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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.

Lesum, Leisum, a. Also: les(s)um(e, -ome, -oum; leis(s)um(e, -ome, leysul, (leisame, leisim); lis(s)um(e, -ome, lysum, (lissim(e); leas(s)um(e, -ome, (leasoune); leesum, -om(e; liesum(e, -om(e; luissum. [Var. of Lefesum a., Levesum a. Much the most common form.] Morally or legally permissible; right, proper, licit. Variously const.(1) a1500 Henr. Garmont Gud Ladeis 13.
Hir kirtill suld be of clene constance, Lasit with lesum lufe
1481 Fam. Rose 145.
To … byid at the consall off the said Huchone … in all actionis lesome and honest materis I haif … addo
1513 Doug. xii. xiii. 47.
Ne war not that [command] suld thou me se … Sustenand thus … euery stres, baith lesum and onleif [L. Digna indigna pati]
1516 Caldwell P. 53.
The said Johne Maxwell … being ryedand … in quiett sober maner, doeand his lesum busines
a1538 Abell 103 a.
Secundlie it hapnis at thai athis ar trew and lesum
1551 Hamilton Cat. 9.
Of lesum crabitnes necessare till judgis
Ib. 51.
All lesum warkis may be begon als well on the Satterday as ony other day of the wouke
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 172.
Commoun landis … that wes gevin yow be kingis for nurssing of the pepill and bringing of thame vp in lesum pastymes
1555 Peebles B. Rec. I. 223.
With power to sell walx, wyne [etc.] … and all vtheris merchandice lesum
(b) c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 776.
To set ane court in leissum time & place Call the faltour. of his crime him accuse
1553 Blackfriars Perth 233.
The provinciall priour and convent … applyand it to thair awin usis … in all leysum usis as thai thocht expedient
1573-1600 King in Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 212/10.
To breake oure leissome promise maide by ane aithe
1590-1 Bruce Serm. 171.
There is no great man but whatsoeuer liketh him, he thinketh it leisum
a1605 Montg. Son. lxx. 2.
Blind brutal boy, that with thy bou abuses Leil leisome love by lechery and lust
(c) 1549–50 Breadalbane Doc. No. 71.
Oblissand him and his airis to … defend … the personis abonewritin … in all … thair honest iust and lysum actionis
1575 Reg. Soltre 228.
The beidmen sall nocht be absent fra the prayaris or preching … without sum lisum caus
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxiii. 26.
Lisum blythnes is ane happie thing
c 1590 Fraser Wigtown (1877) 392.
My servandis may not do my lissim bissines for the trobillance of him
(d) c1575 Balfour Pract. 636.
Befoir the admiral or his lieutenent have declarit the prizes to be … of just and leasum winning
a1689 Cleland Poems 55.
The action in it self is ill, But yet by the superior's will It's leasome
(e) 1661 Mun. Univ. Glasg. II. 329.
Besid the arrears [of his stipend etc.] thair are leesome other pariculars
(f) 1625 Justiciary Cases I. 22.
Quhan ane persone is woundit … and outleves thre dayis … and is sene in publict doing his liesum effairis [etc.]
1641 Stirling Chart. 122 n.
This [claise] is neidles being liesom and dew to them be the actis of parliament
(g) 1581 Thanes of Cawdor 184.
In all his luissum and honest affaris
1586 Ib. 188.(2) 1562-3 Winȝet II. 60/5.
As of a lesum maner
1584 Douglas Corr. 182.
Your lordshippes assured freindis to be commanded in all leasome maner
1600 Colville Palinode 32.
My obleist dutie binding mee in all leasome manner to … procure the felicity of the realme of England
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1804) 51.
The Queene of Scotts … quha was come to craue upoun leasum maner
(3) 1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 463.
Than it sal be lesum to the said Alexander Glaster to nowmer and tel the said some apon the … altar
1503 Misc. Spald. C. V. 35.
Thane it sal be lesum to the saide Alexr or Johne to input ane uther childe in the saide clerkschip
1513 Doug. x. ii. 43.
Quhat! thinkis thou lesum is at Troianys infeir Violens to mak … Agane Latynys?
Ib. 46. 1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 172.
It wes & is lesum to all prelotis barronis ore frehaldaris to set thar landis in few
1570 Leslie 171.
And maid lesum to every man to haif his bible in Inglis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 319.
If thai [papists] … be fundin … in the cuntrie it salbe lesum to all the subjectis … to invaid thame
a1578 Pitsc. I. 308/15.
It is ressone and lesum to all men … to reid the word of God
1649 Peebles B. Rec. I. 387.
It shall not be lesum to him to give the bairnes … the play in any dayes of the weik except vpon Tuysday and Thursday
1688 Ib. II. 123.
It sall be lesum to any of the neighbours … that [etc.] … to exact from them fourtein shilling Scots
(b) 1466 Reg. Dunferm. 356.
It sall be leissum to me … to mak a mylne within my said grunde
1547 Reg. Cupar A. II. 237.
Vthirwais it salbe leissum to ws … to dispone thairupoun at our plesour
1596–7 Reg. Privy C. V. 359.
The sones having ane franatik fader it was leissum to thame to bind him
1666 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 225.
That then it should be leisame and lawfull to the said John to intromit with and uptake the haill quarters dutie of baptisms [etc.]
1672 Aberd. Trades 300.
It sall be leisim to the deacon and his maisters to mak search once in ilk year
1694 Cullen B. Rec. 169 (17 Nov.).
That it shall be only leissom and lawfull to the said William Lesly … to call and pursue for the forsaid principall soume
(c) 1592 Prot. Bk. T. Auchinlek MS. 23 b.
It salbe lisum to the said Dauid … to haife acces and place to the saidis landis … induring the nonredemptioun of the samin [annual rent]
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 238.
Efter the making of this vou, it is not lisome to thame to marie
1653 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 260.
It sall not be lisome to any landwart or countrey man to buy ony fuilyie within this brugh, to transport aff the same
1671 Ure Rutherglen 59.
And it shall be lissime and lawfull to the present magistrats and counsell for the tyme being [etc.]
(d) c1575 Balfour Pract. 523.
It is fre and leasum to him to challenge the samin civillie
1590-1 Bruce Serm. 132.
As it is leasum to me to try myself, sa na doubt it is leasum to my pastor to try me
1644 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 67.
Nather sall it be leasum to him to cutt the salmound above the crumbe or ony pairte therof
1666 Ib. III. 81.
It sall nocht be leasoune [sic in pr.] to any cordoner or tanner to sett wp ather buith or hous … for working their tred in the said village without licence had
1691 St. A. Baxter Bks. 26.
It sall be noways leasome … to any frieman … to buy wheat or rye … from any extranier
(e) c1630 Scot Narr. 191.
That it shall be leesum to each presbyterie to send commissioners
1714 Hist. Berw. Naturalists' Cl. XXXI. 120.
That if aine of the said trade shall be accused for pykin … it shall be leesom and laufall to the deacon … to discharge [etc.]
(f) 1585 Perth Kirk S. 252.
It was not lawful nor liesome to him to do the same by reason of the foresaid promise
1595–6 Stirling Chart. 220.
That it sould not be liesume to thame to sell onie malt
1729 Banff Ann. I. 200.
It is hereby declared lawfull and liesome to any person whatsoever to put to death … such horses
(4) 1590-1 Bruce Serm. (Wodrow's Life) 99.
They urged me to speer, and know when it should be leisome for me to go
a1603 Tract. Leg. Naval. 56.
It's leisum for the defender then to give in … dupleyes
1641 Baillie I. 374.
It should be leasume for him to exercise so much of the ministrie there as he fand himself able
1696 Dunkeld Presb. II. 471.
It shall not be leesom for them to permit … ane burying place [etc.]
(5) 1513 Doug. vi. ii. 126.
Bot it is na wys lesum I thé schaw Thir secret ways vndir the erd to went
Ib. x. ii. 46. 1518 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 183.
And als it sall nocht be leissum to vse nor to cheis the forsaid maister … to beir ony common office … for that yeir
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II. 236.
It had bene mair lesum, gif ȝe war febill and astonyst pepill, to haif levitt ane … sobyr lyfe at hayme
1535 Stewart 6330.
Senlesum wes to haif ma wyffis nor ane
1562-3 Winȝet II. 31/10.
To preche heirfor ony thing to Christiane Catholikis, by it quhilk thai hef resauit, wes neuir lesum
1565 (c 1650) in Calderwood II. 298.
For otherwise, if it sall be leasome to present absolutelie whome they please … what then may we looke for but meere ignorance?
1580 Cath. Tr. 54/10.
It is nocht liesum to gang in pilgramege
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Licet, it is leisome
1603 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 28.
It sal be lesum to sell kaill and herbis and na vther kynd of … vivaris
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 75.
It is not leisome to denunce any particular partie to the horne upon letters chargeing all and sundeie generallie
(6) 1513 Doug. iv. vi. 139.
Is it nocht als lesum and ganand That fynaly we seik to onkouth land?
1533 Gau 103/2.
It is noth lesum that ony man interpreit the wordis of it in ony oder maner nay thay stand
a1578 Pitsc. II. 128/3.
That it sould be liesome that Frenchmen may by land with thair money
1591 Montg. Suppl. 310.
In that cais it salbe lesum … that the said capitane Alexander sall haif full and frie regres & ingres
(7) 1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 23.
Thai sall not be abill to have ony lyiff or leving … gif thai be sua excludit fra thair leifull tred … as is leisum to all our said lieges
(8) 1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 436.
Gif thai [swine] be fundin vteuche band … thai salbe eshet and lesum to be slane
1564–5 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 532/2.
Gife he findis onye prohibit … guidis thairin quhilkis be the lawis … ar nocht lesum to be transportit

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"Lesum adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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