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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.

Licht, v.1 Also: lycht, lytht; lecht; leicht; light, lyght; lich. P.t. and p.p. lichtit etc. also licht, lycht. [ME. lihte(n, lighte, liȝt etc., (15th c.) leyȝt, p.t. lihte, liȝte, light(e, and (14th c.) lihtid, lighted, p.p. liȝt, light, lyght and (15th c.) y)lyghted, e.m.E. lighted, OE. líhtan, p.t. líhte.]In the (much more common) intrans. uses conjugated in the perf. chiefly with to be.

I. tr. 1. To lighten, relieve of weight. a. To reduce the load of (a boat). 1375 Barb. iii. 616.
I rede … We kast our thing all in the se, And fra our schip swa lychtyt be [etc.]
Ib. 624.
Thar schip thai lychtyt sone

b. fig. To relieve, gladden, cheer (the spirits etc.); to mitigate, assuage (suffering, an injury).(1) a1500 Henr. Fab. 21.
It is richt profitabill Amangis eirnist to ming ane mery sport To licht the spreit
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. ii. 23.
If any tell them of a pardon Although their heart be lighted somewhat [etc.]
(2) a1605 Montg. Sonn. li. 6.
Vhilk slaiks my sorou … And lights my louing langour at the leist

c. fig. To slight, belittle: cf. Lichtly v.Also in the later dial. (Galt). 1586 Cal. Sc. P. IX. 201.
[Whenever a prince] lichtest [a poor man, the world esteems the poor man to be in the wrong]

II. intr. 2. To get down or dismount from one's horse. With adverb. complements.(1) 1375 Barb. xiv. 121.
The erll … Lichtit on fut with his menȝhe And apertly the plas tuk he
c1420 Wynt. vii. 54, viii. 6746. c1475 Wall. i. 390. 1513 Doug. xi. x. 31.
Befor the portis dovn lyghtis the queyn
15.. Clar. i. 1361.
Two knichtis at the ȝet ar lichtit doun
1551 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 14.
[The officer] lychtit doune to haiff laid furth thair gwiddis and insycht of house
a1578 Pitsc. I. 275/24.
The Inglismen war forcit to licht on fute quhan thair horsis micht nocht serue
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Descendo, to go down, to licht off
(2) (a) c1420 Wynt. vi. 274.
Off hys hors than wald he lycht, And on hys fute he wald ga rycht
1604 Crim. Trials II. 441.
Thomas Hardie … tuik his horse be the heid and causit him lycht fra his horse
(b, c) 1456 Hay II. 7/20.
With that he lichtit doune of his pallefray and salust the noble knycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiii. 6.
Bot laitly lichtit of my meir
1528 Douglas Corr. 136.
The Kyngis grace … never lechtit of his hors oneto he come to Dunbar
(b) a1605 Montg. Flyt. 422 (T).
Furth of ane carne … Thir ladyis licht fra thair hors And band thame with raipis

b. absol. To alight from horseback, dismount. 1375 Barb. xviii. 463; Ib. xiii. 588.
Schir Johne Bretane, That lichtit wes abovyn the bra, With his men gret defens can ma
c1420 Wynt. viii. 3151. 1448 Acts I. 351/1.
That quhat tyme it is sene speidfull that the oist licht doun and array thaim that ilk man licht at commandment and na man byd on hors
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 623.
Thai lufly ledis belife lightit on the land, And laught out suerdis
c1475 Wall. i. 409, v. 780. 1501 Acta Conc. III. 60.
Aucht score of persons quhilkis lichtit and put thar hors in thar cornis
1549 Reg. Privy S. MS. XXIII. 96.
And lichtand before him on Glasqw mure for subverting of him
a1568 Bann. MS. 158 a/29.
Ay lichtand and pischeand the knave cumis behind
c 1625 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 381.
The goodman lightand drew his sword and [etc.]
c1650 Spalding I. 40.
Thay cam ryding … up the get and lichtit
Ib. II. 293.
He … rode up throw the streit quhill he lichtit at Mr. Alexander Reidis houss

c. To dismount at the end of a journey, to halt; also, to arrive. 1375 Barb. xiv. 183.
Thai raid furth … Syne come agane … And quhen thai sammyn lichtit war, Thai tald thair lordis [etc.]
c1475 Wall. v. 1068.
Fra Crawfurd Jhon the wattir doune thai ryd, Ner hand the nycht thai lychtyt apon Clyd
Ib. viii. 1574.
On Lammes day thai lycht on Caram mur, Thar lugyt thai with plesance
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 282.
The xj day of September, in Tayn, quhen the Kingis grace lichtit
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1079 (Ch).
Thair is now [B. new] lichtit on the grene, Dame Veritie
Ib. 1091.
Dame Veritie hes lychtit, now of lait
a1578 Pitsc. I. 90/34.
The Erle of Douglas … heirand tell that Schir Patrick Gray … was lichtit at the ȝett
1591 Thanes of Cawdor 202.
Quhen ye lichtit in Glesgow

d. Of things: To arrive or be brought to a place. 1578 Inverness Rec. I. 261.
ij sekkis of malt quhilk he coft beyond the ferrie quhilk lychttit nocht in this burcht

3. Of the Holy Ghost or the Incarnation: To descend or alight into (in) or on. a1400 Leg. S. x. 132.
The haly spyrit of Criste come done … & in ilkane of ws cane lycht
Ib. xxxvi. 327.
The Haly Gaste lichtyt on hym thare
1456 Hay I. 298/30.
Quhen God him self has lichtit in this warld and tane mannis flesch
1513 Doug. iv. Prol. 39.
The God abuf, from his hie maieste, … law in a maid dyd lycht
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lvi. 43.

4. To descend or be brought low; chiefly fig., to be degraded or humiliated. c1420 Wynt. v. 2594.
Quha that wyll draw hym on hycht, Lawch downe behowys hym for to lycht
1513 Doug. ix. Prol. 16.
Clym nevir our hie, nor ȝit to law thow lycht
1535 Stewart 4761.
Mony cruell knycht Wes maid to kneill and sum to licht full law
1570 Sat. P. xxiv. 64.
Thocht men throw murther mene to mount on hicht, Law sall he lycht downe

5. a. To come down to land or on to a surface, to alight (as a bird, a hailstone or the like). a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 830.
Hou that the angelis in that place Lichyd quhare the Magdelan was & had hyre vpe … in to the ayre
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1173.
Haylstanys gryt in to that flycht Sa hewy thyk and hard can lycht That [etc.]
Ib. v. 3456.
This haly byschope … Slepand saw … The ymage off oure Lady brycht Downe [out] off ane tabernakyll lycht
c1450-2 Howlat 214.
The martoune the murcoke the myresnype … Lichtit as lerit men law [B. of law] by that laike
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1779.
The samin birdis … I hoip because it wes thair hanting place … Thay lychtit doun; and, quhen thay lychtit war [etc.]
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 994.
The beryallis on the land of bracheris [they] gart light
1513 Doug. ii. xi. 29.
From the hevin fell … A fayr brycht starn … Quhilk on the top of our lugyng First saw we lycht
1531 Bell. Boece II. 220.
Als mekil [land] … as ane falcon flew of ane mannis hand, or scho lichtit
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8387.
On ane tre lichtit doun … Ane nichtingail
1596 Dalr. I. 26/15.
To this fowle the sey is sa natural that gif … sche lycht on the ground … sche can nocht rais her selfe
c1610 Melville Mem. 222.
Ane expert player [of tennis] wald se … wher the ball will leicht … and with small trauell will let it leicht in his hand or racket

b. Of persons jumping or falling from a height, also of things: To come down, ‘land’, come to rest, in a certain place or position. Also in fig. contexts.(1) c1420 Wynt. i. 366.
That swayne he swakyde oure that hycht That on hys crown he gert hym lycht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 886.
Innumerabyll with him thare fell, Sum lychtit in the lawest hell
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 80 (L).
I saw ane rever rin Out ouer ane craig … , Syne lichtit in ane lin
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxi. 10.
With that me thocht hir nichtgowne of sche cuist, Liftit the clais and lichtit in my armis
(2) fig. 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 391.
Pandaris [etc.] … Loupis vp frome laddis, syne lychtis amang lardis
1540 Id. Sat. 1951.
It is full weil thy kind to loup and licht in a ledder
1570 Mar & Kellie MSS. 24.
Thair wes a jowell send to our Quene from my Lady Atholl … bot it is lichtit in the Quene of Englandis handis
1573 Sat. P. xl. 51.
With iouking thay will jangil craftelie And on thair feit will ay licht quhen thay list
c 1613 Mar & Kellie MSS. Suppl. 52.
There is mutche dealling from Spaine, France and Savoie for to have the Prince in mariage, but I think he shall licht in France, if my intelligence be true
(3) proverbs a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 444 (L).
Luik quhair thow lycht befoir thow loip
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 584.
He that looks or he loups wots quhar he lichts

c. Of a weapon, also a blow: To fall or strike on a particular place, to hit. a1400 Leg. S. xix. 657.
Ane arow done cane lycht & rewyt the King of ane ee sycht
c1420 Wynt. iv. 728.
On basnetys schynand brycht Men mycht se pollaxis lycht
15.. Dunb. App. ii. 18.
Fra he [Death] begyn to schute his schot, Thow wat nocht quhen that it will licht
1513 Doug. v. viii. 10.
Now, hand to hand, the dynt lychtis with a swak
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 731.
The Scottis schip scho wes sa law That monie gunnis out ouir hir flaw, Quhilk far beȝond thame lichtit doun
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 260.
Ane peice of artalȝerie … chancit to licht upoun … Lord Methwene
c1590 J. Stewart 62/178.
So fers Ferragus … Claife all aschunder quhair his glawe did lycht

6. fig. Of a piece of good or ill fortune, a blessing or curse, a spell etc. a. To take place, come about, eventuate. 1456 Hay II. 37/17.
And syne worthy personis … makis mariage betuix worschipfull vertues in hye parage and knychtede, quhilk aw nocht to lycht bot in noblesse
1572 Sat. P. xxxvi. 151.
Vengeance will wirk and will nocht licht in vaine, Bot thé … sall bring to nocht
c1600 Montg. Suppl. vii. 27.
Quhair luiffe doith licht sould nane be miscontent
1590-1 Bruce Serm. 253.
For the longer that judgment is delayed, it shall be the heavier when it lighteth
1661 Soc. Ant. XXII. 246.
When shoe gave her malisone to any persone or creature it usually lighted

b. To licht on or upon (also, in), To fall or descend on, to fall on the head of, to ‘strike’. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 515.
Ȝet Stewene for thame euir can pray Bot it mowcht nocht on thame lycht For thar gret wikitnese
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2061.
It is sum wyfis malisone … For pultrie pyking that lychtit hes on ȝow
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 322/19.
For the quhilk the fyry wengeans of hell lichtis on thaim
1525 St. A. Formulare I. 269.
All … malysonis … lycht apoun thame
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 488.
Gods blissing sall lycht vpon his head
1570 Sat. P. xxiii. 134.
As thow may se, thick scurgis monyfald Lich vpon thame that proudly dois disdane
1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 238.
The said Dauid being stayit to cum that day, … the wrak lichtit in the hyndis gudis
1623 Ib. III. 556.
The witchcraft appointit for ane vther hes lichted upone him
1660 Rothesay B. Rec. 43.
The said prejudice … to seaze and licht upone the said Robert Beithe himselff be reasoun of not cleiring his accoumpts
a 1700 J. Maidment New Bk. Old Ballads (1844) 15.
Wae and vondra light on thee

7. To licht on or upon. a. To be laid to the charge of, imputed to. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4074.
Thay cryit, His blude licht upon us And on our generatioun
1604 Crim. Trials II. 436.
I pray God that thais faltis lycht not upon his Majestie heirefter
1653 Hossack Kirkwall 254.
And stryve quhat ye can to mak the chargis licht on them for I know the panis will be yours

b. To fall to the lot of. 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 459.
[That one should go to France with the treaty for ratification by the sovereign:] I think that voyage shall lyght on the Lord off St. Jhone

c. To set upon, to attack. 1533–4 Melville Chart. 76.
He gangand apoun fuitt, and the said laird … on horsebak, lychtit apoun him and chasit him
1596 Mar & Kellie MSS. 46.
Sua that the people … tuik armes and war nocht we stayed thair faird thay had licht na dout upoun mony of the counsallouris
1596 Dalr. II. 183/4.
He preparet a gret nauie and land armie to lycht vpon France baith be sey and land
1607 Highland P. III. 97.
In end he lichted vpon the lymmaris … and efter a lang and hett combatt … the said Allaster wes apprehendit

d. To come upon, fall in with (certain companions). c1610 Melville Mem. 222.
In his first uprysing his hap was to leicht upon the best sort

e. To come to, arrive at, in working through a list (of names). 1646 Kirkcaldy Presb. 293.
[They] named all the names in the shipp and when they lighted upon the man whome they suspected the key turned about

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"Licht v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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