Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEEVE, v. Also leve (Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 103); leave (Lnk. 1700 Session Rec. Carstairs MS. (18 Aug.); Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.; Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail liv.); leive (Rxb. 1874 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. 211; wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie Last Day 61); lieve (Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 71; Lnl. 1908 J. White Pen Sk. 11). Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. live (Ayr. 1786 Burns Tam Samson's Elegy xvii.; Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v., Ags. 1872 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. vi., Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 18). [li:v, obsol. in ne. and em.Sc. (a)]

Hence 1. leever, liver, survivor; 2. ppl.adj., vbl.n. leevin, living, a living: (1) a living soul, a person, anyone (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1960); (2) food, fare (Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1960). Also living-kind (Uls. 1960); (3) a holding ofland, a farm or estate; (4) comb. livin-like, lively, in good health (Cai., Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Gall. 1960). See also Life, 1. 3. Phrs.: (1) ill or weel to live, in poor or comfortable circumstances, (un)prosperous. See Ill, I. 10.; also jocularly weel to live = in a state of alcoholic well-being, tipsy; (2) to live aff, = Eng. to live on. Gen.Sc. 1. Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 232:
I'm no surprised she wasna a lang leever.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 153:
A's left to the langest leever.
2. (1) Ags. 1820  Montrose Chron. (29 Sept.):
Nae livin' could think o', nae language could tell!
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1874 ) 430:
Did ever ony leevin' hear the like o' that!
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
“Oh, Meggy,” says she, … “dinna mention't to nae leevin'.”
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr. Duguid 223:
It wasna lang till I heard a queer story, though I never moothed it to a leevin'.
(2) Dmf. 1820  Blackwood's Mag. (May) 163:
Blessed living kind has nae passed atween this lad's lips for hours mae than I shall count.
Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.:
I was very weel pleased wi' their tidy wee dishes, and likit their leevin.
(3) Sc. 1813  Scott Rokeby i. xxi.:
Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 220:
There's lordly seats an' livin's braw Amang the braes o' Gallowa'.
(4) Edb. 1851  A. Maclagan Sketches 236:
Hoo are ye Rab, my honest frien'? Ye're livin' like, I see.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 106:
Baith livin' an' livin'-like.
3. (1) Edb. 1827  M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 274:
He had got baith his meat and his drink besides; for, as we sailor fouks say, he had ta'en his beer on board, for he was weel to leive.
Slk. 1827  Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) vi.:
George was what is called “a bein bachelor,” or “a chap that was gayan weel to leeve.”
Dmf. 1836  Carlyle in Atlantic Monthly (1898) 295:
The Doctor looks very well and sonsy; he seems in good health and well to live.
Bnff. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 295:
The land is not rack-rented, and the cultivators of the soil are in general what is called well to live.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
Dawvid, though he was weel to live, was richt gweed company.
(2) Kcd. 1934  L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 19:
I'm tired of College and I'm not going to live off you … Especially as you haven't much to live off.

[O.Sc. leyff, from 1375. The long vowel is due to the regular northern development of orig. i to in an open syllable from O. North. lifian.]

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"Leeve v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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