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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Swelly, (-i)e, Swallow, v. Also: suelly, suelli(e, swely, suely, swally, swallie, suallie, suallo(u, suallow, swellow. P.t. also swalut. P.p. also suelled, swollowit, swolit. [ME and e.m.E. swoliȝhenn (Orm), swelȝe(n (c1200), swalow(en (Rolle), swelew(en (Wyclif), swolwe(n (Chaucer), swelle (c1450), OE swelᵹan, ON svelga (svalg, sulgu, solginn).] tr.

1. To swallow; to devour, (as food or drink). Also const. up, down.(1) pres. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1008.
A gret bane … rycht tyt In-til his throit clewit sa faste That … he mycht swely it for na slicht
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii 418.
A dragon … tuk hyr in his mouth hale To suely hyr
c1420 Wynt. v 597.
Thai gert [hym] … In tyll a drawcht off drynk swelly A paddog yhong
1460 Hay Alex. 2962.
Sche [sc. a sea-monster] wald … swellie men hir lippis war sa wyde
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 516.
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 122/6.
Sum swelleis swan, sum swelleis duke And I stand fastand
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rev. x 9.
Tak the buke, and swellie it; and it sall mak thi wamb to be bittire, bot in thi mouth it salbe swete as hony
1531 Bell. Boece I xliv.
Thir mussillis, airlie in the morning, … opnis thair mouthis … and maist gredelie swellis the dew of hevin
1604-9 Grahame Anat. Hum. 12.
If he be hungrie, he must swellow all with vncivilitie, and put himselfe in perrell of chocking
(b) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 177/27.
Syne sall thé swallow [M. swellie] with his mouth The dragone Death
1551 Hamilton Cat. 128.
The devil gangis about lyk a rampand lyone seikand quhome he may swallie
1591 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 52.
Rieving … our … letteris fra the said Johne Fairwadder and compelling of him in … barbarus maner to eit and suallie thame
p.t. 1533 Boece 218b.
Certane small foulis … fell fra the hevin … Crawis apone thame lichtit and swellyit thame
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 78.
He draif thir thre quhailis vnto ane lie Ane him swelleit and bair him to the sie
p.p. c1420 Wynt. ii 1230.
A Mynotawre … All thai barnys … Thai gert be delyveryd tyll For to be swellyid at hys wyll And … etyn
c1420 Wynt. iv 1372.
1456 Hay I 40/31.
The barnis [sc. Romulus and Remus] was castyn to the wolvis in the wod to be suelyit
(2) c1420 Wynt. i 736.
Thare serpentys ar sa gret … At thai wyll suelly wpe a dere
1662 Crim. Trials III 613.
He wold girne at ws lyk a dowge, as iff he wold swellow ws wp
1682 Lauder Observes 305.
He … willing to have swallowed it down, … bot … it passed not, … one part of it hindering another, fighting in his hasse

b. absol. a1500 Henr. Orph. 468.
Cerberus to swelly sparis nane
c1500 Rowll Cursing 227 (M).
With gaipand mouth richt ȝaip to suellie
1591-2 Rob Stene 3.
The mair he fild his beistly belly, The mair his greid incriest to swelly

2. transf. Of the earth, sea, etc.: To engulf. Also const. in, up and adv. phr.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xviii 542.
Me wonderis hou … the erd gapand wyd Me swelyt nocht
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1746.
Mony gret ritches … That out of Troy thai with thaim had, That gredy flude swelled but baid
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 2274.
That swelt half of my schippis has Suelled
1456 Hay I 27/28.
For rycht as in the pitt of hell is ane unfillable gredy appetite to suelly all misdoaris … sa [etc.]
14… Statut. Sc. Ch. 6.
?c1500 Rathen Manual 28/2.
c1510 Prester John 311.
Thar sall cum ane fyr fra the hewyne sall suelli thaim
1533 Boece 345.
The veschell with the pray sank, and al atanis be the sey war suellyit
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5994.
1551 Hamilton Cat. 82.
Quhairfor the erd oppinnit and swellit thame, and sa leivand yeid to hel
a1578 Pitsc. II 60/24.
The ignorante pepill dreidit lest the earth sould haue suallowit him wpe quick
c1590 Fowler I 276/28.
(The earth) hath opned vp the throate Off her great gulf to suallou me
(2) c1420 Wynt. vi 650.
Sum off thaim … for thaire syne The erd opnyd and swellyd in
c1515 Asl. MS I 160/18.
The se of the occeane … cummis & gevis ebbing & flowing and swellyis in seis & wyndis wawis thairin
1513 Doug. iv i 49.
Bot rather I desyre baith cors and spreit Of me the erth swelly law adown Or than [etc.]
1513 Doug. x xi 172.
Quhilk land … May swelly me sa deip as I haue servyt
1513 Doug. xii xiii 214.
O now quhat grund, land, or erd tewch Sal swelly me tharin half deip enewch
1596 Dalr. I 59/7.
It swallyis vp hail schipis, and … drounes thame in the deip
1596 Dalr. I 99/14.
Certane difficile myres … albeit thay be lyke medowis … ȝit quhen a man entiris, thay sal gaip wyd, and swallie him vp in a maner to the deipth

3. fig. a. To destroy, as if by consuming. Also const. up. b. To take in eagerly, ‘devour’ with one or more of the senses. c. To seize, take for oneself, appropriate, accept eagerly. d. To accept, submit to (a humiliation, etc.).a. (1) c1520-c1535 Nisbet 1 Peter iii 22.
Be the aganerijsing of … Jesu Crist, That … swellies dede, that we salbe made airis of euirlasting lijf
1533 Gau 45/7.
As S. Paul sais … Deid is swolit throw wictore
1559 Cal. Sc. P. I 256.
[Our overthrow shall] suallo & devour [all objections] in contrar
1565 Canongate Kirk S. (ed.) 20.
The haill kirke desernis … to ressave the said James to repentance that he be nocht swollowit with disperatioun
(2) 1600 Crim. Trials II 248.
Excep the Lord had bein with vs, men had suallouit him vp, according to the fassoune of beistis
b. 1513 Doug. iv xii 35.
Now lat ȝon cruel Troiane swelly and se This our fyre funerale fra the deip see
1618 Lithgow Poet. Remains 54.
They plague thy purse, and hunger plagues thy bellie, Whiles in this cottage, I contentment swellie
c. 1533 Boece 626b.
To spulȝe them of the prey and goods thai suelly in thair corrupit uses
1618 Lithgow Poet. Remains 16.
Great Dukes and Princes, oint my palme with ore, And Romane clergic golde, with griede I swellie
d. c1650 P. Gordon Brit. Dist. 195.
To mak them suallie the injurie put upon their chief

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"Swelly v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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