A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Drift, Dryft, n. [e.m.E. drift (c 1300), related to Drive v.]

1. A drove or herd (of cattle or sheep); a team. Also attrib. with nolt, sheep. Gaif thow not me this drift Airlie, quhen thow wes eirand on ȝone bank; Henr. Fab. 2258.
[The said John Stow stole a] drift [of sheep]; 1495 Crim. Trials I. 23.
Cursit is the drift of thine oxin and the flockis of thy scheip; Hamilton Cat. 32.
For reskewing … of the saidis gudis, followit the drift quhill the said xvi day of Februar; 1557 Crim. Trials I. 398.
Ane kow ane penne, ten cheip ane d., baith at fair tyme and dryftes ganging throw the tounes muir; 1576 Lanark B. Rec. 71.
The transporting of the saidis nolt and scheip … in grite nowmeris and driftis; 1585 Acts III. 426/2.
To Humphray Shaw & another to go to St Ninians and stop a highland drift; 1661 Stirling Comm. Good MS. 3.
With the reservation of drifts betuixt the waters betuixt Peebles Water cald and the tree bridges; 1682 Peebles B. Rec. II. 102.
With the reservation of the drift nolt and drift sheep; Ib.

2. A driving force, impetus. This wedder … followit ay sa ferslie on his fa, With sic an drift, quhill dust and dirt ouerdraif him; Henr. Fab. 2515.
The eistyn wynd, with ane terrible drift blewe the sand … in the face of Constantinis armye; Boece xi. xiv. 433.
The snaw so snell ay dryvand with sic drift; Stewart 10785.
Scho puft and ȝiskit with sic riftis, That verry dirt come furth with driftis; Lynd. Sat. 4360 (B).

b. Driving snow. In snaw, sleit, drift, wind, froist, hailstanis, & rane; 1569 Sat. P. x. 320.
Ane day of snaw, as the same wes werrie thik of drift; Hist. Kennedy 45.
I … was weatherbeaten by such great drift and snow, with wind, that I could not winn throu; 1684 Brodie Diary 483.

3. Putting off, delay, procrastination. Hir Hienes gaif sufficient significatioun that scho intendit na drift of tyme; a 1558 Q. Mary in
Keith Hist. App. 102.
The bischope … , after much ado, and long dryft of tyme, cam in the Quenis will; 1563 Knox II. 380.
The judgment of the wryter is, that thair is no treuth meanit, but onlie drift of tyme till that the quenis factione may assemble new forces; Bann. Memor. 39.
Fabius … who by great craft ferse Anniball and drift of tyme ourcame; Fowler I. 99/58.
He … seiks ay Delayis of tymes be driftis; Montg. Ch. & Slae 656.
Leontius casting in many doutis and occasions of drift; Melville Mem. 41.

4. A scheme or plan. A wylie wicht … Quhais deuillische dryftis puttis all in poynt to spill; 1570 Sat. P. xxii. 35.
He had commed very weill to his drifts and obtened the end off his desyrs gif [etc.]; Fowler II. 82/4.
I pray, Satan's drift be not to break our agreement; 1597 Bk. Univ. Kirk III. 915.
It is verie evident that there onlie drift and purpose is … to have stirred the said Lord Fraser to [etc.]; 1637 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 127.

5. A horizontal passage in a mine. Hardin claith to mak coveris over the men in the drift to keip the watter from thaime; 1608 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I. 56 b.
Sax great cuddeis that caryis the mettell betuix driftis; Ib. 104 b.

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"Drift n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Nov 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/drift_n>



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