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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lese, Leis, v.1 Also: lesse; leise, leyse; lease; leese. P.t. leis, leys and lesit, -yt, lessit, -yt, lest, leesed. P.p. lorn(e and lesit, -yt, -yd, lessyd. [ME. and e.m.E. lese(n, lease, leese, le(e)ze, early leosen (12th c.), p.t. les, leas, lees, early læs, and leste, leest, early leosede, p.p. i)loren, y)loren, y)lorn(e and lest, early ileosed, OE. léosan only in compounds as forléosan, p.t. -léas, -luron, p.p. -loren (see Forlorn(e p.p.)] To lose; to destroy.

1. tr. To incur the privation of, be deprived of, forfeit, cease to possess. With various objects. Alsointr const. of (the person or thing lost).(a) c1420 Wynt. v. 1208.
The angell bad hym cheis Owthire Trajanys saule to leys Or ellis [etc.]
?1438 Alex. ii. 3491.
Thame I wald not leis For ane thousand gude citeis
c1460 Regim. Princ. 149.
Keip law gif thou wil hald thi land … or thou sal lordschip leys [Maitl. or thy lordschip sal leis]
Brus xii. 124 (C).
Swa suld thai … Leis ane part of thair lovyng
1513 Doug. xi. viii. 76 (R).
For thou sall neuer leis [v.rr. los] … Be my wappin … Sic ane … catiue saule as thine
1533 Boece iv. ii. 166 b.
Scottis & Pichtis … thinkand quhill thare life mycht indure, thai suld nocht leis the name of victorie
Ib. iii. 128. Ib. xv. 149 b.
Me & my folkis … in manifest dangere to leis oure boundis
Ib. xv viii. 589.
The Duk of Gilder … be come randerit to les all his gudis
c 1570–80 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxvi.
I most other find sum way to pay or leise kyndnes
1585 Cal. Sc. P. VIII. 78.
It sall not be weill done to leis any off hir frendis in this contrye that with honor … may be retainit
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 175/578.
In seeking otheris healthis thay lease thaire ouin
1610 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 214.
Littil feare had he or danger … to leese anie [benefit] … that he had
(b) 1513 Doug. iii. x. 104.
The port of Drepianon … quhar that, allace! allace! I leys v.rr. leis] my fader
(b) 1375 Barb. xii. 347 (C).
Thai haf tald … how thai lessit [E. left] off thair men
Ib. xvii. 166.
Thai feill lesit
Ib. xviii. 160 (C).
All … [Thouch] that thai lesit of thair ger Com till Cragfergus haill and feir
c1420 Wynt. v. 645.
He leissit the trewage off Brettane
(c) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 31.
Quhair thai, be scharp battell, lest Hunber, thair king
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 411.
The sewinte enchesone als ma be That til his fadir that had lorne He gat the spek as he wes borne
(b) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1018.
Hyr systyr had lessyde hyr maydynhade
Ib. iv. 249.
Cyrus … For angyr off his hart … That sa hys knycht [he] lesyd hade, Gret athys swore
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 120.
Efter that boith strenth and speche wes lesit
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 57.
Geif I had decessit ye suld haif lesit bath thankis and recompens

b. To lose the or one's life.(a) 1375 Barb. xvii. 516 (E).
That thai suld drede tolese the lyvis
a1400 Leg. S. vii 516.
Quethyre ware leware hyme, the lif lese Or liff [etc.]
1513 Doug. ii. x. 190.
That I behald … Athir in otheris hait blude leys [R. leissis] thar lyfe
(b) 1375 Barb. xvi. 456 (C).
Thame … that neir all lesyt [E. left; H. leesed] thar livis
c1475 Wall. ix. 477.
Lessyt [v.r. left]
(c) 1375 Barb. x. 106.
Feill the lyffis thair has lore
?1438 Alex. ii 8593, Ib. 8633. a1500 Rauf C. 433. c1475 Wall. i. 43.
Quhen Alexander, our worthi king, had lorn … his liff

2. To lose, part with, miss, by misadventure.(a) a1500 Rauf C. 641.
My laid war I laith to lois … , Se that thow leis thame not bot ȝeme thame full ȝair
a1500 Colk. Sow i. 27.
Gret laubor is to get geir … moir angir is to leis [: propirteis]
1568 Sat. P. xlvi. 44.
I am layth … To leis my mater in the myre
c1590 J. Stewart 15/25.
Cair consumd his … cheir, At Mont Pyrens leissing this ladie deir Be accident
(c) 1375 Barb. vii. 44.
The hund the sleuth had lorn

3. To spend (time, labour) in vain. 1375 Barb. xiii. 629 (E).
And quhen the lord of Douglas has sene That he had lesyt all hys payne, Towart the King he went agayne
c1590 Fowler I. 360/9.
Howe longe with tyme our tyme we leise!

4. To cause to perish: to bring to destruction or perdition, to ruin or destroy.Common only in p.p. lorn(e in 15th and early 16th c. verse.(a) ?1438 Alex. i. 449.
Heir in this battell will I be, To helpe ȝow for to leis ȝon rout
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 161/441.
Quho preasis, restles tyrantis, for to lease & to destroy The unconceauit babes
(c) a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 52.
Hou that Crist ces of hire borne To ransone mankynd that ves lorne
Ib. xii. 22.
A sonne … be quham Al his kyne suls be lorne
Ib. xxxii. 567.
Sa ware thu lorne Gyf thu ware fals & mansuorne
Ib. xl. 90. Ib. l. 1085.
This tyrand thane apon the morne Eftire the knychtis wer this lorne, In stule of iugment hyme seit
a1500 Henr. III. 171/46.
Trew lufe is lorne and lautee haldis no lynkis
c1475 Wall. xi. 584.
Fer worthyar off byrth than I … Throuch my desyr wyth hungyr ar lorn
a1500 Lanc. 2090.
This was redemyt efter that we war lorn
Ib. 2738.
Gawan … Throw quhoys swerd so many o knycht vas lorn
1513 Doug. xii. vi. 9.
O stanch ȝour wraith for schame or all is lorn
a1568 Bann. MS 39 a/58.
Thow dampnit was to crewall deid To lowis fra Lecifer that was lorne
(b) 1375 Barb. xviii. 176 (E).
On this wis war thai noble men For wilfulnes all lesyt then

5. intr. To be lost or destroyed, to perish. c1475 Wall. xi. 646.
Bathe rostyt flesche thar was, als breid and cheis To succour thaim that was in poynt to leis
a1500 Henr. Orph. 171 (Asl.).
Phebus, … Len me thi licht and lat me nocht ga les [B. leis], To fynd … Erudices
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 215/117.
Then thoch ue leis [1591, leese] ue may defend our countraies

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"Lese v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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