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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.

Jo, n. Also : joo, joe. Plur. jois, joes. [Sc. variant of Joy n.Occasionally the spelling joy is used where the rhyme requires the pronunc. jo.]

1. Joy, pleasure, happiness. c1515 Kennedy Asl. MS. II. 273/22.
Joachim that generit thé with jo [:nescio]
1535 Stewart 44254.
This King Williame, for grit blythnes and jo, He[s] hint his bruther in his armes tuo
Ib. 46902.
Rycht oft it is sene that efter ouir greit jo, Wnwittandlie thair followis als greit wo
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 151.]
[That I micht bruik this greit quotidian joy [: no, Echo, go]
Id. Seven S. 2135.
Not onlie I, bot all my kyn also Suld throw that deid bruik euer wardlie io
a1568 Scott xxiv. 13.
Hir court he[s] jo, quhair evir thay go, … Quhair his hes wo
1567 G. Ball. 53.
Now lat vs sing with myrth and jo
1570 Sat. P. xvii. 180.
God may conuert our cair In plesure and in jo [: wo, fo, no]

2. As a term of endearment, sweetheart, darling, dear. Also plur. a 1529 Skelton Skelton Laureate Against the Scottes 91 in Dyce The Poetical Works of John Skelton (1843) I. 185.]
[Kynge Jamy, Jemmy, Jocky my jo, Ye summond our kynge, why dyd ye so?
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1302 (B).
Jenney my joe [Ch. joy], quhat dois thy daddy?
a1568 Bann. MS. 264 b/52.
My gentill jo, gif me a kis
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxxvi. 43.
Bot grant me als grit libertie As first vhen we tua mett, My jo
c1600 Montg. Suppl. 194/15.
My leill luif, hert and ioo [: so, woo, go], Nane hes my hairt bot ȝe
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 12.
Of hypocrites, … He can say, My jo, and think it not [1706, no]
1686 Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 49.
My joe, quo' she, I need no' speer, What wind it was that blew you here
plur. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 935.
I will sit still heir and repois, Speid ȝow agane to me, my iois
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7581.
Nay, nay, not sa, my jois, thairs ȝit sum graith to find Ane prick into ȝour nois
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. iii. 73.]
[Judge of ȝour self by Julius, my joyes, Quhais fenȝeid freinds wer worse then open foes

b. A sweetheart, lover. 16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 32.
He compared it unto a womans eye, which enticeth her joes into her bosom

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"Jo n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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