S. 107.
Elizabeth Arnot … wyth hech voce said aganis hym thyr wordis
1622-6 Bisset I. 153/29.
Be ane lowde and heich voce
1598 Elgin Rec. II. 65.
John Young … for heich speiking iniuriouslie to his nichtbours the tyme of the preaching
b. c1650 Spalding I. 31.
Ane gryt storme … with horribill heiche wyndis
Ib. II. 462.
Marche wes veray wyndie, heiche, and outragious

c. On heich, Aloud, in a loud voice. Cf. Heicht n. 4. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8318.
Than said on heich this nobill empreour [etc.]

8. High-minded (in a bad sense): proud, haughty, arrogant; insolent.(1) 1533 Boece viii. viii. 267 b.
Saxouns of the recent victorie mair proude and heich than afore
Ib. xiii. xii. 525.
This ȝong man growand heich stilit him self lord of Galloway
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5885.
He was sa heich and prydefull in his thocht
1562-3 Winȝet I. 581/3.
The hiech arrogance of men of sa law degre
1570 Waus Corr. 69.
The lordis at the first meitting wes verray heich
1570 Leslie 167.
To bow and abate the heich and wrangous hartes of the peopill
1587-99 Hume vii. 234.
Cruining bulls of heigh and hautie minde
absol. a1570-86 Arbuthnot Maitl. F. xxix. 108.
With the heich ȝit man I heichlie be
(2) 1556 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 255.
Maister Thomas Makcalȝeane … said evill, heych, and vnplesand langage to hir grace concernyng the effaris of the towne

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"Heich adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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