Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
THIEVELESS, adj. Also theeveless, thievless, thiveless (wm.Sc. 1905 E.D.D.); thaveless (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 273; Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (14 Jan.)), -lish (Uls. 1931 Ib. (5 Dec.)). [θi:vləs, em.Sc. (a), Uls. θe:v-]
1. Lacking in energy, spirit or purpose, feeble, listless, without force (Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Per., Ayr. 1915–23 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Abd., wm.Sc. 1972); of a speaker: lacking in punch, ineffective (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (5 Dec.) 13). Also adv. Adv. thievelessly, ¶-lie (Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xliv.), feebly, listlessly, carelessly.
Sc. 1824 R. K. Douglas Poems 14:
My arm, that twined her jimp sma' waist, Right theeveless back I drew. wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 289:
She answered in a gay thieveless-like way. Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 11:
Doitin' waa up the road, theevelessly, by himsel,. Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 215:
An easy-osy thieveless cuif, as souless as a rock. Per. 1897 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet 80:
Poor Will had a very broken-down look, and appeared listless, or, as he himself expressed it, “rale thieveless.” Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 4:
You left the like in Embro' in a scunner To booze wi' thieveless cronies sic. as me.
2. Of actions: not to the purpose, ineffective; serving as a pretext, unconvincing.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
I trow, when that she saw, within a crack, She came with a right thieveless errand back. Sc. 1808 Jam.:
A thieveless excuse, one that is not satisfactory. He came on a thieveless errand, he pretended to have business about which he was not in earnest. wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 243:
Some wag had been rowing the Hosier's tail, by sending him on a thieveless errand. m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 253:
It's been a thieveless job a' thegither o't, an' little better than a gouk's errant.
3. Cold, frigid in manner, dry, forbidding (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Rnf. 1825 Jam.); scornful (Uls. 1929). Used adv. in phr. to look thieveless to one, to give one a cold reception (wm.Sc. 1808 Jam.).
Ayr. 1787 Burns Brigs of Ayr 89–90:
Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien, He, down the water, gies him this guid-een.
4. Of weather: bleak, uncertain (Rnf. 1808 Jam., a thieveless morning).
Rnf. 1825 Jam.:
Thieveless is applied to weather in a sort of intermediate or uncertain state. Thus, a thieveless day is one that has no decided character, neither properly good nor bad.
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"Thieveless adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/thieveless>
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