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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.

Lif(e, Lyf(e, Lyve, n. Also: liff(e; lyff; lyif(f, lyife, lyef(f; liyf, lief; leife, layf(fe; (luffe); live, lywe, lieiw. Plur. and gen. livis, -es, liwes, lyv-, lywis, -ys, -e(i)s; layvis; lif(f)-, lyf(f)is, -ys, -e(i)s, -iis, lyffs, lyif(f)is, liefes. [ME. lif, lyf, lijf, lief, life, lyf(f)e, and (14–15th c.) live, lyve, gen. sing. liv-, lyves and (14–15th c.) lyfes, dat. sing. live, liwe, lyve and (14–15th c.) life, lyfe, plur. (14th c.) liv-, lyv-, lywes, -is, lif-, lyfes, -is, OE. líf str. neut.] Life.

1. The condition or property of being alive. Also the spreit of lyfe, and to bring (exterminat) of life, to put to death, kill.(1) a1400 Leg. S. i. 238.
Sterand as thai lyf had hade
Ib. iii. 290.
Thame resuscit he … to the lyfe
1456 Hay II. 128/22.
All hertis that saule or lyf has ressavit rejoysis [etc.]
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 954.
Lord, as thow life lent to levand in leid
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 188.
He has a luke without lust & lif without courage
1513 Doug. vi. Prol. 35.
In all his warkis Virgill doith discrive The stait of man … Baith lif [R. liue] and ded
15.. Christis Kirk 116.
The wyffis … fand lyff in the loun
a 1570 Nicolsoun in Misc. Spald. C. II. xxviii.
This knycht deid into dispair Na kynd of lyiff was for him
a1585 Maitl. Q. xl. 126.
Quhill lyife doe in me byide
1670 Lauderdale P. II. 183.
So long as thay had layf
fig. 1600-1610 Melvill 165.
Halding upe the wark of the Collage of Theologie, or rather hadding in anie spark of lyff in it
(b) c1420 Wynt. v. 4096.
Barnys abortywe And barnys borne yhong hawand lywe
1456 Hay I. 245/30.
That can nocht bring him agayn fra dede to lyve
(2) 1513 Doug. ix. vi. 96.
And vp the purpour spreit of lyf he ȝald
Ib. xi. xv. 145.
The spreit of lyfe fled murnand with a grone
(3) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2623.
And my sonnes of lyve be brocht
15.. Clar. iv. 2089.
Of the foure thrie he broght of lyfe, The fourt then fled
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii. 621.
The poysonit vice … It hes … als mony of life exterminate

b. The gen. sing. used attrib., = living.So ME. (c 1200) and e.m.E. lives, lyves. 15.. Dunb. App. ix. 1.
Now glaidith euery liffis creature With blis

c. In phrases, governed by preps.: On (upon), in, of(f), with, lyve (life), alive; out of lyve, but lyfe, lifeless.Orig. inflected in the dative sing., as OE. on life: see Alive adv.(1) 1375 Barb. xx. 281.
I hop that nane that is on lif The lamentacioune suld discrif
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1872.
Sum [sc. birds] half on lyfe he stoppit in his bag
1482–3 Acta Conc. II. cxxvii.
To prufe … that Thomas Blak … was on life
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 714 (Asl.).
All men as than quhilkis funding ar on lyf
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 324.
In his tyme Sanct Mungew was on lyfe
1513 Doug. viii. vii. 33.
Derrest to me on lyffe
1569 Reg. Morton I. 45.
Knawing my detfull obedience to him beyond all vtheris nou on lyiff
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xxxiv.
Nan of his nem lewin on lyf
1626 Brechin Test. IV. 242 b.
Thair is no bearnis one lyiff … to bruik … the gudis
1687 Newton Community Bk. MS. 4 b.
Whether he be dead or on life
1689 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 6 May.
Former annualrents being cleirid … whyle he wes one lyfe
a 1714 Cromarty Corr. II. 477.
McDonald who, because John his father wes on lyfe, wes called Tiernoige, that is, the young lord
transf. 1474 Treas. Acc. I. 68.
Gevin to William Todrike … for his tithingis that the Carvile wes on life
(b) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1042.
Wher sche sholde be ande sche on lyve [: stryve n.]
1456 Hay II. 84/10.
Never ane was left on lyve
1489 Treas. Acc. I. 118.
To ix persons that wes haldin on lyve quhen thai past to Dwchale
1535 Stewart 51445.
Thocht I suld leve ane hundreth ȝeir onlyve [: discryve]
1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 184.
Like as the auld kyng war on lyve
Arundel MS. 276/16.
[He] for thé deit and rais on live [: schrife]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 83.
Gif euer he wald se hir vpon lyue [: missyue]
1586 Cal. Sc. P. VIII. 443.
And the promeis mayd shuld be knawin to no creature on lyve
1662 Crim. Trials III. 607.
I shoot yon man in the Divellis name … Thair sall not be an bitt of him on lieiw
(2) 1375 Barb. vii. 65 (E).
Giff the hund mycht lest in lyve [: dryve; C. on lif]
1465 Wemyss Chart. 87.
Quham sal happyn tilbe present in lywe
15.. Clar. v. 2406.
Abone all uther knightis in lyve [: superlative]
(b) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 763.
For he mycht nocht leste in lyff In sik panys
c1420 Bute MS. fol. 155.
Al the land the qwhilk his fadyr had qwhil he was in lyfe and qwhen he deid
c1500 Makc. MS. v. 2.
Quhill thow art heir in lyf lyffand
1572 Buch. Detect (1727) 63.
Quhen scho cannot stay him in lyfe cummis scho to ressaif his last braith?
(3) 1375 Barb. I. 293.
In Ingland … Wes nane off lyve that hym ne dred
1392 Lennox Mun. 47.
William and Issabel, or the tane of thaim qwhey sa than be off lywe, sal frely [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. i. 548.(b) 1425 Montgomery Mem. II. 8.
Gife it hapynnys the said Schir Robert and Anny hafand sonnys of lyfe
c1460 Regim. Princ. 257.
Eftir that terme thair is na man of life May it gayn cal
(4) c1475 Wall. ix. 1655.
Gat nane bot ane with lyff out off that sted
(5) ?1438 Alex. ii. 10516.
Thair hors … War woundit neirhand out of lyue
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1016.
Half out of lyif, thair lenand doun he lay
15.. Clar. iii. 1532.
Still he lay deid as out of lyfe
(6) c1590 Fowler I. 56/239.
And how to liwe and stand but lyfe

d. concr. A living being, a person. c1590 Fowler I. 337/8.
My love moste worthye is Of euerye lyffe that I haue seene

e. Of corn: Upon the point of the lyfe, about to sprout. 1605 Dundonald Par. Rec. 80.
Scho cawsit William Muir … thresch ane peice of ane schaif of corn that ves vpoun the point of the lyfe

f. fig. Eternall live, permanence. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 218.
That na man put confidence of felicite and eternall live in vane favour and assentatioun of pepil

2. fig. In the religious or biblical use: Spiritual life; eternal life. (Cf. sense 8.)(1) a1450 Fifteen Ois 70.
I pray thé, Jesu saluiour, … Grant me the leifand lif lestand
1456 Hay II. 19/1.
God … send his sone … [who] to geve us eternale lyf tuke dede and passioun here
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 846.
Of lyf to cum sicht we will haue nane
1563 Knox in Cal. Sc. P. II. 25.
That straitt way that leadeht to lyef
1567 G. Ball. 33.
God will thé slay and gif thé lyfe anone
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 113.
The tre of lyfe thare in is set
1490 Irland Mir. I. 144/8.
This lady has gevin ws the frute of liff
c 1500 Rathen Manual 2.
Cursit be thai … and thair namys be tanne ovt of the buke of lyff
1533 Gau 56/8.
Throw the vord of liff
(3) ?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 7.
O sueit Jesu Crist, sone of God of life
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2187.
The almychtie God of lyve
1588 King Cat. 137.
Ȝe haue slane the authoure of lyf
(4) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xi. 47.
To hald thy saule with Him on lyve
1513 Doug. x. Prol. 40.
Quhilk souerane substans … in the self remanys etern on lyve

3. Life viewed as a possession which one must preserve to remain alive and which may be lost, saved, given up, taken, risked, exchanged etc.: in these and various other collocations.(1) sing. (a) 1375 Barb. x. 417.
He … stekit him vpward vith ane knyff, Quhill in his hand he left the liff
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots 543.
The pure man nominat juge [was] diuers tymes minascit of his liff
1570 Leslie 201.
The ladie … having hir husband lying deseased in danger of his lif
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xlii. 190.
To leche hire na hir lyf safe
1456 Hay I. 183/31.
Than suld he erar antre the lyf na brek his ath
a1500 Seven S. 1286.
Schort quhile sall ȝe haf ȝour lyf
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 331.
And syne ger Stobo for thy lyf protest
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. i. 117.
I might find in my hart to persew ȝour lyff at the Parliament
1570 Smit Bronnen II. 1012.
For saiftye of lyfe, schip and guddis
1580 Fam. Innes 138.
[Not to] hurt … the said Robert Ines … in his lyffe, leiving or heretage
1588 Reg. Privy C. IV. 339.
Of purpois … to have his lyffe
1596 Dalr. II. 138/17.
A bony barne, quhilk borne, baptiset, randirit to God the lyfe now receiuet
1622 Crim. Trials III. 509.
He … wes brocht to sic infirmitie … nane expecting his lyfe
(c) 1531 Bell. Boece I. 2.
Moyses … fled … to saif his life [M. luffe]
Id. Livy I. 75/10.
Suffir me neuer to returne hame … with my life or my hele
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3434.
Thairfor scho [the magpie] hes loist life and hals
(d) 1558-66 Knox II. 248.
Yf the civile sweard foolischelie spair the lyeff of the offendar
Ib. 326.
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 114.
If sho bruikit hir lyif
1575 Wemyss Corr. 95.
I wald hesart my liyf with ony
(e) 1545 Douglas Corr. 154.
It is nolese nor my layffe, if it be knawing
(f) 1584 Gowrie P. 26.
In perill of his lief
1686 Dunlop P. III. 29.
The ondrtaking of such a voyge … will be in hasard of therleife
(g) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1194.
That kyngys fyve Crape in a cove to sawffe thare lyve [C. lywe]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 42.
To gar a wicht hors want his lyve [: laxatyve]
1513 Doug. iv. xi. 97.
Forto bereif hir self the irksum lyve [: belyve]
1535 Stewart 44218.
Euerie man in dreid wes of his lyve [: dryve]
1549 Compl. 14/28.
I fynd nocht mony that dar hasȝarde ther lyue contrar ther enemeis
1607 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 108.
For fair and dredour of hir lyve
(h) 1533 Boece ii. vii. 70 b.
To expone thare live for the commoun wele
plur. (a) 1375 Barb. xii. 245.
We for our lyvis … [Ar strenȝeit] in battale for to stand
? 1405 B. M. Vesp. MS. F. VII. fol. 86.
In grete peryle of thaire lyvis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 3/14.
Desperat of thair awin and vtheris lyues in the samyn schip
(b) 1375 Barb. iv. 137 (E).
That bataillyne … sawyt thair lywys
a1578 Pitsc. I. 60/9.
To draw thame to strengthis for the defence of thair lywes
1610 Rep. Southesk MSS. 14.
I wald maist willingly, giff I haid a thousand lywis, with them all redeme ȝow [etc.]
(c) 1375 Barb. xiv. 361.
Thai gat avay, And held thair livis, as God gaf grace
16.. Highland P. II. 271.
To adventur … ther liwes … for ther masters and cheifes
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. i. 15.
He used to take lives With whingers and Kilmarnock knives
(d) 1545 Douglas Corr. 154.
Thay sal … do ȝow sik displesur … or ellis sal lose ther layvis for it
(e) 1375 Barb. II. 498.
The commownys … That for thar liffis war full fayn To pas to the Inglis pes agayn
1531 Bell. Boece I. lvi.
Butter, cheis [etc.] … be quhilk thay saiffit thair liffis mony dayis … soukand the jus … thairof
1638 Nat. Covenant.
That we shall … with our meanes and lifes stand to the defence of our dread soveraigne
(f) 1375 Barb. x. 106.
For feill the lyffis thair has lorne
?1438 Alex. i. 1617.
Thairfoir thair lyffis sauld thai deir
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1434.
Men micht na help mak to thair wyfis Nor yit support thair bairnis lyfis
1587 Acts III. 460/2.
Quhairby the iust defence of thair lyffis, landis and honouris wes takin away
1612 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 326.
The foirwall … is werie neidfull to be repairit … for within this thrie or foure yeirs ther is thrie lost ther lyfes ther
(g) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 93/4.
We ar … resoluit to iupperd oure lyiffis in batell with ȝow
1549 Compl. 137/6.
Thay ar oblist til hasȝard there lyifis and there gudis to deffend the cuntre
gen. a1568 Bann. MS. 227 a/29.
Go fair weill most desyrit lyvis fo [pr. so]
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 1124.
Herod … tholit thane the double deide Of lif & saule
a1450 Fifteen Ois 271.
O Jesu … Haue mercy on me … Quhen saul and lyfe sall twyn in tua
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 235.
Oft in perell of saul and lyve
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcix. 27.
Thair is mony ane that litle cairis To putt bayth saule and lyfe in jeoperdie
(3) 1570 Sat. P. xii. 14.
Possest in purpois, lyfe for lyfe to cose
1654 Old-lore Misc. II. ii. 110.
They said if she would have cow or horse they would give and she answered she would not have that but lyff for lyfe
(4) 1560 Admir. Ct. Bk. (Stair S.) 169.
He was returnit be storme … and ran in the havin of Carrell for lyf and deid
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxx. 4.
The beatin bark … Into the port hirself sho castis Thair lyfe or death to find

b. In legal collocations, in reference to the penalty of death.(1) c1475 Wall. viii. 1264.
Commaund your men … Apayn off lyff thai wyrk nocht on sic wys
Ib. xi. 1313.
I charge, apayn off loss of lywe, Nane be sa bauld ȝon tyrand for to schrywe
1574 Inverness Rec. I. 237.
The mater is weychtie vnto me and ane poynt of my lyff
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 127.
Thai wer forfaltit of thair lyff
1594 Misc. Spald. C. II. 126.
Ye … ar … accusit on your lyffis of … away taking … of George, sumtyme Erle of Huntlie
1685 Skene Survey 229.
To pannell them for life without a just cause
(2) 1375 Barb. i. 108.
That he ne suld lyff and lymmys tyne
1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
At na man be swa hardy to distrouble ony man … on paine of tynsail of lyfe and lyme
14.. Acts I. 34/2.
The ferd tym he sall be in the Kyngis mercy of lyff and of membrys
Ib. 72/2.
Gif ony man plenȝeis hym of ony othir man of ony querel as of lyff and lym [etc.]
Ib. 74/2.
Of lyf or of lym
1456 Hay I. 184/21.
And thus has he na power till oblis him to dede lyff na lym
c 1500 Rathen Manual 27/1.
Fals vittnes … quharthrow men tynys lyf or lymme
c1575 Balfour Pract. 548. 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Tort.
Actiones criminall touching life and lim
(3) 1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 389.
Vnder payne of lyffe and tynsale of gudis
1424 Acts II. 3/1.
Vnder the payne of forfautour of lif, landis and gudis
1488 Crim. Trials I. i. 11.
[He] has forfalt … his lif, landis, officis, gudis movable and vnmouable
1529 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 17.
He beand oblist apone his lyf heretage and gudis that na scaith nor infectione sall cum within his house
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxiii. 68.
Ȝe knaw full oft ȝe stuid in feir Of tensall baith of lyf and land
1597 Acts IV. 128/1.
Great and weichtie causis of treassoun quhilk concernis lyfe, landis, gudis and extirping of the posteritie
(4) 1603–4 Misc. Spald. C. V. 74.
For bringing hame letteris fra the secreit counsall of lyiff and deathe

c. With reference to the value one places on one's life or taken as something of the highest value; also, the value of an animal's life.(1) 1375 Barb. iii. 320.
That I count nocht my lyff a stra
a1578 Pitsc. I. 35/28.
It demensis our fame and honouris quhilkis mair pertenis to ws nor our liues
1611-57 Mure Misc. P. i. 138.
Since then, to thé, consists our stryfe, Of no lesse moment then thy lyfe
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 384.
My wyf That I haf lowyt as my lyfe
Ib. xxix. 837. 1535 Stewart 27573.
For-quhy the king he louit as his lyfe
Ib. 35956, 55514. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2695.
Dochteris … Quhose honestie ȝe suld lufe as ȝour lyffis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6424.(3) a1500 Seven S. 1538.
The lord said, ‘Lady, be my lyf, I wald that knyf wnforgit had bene’
(4) 1456 Hay II. 109/1.
Thy persone is … no mare to pris na the lyf of a calf
(5) possess. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1940.
Than Busefall, that was cruell and kene, Wald lyvis fane ay on his hors haid bene, Bot Alexander wald nocht thole him to ga

d. For thair lyuis, with all their might. 1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 101.
Thow saw the peple labouring for thair lyuis
Ib. 157.
Of uirginis … Viue la Royne cryand for thare lyiffis

4. Life viewed as dependent on sustenance or on means of support; hence, a livelihood, a living. b. Commonly, (one's) lyvis fud(e.For falt of lyvis fude, see Fude n. 1 b. 1456 Hay II. 142/25.
The wyne quhilk is lyf and hele to mankynde
Ib. 153/31.
The gudis ar the uphald of the lyf
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 89 (Asl.).
Welcome, my burges, … Ȝe ar the caus of my lyf & the cheire
1562-3 Winȝet I. 24/18.
In mony townis thair is not … ane sufficient life to ane techear
1564 Stirling B. Rec. I. 81.
Johne Andersone … is destitut of wardlie guidis … quhairby he mycht have ony sufficient life to put him to ane craft
1571 Sat. P. xxviii. 88.
Of all the barnis my Lady Jeltoun bure, Scho me constranit to mak ilk ane a lyfe
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cx. 5.
The commownis of this cwntrie … Can na thing keip in thair possessioun Quhairof that thai may mak ane lyfe
1653 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 135.
They conceavit the counsells statuts to be more than they culd mack ane lyff be
fig. c1475 Wall. ii. 10.
It was his lyff … To se thaim sched the byrnand sothroun blude
b. c1420 Wynt. viii. 1464 (W).
All thai coursis … Scho gert be gevin to thar lyvis fude
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 280.
Thai can nocht wyne thar lyvis fud
a1500 Henr. Fab. 93.
I had leuer haif scrapit with my naillis Amangis this mow and luke my lyfis fude
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 43.
The vaill … Vas full of riches and of gud, Of corne, cattell, vyne, and lyvis fuid
1535 Stewart 39509.
The laif quhilk wer so indigent Off meit and drink, quhilk wes thair lyvis fude
1538 Crim. Trials I. i. 207.
My wyf and x barnes … manne peryse for wanting of lyvyse fuyd

5. An individual's earthly life viewed with regard to its duration; one's lifetime or life-span or the expended or remaining part of this.sing. (1) 1375 Barb. xx. 124.
He thoucht he wald in his liff Croune his ȝoung sone and his vif
1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 49.
In hir lyife or in any tym to come
1527 Douglas Corr. 118.
The Holy Trinite preserve ȝour hienes in langlyff
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 4.
Mennis lyfe in eirth bene wounder short
1603 Philotus xcvi.
Quha euer saw, in all their life, Twa cappit cairlis mak sik ane stryfe
1607 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 72.
Reclaim my daithe, off lyiff prolong my daitt
1661 Black Sc. Witches 45.
That ever shoe hald drunkin ane cupe with them in hir lyff
1683 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II. 200.
That the commission for the myns may bee dureing lyf
(b) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2659.
King Pirrus … Kepit his kynryk wele but stryve Richt to the last end of his lyve
c1420 Wynt. i. 710.
Thare sum berys of yherys fywe And passys noucht aucht yhere of lyve
Ib. v. 3538.
Valentyne in to the lywe Off the Apostata Julyane Off all hys knychtys wes chyfftane
Ib. ix. 1157.
Qwhill his systyr sowne … That neste hym regnyd successyve His dayis had endyt off his lyve
1456 Hay II. 107/14.
Than sall thou move tham … to extoll thy name … in thy lyve
1531 Bell. Boece I. xv.
The mule is of ane langar live Than stonit hors
Id. Livy II. 48/9.
He was fer rvn in ȝeris and few dayis vnspendit of his live
1553 Perth Guildry 510 (13 Sept.).
For all the days of his live
(2) c1420 Wynt. ii. 416.
To se hys sone … And thare hys lyff [v.rr. lif] for to take end
Ib. iv. 417. 1596 Dalr. I. 121/2.
Lat him end his lyf vpon ane fork
c 1630 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 156.
So he did finish his lyff out of this world
plur. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 23.
Quhen tha thare lifis [H]as lyvit lang
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxxiv. 72.
Schort be thair lyveis
c1590 Fowler II. 93/1.
Ten yeres wer the langest terme of there [Popes'] lyfes
c1650 Spalding I. 284.
To furneish out fyve fute soldiouris … who had moir need of support to hang in thair lives
(2) 1570 Sat. P. xx. 176.
That he may taist the cup, Quhairwith oft tymes … Mennis lyues he interup
gen. (1) a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 236.
A penny … That may awaill thé to thy lyvis end
a1538 Abell 66 a.
Fra thin furth he had pece on al side to his lywis end day
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4104.
The rest in Egipt … Presonaris to thair lyvis ende
c1530-40 Stewart Maitl. F. clv. 6. 15.. Clar. i. 280.(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiii. 26.
Thow seis thir wrechis sett … To gaddir gudis in all thair lyvis space

b. The (rhyming) collocation successywe … in thare (once oure) lywe occurs several times in Wyntoun in reference to royal or papal succession, and appar. with the meaning ‘(each) in his own (successive) lifetime or reign, hence, in succession, (reigning) in turn.’(1) c1420 Wynt. v. 1802.
Till the Pape Calixt and Wrbane Thre empryowrys contemporane, Ware in thare tyme successywe And ilkane fellowne in thare lywe
Ib. 3097.
And all othir in thare lywe Efftyr hym papys successywe
Ib. vii. 2232.
Confermyd be autoryte Off syndry papys successywe And kyngys ryngnand in thare lyve
Ib. v. 2462, 5074.(2) c1420 Wynt. vi. 1672.
Yhit fra that mylnare discendand Kyngys come that ware regnand Off Scotland and Ingland successywe As we kan rekyn in oure lywe Fra Malcolme … And Henry

c. In the formula for all the dayis of one's life and variants of this.sing. (a) 1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 61.
For al the terme of the said erlys lyffe
1408 Ib. No. 70.
To gif joyntfeftment til … his wife for terme of hir lyfe
1495 Acta Conc. 407/1.
And sa furth joysande for all the dais and termez of his lif
1499 Liber Aberbr. 325.
Service to be done … for al the dayis of my lyif
1499–1500 Acta Conc. II. 380.
For the dait of her life
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 421.
As with manis daill I had done for dayis of my lif
1537 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 412.
Reseruand the foirsaid tenment … induring the tyme of his lyif
15.. Wyf Awcht. 106.
My office I forsaik For all the dayis of my lyf
(b) 1381 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 4.
For the terme of hir lyve
1408 Ib. No. 68.
For al the days of his live
1487 Fraser P. 107.
For al the dais of hir lywe
1544 Boyd Fam P. No. 22 (6 Jan.).
Haldin fra hir … during all the tyme of hir live
1560 Rolland Seven S. 654.
All the dayis of thair lyue
plur. 1495 Reg. Cupar A. I. 246.
The said Patrick [etc.] … sal bruke and jos for al the dayis of thair liffis
Ib. 254. 1498 Acta Conc. II. 205.
Pertenyng til the sade umquhile Robert and Jonet, his spouse, for al the dayis of thare lyvis

6. An individual's life as spent in certain activity or circumstances; the course of a person's existence on earth.sing. (a) 1375 Barb. i. 270.
For quhill a thryll his lyff may leid, It merrys him
c1420 Wynt. i. 162.
In hys werk and his besynes … Drywand hys lyf till dulefulle dede
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 155.
Or how ȝe lik lif to leid in to leill spousage?
(b) c1420 Wynt. v. 397.
As byschope thare … his lywe Twenty yhere he led and fywe
1513 Doug. ii. x. 168.
Ded I desyrit, and irkyt of my lyve
plur. 1540 Lynd. Sat. Procl. 39.
In grit langour we leid our lyvis
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 360.
How thai hirdis thar lyffs suld vse
1570 Leslie 6.
Quharefore … we learne … to lead our liefes with vertu
1596 Dalr. I. 260/15.
Of Kingis, of quhais lyfes and notable actes [etc.]

b. A particular manner or condition of living; manner or way of life.(1) c1420 Wynt. ii. 19.
Syk lyff he kend thame for to lede That blude off men [etc.]
1456 Hay I. 28/25.
For he … lukit nocht to the gude clerkis na the worthy men of lyf bot [etc.]
a1500 Rauf C. 277.
The King thocht lang of this lyfe and lap on in hy
a1500 Henr. Twa Mys 18 (Asl.).
To se quhat lyf scho led wnder the wand
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xvi. 56.
Denyand Christ alluterlie As be thair lyffis may be sein
1574 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 16.
To try … the lyffiis of the minister, elders and dyaconis
1596 Dalr. I. 110/2.
Frome quhais integritie of lyfe albeit we haue declyned
1622 Highland P. III. 313.
That man whose bipast lyffe … hes bene so lewde
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 57.
Our condition of lyffe, our libertey and fortoune in this transitorey worlde
(b) a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xxxi. 53.
Bot quha will lyife amend & preis to sin no mair
a1585 Arbuthnot Ib. xxxv. 58.
Ane lyife full of delyite Gif ȝe ȝour dayis wald drie
1611 Marischal Coll. Rec. I. 115.
Gif the persone quho sall enjoy this benefite sall happin … to … debosche in lyiff and conversatioun
(c) 1533 Gau 12/11.
Thay that rewlis thair liff and warkis [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I. xi.
Thus is my life ane ithand chevalry
1551 Hamilton Cat. 93.
Except thai mend thair liffis be trew penance
1564–5 Canongate Kirk S. MS. 23 Feb.
The quhilk day the elderis … biand all removit for tryell of thair lif … the haill kirke ansuerit as afoir
(d) 1558-66 Knox I. 81.
Yf he shall not be contrarious to God … in law, lief and doctrin
1601 Elphinstone Mun. 31.
The Quene of Englande by her lief and raigne and artifices practezed by her
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xiii. 2/54.
His clene lyfe thame sample gawe
1456 Hay I. 60/12.
Gude lyf … is mekle to pris in men of armes
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxi. 7.
He that may … leif ane lusty plesand lyfe
1513 Doug. xi. viii. 118.
The variant chance Of our onstabill lyfe
1562 Knox II. 340.
The most parte shall lyve but a beggaris lyef
1596 Dalr. I. 239/1.
That Fiakre, quha in his realme led a priuat lyfe [etc.]
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 971.
It is a sair lyfe, to be lang a maidin [etc.]
1629 Banff Ann. I. 61.
Quhill scho suld find sufficient cautioun for hir Cristiane lyif in kirk and comowneweill
1637 Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. V. 15.
Ane boy of ane evil lyiff
?1665 M. Bruce Six Dreadfull Alarms 22.
Thou hath a bra life of it
plur. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 337.
Quhen the Jowis … for na thinge … Wald mend thar wikit liffis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 4/33.
Bot quhidder sal we begin ȝour … louing at ȝour haly lyfes or at ȝoure helthful doctrine?
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xi. 450.
Thare goddis, quham throw thai Ful welful lywe be-for had thai
c1420 Wynt. v. 4500.
He wrat thare the bukys fyve To rewle men in to stedfast lyve
1513 Doug. Comm. iv/2.
Fra contemplation to the actyve lyve
1558-66 Knox II. 36.
Some of thame will tak a verry harde lyve befoir that ever they compone … with the Quene Regent
1669 Kingarth Par. Rec. 53.
Robert Milline and his wife are not like to lead better live togither

7. A person's ‘life’ as narrated, a biography.sing. a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 28.
I writ the lyf of sanctis sere
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1205.
Quha that his lyff seys and redis
c1475 Wall. v. 540.
The Latyne buk Off Wallace lyff
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 503.
This is the legeand of my lif
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1886.
Into the Bybill thow may reid His verteous lyfe
plur. a1540 Freiris Berw. 36.
Thir silly freiris … tawld thame tailis of haly sanctis lyffis
1558-66 Knox I. 191.
Thane begane he to dissipher the lyves of diverse papes, and the lyves of all the scheavelynges for the most parte
1596 Dalr. I. 1/2.
To twoche al the lyues of the kings

8. Applied to the earthly life in contradistinction to the life to come (cf. sense 2). Chiefly this life, this present life.(a) 1375 Barb. xx. 155.
Of all this liff the commoune end, That is the ded
1490 Irland Mir. I. 34/17.
Spirituall gud of grace in this present lif
(b) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 219.
Eftire this lyfe transitore Euire-lestand lyfe is me before
1456 Hay I. 33/16.
The quhilk na erdely man may do That is in this mortall lyf here
c1475 Wall. ii. 176.
My carneill lyff I may nocht thus defend
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxvii. 27.
And ȝe and I … That in this lyfe hes lordschip small
1573 Sat. P. xl. 361.
Let not the lufe of this lyfe temporall … Stay ȝow to cois with lyfe celestiall
1588 King Cat. 15 b.
Giue nothinge be iugit mair sueit and plaisant thane this lyfe
1613 Haddington Mem. II. 125.
Vosing you al felesate both in this lyf and the lyf to cum
(c) 1549 Compl. 35/7.
As this miserabil sensual lyif var perpetual

b. To deceis of or from, depart (tr.) or depart of, out of, fra, from, wend fra, be removit this (present) life, to decease, die.See further Depart v. 1 b (b), 1 c, and Departour n. (2).(1) 1410 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 75.
Gif it happynnis the said Erle … to discesse of this lif
1592 Acts III. 619/1.
His maiesties vmquhile darrest grandschir deceissit frome this present lyff in the field of Flowdoune
(2) 1551 Hamilton Cat. 29.
Gif he depart fra this life without trew penance
1580 Cath. Tr. 69/12.
The saules that depairted from this lyiff
1665 Lamont Diary 179.
James Thomsone … depairted out of this life
(3) 1567 G. Ball. 57.
Quhen fra this wratcheit lyfe we wend
(4) 1656 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 160.
The skipper … being removit this lyff in ane suspicious way

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"Lif n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2022 <>



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