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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.

Leve, v.4 Also: lewe; leiv(e, leyve, leiw(e; lieve, liewe; leele; leave, leawe; lave. P.t. and p.p. levit, -ed, leivit, -ed, liewit etc., p.t. also lievde. [Sc. var. of Live v., with ï > ē as also in Geve v. : cf. also Lefe and Lif.Most prob. unconnected with midl. and south. ME. leven (15th c.), -yn, leoven (Layamon), early lefen, OE. leofian.]See also Levand pres. p., Leving pres. p.To live. Sometimes with admixture of, or in ambiguity with, Leve v.1 9: several instances of this occur below.

1. To live, be alive or in existence. Also fig.(1) 1375 Barb. iii. 378.
Nane that levys can weill it tell
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 312.
Thy kin that leivis may wary thé and ban
1519 Thanes of Cawdor 130.
Acontra all men at lewis
1562-3 Winȝet II. 42/25.
In that we speik, vnderstand, leuis, and in substance ar, we … ar men in deid
1567 G. Ball. .
This same flesche that leuis now … Sall stand vp at the latter day
Ib. 146.
That our new man may leue
a1578 Pitsc. I. 30/26.
That evir it chanceit theme to leiwe in sick wicked … tymes
a1586 Kamington in Maitland Geneal. Setoun 40.
This Setoun leued quhen good King William rang
(2) fig. 1625 Garden Kings 57.
Religion lieves and in her beawtie budes

b. To continue in life, to survive.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 721.
Myn der wyf, lewis thu now?
1533 Bell. Livy I. 79/18.
Latumo levit behind his fader [L. superfuit patri], and was hale heretoure to his faderis heretage and gudis
(b) 1558-66 Knox II. .
Lett us never leive efter this day
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxi. 1.
Love, … I pray thé let me leiv, Devoir me not
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 190.
To haiff said … that nane of his barnis suld leiw
(c) 1633 Orkney Witch Trial in Misc. Abbotsf. C. 155.
Therafter the most pairt of them [cattle] dieit and the rest that liewit did neuer guid
(d) 15.. Black Bk. Taymouth 155.
Had the knycht leavit or yit the lorde Thai had me wirriit
1631 Justiciary Cases I. 160.
Quhairby the lordis hes fund hir maist unworthie to leave
a1691 Kingston Contin. Ho. Seytoun 64.
She had no sons that leaved
(2) 1577 Fam. Innes 132.
Gif my brudir levis, as I traist in God he sall, I think us litill behynd the hand with the mischeant fule
a1578 Pitsc. II. 223/21.
Gif he had leivit he had causit justice to be so ministrat [etc.]
1683 Fraser P. 264.
If I leive yow will be mynded

c. To live or continue to live for a certain period.(1) c1420 Ratis R. 754.
Fulfill sic penans as he thé gevys, For thu wat neuer how lang thu levis
Ib. 1626.
Quhen men has leuit an hundereth ȝer Thaim think it bot a dremynge here
1600-1610 Melvill 463.
He desyrit … ernestlie to have levit till the Assemblie
(b) 15.. Clar. i. 306.
For all the dayis that I have heir to leive [: to … grieve]
1596 Dalr. II. 360/15.
The fox can neuir leiue lang [L. diu vivere] out of her awne hole
1649 St. A. Baxter Bks. 119.
If he leiwit sewin ȝeir he wald be ane honester man nor ony baxter in St. Androis
(c) 1670 Rothesay B. Rec. 183.
That Janet Mwir leavit bot ane yeir thairefter
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 4263.
He na fand neuer sic ane man In all the tyme he leuit
1473 Peebles B. Rec. I. 170.
He sall … occupy it quhill he lewys
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 175.
For quhill he leuis, his conscience cryis … Gods wraith to wrak him for his wekit werks
1609 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 71.
Sa lang as sho or hir companyeones lewed nather he nor ony nichtbour … wald thrywe

d. To survive spiritually, to escape spiritual death. ?a1500 Remembr. Passion 704.
Jesu Crist, that levis and ringnis with him
1533 Gau 34/7.
The body and saul … sal newer peris bot lewe ewer inmortal
1562-3 Winȝet I. 29/31.
Our Kyng … leuis for euer

e. tr., with cognate obj.: To leve furth, = to live out (a term of life). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4083.
Ane eldering knicht … had leuit furth mony dayis of his life

2. intr. To pass one's life in a manner specified by an adv., adv. phrase etc., having reference a. to one's conduct or morality.(a) c1420 Wynt. ii. 153.
He lewyt all tym wertusly
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 62/7.
Gif thai leve evill … thai ar seker of … dampnacoun
1562-3 Winȝet I. 12/22.
Libertie to bruke the kirk rentis and leue als dum in Godis cause as ony fische
1558-66 Knox I. 262.
He … departed this lyef evin as that he leved
1567 G. Ball. 207.
Say weill sayis godlie … Bot do weill leuis godlie
1633 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 381.
Poore wedowes … that have lewit [v.r. leved] honestlie in the said burgh without any publict … offence
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 13/7.
Thay … leives without meassoure or obedience
1592 St. A. Baxter Bks. 50.
That thai leive in brotherlie love
1655 Mouswald Kirk S. MS. 9 Dec.
To sie if they leiv soberlie and cristianlie
1685 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XI. 48.
In the meane tyme to leive peicably
1692 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes MS.
The said Jonet Henderson having leived in good fame [etc.]
(c) a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1069.
Lieve as ye wald die
1625 Garden Kings .
His leachrous son lievde lawless and enorm
(d) 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 39.
Ilk ane of them sall leaue leallie and trewlie in their office
1632 Cullen B. Ct. MS. 9 Nov.
To leawe in tym cuming as ane leyall and sufficient nichbour
(e) 1535 Stewart 22778.
To laue in pece and no moir to mak weir

b. to one's condition or circumstances.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 228.
He levys at es that frely levys [: giffis]
Ib. 233.
He that ay has levyt fre
Ib. 275.
Thus gat levyt thai
1513 Doug. iii. v. 114.
Levis he ȝit in helth and in weilfair?
1533 Gau 22/18.
That it [the body] sal noth lewe as it desiris bot efter the wil of God
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3659.
He leuit bot ane ȝeir in rest
1562-3 Winȝet I. 136/2.
To the intent that ȝe may … leue [MS. leiff] with ws in a godlie vnitie
1598 Black Bk. Taymouth 15.
The said Sir Duncane levit laird threttie thre yeiris
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 31/36.
It becummeth ane prince to leiwe frielie
1614 Melrose P. 146.
All of ws leiues lyk souldiours
1643 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 4.
As that thairby he may leive as ane honest young man in the toun
c1650 Spalding II. 29.
It is better to leive in a humill content then in … trubbill
(c) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Romans xiv. 7.
For na man of vs leeues to him self and na man deis to him self

c. to a rule or guiding principle, or purpose in life. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 23/8.
Giue euerie man mycht leue according to his vocation
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 154.
All thay … That godlie will in to Christ Jesus leue [: in wourdis breue]
1570 Wedderburn in Misc. Wodrow Soc. 300.
Grant ws in faith to leve and die
1581 Burne Disput. 3 b.
Thame quha being ingraft in Jesus Christ leuis … efter the spreit
c1616 Hume Orthog. 34.
Sal we, quha are dead to synn, leve to it?

d. To live under or be subject to (a specified government or authority). 1596 Dalr. I. 81 m.
The Scottis mony ȝeirs leiuet vndir gouernours or heidis ouer euerie … familie
1611 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 15.
[They] wilbe content to leve heirefter under the obedience of his Majesties lawis

e. To live according to, or as a faithful adherent of or believer in (at, in, on, upon), a faith or creed: cf. Lif v. 2 b. (But cf. also Leve v.3 b).For examples, see Lare n. 3, Law n.1 8 b, Lay n.1 b.

3. quasi-tr., with cognate object: To live (the kind of life specified, one's life in a certain manner). = prec. sense.(1) a1500 Seven S. 2756.
Sa synfull lyf as scho has levit
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiv. 19.
Quha with this warld dois … stryfe … He levis bot ane wrechit lyfe
1551 Hamilton Cat. 89.
Gud maryit men and wemen that leivis ane chast lyfe
1625 Garden Kings 4.
As his life was loathsome that he leiv'de [: preiv'de]
c1650 Spalding I. 222.
Yit our desire is to leive ane quyet and peciabill lyf wnder his majesteis government
(2) 1567 G. Ball. 96.
[People] That leuis all thair lyfe wrangouslie

4. intr. To dwell, reside (in or at a place, or with a person, etc.).(1) 1375 Barb. i. 331.
Sone to Parys can he ga And levyt thar full sympylly
c1420 Wynt. viii. 7072.
Thare wes nane, in France that levid [C. lewide] That durst for thame hald up thare hevid
1535 Stewart 17961.
Sum honest place Quhair tha micht leue but indigens
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 21.
This Paris … had leuit certane ȝeiris in the housis of Bothwell and Setoun
(b) a1585 Polwart Flyt. 200 (H).
Whilk in ane innes will be content To leiv and lett ther hous in lent
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. ii. 3.
Quha leivis in court and halds him leill
1596 Dalr. I. 20/26.
Foules and sik kynde of beistes as leiue alsweil be water as be land
1685 Dunlop P. III. 13.
[The] Indians who leive upon the passages betwixt us and New Mexico
(c) 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 249.
The said Regent … mycht haue lievit in Ingland with greit eise, wer not [etc.]
(d) 1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 230.
Thus the Marquis of Huntlie … resolved to leave at home frie from factions
(2) 1513 Doug. x. xiv. 79.
Rhebus, we twa hes levit lang yfeir
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1041.
Sa he leuit, plesandlie, … with his ladie
1596 Dalr. I. 83/16.
Quha leiues with thame obedient to thair command may [etc.]
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 982.
Leive with good men
1619 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 276.
The memberis leivit not collegialiter
1622-6 Bisset II. 381/25.
[He] had sevin dochteris quha leved with him in greit penurie on bred and wattir anis in the day

5. a. To feed on (also upon, of) a certain kind of food; also (fig.), to receive (spiritual) nourishment from (be, by).(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxix. 3x.
Thair tennentis … leivis on rutis vndir the ryce
(2) 1581 Burne Disput. 26.
He that eittis me sall leaue be me
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxxix. 7.
Lyk as the lyssard does indeid Leiv by the manis face

b. To obtain one's livelihood, maintain oneself, subsist (on, upon, by the means of subsistence). c1460 Consail Vys Man 370.
Men … that lewys one ille-wone gud
1561 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 9.
They sall neyther be abell … to leve upoun the sweit of the browes of sick
1573 Cal. Sc. P. IV. 600.
[They are not of such as have always] lavit [by wages in the wars]
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 210.
Lawboreris of the ground quha onlie leives by working … of the samen
1629 Justiciary Cases I. 97.
Haifing na uther meanis quhairupoune to leave or tred with bot ane fishing boit
1653 Banff Ann. I. 137.
Unnecessar personis not haveing peittis nor kell to leave on

c. To sustain life, obtain adequate nourishment. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 428.
Have there a farding and fetch in leaves, quha can lieve but coste
1615 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 367.
To Robert Leichman … in respect of his … mekilnes that he was nocht abill to leve upoun the enterteanement of the rest

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"Leve v.4". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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