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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

But, prep.1 Also: bwt, butt(e, bute, bwte, bwitt; bout. [ME. bout(e, bute, early buten, OE. búton, bútan: cf. Bot prep.]

1. Without, lacking, wanting; free from.Used most frequently with abstract nouns, and very common in a number of phrases, as but abade or bade, delay, dout, drede, favour, fraud, les, let, mare, wene, were; for illustrations of these see the nouns.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 369.
But leawte may nane haiff price
Ib. v. 236; etc.
He sall nocht bruk it but bargane!
a1400 Leg. S. xix. 97.
But avysment fast gannand
1392 Lennox Mun. 48.
But the wyl and the lewe of the forsayde Eryll
c 1400 Wemyss Chart. 37.
The ordinance … [to] kepe, but ony reuocacioun
1409 Exch. R. IV. p. ccx.
That nane of thaim sal mak sic like band … but consent of bath the partyis
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1455.
Bwt ony kyne remede … Thir mys pwt this lord to dede
1454 Mun. Univ. Glasg. I. 14.
We … sal frely deliuir but ony questioun or demande … the forsaid tenement
1456 Hay I. 75/25.
That this warld be in pes but weris and bataill
Ib. 275/32.
He may renounce but his princis leve
c1450 Cr. Deyng 34.
Reddy to resaue the ded but ony murmwr
Ib. 41.
But faythe may na men be saufe
1491 Acta Conc. 185/2.
Duncane laid in wedset a land … be word and but charter or possessioune
a1500 Bk. Chess 2036.
To be a lord but maner or but micht It is a scorne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 5.
Sic stryfe suld rys but styntyng
Id. vi. 53; etc.
I callit my lord my heid, but hiddill
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 345.
Chauser, principal poet but peir
Ib. xi. xvi. 27.
But honour … Thy queyn hes not thé left
1533 Bell. Livy II. 61/7.
But ony mentioun of the law
Ib. 65/13.
It was nocht [done] but cruell bargane
1535 Stewart 27007.
Of all bewtie but blame … scho buir the bell
1539 Reg. Cupar A. II. 6.
Haldand … the saidis teind schawis … but ony reuocatioun, obstakle, impediment, or ganecalling quhatsumewir
1549 Compl. 6.
The hagbutaris … entrit in the toune but resistance
Ib. 76.
Ald and ȝong ar slane … but mercy
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 493.
[No] more than the fyre … Can be but heit, nor sonne but lycht
1554 Holyrood Chart. 294.
To … wp tak … profeitis and dewtis … bwt ony stop or impediment
1560 Waus Corr. I. 21.
Bout quhais helpe … , it is noth possibill I may remain in Rome
1570 Leslie 15.
That the Kingis lieges might lief but harme or skaith
1585 Misc. Spald. C. II. 343.
But hurt or diminutioun of the stok
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
The schireff may … enforce his court, but prejudice of their regalitie
1627 Bk. Caerlaverock II. 85.
No man can be apprehended but ane warrand
1641 Peebles B. Rec. 102.
Vseing the gaittes … but qwhatsumewer impediment
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. (1699) 236.
Most shamefully, but fear of God [etc.]
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvii. 58; Ib. xlvi. 293.
But met, drink, or conforttyng
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1325.
But barnys tha bredyre deyde ilkane
1456 Hay I. 224/10.
But servandis may nane syk men be
Ib. II. 54/7.
As horse butt fete may nocht [etc.]
1471 Acta Aud. 18/1.
ij sek of gude woll but cot or ter
1482 Ib. 105/1.
He tuke thaim … but officiare or ministere of law
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 254/1.
J. R. quhilk deit … but lauchful ayre
1531 Bell. Boece I. p. vi.
As bird but plumes heryit of the nest
1535 Stewart 49183.
On the bair erd, but bowstar … or bed
1548 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 260.
Item, ij spaddis vith heidis, iij but heidis
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lx. 42.
Men may leif without ane king, Ane king but men may beir no crowne
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 102.
Intil a bait … But boddum, air, or ruther
a1598 Ferg. Prov. 14.
A good dog never barket but a bone
1604-31 Craig i. 8.
I smild, to see thy Troy but blood
Ib. v. 5.
Foorth … as I went, vndriven bout a guyde
c1650 Spalding I. 37.
None rode but thair foot mantellis

b. Following upon a relative. 1456 Hay II. 54/20.
Prudence is a vertu … that knychthede may nocht be but

2. Not counting, in addition to. 1375 Barb. xvii. 235.
He had vith him, but archeris, But burges and but oblesteris, Fiff hundreth men
c1475 Wall. xi. 10.
Off set battaillis fyve he dyscumfyt haill, But jeperte and mony strang assaill

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"But prep.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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