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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Mikil(l, -le, a., n. and adv. Also: mick-, my(c)k-, meck-, mekk- and -el(l, -yl(l, -yl(l)e, -all, -l; micle, (micholl, mighel). [ME. (? chiefly north. and midl.) mikell (Orm), -il, etc., e.m.E. mykyll, mickle, midl. and south. ME. michel etc. (also muchel, mockel, etc.), OE. micel (also mycell), ON. mikell (also mykell): cf. also Mekil(l and Mukill.]

1. Big, large, great, much, in senses of Mekil(l a.(1) c 1300 Annandale Fam. Bk. I. 7.
c 1320 Reg. Great S. (1814) 8/1.
Omnes terras de … Mikylholmesyd
1390 Coll. Aberd. & B. 499.
Cum … terris de Mykilgurdnes
1676 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 10 June.
Thomas Carsane at the Mikilȝett
(2) a1400 Leg. S. x. 287.
[To] mak A mykil kirke
1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 247.
Swa ascendand a mikil lech
1548 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 199.
Ad mykle mylne de Brechin
1633 Edinb. Test. LVI. 152.
The mikill best kist
1652 Ib. LXVI. 4 b.
1653 Ib. LXVII. 146.
Thrie mikle wheilis
1657 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 163.
[Five] mickil [fulls to the boll]
1682 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 14 Oct.
Ane mickle chist
1688 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 334 (28 Mar.).
Betwixt the mikele kill logie and the litele kill dame
1691 Dundee B. Laws 457.
32 litell bonets, 24 midlen, 16 mickall
1691 Soc. Ant. LIII. 57.
[Spinnels of linen yarn or woollen yarn] meckle wheill spinning [were sold]
1692 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 617 (26 March).
Strae … to thack the mikle house
1692 Presb. Eloq. (2 ed.) 72.(3) c1420 Wynt. i. 152.
By Alexawnder that cite It [the Nile] entrys in the Mykyll Se
1671 Samson's Riddle 135.
The little and mikle highgates
1687 Galloway P. 9 Apr.
With the lands of Mickel Ile
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 1389.
He … saw a lyone … That mykil was
1581 Digest Justiciary Proc. K. 29.
The stealling … of tua ȝeild ky tua micholl ky and ox
1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xv.
Sick beists … sum mikill, sum litill
(5) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 173.
This Johne ful mykil is
Ib. xxvii. 874. c1420 Wynt. i. 341.
Amang [thame] wes ane mykyll of mycht
1692 Presb. Eloq. (2 ed.) 76.
Goliah was a meckle strong fellow
(6) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 756.
He … stud anente the caldrone … Sayand ‘Mykil god Hercules & Jubiter on ȝow I cal’
1398–1400 Aberd. B. Rec. (S.H.S.) 41.
Willelmum baxter mykyl
1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 254.
Ard. called mickle Archibald
(7) 1638 Row Red-Shankes Serm. 3.
[Christ in the wilderness] was tempted … of a mickle devill
a1658 Durham Commandments (1675) 83.
How sound these words? What devil now? The meckle devil, etc.
(8) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 113b (B).
Land lytil or mykyl in burgh
1570 Leslie 24.
The effusion of micle bludde
(9) ?1549 Monro W. Isles (see Micht n. 5 b).
Mighel of store
(10) 1406 Rep. Hist. MSS., Varr. Coll. V. 79.
The said Jhon yheldand … als mikil male [etc.]
1444 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 194.
1459 Rep. Hist. MSS. Varr. Coll. V. 82.
Als mykyl quyt land
(11) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 117.
Doubile sa mykil gold as are
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 375.
[To] provyd samikill tember as wes abill to serve [etc.]
1638 Henderson Serm. 33.
To make so mickle din for nothing
(12) 1396 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 31.
The forsayd Erle sal aseth hym of swa mykl faylyheys in conabyl place
(13) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 99.
Hyre mykil sorow til a-mese
Ib. xxvii. 213.
Forȝetil of the mykil wath That tyd the barne
Ib. 898. Ib. xxxiii. 840.
Offerand to God that had … His mykil welth
1393–4 Wadset in Argyll Mun. MS. 13 Jan.
Into my mykyl myster
?1661-5 M. Bruce Soul-Confirmation 4.
There is a mickle word and dinn about our trouble
(14) a1400 Leg. S. xlv. 275.
In mykil brath
a1578 Pitsc. I. 232 marg.
How the king wssit mikill iusting
(b) 1621-40 Melville Commonpl. Bk. 41.
He that hes meckle wit
(15) 15.. Clar. i. 507.
Thocht that he had mikle adoe
1600-1610 Melvill 415.
Also ther was a grait plat leyed and mikle ado usit
c1616 Hume Orthog. 18.
The doctour had mikle a doe to win me room for a syllogisme
(16) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 563.
Hyme that … For hyme had kyd sa mykil mycht
1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
That has tholyte sa mikylie iniure so lang
1642 The Scots Scouts Discovered 5.
Thinking to have seen the little man that makes so mickle matter
(b) 1525 Douglas Corr. 102.
I am sory … ȝoure grace has tane sa meckle pane in that mater
Ib. 104.
Sa mekkle pyne
(17) 15.. Clar. i. 1382.
Ȝe sall my heart wnglaid in mikill thing

2. absol. as n. Much. = Mekil(l B 8.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 934.
Hou mykil is wrocht me, lo
Ib. xl. 90.
Thar-of mykil wes nere lorne
1573 Inv. Q. Mary cliii.
His perswasions dyd myckell at our handes
1600-1610 Melvill 22.
To mak mikle of me
1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 372.
For he can do mikle thairintill [etc.]
1638 Henderson Serm. 198.
But as there was mickle wrought, so there was mickle to work also
1673 Berw. Nat. C. XXXI. 124.
That non lay forth to sell littell or mickell untill [etc.]
1676 Row in Blair Autob. 247.
He strove to say mikell in few words
(2) 1600-1610 Melvill 54. Ib. 314.
The Regent keipit the benefice … undisponit mikle of twa yeir
(3) 1638 Henderson Serm. 34.
The commandment … might teach us this mickle
1650 Robertson Cullen Church Ann. 34.
She had kent ten tymes that mickle done in the countrey
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 101.
How thame hapnyt wes Of frawart fortone als mykil
c1420 Bute MS. fol. 173.
To saufe als mykyl of the gudes as thai may
1428 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 460.(5) a1400 Leg. S. iv. 259.
That is als mykil fore to say As a wolfe
(6) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 1222.
In als mykil as I am lawit
1460 Ayr Charters 34.
For als mykill as we haff grantit [etc.]
1680 Soc. Ant. XLV. 246.(7) c1420 Bute MS. fol. 141.
To the valu of swamykyl reft fra J. de L.
1534 Rec. Earld. Orkney 218.
Bought and sauld … for so mickle
1576 Orkney Oppress. 48. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 5.
Nain should keep wictuall in girnell bot so mikle as is necessar for their famalie
1682 Lauder's Observes App. iv. 305.
He was ou'r malapert to take so mikel upon him

3. adv. Much, a great deal, greatly.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 16.
& men of armys ofte se I In til his helpe mykil affy
1401 Aberd. B. Rec. (S.H.S.) 211.
We ar richt mykil haldyn to yhu
c 1420 Liber Calchou 449.
Swete nocht mykyll
c1420 Wynt. iv. 52.
He oysid mykyll for to were Purpur silk
1443 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 43.
a 1568 Q. Mary in Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lvii. 1579 Moysie 24.
Tending mikle to the dispraise of the Erle of Mortoun
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xxxvi.
Scho … delytit mikil to talk of auld histories
1674 Haigs of Bemersyde 302.
(2) 1600-1610 Melvill 6.
I becam mikle in deat
(3) 1570 Leslie 152.
His … douchter … wes … mickell subject to seiknes
c1616 Hume Orthog. 13.
They usurped y, a voual not mikle different from i
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xxix. 909.
Adriane … was mykil war To Cristine men than he
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. 123.
Bot mikle rather that ȝour heynes will not onlie delyvir hir frelie [etc.]
1570 Leslie 6.
Mickell better
1600-1610 Melvill 123.
With mikle mair daft talk
Ib. 234.
Mikle les able to discharge nor [etc.]
1682 Lauder's Observes App. iv. 304.
This was mikel worse than [etc.]
(5) a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 51.
Mikle mair should the Queene of Scotts doe the lyke
1600-1610 Melvill 155.
Na heresie … hes taken rut, … mikle les to haiff growin upe
1638 Henderson in Kerr Covenants 54.
Mickle more is it required of us now in thir days
(6) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1042 (Wr.).
To sustaine The loaden … As meckle as they might
1587 Cal. Sc. P. IX. 529.
On starting ouir meckill at yone man
1638 Henderson Serm. 274.
To be so mickle the more diligent
Ib. 381.

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



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