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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Drive, Dryve, v. Also: drywe, dryfe, dryiff, drif(e, driff(e. P.t. drave, drawe, dre(a)ve, dreiwe; draf(e, draif(e, draiff, drayff, dref, dreff(e, dreiff. P.p. drivin (drive, dryve); drevin, -yn(e, drewin, -yn, dreavin; dreffn, -an, dreiffng. [ME. drive, dryve, OE. drífan, ON. drífa.]

1. a. To direct the course of (a draught animal, vehicle, plough, etc.); to convey (a load) by cart, etc. Also absol. 1375 Barb. x. 173 (E).
Ane yuman, wycht and hardy, Befor suld dryve [C. dryf] the wayne
1456 Hay I. 240/17.
His hyre man that dryvis the pleuche
c1475 Wall. vi. 437.
He was war quhar a werk man come fast, Dryfande a mere
1504 Treas. Acc. II. 466.
To the man that dryvis the Kingis sowmes
1513 Doug. x. x. 97.
Lucagus … Bad dryf hys hors and char al fordwart strecht
1531 Reg. Dunferm. 362.
The … abbot of Newbotill and convent … sall cause drive thair coill of Preston Grang … in siclyk maner as thay have drevin thair awin coill to this tyme
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 124.
Sen for loun Villox … That vas in Scotland … Quhen as he draue and Knox held steue the pleuch

b. To cause or force (animals or persons) to go in front of one by shouts, blows, following up, etc. ?1438 Alex. i. 3114.
Before him all his folk he draif, Richt as the husband driuis his fee
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 226.
Thay driue on the da deir be dalis and doun
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 347.
Feit to help to drif oxen thre men
1506 Ib. III. 172.
To … John Balfour passand with raches in the cuntree to drif the deir to the park
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 91.
The Devill gart thame to dungeoun dryve [M. dryl]
Ib. l. 17.
Off the Glen Quhettane twenti scoir He drawe as oxin him befoir
1513 Doug. iv. iv. 49.
The wild beistis doun to the dail thai dryve
1533 Bell. Livy I. 22/19.
Sum men sayis that Hercules … draif in thir boundis fare tydy kye
Ib. 22/30.
Gif he had drevin thame [sc. the ky] to his cove
1533 Boece v. i. 163 b.
Thai war sparit onelie to kepe thare bestiall and driffe the samyn to thare campe
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 77.
He draif thir thre quhailis vnto ane lie

c. To carry off (cattle) by driving. Freq. in to drive a (or the) pray. Also with away. 1375 Barb. ix. 534 (E).
Thai saw how he Gert his men dryve [C. drif] with him the pray
Ib. xv. 335.
Schyr Adam of Gordoun … Saw thaim dryf sua away thair fe
?1438 Alex. i. 202.
Ȝone folk ar of the oist … That driffis thiddirwart the pray
1456 Hay I. 240/28.
Gif he suld … dryve my gudis and prisoune my servandis
1531 Bell. Boece I. 146.
Thay draif gret prayis of bestial, be dirknes of nicht
Id. Livy II. 165/12.
Camillus draif [v.r. drawe] infinite gudis fra Capena, and L. Potitus drave gudis … fra Falerium
1533 Boece x. iiij. 353.
Athelstane … waisting the corne & drifing away the bestiale
a1578 Pitsc. I. 127/25.
Ane greit part … begane to … dryue away thair enemeis hors and wthir goodis
1596 Dalr. I. 102/3.
Ane ingenious policie to dryue a pray and say thair prayeris. The policie of dryueng a pray [etc.]
1624 Crim. Trials iii. 567.
The thiftious steelling … of ffyftie ffyve oxin, &c, quhilk war drewin be the said Johnne Gar

d. To force (persons, etc.) to go or retire; esp. to expel, to chase away.(1) 1375 Barb. ix. 156 (E).
Till thai off the erlis party In till thar battaill drywyn war
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4742.
The Inglis ischeyd … and faucht fast; Bot thai war drevyn in at the last
1513 Doug. i. ix. 56.
Throu all realmys quharto that drevyn am I
1531 Bell. Boece II. 35.
Mony of Britonis wer drevin, to eschape thair cruelte, in the nixt river
(2) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 248/25.
Fergus … draf away his enemys in plane batell
Ib. 266/19.
The first twa ȝeris he … was chasit & drevyne abak
1513 Doug. iii. iv. 64.
With wapynnys forto bet and dryve away Thir laithly sey byrdis
1533 Boece vii. vii. 235 b.
Sum persuadit Maximiane … fra Albion driffe Scottis and Pichtis
1562-3 Winȝet II. 22/2.
Than wes … the preistis dryuin away and banissit
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxx. 152.
Thoucht all this warld ryn in confusioun, ȝit godlie men suld nocht be drewin bak
1596 Dalr. I. 44/4.
Vthiris … touris [are] erected to dryue away theiues neirhand
Ib. 82/18.
The Britanis now callis the Saxonis to dryue out the Scottis
1625 Garden Sc. Kings i.
His deeds his foes from his dominions dreave
fig. 1513 Doug. xii. xi. 120.
As first the schaddois of pertrublans Was dryve away
1567 G. Ball. 52.
We suld … myrrie be And dryue away dispair
Ib. 173.
The clude of nycht thow dryuis away
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. c. 37.
Than cwmis in Sir Gredynes belyve With thir wordis away kyndnes to dryve

e. To follow up (a track). 1375 Barb. vii. 66 (E).
Giff the hund mycht lest in lyve, He wyst rycht weile that thai wald dryve The kingis trace

2. To impel by force of impact or pressure. 1375 Barb. v. 634.
He … him doun ded to the erd drafe [E. draiff]
Ib. x. 255.
The kyng … gert doun driff [E. dryve] it to the ground
?1438 Alex. i. 1199.
He to erd deid doun him draue
c1475 Wall. iv. 90.
Dede to ground, but mercy, he him draiff
1513 Doug. ii. vi. 17.
The burn on spait … dryvis on swyftly stokkis, treis, and stanys
1535 Stewart 46374.
Sum to the erd wes derflie drevin doun
1563–4 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 194.
To resist the dynt of the wind that draife bak the watter under the eisingis of the sklattis
a1586 Lindesay MS. 6 b.
Casuale it is … that the ane dryffis the vther hard vpone the barrers

b. Of the wind or sea: To force (a vessel) on a certain course or on shore.Freq. in p.p., and applied to persons as well as vessels. In this sense Douglas freq. uses the southern Eng. p.p. drive.(a, b) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 116.
Contrare wynd & wedderis wod That draf ws hydder attour the flod
1513 Doug. i. iii. 27.
The sowth wynd Nothus thre schippis draif away Amang blynd cragis
Ib. viii. 75.
The flude … throw the perrellus rowkis gan ws dryve
1535 Stewart 1407.
Eolus … In Yrland cost rycht darflie did thame dryve
(c) c1420 Wynt. i. 407.
That schype wes drywyn [C. drewin] oure hyllis hie
Ib. ii. 814.
[He] saylyd Affryk all abowt Drewyn [W. dreiffing] wytht syndry stormys stoute
1500 Halyb. 265.
Out of a schip that was drewyn to Hambrocht
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 200/22.
The said Herold was drevyn in Normondy aganis his will
1513 Doug. iv. i. 20.
Quhat be he … Into our realme latlie is dreuin here?
1531 Bell. Boece I. 29.
This nobill prince … be ane wickit tempest was drevin apon ane crag
a1578 Pitsc. I. 156/19.
Fyve hundreith of hir Frenchmen war drewin on the land
1589–90 Ayr Common Good Acc. MS.
Twa carpollis cuttit to stent the gabar with quhen sche wes dreffan
1622-6 Bisset II. 235/31.
Albeit they be drevin be storme to loise, or drivin in ony porte
c1650 Spalding II. 206.
Ane schip cuming fra Norroway with tymber, faillit her mast, and wes drevin on schoir
(b) 1513 Doug. i. vi. 49.
Of men and land onknaw we are drive will
Ib. iii. v. 109; etc.
Quhat aventur has the hyddir dryve?
fig. a1568 Scott i. 129.
Dewtie and dettis ar drevin be dowbilnes
1562-3 Winȝet II. 63/19.
Be ressoun that this wil … be an insatiable concupiscence violentlie is drewin

c. To force along or up. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 157/13.
Ryweris and blak watteris that rynnis thairto and dryfis furth the see … euermare in a cours
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 130.
The large fludis … [scho] spowtis in the ayr agane, Dryvand the stowr to the starnys, as it war rane
Ib. xii. v. 177.
Messapus … A kyng … Affrays sore, At hym dryuand his stede

3. To dash or strike; to force by striking. 1375 Barb. xx. 257 (E).
Thar mycht men se … knychtis gret full sar, And thair newffys oft samyn dryve [C. driff]
c1420 Wynt. iii. 105.
The nayl than on his hewyde scho set, … Dryfand down rycht throuch his hewyde
1460 Hay Alex. 4289.
Ane scurge-stik to drife ane top withall
Ib. 4327.
Ane golf-staff to driff the ball withall
1513 Doug. v. viii. 113.
Hys stern burdon … Persyt the harn pan, draif out the brayn in hy

b. To break or smash by force. c1475 Wall. i. 408.
Wallas … his crage in sondre drawe
Ib. ii. 44.
His ryg bane he all in sondyr draif
a1570-86 Dunb. Maitl. F. xv. 44.
Quhair nocht for tempest may indure Bot freschlie all to spvmis dryff
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3460.
Quhow ceteis, castellis, tounis, and towris, … wer all into poulder drewin

c. To strike or stab. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 203.
He pullit furth his dageir, and drave the king to the hart

d. To deliver (a blow) with force. c1590 J. Stewart 61/171.
Thair dochtie hands than draife … Schairpe sousing skelps

4. a. To push on with (an action). 1375 Barb. i. 311.
He … neuir wald for myscheiff faill, Bot dryve the thing rycht to the end
Ib. ix. 633 (E).
Hardyment tane … sudandly And drewyn [C. drivin] to the end scharply
c1420 Wynt. iii. Prol. 33.
Swa furth drywand my purpos … to clos In it that tyme [etc.]
c1590 Fowler I. 17/15.
I am forced to shorten this preface, … which now abruptlye I drvwe to a short connectioun

b. To subject to scorn or contempt. c1420 Wynt. i. 464.
Quhen that Noe gat wyttyng That Came had drywyn hym tyll heythyng
Ib. viii. 2047.
Me-think … thow drywys me to scorne
?1438 Alex. ii. 3805.
He … in ane study was And she him draue to hething ay
c1460 Consail Wys Man 134.
Dryve neuer pwre na riche to scorne
1513 Doug. iv. x. 38.
Thus drevyn to hethyng, … baris thou not ȝyt in mynd [etc.]?
a1568 Scott ii. 94.
Thay wist nocht how to get him pynd, That thame had drevin to skorne

c. To force or reduce to, to bring into, a certain state. c1460 Consail Wys Man 214.
Thi secret consail neuer wndo, Bot neid or fors dryv the thar to
c1475 Wall. x. 704.
Feill Scottis hors was drewyn in to trawaill, Forrown that day so irkyt can defaill
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 149.
My schorte solace … Wes dreuin in dolour in one lytill space
c1552 Id. Mon. 117.
Quhar throuch our king tuke sic melancolie Quhilk draue hym to the dede
1567 G. Ball. 47.
The Deuill he draue me to dispair
Ib. 212.
For Dustifit, and bob at euin … Hes dreuin sum of thame to tein, For all thair mes
1570 Leslie 226.
Gif he had abiddin and bene dreavin to gif battell
c1590 Fowler I. 88/58.
I to purpose dreavin, ‘O dame,’ said I [etc.]
1607 Highland P. III. 102.
Seing he hes tane the seruice in hand … and in the prosequutiouns thairof wilbe drevin to great expens

5. To live out (one's life, days, fate); to spend or employ (time). Freq. with our. 1375 Barb. iii. 390.
He thocht … In-to the manland till arywe, And till the end hys werdis drywe
Ib. x. 699.
Ilk man, to sauff his lyff, Fled furth his dayis for to dryve [C. drif]
c1420 Wynt. i. 162.
In hys werk and his besynes … Drywand hys lyf till dulefulie dede
c1420 Wynt. v. 5186.
Adamnan … tretyd hym to cum in Fyffe The tyme to dryve oure off hys lyffe
c1500 Rowll Cursing 86.
In thair cursit and sinfull wayis Levand and dryvand our thair dayis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 511.
Thus draif thai our that deir night, with danceis full noble
1533 Boece v. ii. 167.
With … incredibill blythtnes and clamour thai draif the nycht to end
1570 Leslie 96.
The Kinge … past … to Ierusalem and the hally graif, to dryfe furth the rest of his dayis in pennance
a1585 Maitl. Q. xciii. 4.
In honour maist contentedlye thair lyfe they did dryue ouer
1596 Dalr. I. 77/16.
In quhilke daylie course thay draue ouer mony ȝeirs
Ib. II. 120/7.
Heir the king dryues our certane dayes … in mirrines
1604-31 Craig ii. 159/14.
I dreame the darke, and driue in dooll the day
absol. 1513 Doug. iii. vi. 2.
Thus drave we our in solace day be day
1590 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 213.
We are drinking and dryuing our in the aulde maner

b. To pass or spend (time) inactively; to waste in, or gain by, delay. Also with our, off. 1533 Bell. Livy I. 64/17.
He began to array his batallis to cutt & drive our the tyme
1558-66 Knox II. 292.
Lethingtoun … said that he should wryte Bot that was onlie to dryve tyme
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 20.
His mynd was only to dryve tyme till he could find oportunitie to cowpe the court
1576 Waus Corr. I. 138.
I lukit nocht that the tyme suld haif beyn drewin sa lang
a1578 Pitsc. II. 215/9.
The lord regent … did na thing bot dryve of tyme in the conventioun
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 31.
To the end thay sould have occasioun to dryve tyme with the Queyne, … thay ansuerit [etc.]
1622-6 Bisset I. 163/31.
Diverse advocattis, and procuratouris, dryvis and prolongis tyme be repitition of ane thing

c. To defer or delay; to carry on. 1535 Stewart 14597.
Lucius, that weill thair counsall knew, … Sua draif it ouir ane lang tyme da be da
1578 Waus Corr. I. 176.
Becaus Robart Schot hes dreffin me this tway monyth
1606 Rollock 1 Thes. 94 (J).
Because the iniquitie of the fathers is driven to the children to the thrid and fourth generation

6. To derive (esp. a word) from a source. 1549 Compl. Prol. 16/20.
Mixand ther purposis vitht oncoutht exquisite termis, dreuyn … fra Lating
1561 Misc. Bann. C. I. ii.
Scottish men be drywyne from Albanactus
1580 Cath. Tr. 62/4.
The name Superintendent is drevin from ane Latin wourd
1585 James VI Ess. 75.
Cimmerien night [is] drevin from a kynd of people … called Cimmerij
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Girtholl.
Asylum is driven from the Greeke [etc.]
1611 Reg. Panmure I. 96.
Coer in the auld langage is that we cal justice, bot semis to be drewin fra the Latin word curia

7. intr. Of persons or things: To move with force or speed; to rush or dash.(1) 1375 Barb. vi. 247 (E).
As he doun to the erd wald dryve [C. driff], He wald ber doun weill four or fyve
?1438 Alex. i. 3187.
Endlang the feild He draue agane Emynedoun
1456 Hay I. 271/8.
And [= if] a man … saw ane othir … cum on him dryvand in fere of were
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2525.
He … lap ouer leis, and draif throw dub and myre
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 196.
Wantones … him followit fast as he mycht dryve
Id. Æn. x. xiv. 102.
With swift cours he Furth steris his stede, and draif in the melle
a1578 Pitsc. I. 99/1.
He draif in the midis of the preis of the Earle of Crafurdis folkis
(2) c1475 Wall. x. 857.
The derff schott draiff as thik as a haill schour
a1500 Rauf C. 27.
Ithand wedderis of the eist draif on sa fast
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 121.
The seys rage draif in, and maid thame twane
15.. Clar. iv. 2090.
The fourt then fled and let. ane arrow dryve
1561–2 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 161.
To David Graham, masoun, … for beiging up of dyvers hoillis … quhar the weit drafe in

b. Of a vessel: To be carried by the winds or waves; to drift; to run ashore. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1733.
The schippes … Draif in one heipe, dyngand on vthir
Ib. 2391.
Thus with his schippes dryvand than, He aryved in Melapsan
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1600.
Eneas and Askaneus, … Wp to the tope thare sayllys drew And drawe on, as thame blastys blewe
15.. Clar. iii. 3.
The King of Cyprus … Beheld ane schipe with wind and waves dryve
a1578 Pitsc. II. 12218.
My lord Rothus schip was gret and drawe nar the foiriandis
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 57.
Ane schipe quhilk dreiwe about the bankis

c. To operate strongly. c1475 Wall. v. 236.
Bot gret curage in his mynd euir draiff, Off Inglismen thinkand amendis to haiff

d. Of time, etc.: To pass over. c1475 Wall. viii. 1182.
The nycht was myrk, our drayff the dyrkfull chance
a1578 Pitsc. I. 305/14.
This cummer draiff ower quhill the king was xij ȝeiris of aige

e. To deliver a blow or blows; to strike. 1538 Lynd. Justing 47.
Iames leit dryfe at Iohne with boith his fystis
15.. Clar. i. 63.
With swordis scharp thay can at uther dryve

f. Of an anchor: To lose hold, to drag. a1568 Sat. P. xlvi. 55.
Quhair anker dryvis, thair is na dowt, Thir tripand tyddis may tyne ws aw
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1169.
Aft times the anchor dryves

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"Drive v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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