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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.

Fle, v.1 Also: fley, flee, flie. P.t. flaw, flew. P.p. flowyne, flowin, floun. [ME. flie, fleye, fleȝe(n, ONhb. fléᵹa, OE. fléᵹan, fléoᵹan.]

1. Of birds, etc.: To fly with wings.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1179.
Angelis he has sene Fle vpe & doune
Ib. xxviii. 596.
Than com a dou of hewin fleand
c1450-2 Howlat 140.
The swallowe so swyft … is forthwart to fle
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1631.
[The bat] in the gloming cummis furth to fle
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 60.
A federem on he tuke And schupe in Turky for to fle
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 110.
The wyld geis … Atour the cite fleand hard I glyde
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7255.
As ȝe knaw, to fle I haue na wingis
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 733 (T).
Lyk ane cran … That man tak ay nyne steppis befoir scho flie
1604-31 Craig i. 35/12.
Crows flee but where the carion lyes
1688 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 255.
He … did sie a great many corbies … fleing about the deponents hous
(b) a1400 Leg. S. i. 564.
He … flaw, as he a foule had bene
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2893.
He tuke his flicht, and ouer the feildis flaw
a1500 Seven S. 2681.
The ravinnis … flawe away as thai war fane
1513 Doug. i. v. 127.
He with gret fard of weyngis flaw throu the sky
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1483.
Furth flew the dow, at Noyis command
1585 James VI Ess. 45.
As she was wount, she flaw Athort the skyes
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xviii. 60.
A bissat … vsd hir, vhen the halk fleu out
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xiii. 80.
The erne … Quhene he is flowyne to mast hicht
1424 Acts II. 6/1.
Quhar … the birdis be flowin and the nestis be fundin in the treis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 420.
Quhair Chantecleir … wes flowin fra his nest
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 153.
Quhen he had flowin abuf the army, he evanyst sone

2. Of things or persons: To move with the speed of flying; to spring smartly (in pieces). To let fle, to discharge or throw with speed and force.(1) 1375 Barb. v. 623.
He tasit the vyre and leit it fle
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 418.
Scho couth gere rayne … fle fra oure the fayre walays
c1420 Wynt. vi. 77.
Sternys in the ayre fleand Wes sene
c1475 Wall. ii. 50.
Bayn and brayn he gert in pecis fle
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1019.
The scheld in fardellis can fle
1513 Doug. i. iii. 94.
Now fleys the stanys, and now the broyndis of fyre
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 32.
Quhen the wedder bene most fair, The dust fleis hiest in the air
1567 Sat. P. iii. 32.
He could … Ane flaine lat fle with bow
1638 Adamson Muses Thr. 18.
To make your balls flee whistling in the air
(b) 1375 Barb. x. 626.
Out-our thair hedis flaw the stane
?1438 Alex. i. 3146.
Stanis and flagmontis flaw him fra
c1475 Wall. i. 405.
The suerd flaw fra him a fur breid
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 857.
The sparkis flaw in the feild
1513 Doug. x. viii. 107.
The schaft flaw furth belyve
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 451.
Baith thair speiris in sindrie flaw
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 9197.
Of the standart doun he flaw
a1500 Henr. Fab. 544.
As fyre of flint thay [sc. the dogs] ouer the feildis flaw
a1500 Colk. Sow i. 220.
Thurlgill thrang till a club So fers he flaw in a dub
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 86.
Baith hors and man flawe to the erd
1513 Doug. vi. xi. 63.
About the quhilk pepill onnowmerabill … fleys fast
1562-3 Winȝet II. 64/5.
Thow may se thame as it war fleand athortal the buikis of Godis law

b. Of fame or rumours: To spread rapidly. c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 50.
Throw Scotland, … Fleyis on weyng thi fame
1535 Stewart 7576.
Of this batell the greit mortalitie … Throw Albione … it flaw
1594 Misc. Bann. C. III. 169.
The … name of this weirlyk chiftane dois fle and pas athort the mouthis of all men
1664 Alford Rec. 86.
A flagrant scandall which was fleeing abroad

c. To let fle, to strike; to deliver (a blow). a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 978.
With ane bright brand … He leit fle to the freke
a1540 Freiris Berw. 553.
Symone a felloun flap lait fle

d. To fle upon, to attack. 1596 Dalr. I. 208/35.
With al kynd of crudelitie, thay flie vpon the … inhabitans of the cuntrey
Ib. II. 373/22.
Gif tha had floun vpon the religioune

3. a. intr. To fly a hawk. 1513 Doug. v. Prol. 4.
Gladys … The falconeyr rych ryver onto fleyn [Sm. our to flene]

b. Of a hawk: To fly at (game). 1614 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI. 238.
I heir his maiestie gatt a fyne entermiwit goshalk … I heir shee fleis the herrin [= heron]

4. Of a flag: To flutter, wave in the wind. 1618 Lithgow Poet. Rem. 37.
With … drummes, & colours fleeing … King James they goe a seeing

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"Fle v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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