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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEAVE, v.1 Also lave (Sh. 1888 Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 184, Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 223; Ags. 1927 V. Jacob Northern Lights 16; em.Sc.

(a) 1960); laive (Cai. 1872 M. McLennan Peasant Life 1; Ags. 1932 Forfar Dispatch (2 June) 3); laeve (Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 30); leve (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 38); leif (Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 11); and reduced forms leae (Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Louse viii., Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.); lea (Gall. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 43, Dmb. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 48; Abd. 1863 G. MacDonald D. Elginbrod xi., Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 117, Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 225, Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 169, Mry. 1908 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 89, Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 252; Arg.1 1930); lee (Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 80, 1924 Northern Whig (Feb.); Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 173; Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie 103); le (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), li (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., as imper.); lae (Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 62, Per. 1817 A. Buchanan Rural Poetry 11, Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 307, Wgt. 1904 J. F. Cannon Recoll. Whithorn 112; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 84, Gall. 1947 A. McCormick Galloway 176); lay (Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon 246; Lnk. 1926 W. Queen We're a' Coortin' 17); ley (Abd. 1897 G. MacDonald Salted with Fire xxii.; Wgt. 1939 J. McNeillie Wgt. Ploughman v.; Bnff. 1955 Banffshire Advert. (24 Nov.)), lye (Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 38). Sc. forms of Eng. leave. Pa.t. left (Gen.Sc.); leeft (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xv., 1930 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 106). Pa.p. left (Gen.Sc.); leeft (Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton xxiv., 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 53); lift (Abd. 1745 S.C. Misc. I. 424). [li:v, li:, em.Sc. (a), Gall., Uls. le:v, le:. See P.L.D. § 88.]

Sc. forms of Eng. leave.Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 42:
lee A local form of leave, as in 'Lee us alane' 'Lee me some', etc.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 2:
Hey, heid-the-baw. Lea the actin tae the actors. How miny poackits hiv you goat? Less a that.
m.Sc. 1993 Lizbeth Gowans Daly in A. L. Kennedy and Hamish Whyte New Writing Scotland 11: The Ghost of Liberace 17:
'Lee that auld pram alane. Whit's wrang wi' ye the day. ...'
Dundee 1994 W. N. Herbert in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 162:
Well, he deals himsel twa cairds and he laives the pack in the middle o the flair.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 36:
Well, burn that bridge an aw, an lea me in peace, Carmen...
m.Sc. 1999 George Inglis in Moira Burgess and Donny O'Rourke New Writing Scotland 17: Friends and Kangaroos 67:
Ma granny ay lees the door aff the latch, so ah went in.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 221:
'Awright, if ye're no gaun tae say nuthin, I'll gie ye a few hints. Get ye stertit. Aw I want is a full confession. Eftir that, I'll lea ye alane. ... '

Sc. usages:

1. Phrs. with advs., etc.: ( 1) leave aside, putting aside, apart from, not counting, let alone (Bnff., Ags., m.Lth., Wgt. 1960); (2) leave me (him, etc.) alone for, corresp. to colloq. Eng. “let me, etc. alone for,” i.e. I, etc. may be trusted to do or deal with … (Cai., Ayr., sm.Sc., Uls. 1960); (3) leave out, = (1) (Ib.); †(4) le-lane, imper., be quiet, give over (Sc. 1825 Jam.). See Lane; (5) to lea(ve) guid bye, to say goodbye, bid farewell (Arg.1 1931; Uls. 1953 Traynor); (6) to leave on, to commit the responsibility for (something) to, put the blame for (something) on (Cai. 1960); (7) to leave up, to leave (a door or the like) open.(1) Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xi.:
For leave aside twa cracks here in the wood with Charlie Stewart, I have scarce said black or white.
(2) Sc. 1823 Lockhart Reg. Dalton III. viii. iv.:
Ay, ay, leave me alone for the handwriting; why, sir, I can prove the thing.
(3) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet iv.:
If there is anything wordly I could do for your honour, leave out loosing ye?
(6) Sc. 1815 Scots Mag. (March) 187:
The deceased said, she would leave her death on him, if he did not send for Dr. Turner.
(7) Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 170:
The lass was ready at the knell — Left up the door, bade John gae ben.

2. In pa.p.: abandoned, forsaken, specif. by God's grace, hence left to follow one's own foolish or sinful devices, esp. in phr. left to or til anesel, misguided, infatuated, led astray in one's judgment. Gen.Sc.Bte. 1708 Session Bk. Rothesay (7 March):
George Waker … professed much trouble and concern of spirit that he had been left to himself so far as to fall in fornication.
Sc. 1712 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 3:
Mr Patrick Gillespy was very much left at the close of his dayes, and came even the length of the lossing his reason.
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 100:
Jamie, Jamie, ye were sair left. Did ye steal frae the poor folk in that gate?
Sc. 1851 G. Outram Lyrics 14:
And, — I was sae left to mysel', — I sell't her an annuity.
Ags. 1873 T. Watson Poems 259:
When ony puir sinner is so far left to himsel' the enemy o' souls is aye ready to help him to his ain destruction.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (5 June) 508:
Ye've been sair left to yersel, man, when ye tuke up that daft-like notion.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 75:
The man wus seurly fairly left tae come tae the hoose o Geud wi' De'il 'e rag o' breek or troosers on.
Abd. 1891 Bon-Accord (23 May) 20:
Sae far left tae themsel's as tae think that the mere fack o' dressin' themsel's up in robes wad add a dignity tae them.
Kcb. 1900 Crockett Stickit Minister's Wooing 77:
The Doctor was so far left to himself as to exchange with a certain “popular preacher.”
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 407:
It is often said of a suicide “he maun hae been gey sair left to himsel' afore he did that.”
m.Sc. 1922 J. Buchan Huntingtower iii.:
And noo the Hoose is shut up till the lawyers can get somebody sae far left to himsel' as to tak' it on lease.

3. To accompany or escort someone, to see someone home (Uls. 1960).Arg.1 1930:
She left me home; I was leaving her home; I'll leave you home.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 166:
'Sorley, get the cuddy and leave the lass home.' Then. 'You're no 'feard to go among the Miskimmins?'

4. Vbl.n. and ppl.adj. leavin(g) in comb.: (Higher) Leaving Certificate, a certificate awarded for proficiency in certain subjects or groups of subjects on the results of a general examination conducted annually since 1888 in all public secondary schools in Scotland at the end of the secondary course by the Scottish Education Department (see Higher, adj., 1.), colloq. known as the Leavings. With the assimilation of Sc. to Eng. education, the general character of the examination has been altered and the name abolished as from May, 1962.Sc. 1894 Royal High School Mag. 77:
The Leaving Certificates have come and gone, and the only cloud left on the horizon is that awful morning when the results are read in Hall.
Sc. 1910 J. Kerr Sc. Education 407:
The Leaving Certificate has become the principal passport to the Universities.
Sc. 1924 Sc. Ed. Dept. Circular 62 (7 Feb.) v.:
The award of the Leaving Certificate will be determined by the school record of the pupil and the result of such written, oral and practical examination as the Department may from time to time decide to hold in the last session of the course. For the present there will be tests on the Higher standard in all the subjects enumerated in Section 4, and on the Lower standard in all of these, save English (including Literature and History).
Sc. 1936 D. G. M'Lean Fordyce Academy 138:
The Leavings and the Bursary Comp. did perhaps take up more of our young lives than was altogether right, but we did not think so then.
Sc. 1946 A. J. Belford Centenary Handbook E.I.S. 161:
The failure to make provision for some common standard of work … would have been fatal to progress had it not been subsequently rectified. That was partly accomplished in 1888 by the introduction of the system of Leaving Certificate Examinations. First introduced by the Department for higher-class schools, it was soon extended to all higher-class public schools. In 1902 a system of group certificates was definitely introduced.
Sc. 1959 Sc. Certif. Education (H.M.S.O.) 2:
The first examinations on this grade will be held in May, 1962, and from that date the Certificate awarded by the Scottish Education Department will be known as the Scottish Certificate of Education instead of the Scottish Leaving Certificate as formerly.

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"Leave v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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