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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.

Justify, -fé, Justefy, v.1 Also: justifi(e, justiffie, justiefie, justyfy(e; justefie, -fé. [ME. justefy, -fie (1382), iustify, -fie (a 1300), F. justifier, med. L. justificare.]

1. tr. To administer justice to, to judge. 1449 Acts II. 36/2.
That al regaliteis that ar in the Kingis handis … be haldin in ryalte and iustifiit be the Kingis Justice
1456 Hay I. 68/28.
A soverane … to justify every man efter his desertis and the quhilk had power to do justice apon bathe grete … misdoaris as apon the smallis
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 194.
That the gret God suld be the souerane juge abwne thaim, & justifye thaim in the tother warld, baith wysman and wykyt
c1460 Regim. Princ. (Ch. & M.) 176.
Quhat thank cunnis God thé for to iustefy The puer commonis … And syne thi self to leif maist wranguisly
a1500 Lanc. 1890.
For he forsuth haith ifyne hyme the wond To iustefy and reull in pece his lond

b. To try (a person or persons) in a court of law. 1456 Hay I. 153/31.
Secundly he may ger justify him be way of permissioun of justice, be the autoritee of the law
c1500 Fyve Bestes 13.
So quhen thir theifis all war justifyed Than euerilk brother for him self replyid
1539 Crim. Trials I. i. *221.
Becaus our scheref of Air principale is frend to the manne that is slayne, he hes send hymme to be justefeit by ȝow

c. To decide judicially, give judgement upon (a matter). c 1532 Stirlings of Keir 339.
I am contentit that ȝour lordschipis justifie and knaw vpon the said appelacioun
1551 Digest Justiciary Proc. B. 57.
Twicheing the intromissioun with the fruittis of the kirk of Hawik quhill the appellatioun be justefeit and decydit

2. a. To execute justice upon, to convict and condemn (a criminal). b.To execute (a convicted criminal). c. To put to death (a criminal or a prisoner).Chiefly in senses b and c, which are appar. confined to Sc.(a) 14.. Acts I. 347/2.
All revaris [etc.] … gif thai be justifeit [L. iudicati], the King sall haue all ther gudis as eschete
1449 Ib. II. 35/2.
Gif it happynis ony man til assist … to thai that ar iustifiit be the King in this present parliament or sal happyn to be iustifiit in tym cummyn for crimes committit agaynis the King
1466 Acta Aud. 4/1.
The eschete of Nevin McKilroy [etc.] … quhilkis was justifijt in the justice aris of Wigtoune
1485 Acts II. 170/2.
[To] tak ditta … of the notour trespassouris without excepcoun of ony persoun to be takin & justifiit without remissoun
1492 Myll Spect. 290/25.
Quhen ony man war justifyet, the scheref behuffit allan to walk in the fyrst nycht that he war nocht stollyn of the gallows
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. ii. 63.
Ȝone lustie court will stop or meit To justifie this bysning quhilk blasphemit
1517 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 88.
He dyssyris that schir Donald of the Ylis twa bredir be justifit as law ordanis for plesour and profet … to my lord gowernour
1525 Crim. Trials I. i. 130*.
Gif thai be convict … that the said schereff sall … convoy them souerly to the place quhare thai salbe ordanit to be justifyt and remane thairat quhill thai be dede
1530 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 328.
Forsamekle as the Kingis grace hes justifiit and gart put to deid certane grete notable thevis
1533 Boece iii. i. 91.
The King … dantit the assistantis to Gillus and Brede, justyfying sum parte, of vtheris confisking thare bestiall & store
a1538 Abell 110 b.
Als Cochren ... wes tane & iustifit to be hangit
1551 Corr. M. Lorraine 353.
All the lymmaris that invadit your grace landis ar … slane and justifit
1553 Treas. Acc. X. 165.
To ane fallo that justifyit ane man … afore the Tolbuith
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 265.
Of the quhilk thair wes sex justifeit, viz. hangit
a1578 Pitsc. I. 185/5.
They consallit the King to iustiefie the Duik of Albanie his brother
Ib. 389/4.
He was … put in dullful presone, and syne efter schamefullie iustiffieit as ȝe sall heir
1596 Dalr. II. 161/32.
Gif Arran onywise falset his faith … tha [the pledges] suld be iustifiet
c1615 Chron. Kings 76.
He gartt aprehend him and justifie him
(b) 1531 Bell. Boece II. 25.
v c of thaim tane, quham he gart justefy, as thevis
1546–7 Ayr Common Good Acc.
For expensis to get the commissioun to justefy thame that brak rewll in the tyme of the pest
1565–66 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 504.
To the pynours for the bering of dailles … with the gibbett and madin to mak ane scaffald … the day quhen Thomas Scot was justefeitt

d. Also to justify to (the, one's) dede or deith. 1475 (1610) Carmichael Tracts 53.
Power to justifie to their deed our soveraine lordis leiges that ver inobedient to him
1500 Balfour Pract. 596.
Thay beand swa convict, sall be justifyit to the deid thairfoir
1533 Boece iv. viii. 137.
Convictit of tresoun haistelie he was justifijt to dede
1548–56 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXIII. 41.
[Those who had been] justifeit to the deid for commoun thift
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 74.
Justifiit … to the deith
Ib. 184.
Justifiit to the death

3. To maintain or defend (a decision of a court of law) as just or equitable; to show (a course of action) to be righteous or innocent; to vindicate (from slander, etc.). a1500 Henr. Fab. 1242.
Of this sentence, allace, quhat sall I say, Quhilk dampnit hes the selie innocent And iustifyit the wrangous jugement?
a1500 K. Hart 574.
Off thy vane werk first witnes thow me ta, Quhen all thy jolitie beis justifeit
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxx. 52.
Mycht sclanderit men of thé gait audiens … Thair honestie sa iustifie thai wald

4. To justify or make righteous, in the theological sense. c1420 Wynt. v. 2607.
For honoure suld nocht be denyid Tyll hym that grace has justyfyid
c1520-c1535 Nisbet III. 135.
[Abraham was] justifyed for fulfilling of the commandementtis of God in weray deide
Ib. 136.
Gude werkis … in weray deide justifyis nocht befor Gode, bot outwardly testifyes of faith
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6230.
Thow knew the nomer of predestinat, Quhome thow did call, and hes thame justifeit, And sall in heuin with thé be glorifeit
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 142 b.
Ȝit that bougulrar patriark Caluene sayis that thai ar not all iustefeit

5. To corrobate, confirm, verify. 1663 Mackenzie Affairs 89.
He desired to make no secret of it, as a noble lord will here justify

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"Justify v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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