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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.

Kepe, Keip, n. Also: kep, keyp, keepe. [ME. kep (c 1250), kepe, f. Kepe,v. In ME. chiefly to nime(n, ta(ke(n), ȝeve(n kepe: and cf. OF. garde n., f. garder v., similarly used chiefly with prendre.]

1. Care, regard, attention, heed, notice. In the phr. to ta(k) (also to gif) (gude, gret, etc.) kepe (to, till or of something, and in various other constructions).Common in the 14th and 15th c.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 214.
Takand na kep to rycht na skill
Ib. III. 154.
[He] in his hart gret kep has tane Vnto the Kingis chewalry
Ib. xvii. 61.
Thou sall tak kep weill to thi day
c1420 Wynt. II. 100.
He … syne to thame wald ta gud kepe, Quhyll thai ware sadly fallyn on slepe
1456 Hay I. 300/25.
For all men takis kepe till a kingis word
a1500 Henr. Twa Mys 95 (Asl.).
The eldest mous was gyde & ȝeid beforne, The ȝoungar till hir wayis tuk gud kepe [B. grit keip]
c1475 Wall. iv. 333.
Off dyet fayr Wallace tuk neuir kepe
Ib. vi. 720.
The Scottis men tuk off thair cummyng kepe
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 39/18.
To tak kepe to the law of God and to obey to it
Ib. 181/15.
Thaim that takis compt and kepe of othere mennis gyding
1567 G. Ball. 150.
Attend and tak gude keip To thame that cumis to thé, In to the habite of ane scheip
1587-99 Hume 76/280.
[It] is to be lamented … That few of learning suld take keip or care
(2) 1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 98.
Lemand throu the glas I dyd tak kepe Latonya, the lang irksum nyght
15.. Clar. i. 1472.
Be this Amador fell sound on sleip, The quhilk Palexis persavit and tuike keipe
(3) c1420 Ratis R. 208.
Our elderis has techit ws To tak kep our speking till ws [= use]
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1234.
A schynand licht … The quhilk with cure to heir I did tak keip
Id. Æn. iv. x. 76.
Thou … takis nothir cuyr nor keyp For to behald quhat perrellys about thé standis
1535 Stewart 54654.
That he sould tak gude keip Within his boundis for to do no ill
(4) 1375 Barb. 195.
Haid ȝe tane keip how at that king … Trawayllyt for to wyn senȝhory
Ib. 113.
Had ȝe tane kep quhat was thrillag, And had consideryt his vsage [etc.]
(5) c1420 Wynt. iii. 101.
And syne scho waytyd and tuk kepe, Quhill he was rowtand fast on slepe
1535 Stewart 8075.(6) c1400 Troy-bk. II. 2258.
The mermadynnis than takin kepe, Seis thaim slepand, thane … drownes tham
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 230.
Thus variant scho was, quha list tak keip
15.. Clar. iii. 721.
Whyllis scho wald ly still and tak [gude] keip And uther quhyllis out throw the hedgis creipe
a1568 Bann. MS. 158 a/27.
Troll Hasart … Rydis noppand and noddand & takkis na keip
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxxv. 51.
Quill scho was fallin on sleip Ay warlie watchit he And than he tuik guid keip And laid in leifis thrie
(7) a1500 Doug. K. Hart 363.
This Bissiness hes sene, and gave gud keip
Id. Æn. xiii. Prol. 121.
Jherom … to gentilis bukis gaif sik keip

b. Care in tending, watching over or guarding anything. To ta(k) kepe to or till, also off and on. a1400 Leg. S. xl. 443.
Than to the catel thai tuk les kepe
c1420 Ratis R. 1497.
Sa rycht and law is laid to sleip: Wyll thar na king to thaim ta kep?
1456 Hay II. 15/13.
A squier, and a varlet page to be ever … at bis service … , to tak kepe till him
Ib. 11/14.
Tak gude kepe to thy hele
c1475 Wall. vii. 347.
Off ayle and wyne yneuch chosyne haiff thai As bestly folk tuk off thaim selff no keip
a1500 Rauf C. 638.
Tak keip to my capill, that na man him call
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 353.
Than Danger to the dure tuik gude keip … that Pietie suld nocht pas
1567 Sat. P. v. 73.
Syne on your self ye tak gud keip, And lat na ennimeis heir resort

c. Once in the phr. but langar kepe (= heed). 1513 Doug. v. xiv. 17.
And euery maryner, but langar kepe, Thar bodeis restis with the plesand sleip

2. Charge, custody, keeping.This sense only Sc. and appar. so also in the mod. dialect. c 1450 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 204.
Thrie silver how pecis … being in the prowest kepe, … and ane other how peice that M. Peter had in kepe
1669 Rothesay B. Rec. 164.
Ane discharge … daittit the 26 of January 1667 geawin to the clerkis keip

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



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