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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.

Lathe, Laith, a. Also: lath, latthe; laithe, layth(e, laytht; leth; leith(e, leyth(e, leath(e. [North. ME. lath(e, laþ, midl. and south. lothe, loþ, loð, early lað, OE. láð (láth, laath). Cf. Loth(e.North. and north midl. ME. also had laith (Cursor M.), layth(e, leyth (Audelay), leið (Bestiary), ON. leiðr, but there is nothing to show that this existed in Sc., where lath(e is appar. the oldest spelling and laith, layth etc. merely the regular variant of this. This word is however unrecorded in the very earliest Sc. texts and appar. does not occur in Barbour's Brus.]

1. Loathsome, repulsive, ugly.(a) a1400 Leg. S. vi. 467.
The flesche … is lathaste tu luk one thane Fra the lyf be ovt of thame
c1450-2 Howlat 958.
He said, Allace! I am lost, lathest of all
Ib. 969.(b) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 771.
A fowle padow … that wes laythe to se
1513 Doug. vi. iv. 10.
Exalationys or vapouris blak and laith
1533 Boece ix. xiv. 323 b.
Fiakir … in presens of the ambassiatouris … apperit as laith and lippir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10215.
The laith lipper quhilk sat into my haw

b. Hateful (to a person). a1400 Leg. S. vii. 618.
[He] sete a man at met rycht thare, That to Tytus lathaste ware

2. Of a circumstance, event, action: Hateful, abhorrent, distasteful (to or till a person or dative pronoun, to do something, that something should occur, etc.). Also, to think lath, feel distaste or unwillingness (to do something).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 460.
God alane, Fore quham fadir & modir bath I wil forsak, tho thaim be lath
Ib. xxviii. 266.
[He] bad his seruandis … dispoil hyre of hyr clathis: That til woman ful lath is
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 14.
He hath mekle skaithes And now one neide, that hyme more lath is
(2) a1500 Rauf. C. 285.
Me war laith to byde
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 484.
Laith me war … Ane brimell body suld intertrike my ryme
Ib. ix. Prol. 66.
Now war me laith my lang laubour mysfur
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8932.
Wonder laith war me In my default that ony man suld die
(3) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1149.
The lordys … thame thoucht it wondyre lath For to be argwyt off thare ath
?1438 Alex. ii. 6836.
Gif Clarus thinkes laith to haue peis, Alexander is laithar it to ceis
c1500 Makc. MS. xvi. 26.
Me think ful lath … to tyne That I haf bocht with mekyl pyne

3. Averse, reluctant, unwilling, loth (to something, to do something, that something occur or be done, and absol.).(1) a1400 Leg. S. i. 609.
All war thai lath tharto [sc. depart] Ȝet at the laste thai cane sa do
c1420 Wynt. viii. 932.
Sum off thame to that wes lath [: ath]
1540 Lynd. Sat. 3904.
Howbeit the barrouns thairto will be laith [: skaith], From thine furth thay sall want thair hyrald hors
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 825.
Thus Pechtis, at are lath to trew
c1420 Wynt. ii. 17.
Othir natyownys … lathe [C. latthe] wes bargane for to mowe, Or in tyll were thaire pythys prowe
1456 Hay I. 84/30.
He is lathe to tyne the prouffit … of his lord
1535 Stewart 40160.
For that caus this Malcolme … lather wes to lippin him intill
a1578 Pitsc. I. 253/3.
He was far lather to breik his new allyance
1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xxi.
Lath war thay to kep ony skaith
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 815.
Luk that thow be laith For to mak ony band or aith
c1475 Wall. iii. 431.
Rycht laith I war, deyr wncle, you to greiff
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 387.
I wes laith to be loppin with sic a lob avoir
Id. Maitl. F. xxxii. 9.
To sweir, quod Sathan, be nocht layth [: aithe, clayth]
1511 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 107.
He is rycht laytht to twynn without that he gettis in his handis
1535 Stewart 48656.
[A victory] causit thame of mair curage to be, … and laither for to fle
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 506.
Talbartis hors … to ryn was laith
1562-3 Winȝet I. 11/1.
We being of smal learning, and ȝit laith to be hypocritis
a1568 Bann. MS. 135 a/46.
He that is vsd to thig Is laith to leif the craft
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 78.
Sum secreit mischeif that ȝe ar laith to have disclosit
1582 Reg. Morton I. 134.
Trusting ȝe wilbe layth to give ws any sic occasioun
1622-6 Bisset I. 109/4.
We will be laith to omit any thing undone that may serve [etc.]
(c) a1568 Bann. MS. 134 a/17.
Be God ȝe ar our leth to leif
c 1587 5th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 636/2.
I beand leth to pres thame dreffe tyme
1630 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 254.
Promice makis debt and I uill be leth to do my brother hurt
?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 40.
Valde lethus pugnare
(d) (a1570-86 Kennedy) Maitl. F. lxxi. 22.
Leithe to lufe gud lawis
? 1580 Waus Corr. I. 229.
Thai … waldbe leythe to mell with it
1587 Ib. II. 395.
I wilbie constrenit to put handis into him, quhilk I wald be leithe to do
1600-1610 Melvill lxiii.
Stay is the ledder of death, and leith is flesh to clim it
(e) a1578 Pitsc. I. 102/7.
The king and his assistaris war leath to wse sic cruelltie
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 371.
Leath we are to … hurt your persone ony wayis, and far lethere to want you
1609 Garden Garden 21.
Come honour now his death, Alive who to dishonour you was leath
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1802.
Ye are leath to be out of gude companie
(3) 1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 303.
I am layth your grace suld be melestit with lang writin
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 237.
I war laith my honour war degraid
1564 Warrender P. I. 37.
The ald amitie … quhilk we wald be laith … suld in our tyme decay
1558-66 Knox II. 275.
Yf any of hir servandis … say Messe … , quhilkis we war leyth should be in hir Grace cumpany
1604 Mackie Denmilne MSS. 61.
The grate Duck being verey leath that Your Majestie should misconstructe this actione
1608 Ib. in Highland P. III. 108.
We being laith that ȝour Majesties lieutennent … suld hasaird his aune credite
(4) c1420 Wynt. vii. 74.
Do fourth thi dedys, and be noucht lathe
c1420 Ratis R. 1731.
[A child is] For lytil blythe, for lytil wraith, For lytil leif, for lytil laith
1600-1610 Melvill 422.
Fallon leathe was I, and soar was it against my hart

b. absol., quasi-adv. Reluctant(ly). ?1438 Alex. ii. 3502.
To Gaudefere than said he laith [: raith], ‘Thow sall grete wele dame Fesonas’
a1598 Ferg. Prov. 572.
Laith to the bed, laith out of the bed
1631 Sel. Biog. I. 368.
Many gudnichts is laith awaye

c. That is reluctantly or unwillingly done or said. 1513 Doug. ii. ii. 128.
Calcas … Skars at the last … the laith word furth braid, And me adiugit to send to the altare

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"Lathe adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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