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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.

Low, n.1 Also: lowe, lou, (law), and Lo. [North. and midl. ME. lowe, lou (Cursor M.), lohe (13th c), loȝhe (Orm), ON. loge wk. masc.In ME. appar. last recorded in Hoccleve and Kingis Q. ( § 48), thereafter only Sc. Common in the mod. Sc., north. and north midl. Eng. and north. Irish dialects.]

Flame; a flame, a blaze.Also in a flame, in a blaze, on fire. To go to a low, to take low, to catch fire.(1) 1375 Barb. iv. 124 (E).
Na mar may na man [fire] sa cowyr Than [C. That, H. Bot] low or rek sall it discowyr
a1400 Leg. S. xlix. 87.
The low thare-of [a fire] scalyt wyd
?1438 Alex. ii. 10040. c1420 Wynt. v. 578.
All Rome he set in tyll a fyre A low off that for to se schyre
1425 Acts II. 12/1.
That na hemp lynt stray haye [etc.] … be put nere the fyre na abone the low in fyre housis
c1450-2 Howlat 841. 1456 Hay I. 283/10. Ib. II. 143/24.
All metallis all low and lychtnes that lemys
c1475 Wall. vii. 429.
The lemand low sone lanssyt apon hycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 45. 1513 Doug. ii. xi. 132.
Our the rufe … The flambe vpsprang and hait low in the ayr
Ib. ix. ii. 97.
The tallowynt burdis kest a pikky low
Ib. x. Prol. 76. Ib. vii. 116. 1533 Boece viii. viii. 267 b.
That the low mycht hide the hoist fra sicht of inemyis
Ib. xiii. iii. 499 b.
Ane litill spunk of fyre quhilk neuer sall rais ane lowe vnto the tyme itt twich the birntstane
1535 Stewart 32084.
Fischis skynnis … hes licht … Withoutin low
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i. 174.
Scintillam excudit, mad a fyre, patt a low in the kindling
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 155.
As scho [a butterfly] delyttyth in the low
Id. Misc. P. xli. 11.
Quhair lilies lyk lou is Als rid as the rone
Id. Sonn. xii. 6.
Can candle lou give fyr a griter heet?
1590 Crim. Trials I. ii. 211.
Quhair he thocht he saw the lycht of ane candell … quhilk apperit blew low
1654 Johnston Diary (1919) II. 240.
And then al smoak evanisht and cam to rid-hot aymers and little low
plur. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 895.
With sindry kyndelingis Thrught felloune lowes & byrnnyngis They exponed … The cite to be byrnt
1513 Doug. vii. i. 108.
Quhar … standis Lavynya … , hir gay clething al with lowis lyght
(2) 1513 Doug. vi. ix. 37.
That ravenus flude … With watir blesand brym in fyry low [: how = hollow]
1533 Bell. Livy I. 88/23.
His hede apperit as it war blesand in ane rede low
15.. Wyf Awcht. 82.
Than he beur kendling to the kill, Bot scho start all vp in ane low
1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 72.
Burning in a fair low
(3) 1682 Peden Lord's Trumpet (1682) 23.
Our Master will … blow that great trumpet, and then heaven and earth shall all go to a red low at once
1699 Misc. Hist. Soc. I. 381.
Being in the chamber alone att the fire his cloths tooke low and were all burnt

b. fig. Chiefly of the ‘flame’ of love.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii. 5496.
Illuminit with the low of lufe
a1500 Henr. Orph. 87.
Betwene Orpheus and … Erudices … The lowe of luf couth kendill
Id. III. 147/39. 1533 Bell. Livy I. 1/14.
Bricht Appollo … quykin the spretis of my dull ingyne With rutuland bemes of thi low dyvine
c1590 J. Stewart II. 20/201, 2.
Ȝit sall I biet the low, Low quhilk combuirs my ardent douce desyre
Ib. 226 § 107.
Lous Lecherie to quenche hir fyrie low Throch euerie dobe hir blaidit rob did traill
1596 Dalr. I. 326/15.
Sa far he [David I] burnte with the low of the luue of God that [etc.]
Ib. II. 151/34.
Of thir spunkis throuch Scotland kendlet sik a low that Angus and the Quene … fled to … Ingland
1603 Philotus 433.
The raging low, the feirce and flaming fyre That dois my breist and body al combure [etc.]
1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 321.
A burning low seizing upon his conscience
1654-6 Gray Gospel Call 2.
A sight of Christ would kindle a low of love in our heart
(2) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 725.
Will flatterrit him quhan first he flew, And sett him in ane low
c1590 Fowler I. 192/3.
My harte first hurt now kendled lyes in lowe [: growe]
1627 Craig v. 8.
The coale that mee burnes … will I blow Though liver, lungs and lights fly vp in a low

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"Low n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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