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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Belly, Bally, n. Also: ballye, baly, bayly; bellie, belley, bely. [ME. bali, baly (e.m.E. bally) and bely, belly (e.m.E. bellie, bellye), OE. bæliᵹ, beliᵹ, varr. of bælᵹ, belᵹ bag.] The belly (of men or animals).(a) a1400 Leg. S. xii. 280 (his balful bayly byrste in twa). a1500 Henr. Orph. 180 (a grisely gripe his bally throu can bore). c1520-c1535 Nisbet II. 186 marg. (Paull callis the bally thar Gode). 1572 Inverness B. Rec. I. 211 (in the guttis and ballye).(b) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 214/10 (his belly raif). 1513 Doug. ii. i. 72 (the braid belly schudderit); iii. viii. 143 (Ethna abufe his belly set). 1562-3 Winȝet I. 30/17 (to the seruice of our belliis). 1567 G. Ball. 187 (ay quhill thair belleis ryue). 1575 Reg. Privy C. II. 464 (drawin swordis haldin to thair belleis). a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 124 (a buist to mak thair bellie round).fig. 1558-66 Knox II. 166 (wolves, theaves, murtheraris, and idillbelleis). 1568 Pref. Lyndesay 8 (idil bellyis, dum doggis). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 24 (promotioun of ydill belleis to benefices).

b. Blak Belly, the name of a fiend.Cf. bellie basie in Rowll Cursing 260. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvi. 30.
Blak Belly and bawsy Broun

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"Belly n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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