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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Hele, Heil(l, n.1 Also: heyl(l, heel(e. [ME. heel(e, hele, OE. héla, hǽla, ON. hæl-l.]

1. The heel of a person.(a) 1375 Barb. xvi. 596 (E).
The gilt spuris, rycht be the hele
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 430.
With … helis vpwart til his theis
14.. Acts I. 378/2.
Gif he turnis the tais of his fet quhar the helis stud before
a1500 Henr. II. 265/210. Ib. 267/252.
‘Hald vp ȝour hele’, quod he
(b) 1513 Doug. v. vi. 66.
Dyores … at hys bak fute hait, Hys tays choppand on hys heill al the gayt
1558-66 Knox II. 15.
The poore woman … cowped up his heilles, so that his heid went doun
1581 Sat. P. xliii. 76.
Doun gois their heid, vp gois their heillis againe
a1578 Pitsc. II. 127/5.
Lord James … was hangit be the heillis be the metsouneris
1624 Crim. Trials III. 573.
[He] harrellit and drew him be the heillis … to ane laich volt

b. The corresponding part of an animal's hind feet. Also hind heil. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 890.
Apone sterand stedis, trappit to the heill
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4349.
Be the hind heillis this hound than did scho tak
c1590 J. Stewart 27/446.
Ane loftie bang The steide presents vith his tuo heils behind
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 529 (T).
Cattell keist caprielles behind with thair heillis
1590-1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 218.
Shee tooke a blacke toade, and did hang the same up by the heeles three daies

2. In various phrases and special contexts.To lay up one's heels, to die. To horse (another's) heels, to overthrow, get the better of him. 1535 Stewart 3539.
He hes … cled thaim all, euin fra the heill to nek In silk
1567 G. Ball. 194.
Ȝe … sanit vs from neck to heill
a1568 Bann. MS. 257 b/67.
The thing that ȝe sett at ȝour heill I will no moir sett at my harte
1562-3 Winȝet II. 70/35.
The veritie of the catholik doctrine cassin at oure helis
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 126.
Methuen … Behind thair heillis in fornication ȝeid
c1620 Z. Boyd Zion's Flowers 155.
Nowe Shechem's gone, he hath laid up his heeles
1635 Dickson Wr. 160/1.
Ye who ... will haue amends of him who has wronged you & count it your contentment to plot his overthrow, ... and count it your gain to horse his heels

3. The heel of a shoe, etc. Attrib. with maker. 1641 Acts V. 541/1.
Panton heil makeris
1646 Edinb. Test. Index II. 372.
George Smith, heilmaker

4. ? A broken-off end (of a slate) or ? merely misread for: crelis. 1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 134.
vj dosen of helis of sklattis and schellis, for ijd the creil xijs

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"Hele n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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