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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KINDLY, adj. Also kindlie, kyndlie, -y.

Sc. usages, now obs., arch. or dial. in Eng. [′kəin(d)lɪ]

1. Natural, in keeping with the nature of the person or thing concerned, congenial (Ork. 1960).Sc. 1705 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1837) II. 19:
I think [his pains] were heightened by a great solicitude and care that was in his soul anent his future state: his exercise looked very kindly.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 197:
It is kindly the Poke sa're of the Herring. It is no uncommon Thing to see Children take after their Parents. Always meant in ill Things.
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xxix.:
The English kirk, or the ways of the same, which . . . are far from kindly to the like of me.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 29:
The iron was no vero kindly under his chin.

2. Native-born, indigenous, of the same race. Comb. kindly sheep, a variety of sheep native to Shetland, noted for its fine wool (Ork. 1960). Cf. Kind, II. 1.Sh. 1799 Trans. Highl. Soc. I. xxxiii.:
There are two kinds of sheep . . . to be found in these islands; one, known by the name of the kindly sheep, whose whole body almost, is covered with it [fine wool].
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xix., xxvi.:
It was an unco thing to see hawks pike out hawks e'en, or ae kindly Scot cheat anither. . . . She downa bide the sight o' a kindly Scot, if he come frae the Lowlands.
Sc. 1850 J. Grant Sc. Cavalier xl.:
“We will yield to our ain kindly folk,” cried Sergeant Wemyss and several soldiers; “we will yield us to Major Maitland and the Scots Guards.”

3. Enjoying a right or privilege by virtue of birth or inheritance; specif. in Sc. Law phr. kindly tenant, one who occupies land on favourable terms under a special lease which gave a sort of hereditary right, now surviving only in the case of the King's Kindly Tenants of Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire, whose rights derive from their presumed descent from supporters of King Robert Bruce and are perpetual and alienable (see Bell Dict. Law Scot. s.v.). Also attrib.Sc. 1703 Letter in Atholl MSS. (15 Nov.):
The tenents of this town who are his kyndly men.
Sc. 1732 Appeal Cases Ho. Lords I. 77:
In a question between the crown's kindly tenants of Lochmaben, and the heritable keeper of the castle, it was found that the tenants, although having neither charter nor sasine, had yet such a right of property in the lands that they could not be removed and might assign their rights.
Dmf. 1754 Caled. Mercury (19 Nov.):
The Lands are held partly feu of Carruthers of Holmains, partly in free Burgage of the Burgh of Lochmaben, and partly of the Crown in Kindly Tenant-right.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute ii. vi. § 37:
A rental is a particular species of tack, now seldom used, granted by the landlord for a low or favourable tack-duty, to those who are either presumed to be lineal successors to the ancient possessors of the land, or whom the proprietor designs to gratify as such. And the lessees are usually styled rentallers, or kindly tenants.
Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 175:
Formerly the tenants claimed from generation to generation a sort of tacit patrimonial interest in their respective professions, known in Ayrshire by the right of kindly tenants. But these claims have been departed from, for more than half a century past.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xii.:
Caleb . . . furnished the notables of Wolf's-hope with a note of the requisition of butter and eggs, which he claimed as arrears of the aforesaid subsidy, or kindly aid, payable as above mentioned.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 318:
The earliest feuars of the Crown estates were named The Kindly Tenants of the King.
Dmf. 1912 J. K. Hewison Dumfriesshire 163:
In the vicinity are four villages [Greenhill, Heck, Hightae, and Smallholm], called The Four Towns of Lochmaben, whose inhabitants have for many centuries been styled “The King's Kindly Tenants,” being descendants of the vassals of King Robert the Bruce.
Dmf. 1956 Scotsman (11 Feb.) 5:
The Kindly Tenants at Lochmaben were and had been for hundreds of years the last remnants of a form of land tenure which came into being in the Lowlands of Scotland in the Middle Ages.

Hence kindliness, kindlyness, the right of a kindly tenant.Sc. 1700 Fountainhall Decisions II. 95:
In the action of sale of Yeoman of Pittencreif's lands, it occurred to be argued among the Lords, what price should be put upon the teinds, seeing he had no standing right thereto, but only kindlyness.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute ii. vi. § 37:
Stair and Craig affirm that kindliness or a rental, is to be presumed from payment of a grassum; but grassums are now frequently given by tenants on their entry, when neither the landlord nor tenant means to constitute a rental.

†The word kindly (as an abbrev. of kindly right, tenancy, etc.) is used subst. = a hereditary right.w.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
A man is said to have a kindlie to a farm, or possession, which his ancestors have held, and which he has himself long tenanted.

4. Of a good or excellent nature or quality, thriving. Now dial. in Eng. Also used adv. = well, excellently.Sc. 1776 Weekly Mag. (26 Dec.) 13:
Lands which he improves with sheep's dung, so that it destroys the heather, and affords in its place kindly grass.
Per. 1831 Perthshire Advert. (4 Aug.):
The fallows have wrought kindly, are generally in fine order, and ready for the seed furrow.
Sc. 1876 Trans. Highl. Soc. 145:
They are “kindly doers”; they lay on a maximum amount of flesh with a minimum amount of food.

[In O.Sc. = 1., from 1375; 2., from 1513; 3., from 1530. Cf. Eng. kindly, †having a right to one's position in virtue of kind, birth or descent.]

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"Kindly adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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